My first trip out of India was to Thailand. Maybe it was the excitement of the first trip, maybe it was the place itself or maybe just a combination of both but it turned out to be the best trip of my life so far.
We took a direct flight from Bangalore to Bangkok, but our final destination was Phuket. Assuredly one of THE most beautiful places in the world. We took the early morning flight from Bangakok to Phuket. The landing into Phuket was simply phenomenal as the runway ends into the ocean, a truly breathtaking sight. Since Thailand is a visa on arrival country we did our visa formalities at the Phuket airport. For such a tiny place the airport sure is well equipped and beautifully maintained.
We stood in the queue for the cabs that would take us to our hotel. All the cabs are Toyota Corollas or Hyundai Accents there!!! So in style we were taken to our hotel — The Patong Resort Hotel. A beautiful open spaced hotel that is just a short passage away from the beach. The rooms are beautifully furnished and the whole resort has a beautiful homely feel to it. We checked into our rooms, showered and were ready to hit the beach!! The strangest part of the beaches in all of Phuket is that there are no waves!! That sort of was a disappointment, but the cleanliness of the beach, the crystal clarity of the waters and the fish swimming right up to the shore more than made up for it.
Being too hot to enter the water we lounged about in a beach side restaurant sipping chilled cocktails. There are loads of bars scattered all over, that look like smalls shacks in shopping areas, by the road side etc.
Phuket is a paradise for sea-food lovers as there is fresh produce in display everywhere. Since I am a vegetarian, I survived on Pizzas that are freshly baked and taste simply awesome there!!!
The public transport there is pretty poor but there are enough bikes / cars and jeeps available on hire. All of these are top class but the problem is the cheaper guys ask you to deposit your passport with them. Being a tourist it’s a better idea to get your hotel to arrange the same.
Phuket is a series of beaches and small towns so we hired a four-wheel drive jeep toured the various beaches. Each beach is pristine with aquamarine water that is extremely soothing to the eyes. We indulged in water adventure activities such as water-scootering, para-sailing, banana boat rides and island hopping on a speed boat. Each day was a different adventure due to the host of activities you can indulge. The biggest thrill of my life when did a bungee jump off a 50mtr high tower!!!
Some of the other amusements include the Phuket Fantasea which is a cultural extravaganza using the latest laser lighting etc. Another ‘cultural” event we attended is called the Simon Cabaret, where the most exotic looking women perform various dances depicting different countries. The costumes, the performers, the stage setting, everything is completely mind-boggling. But the most mind-boggling of it all is the fact that all the performers are Transvestites!!! Its totally unbelievable. They are all the most delicate looking women till such time as they open their mouth to talk. Its shocking!!
Another shocking aspect of Patong Beach, Phuket is Bangla Road. The establishments on the road open around 7p.m and do business till around 6a.m. It is a world by itself which can be somewhat disconcerting. Women, men, kids, animals everything is available for a price here!!!
Phuket was one of the first places to be hit by the Tsunami a couple of years ago. Phi Phi islands were among the worst hit. But today, there is no sign at all of the killer wave, except for a small room at a museum, a few tsunami indication systems, a couple of memorial boards and people finding a business opportunity by selling pictures of the incident!!
All in all, the place is gorgeous with wonderful views from practically anywhere in the place. Boats dotting the coast line, luxury yachts parked in the water, the national flower — Orchids growing in wild profusion, all mixed in with a wild sense of humor and FUN being the obvious theme in everything. A must visit!!!!