Sunday, 11 October 2015

After getting up bright and early to get the ferry to Phuket, our hostel tried to charge us 450 baht for a bright pink UV stain which was already on the sheet when we arrived. After a 10 minute argument we managed to get our full deposit back but this was our first insight into hostels trying to rip you off. When we arrived they tried to overcharge us by 300 baht but we'd luckily calculated how much it'd be prior to arriving so luckily we pulled them up on it. The staff at Stones were not friendly in the slightest and while it's a great location and the dorms are pretty clean, if you're looking for manners I'd choose another beach front hostel. Luckily we still managed to make it to the ferry in time and after a quick breakfast pit stop to 7eleven (ham and cheese toastie and an orange juice - epitome of a balanced diet, I know) we boarded the ferry. It ended up taking 2 and a half hours instead of an hour and a half but we slept most of the way so it didn't really matter to us.

On board we bought a minibus ticket to Patong for 200 baht each (£4ish) and made the hour journey to our hotel. Driving to Patong and then through the city you could instantly tell it was a lot richer than most of the other islands we've been to. We knew it was huge due to it having its own airport which we're flying out of, but I don't think we realised quite how huge. I mean, I was just happy to see a McDonald's and KFC. Patong was comprised of steep windy roads admist palm trees which gave off a jungle/rainforest vibe mixed with large roads with hotels and restaurants dotted about. It had a Bangkok feel in terms of size but it seemed to be a lot cleaner, nicer and much more well-kept. 

One of the interesting things about island hopping, which we saw on the drive through Phuket, is seeing all the evacuation centres dotted around. Since the 2004 tsunami planning and preparation is clearly key for the locals and it's sad to know that these people's lives could be in danger again at any given time. After checking in, we couldn't use the room until 2pm so we went to find somewhere to have lunch and spent an hour walking up and down the road trying to find somewhere. The three places we did find looked food poisoning-esque but we finally found a nice cafe called I-Kroon. 

En route to finding a place to eat we tried to book a taxi to the airport for Sunday but it seemed as though nobody in Phuket understood a word of English, despite display 'taxi to airport' in their shop windows in English. It was honestly baffling. It was so much effort to book one but finally we managed it for 700 baht. Fed up and sweaty we ate lunch and the headed to the clinic as Kate had been suffering with severe stomach pain for a few days. It only took 20 minutes and it turns out she had gastro enteritis, but was loaded with tablets. Credit where credit is due they were very quick, efficient and professional. To get to the clinic we mistakenly walked through a hotel resort called Baanlamai which was one of the most luxurious and incredible hotels I've ever seen, God knows what the price is like.

The lobby and pools were all open plan with walkways over fish ponds in the floor, impressive art decor and a multitude of wooden sun loungers and outdoor pools. If I was going to go back to Phuket I'd definitely look into staying there. We then decided to have a look round some tourist places and booked an elephant trek for the following day which was 400 baht per person (£7.50 ish). As we were by the beach we had a wander down the strip which was lined with a long stretch of sand and glistening sea. The main part by the beach is pretty touristy and quite like somewhere nice you'd find in Spain, but it was pretty clean and parts were quite plush which was a nice change.

We then got a Tuk Tuk to Jungceylon shopping mall which was amazing. It was like a mall you'd find in England but a lot more stylish than most of the ones I've been to. There was a huge array of different shops including some designer and some department stores over three floors with a cinema, bowling alley and arcades on the top floor. The outside area was lined with fancy looking restaurants which would be amazing to spend your evenings in, if you went on holiday and weren't on a travellers budget of course. Phuket was what I expected and I was pleasantly surprised at how modern and upmarket some parts of the city are. We had such a nice afternoon wandering by the beach and looking round the shopping mall and it was actually nice to do something a little different. We then walked back (big mistake, it felt like it took ages and my foot started to cramp) to our hotel for a little bit of chill time before dinner with Liv and Rhianna.

We went to a place called Tiger Tiger for dinner where I had a massaman curry. The art decor was amazing and it was very plush and extravagant. The menu was a little more expensive but we'd been told that Phuket was a little more pricey so we expected that. We then headed to Bangla Road which we'd driven down during the day and were all so excited about but sadly it didn't live up to our expectations. It was like Bangkok but worse. We were constantly being pestered by people selling things and trying to lure us into ping pong shows, when all we wanted was to find a nice bar to sit in. Every single bar was full of girls on podiums dancing and looking miserable, and that's not really what we desired. By that point we were all a bit fed up so decided to buy some alcohol and head back to ours for drinking games. I still felt ridiculously bloated from dinner so I didn't drink and good job as well because from midnight I had a sickness bug for 24 hours. 

I was up half the night which was fabulous and I had to drag myself to elephant trekking the next day as I knew I'd regret it if I didn't go. Praying that I didn't poo or vomit on a elephant, I managed to get through the afternoon and had the most amazing time. It's the one thing I wanted to do while in Thailand and it didn't disappoint. Me and Abby were seated on a lovely little elephant called Somkai who was really well behaved. I say little, she was 35 with no baby elephants. The elephant trainer happily sat on the front and let Somkai graze and stop as much as she wanted. After a 45 minute trek through the jungle our ride was over so we went to watch a baby elephant show while we waited for the taxi. The four year old baby was the cutest and the cleverest - standing on her back legs and giving the audiences kisses and got a picture with a baby monkey, however he was chained to a little wooden stand which wasn't nice. Don't judge.

Elephant trekking completely wiped me out so while the girls met Liv and Rhianna I stayed in as I didn't have the energy to even get ready let alone socialise. I managed to Skype my family and my boyfriend which cheered me up, had a shower and washed my hair and watched Ted 2 in bed on Kate's iPad. When the girls got back we got an early night ready for our 5.45 alarm for the airport. Phuket was amazing because I got to ride an elephant and the place in the day time was nice, but in terms of nightlife it definitely wasn't the best we've experienced. Waking up early we got a taxi to the airport and checking in and going through passport control was quick and easy, however the departure lounge was pretty basic and not impressive in the slightest. I've had such a fab three weeks in Thailand and I'm now looking forward to a couple of days in Singapore.  Goodbye Thailand.

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