I’ll get straight to the point. I didn’t like Phuket. Sure, you read my Bangkok adventures and thought I hated that too. Well, I’d do Bangkok again, just differently. I will never in my life visit Phuket again unless I need to use the airport to make it to the island I’ll be staying on…far, far away.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s up to you to keep reading.
I try not to be the dreaded “travel elitist,” so definitely check me if I’m out of pocket, but is it wrong to hate being surrounded by tourists? I know that I technically am a tourist too, but I’m not like them, damnit!
If you think Bangkok is a tourist trap, you can’t even begin to prepare for Phuket, plus there are beaches involved. And who doesn’t love a good beach? No matter where I went I didn’t feel any real culture. There were nothing but hotels and restaurants (a crazy amount without authentic thai food). Now yes, I may have stopped at one of those restaurant for some freshly deep fried spring rolls and a passionfruit cocktail with actual passionfruit in it, but I was forced, damnit. I refused to get any more baht out of the atm and needed to use my card. There’s actually a funny story to accompany that. I thought I had enough cash because I was duped into thinking there was a real happy hour special. Turns out I didn’t, and I’d left my hotel with nothing else, not even my ID. Thankfully the waitress allowed me to go back to my room and get my credit card, but first I volunteered to leave my brand new iPhone with her, so she’d know it was real.
As usual, my sleep pattern was out of whack. So I was up fairly early and decided to hit up breakfast before taking a new morning walk, this time along Karon Beach. There really wasn’t much to see and at a certain point, I was so bored at the lack of sights, I simply turned around. This was a daily occurrence and sometimes I’d just take a seat on the beach, people watch, and stare at the waves. It was okay though because later I’d have a date with some elephants and it’d be the highlight of my trip. Don’t worry, I’ll be writing all about that later.
I was really unimpressed with Karon beach as a whole. I hate saying this but it, like Bangkok, had a very distinctive smell. I also couldn’t imagine myself laying out because of the amount of litter everywhere. Now rest assured that people were in fact tanning and relaxing, so you can too, I just…had no desire to. That’s why the day before, I decided that instead of figuring out where the ferry to the Phi Phi Islands was, I would go there on a tour. I’d get there quicker and have more time in addition to getting to do other fun stuff. Right? Wrong!
Usually I write about activities separately, especially if I enjoy them. This day, however, irritated my entire soul, so I’ll just throw it in here.
Once I and dozens upon dozens of other people boarded our boat to the Phi Phi Islands, we were promptly warned that due to the current, it would be a rough ride, but hopefully we’d be able to see all of the island. Now, they couldn’t control the weather nor the current, but what they could control was the amount of people they booked for this tour. There was literally no sitting room left and the crew had to make seats out of random objects for the ride. And that rough ride they mentioned? I felt it, but several people actually got sick each time we had to take a ride to another island. It was no bueno.
We couldn’t make it to Maya Bay (the infamous setting for the movie “The Beach”) due to the water being so high, so our first stop was actually snorkeling. Fortunately you could buy new mouthpieces for the snorkel equipment offered by the crew. I declined this as I always use what’s provided. What wasn’t so fortunate were the black specks throughout the tube I was expected to breath through. If those were filthy, it caused me to question how sanitary the mouthpieces were as well. I opted not to find out. I took a quick swim before deciding that not being able to snorkel, especially without fins (also offered for a price even though they’re usually included), was something I had no interest in. Yes, I had money with me. It was simply the principal of it all. And already being annoyed with so much didn’t help in the slightest. I hate being nickel and dime’d for something I already paid full price for and wasn’t getting my monies worth.
Our next stop was the island of Phi Phi Don where we would have lunch and get to explore. Or so I thought. After an…interesting buffet selection, I was all set to roam the island but instead opted to lay out in the sun after a couple of photos. I literally booked this tour because I wanted to catnap on beautiful beaches and not worry about flies buzzing around me or liter washing up with the waves. The only problem was I had only fifteen minutes to do so. I rested my eyes for just a couple minutes before boarding the boat again.
While I thought we were heading back to Phuket, we were heading to another island. It was super remote and nothing to see, but it had sand and I had a bikini and an hour there. I quickly walked to the other side of the island, ignored the playing children and hundreds of people, and planted my towel. I promise you the nap that was had there on that spot was epic. I didn’t want my alarm to go off and alert me that it was time to go.
Now I won’t tell you the name of this particular tour company partly because I didn’t want to bash them. Hey, other people seemed to be having a great time and I don’t want to be Debbie Downer. I just wanted to be honest (and you still don’t know the half of it) about my experience. I also won’t even bother mentioning them because no matter what brochure you pick up to book these tours, the actual people and boat who show up to get you look completely different. It’s literally a free for all and I think whoever has a relationship with the person you purchase through is who gets your money. Know that even though the brochure says 3,000+ baht, the person who’ll book for you will almost always offer to get you the tour for half the price. If they don’t, then pretend to be uninterested or as if the price is too high. You’ll end up not getting a “deal” but rather paying just as much as everyone else on the boat, if not more.
The Rest of My Days
I literally spent the rest of my days in Phuket roaming the little bit of town that I could, chilling on my balcony, and counting down the hours until I could be back in Bangkok. Oh Bangkok, where I already knew what to expect and where I could just go to chill or get some actual good food. I was also looking forward to hanging out in my hostel which had a slide from the second floor to the first. I said a goddamn slide! (Lucky for me I’ll be staying somewhere similar in just a few weeks.)
Unfortunately upon my arrival back in Bangkok, I sat at the airport for hours just waiting on a taxi before finally making it to my hostel. There was crazy traffic on the way to the airport and all of the taxi drivers were caught in it. It was already pretty late when I got there and I needed to be up before 4am. I jetted to one of two McDonald’s I’d discovered over a week prior and stuffed my face before heading back to the hostel to get a few hours of sleep. I had a full day of traveling to prepare for.