From the Maldives we flew into Bangkok, Thailand enroute to Phuket. We were a bit exhausted being on the move every day for the last four nights but being in Thailand was the perfect change of pace. Our intention was to spend one night in Bangkok (in an air bnb within walking distance to the airport) and then flying out to Phuket the following day. It was the most cost-effective option since we didn’t have to pay for transport to and from the airport and flying out of Bangkok is much cheaper because it is a major hub of SE Asia.
After having some crummy food in the Maldives, we were already drooling by the time we were walking down the streets of Bangkok. There was street food everywhere, lots of it without names or even things we could describe. The smells were incredible, and our tactic was to find places that were busy with locals and that we could somewhat figure out what they are serving. We quickly dropped our stuff and headed across the street to a stall that served fried rice and pad thai (not the most traditional thai food, but it did the trick) it was the most delicious thing we had tasted in a while and we scarfed it down. All the best flavors of food are in thai cuisine, acid, salt, fat, heat, the essentials and something to keep your taste buds entertained with every bite. We enjoyed a “pancake” (aka roti) with sugar and condensed milk and went to bed with happy bellies.
The next morning, we had a short time before our flight to Phuket, so I went to the salon to treat myself and get my nails done (big mistake, was a terrible job and cost too much). Scott went in search of Bluetooth heads phone because if you remember from my last post, he went swimming with his phone, which we initially thought was fine, but the headphone jack no longer works… After our short excursions we walked to the airport, which is absolutely massive and has a food court that would make you visit the airport just to eat and waited for our short flight to Phuket.
We landed rather late in the evening to Phuket and booked an air bnb at one of the three main beaches on the west side of the island. Kamala beach is between the famous Patong beach and the more family friendly, quieter beach Bang Tao beach. We didn’t get to see much of Kamala beach because we were just staying for the night, but from what we gathered it was clean and much like any white sand beach in Thailand. That evening we had some of the best green curry I’ve ever had, and Scott got his first of many Mango sticky rice desserts. He was in heaven to say the least.
Being on the move for literally the four nights was starting to get very exhausting so we were excited to be able to finally settle down for a few nights at Bang Tao beach. Our air bnb was situated just a two-minute walk from the beach and right next to some of the best food we found in Phuket. The host was an expat from Europe enjoying a slower and less costly lifestyle in Thailand.
Our proximity to the beach definitely influenced where we were going to spend our time for the next four days. We headed to the beach almost all day everyday and it was fantastic. The beach was very clean, the water was clear and calm most days, and we found the area to be quiet and mostly families. Perfect, and totally our style. Another thing we learned in Europe was how having a floaty helps increase time in the water by at least 80% (scientific calculations were used) so we had to buy a donut floaty because it’s us and we love donuts and we knew we’d haul it along with us for the next four months or until it pops. We floated, laughed, and lazed around on the beach, eating grilled corn and random foods being sold on the beach.
Each day when we got hungry, we usually got a snack at a little beach bar, Andaman’s, with fried wontons and mango sticky rice. Even better though, there was a little old lady who would set up a noodle cart right outside our air bnb in the late afternoons. For just over a dollar we got hot, fatty beef broth soup, with our choice of fat, skinny, long, short, rice or egg noodles (we tried a different one each time), chicken, greens, bean sprouts. It was heavenly and we ate probably 8 bowls of it. Then, as per Scott’s request, we got mango and sticky rice for dessert at wherever was cheapest. He has proclaimed that it is his favorite dessert and it is only really good in Asia because, “the mangoes are different here.” Shockingly, he has yet to get sick of it.
Some of the evenings we would catch live music with dinner at a few of the restaurants down the street. Everything was within walking distance so you could just follow the music and plop down at any restaurant. Other nights we would head to the beach and get happy hour cocktails and watch the sunset behind one of the forest-y outcroppings of the bay.
On one of our last days in Phuket we decided to rent a scooter to go around the bottom half of the island. I’m always on edge on our scooter adventures, constantly yelling in Scott’s ear to slow down and watch out, so this time I tried to take a deep breath and just let him drive. To my surprise, it was a lot more enjoyable this way. I trust Scott to keep me safe and he always does, so I don’t know why I get so worked up on the scooter. This time was relaxing, even if driving in Asia is crazier than in Europe and the roads are a lot worse for wear. A massive contradiction, but it all worked out.
During our little adventure we went to Karon View point which allows you to look out at the three bays of famous western beaches, then we stopped at most southern point of Phuket, Promthep Cape, stopped at a Yanui beach and got fresh coconut ice cream, and then continued on to Old Phuket town. I had read a lot about a few places in Old Phuket town and was interested at seeing some of the old European architecture. We visited Walking St. with lots of cheap food and gifts, tried some okay food from some cute hipster cafes, and even were able to pick up some Christmas presents for our parents. On our way back to our air bnb in Bang Tao, we stopped by Patong beach and found it to be like Kao San Road (a big backpacker party place in Bangkok) but better and more entertaining. We decided it would be worth our time to come back later in the evening and people watch.
We got ready at our air bnb and then took a van back to Patong late in the evening. We had some drinks, did some dancing, and walked around giggling at all the ridiculous sights. It is a highly sexualized culture, but it isn’t anything to extreme if you are just wandering around the main streets. The street food was also pretty cheap in Patong so we enjoyed some noodles, fried snacks, and my weakness, McDonalds fries. It was fun to have a night to dress up and go out, but we were ready to get back to our quiet little slice of beach for the last day before heading to Cambodia.
Phuket must be one of our favorite places so far. It has combination of all the things we like for a decent price. Thailand has gotten more expensive over the years and in Asia it is one of the more expensive places to go. Still, compared to prices back home it is cheap. There’s a convenience in getting there because it is a major Asian hub, the food is amazing, there is so much variety, the people are kind, and the culture is pretty accepting and easy-going about most anything. It’s slightly westernized which adds another level of convenience for us. Overall, it’s a wonderful place that we will definitely visit again.