Saturday, June 25, 2011

Patong and Phuket - Beach Vacation Time!

We arrived into Phuket late at night – about 1am – and still had to head to Patong Beach, a beach town where our hotel was located. The ride from the airport to the hotel took about 45 min and I think I slept most of the way. I was exhausted and couldn’t wait for a good night sleep.

The next morning we woke up late, somewhere around 9:30. The sun was up, and it was already hot outside. We got some breakfast at the hotel and asked them if we could store our luggage until we figured out what we were going to do with our day.

We left the hotel and headed towards the beach. The town was exactly what you would expect of a beach town. Tacky, lacking in character, and immensely different from the cultural centre of Chiang Mai that we had just left. The guys weren’t feeling the beach town vibe and I was indifferent about what we should do, so we found a travel agent and booked ourselves on a ferry to take us to Koh Phi Phi. The shuttle was to pick us up at 1pm so that gave us time to explore the beach and make it back to the hotel.

We strolled along the sands at Patong and it was gorgeous. The town might not be awesome but the beach sure was.  (Just a note – Patong is know for it hedonistic ways – you can get into all kinds of “trouble” there... cabaret shows, lady boys, drinking... you name it, it’s there). At one point I wandered ahead of the guy and didn’t realize they had stopped to sit. I went way off ahead of them and then when I turned back to them (after sitting on the sand myself for a bit) they were gone. I looked around for them for a while but then decided it made the most sense to head back to the hotel – they were smart and would know to head back there to meet me.

Eventually the guys did find me back at the hotel, maybe 15 min after I got back. We grabbed our bags and waited for the shuttle. I slept most of the windy drive to the pier,  waking up just before we got there. We unloaded our stuff onto the waiting area and looked around at the other passengers waiting to board the ferry. Beside us was a group of 3 guys, whom after talking to them for a few moments we found out were from Canada. Well, 2/3 of them were. The other was from Germany and he had just met up with the guys from Canada moments before.

We talked about all the things we’d all done up until the point we were at, marvelling at all the different things that could be accomplished in such a short amount of time. They mentioned that they had a hotel room booked upon arrival at Koh Phi Phi and if we tagged along we could likely get a room at the same place, so thats what we decided to do.

The ferry was late arriving, but once it did get to the port we all embarked and put our stuff in the hold before heading outside  to the front deck to enjoy the sea spray and sunshine. The ride was about 2 hours and very enjoyable (unlike the return trip, but thats for another day..)
Koh Phi Phi Le
Arriving at Koh Phi Phi

Once we arrived at Koh Phi Phi we disembarked and regrouped. Half the group had been drinking on the boat and thus it was a bit difficult to keep people on the move to figure out where exactly we were supposed to be sleeping that night. I was given a map, asked directions from someone and we headed off in the direction of the hostel, as according to the helpful guy at the diving centre.

Turns out there happened to be two hostels by the same name and we walked to the wrong one. We turned around and found the correct one. One of the guys from Canada talked to the woman at the counter and got us a deal on the room for the night. No air conditioning though – we’d have to make do with the fan.
We went into the room and unloaded our stuff. I jumped in the shower and when I came out I found that Ren had somehow managed to turn the A/C on. Wonderful. It was insanely hot out.

We met up with the guys from Canada and made plans to go for drinks after a bit of a rest.  Because it was so hot we decided to just eat some street meat for dinner and ventured out to find something. We found a decent little place around the corner and each picked a few random meats on a stick. We watched the guy heat up the sticks over a makeshift bbq and then douse them in an obscene amount of chilli sauce before he handed them over to us. We passed the stick around, pulling pieces off – didn’t look like much but OH MAN! Tasted so good.
Back at the hostel we met up with the rest of the guys and set out to the beach to find a party. It should be noted that it gets dark early in Thailand, and so while we’re used to it getting dark around 9:30 in Ontario (even later in Edmonton, where the guys from Canada were from) it’s dark by about 7pm in Thailand. We got to the beach and it was dead – which shouldn’t have been surprising, since it was only about 8:30 and the night was still very very young.

The group of us found a little eatery by the beach that served food, but more importantly had cheap big bottles of beer Chang... and had Titanic playing on a big screen. The guy who was running the eatery brought us all out some chairs to sit on. A few of the guys ordered some food and so we all had a seat while waiting for it to be ready.

After the guys ate their food we continued down the beach to Slinky Bar, where we’d heard that the party was... but it was not.  We were the only ones at the bar.  Regardless, some buckets (popular all over Thailand,  buckets are exactly what they sound like – mini buckets of alcoholic beverages) were purchased and we played a few drinking games.  

One of the guys who had been drinking pretty heavily started getting out of hand, so the decision was made to get him back to the hostel. We headed out of Slinky Bar and stopped at one of the food stands to get him some food.

While we were waiting I saw the most amazing sight – a man walking a monkey. Not just any monkey, mind you, but a monkey wearing children’s clothing. Never the type to remain calm in such a situation, I immediately ran over and asked if I could hold him. The man said yes and the monkey climbed up into my arms and gave me a hug. It was the most exciting thing that had happened to me that whole day.

Eric snapped a few photos discreetly (the monkey man wanted us to pay for them) and then we continued on our way back to the hotel.  We dropped our friend off in bed, pretending it was late at night and headed back out.

The night from there on out became something of a blur, but included watching people throw around fire sticks, dub step and swimming at low tide. Along the way I ended up hanging out with the German and Eric and Ren went back to the hotel on their own.  When I got back  I found them asleep on the floor (Ren) and awkwardly curled up in the chair in the “lobby”. Feeling terrible, I woke them up and we all made our way to our room to pass out.

On deck for the next day? Booze cruise around Koh Phi Phi Le.

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