From Phuket to Paradise

PHUKET

It all starts with an inner feeling of doom… we didnt book baggage for our flight to Phuket. After failed attempts at booking luggage online, we had a very restless sleep, worrying about how much Thai Lion Airlines were going to charge us. We felt we had to be optimistic, so we packed our hand lugguage into our main backpacks, which was a struggle in itself, and headed for the airport! As we went to the check in line, we saw the weights right there, ready to see we were well over the limits and the impossible happened; they asked US if our bags were carry-on-bags and let us right through when we said ‘yeah sure…?’ Happy days as we were over double the weight allowance and 20cm too tall on one of our bags!

However, the impending doom continues on the flight. First we didnt think we were going to take off at all, as we seemed to be getting faster and going for longer than ususal on the runway, as if the plane really struggled with the weight of our bags. Then we had turbulance, not to mention the dodgey landing where we were still above the sea until the last few seconds!

Thankfully, we plummeted towards earth and made it there safely. Within an hour, we were walking through Phuket town looking for the ‘Feel Good’ Hostel we’d booked. We had the best greeting from the cutest, fluffiest puppy, so immediatey we were at ease. When we got shown to our room, it took us back to our very first bedroom in London…the one where we coudn’t open the door fully because the room was so small and the bed was in the way. At least we felt right at home and it only cost us 9 quid for each night and included free breakfast. As I say, ‘Its a deal, its a steal!’.

When we went to explore the town, the first rainfall came, the heaviest rain we’d ever seen; it really was bucketing down. Preparation is key, so we got out our waterproof jackets and headed out, to find it only last about 30 minutes and we could have probably waited… Anyhow, we found a great little restaurant called ‘1 Chun’ which had the most amazing crab curry and noodles. This was also the place where we realised Lu has a Chilli Eye. Dont worry parents, this isnt an STD! The discovery is that whenever Lu has something spicy to eat, her left eye, and only her left eye, waters to the point where she has tears strolling down her cheek. It had happened twice before, but this confirmed it, Chilli Eye had emerged itself.

Crab curry at 1-Chun

Phuket is also the place where we had our first monkey experience. ‘Its not a long walk’, Josh said… Not long my arse! On our second day in Phuket, we trekked in the scorching heat and the suffocating humidity for what felt like days, but we made it eventually, and the name ‘Monkey Hill’ did not disappoint. As we approached the first viewing point, we saw masses of monkeys, just waiting for the poor sods who made the awful decision to buy bananas on the way up. The first meeting was hilarious, Lu walked ahead bravely whilst Josh hung back with the gopro, but his movements of taking something from the bag attracted one of monkeys who immediately ran for Josh, which meant Josh started running too… Josh running back down the hill he had just climbed. Lu laughed and pointed, just as any good girlfriend would, right?

To get to the second viewpoint we had to do some zigzagging to avoid more monkey attacks. Then Lu lost our only map by trying to make a monkey friend, it was worth it as Josh managed to get a video of Lu trying to get the map back from the monkey which ended with Lauren running away, uphill! Not so brave now eh! When we did finally get up there, the views were incredible, and the walk down was much easier.

Has your day been as chilled as this monkey’s?

That evening we went to the Night Market which was only one street away. The whole street was filled with stalls. At each break of the stall line there were entertainment spaces with benches for spectators. One caught our eye in particular, it was an elderly asian man with crooked teeth and a bowl hair cut rocking out on an electric guitar. He was genuinely really talented, and the man bashed out some classics from the Beatles, the Eagles and ones I dont know the name of but you’d all recognise them (the spanish song ‘Ay Caramba’?). With the music, the bright colours from the sweets and treats on the food stall, the carved candles and all the delicious smells, you really feel like life is buzzing around you. It was a perfect ending to our Phuket experience.

Listening to some music and watching a couple dance as the world goes by

We would definitely recommend Phuket Town in the east of Phuket as a place to visit, although it is touristy, it still has it’s local roots. We ate at some great places, esecially the small family run places where the restaurant is also their living room; the food always tastes delicious!

PHI PHI ISLANDS

We bought a boat ticket to the other side of the mainland (Ao Nang) via Phi Phi island, which in our limited available days had been recommended as a place to visit. After a 3 hour boat, sat on the top deck enjoying a hot breeze via mini volcanic islands, we arrived in Phi Phi.

