Phuket, Thailand

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Wandering Marathoner / Asia / Phuket, Thailand


Filed Under: Asia by Tyler May 19, 2011, 6:14 pm

We took the short flight from Bangkok to the famous (or perhaps infamous) island of Phuket, deciding that we wanted to incorporate some relaxing beach time into our trip. Of all the islands I looked into, Phuket seemed to provide the best value.

Phuket is fairly commercial and touristy, but that was what we expected. A British-born restaurant manager in Bangkok had steered us away from the oft-despised glut of Patong, and towards the quieter, but still very developed, areas of Karon Beach and Kata. I managed to find a Best Western near the beach in Karon, with several swimming pools and clean rooms – a steal at $30 a night.

I think we liked Phuket more than we’d like to admit. We spent the first night walking the whole stretch of beach to the town of Kata, enjoying the brilliant orange sunset against the bright turquoise waters. After the challenging travel we had experienced in India and Nepal, it became easy to give in and spend the next five nights at Karon Beach… our days were spent drinking through straws out of fresh coconuts, laying on lounge chairs under rented umbrellas, and playing in the ocean.

We otherwise spent our days bouncing between local bars and restaurants, such as Las Margaritas (perhaps should be renamed Las Cucarachas) and Up Seafood where we dined on whole deep-fried sea bass with garlic and chili, flat noodles with shrimp, and a Thai-style omelet with minced pork. The cheapest, and perhaps best meal of Phuket was a simple local outdoor stand, where we had rice plates for $2 each.

The whole Karon Beach experience was great – except for a very unfortunate beachside massage that resulted in a pinched nerve in my neck and severe shoulder pain that lasted days upon end.

We spent our final days with a ferry ride over to the island of Ko Phi Phi, which is probably most famous as the filming location of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Beach. Jennie had visited the island five years back, and unfortunately, the island has been quite over developed now and lost much of its charm. The physical landscape, covered with green palms, white sand, and blue waters was still stunning. We were glad to visit, but next time we would probably try to seek out a less visited locale.

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