We had booked accomodation for our first night at ‘Kitty Guesthouse’, which we hoped given Lu’s allergies had no cats. The hostel was a little out the way, but had an amazing view of the bay, and we had our own bathroom and there was space to walk around the bed, what luxury! On our first day, we decided to trek up to the main viewpoint on the island. What had been described as ‘thousands’ of steps on Trip Advisor didn’t feel far from it, but was totally worth it. The views captured most of the island and the inner town that connects the two sides with beautiful beaches. After a few million selfies, we sat back and enjoyed the incredible views of paradise and amazement at what our beautiful planet had to offer.

Phi Phi Island
Relaxing on Phi Phi island beach

For our second day, we decided to move to a hostel across the island which was half the price, and hopefully a little quieter. Arriving early to the hostel, we left our bags with reception with the hope they wouldn’t be stolen and off we went to rent some kayaks. For ten quid, we got a double kayak for the afternoon, which seemed expensive to Josh but Lu reminded him it was 15 euros for one hour in Majorca. Josh also remembered the other option… dragging Lu around the island for several hours so it turned out to be a bargain method of transport. We hoped it would be slightly easier than the seas of the UK (e.g. the water isn’t 4 degrees and it’s unlikely anyone has to be rescued by a lifeboat). We kayaked to Monkey Beach which lived up to it’s name with families of monkeys roaming across the sand. After that, we went acoss the bay to do some snorkelling and see a few beaches. We took some pictures on the GoPro with Santa hats on which some locals on the boats loved. On the way back, we were hit by a traditional Asian rainfall, so we’re paddling our way through a choppy sea, with the current, wind and rain all against us. We were drenched when we got to shore and puffed out, but had an amazing time and couldnt help but laugh at our soggy clothes!

A Christmas selfie

AO NANG

Ao Nang is a small beach side town which has coined us the phrase, “Oh Jinda”. How did we get there? Well…it all started with arriving by boat to Ao Nang, then taking a free taxi/bus/truck back to our hotel (note not “hostel’) for our first night. The hotel was amazing – following several nights at hostels, we had our own hut with a private bathroom, a shared pool, a bar with affordable prices and a free breakfast. We chilled by the pool with some beer and questioned any previous nerves we had felt about travelling. Aside from the hotel’s mosquitos, that made us nicname it the Mosquito Mansion, it was alright. We had an amazing Thai lunch in town, and wondered the night markets eating random bits of food.

For the rest of our stay in Ao Nang, we had a slightly cheaper accomodation booked: Jinda Guesthouse. Jinda was very welcoming and even did our laundry (for a price), but the room smelt mildly of cats piss, had some uncomfortably stained pillows and the bathrooms were more like sheds (bearing in mind this was a flat block). So yes, its just what you’re imaging but maybe worse, a tin-shed on the side of a flat block on its fire esacpe. In consequence, when something is less than what we expected by some degree, instead of moaning, we say “Oh Jinda!”.

Our second day we decided on another chill day and took to the beach. The kilometres of golden sands is amazing with the view of islands and rocks. We had a picnic in the evening on the beach, then watched the sunset, we really soaked up as much rays as we could. The next day, we hired a moped. As a note, neither of us has ever riden a bike, or has a license. Either way, Josh told a small white lie to the bike hire company, and a few minutes later, he was on the main rode having a self-taught lesson on how to ride a bike. Turns out YouTube genuinelly can teach anything. After 15 minutes of riding, Josh decided he had enough experience to take on a passenger, and that was how our travel was sorted for the next 12 hours (and probably 6 months).

Ao Nang beach

We ‘biked’ (we’re bikers now), to Tab Kak Hang Nak, a nature reserve which provides a 3km trek up 1,634 ft. It took an hour and 40 minutes of the toughest trekking we had ever done to hit the peak. When we got to the top, there was this giant rock with a mini bamboo ladder next it to it… it just looked so damned inviting! Although getting on top of that rock knowing one slip, trip or slide could take you to your death, the views were absolutely incredible, providing panoramic scenery for miles! After an equally long trip down the mountain, our legs felt like jelly and shook uncontrolably, in the 38 degree heat, we were exhausted! On the ride home, we stopped by a small restuarant on the beach and filled up with some delicious Thai food sat in the shade.

Amazing view from the top of the mountain

We headed back to Ao Nang, but decided to spend some time in the main town about 6 miles down the road, Krabi, before we hit the bed and passed out. With the beaches and views, Ao Nang has provided some incredible memories!

Now it’s Koh Samui time for Christmas…

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3 thoughts on “From Phuket to Paradise

  1. Loving the blog guys… Feels like we’re with you every step of the way! Quite comical at times too! Love you lots xx

    Like

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