Thailand 2014

IMG_0504Well another great fortnight in on Phuket, Thailand.

Arrived just in time for Songkran (Thai New Year).  It is a great time to visit and the activities can go from the very active and ridiculous to the more quiet  celebrations.  We knew very well that Songkran involves a lot of water and chalk/powder and fortunately were expecting it – beware the uninitiated.  This year we were in the Patong Beach area and it was full on water pistols, buckets or whatever people could get their hands on – to hold, transport and throw water.  I don’t think you could get any wetter.  Bangala Road was hectic with more half drowned people than I have seen in a long time.

I saw some great sights that brought lots of smiles to my face but probably the most memorable was a much older gentlemen large water pistol in hand acting like a five year old.  Everyone is so tolerant on these days.  The bar were we sitting (and firing large water guns from) wanted us to buy blocks of ice from the vendors so that the water being thrown on everyone would be cold.  It comes as a shock when it hits you but great on a hot day.  We resisted the request.  Drinks with raincoats everywhere.  You buy a drink and it has a plastic bag over the top.

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A couple of days on the beach at Patong being assailed by the vendors.  Yes, the very polite but constant sell is there but they are such nice people and they try and sell their wares in the most interesting ways – not all honest but creative.  Some cheap sunnies a couple of tops for the girls and time to call it quits.  We also bought this whistle from a young bloke who was telling us it was difficult to make, all the pieces were hand cut and tuned to length and then the whistle was assembled.  It had a plastic piece in the middle but we bought one for 200 Baht.  Later found them at a store for sale for 100 Baht – surprise surprise.

The number of street vendors selling food over Songkran was amazing, though they also had a bike show on at the beach which might have increased the numbers.  Just love the food.  As we were with friends who had been at this location before and knew some of the locals from previous trips we had some exceptional food vendors pointed out to us.  Just loved the barbequed corn on the cob and the roasted eggs were a great snack.

Sitting on the beach eating tea for each of the nights there.  Sunsets great.

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Every night had young girls and boys coming up to us trying to sell us flowers.  Our table was there one night and it was a birthday night.  I was sitting there getting the hard sell from this little girl who was about 12 I think and she suddenly tells me I am a ladyboy after grabbing my chest area and then dives in and bites my nipple.  Talk about being shocked.  We just didn’t know what to say.  I am sure she had a minder looking over her but we couldn’t see anyone obvious.  I have to say I am not sure I like this part of the culture.  Using kids to sell things.  Some of the kids were not even from Thailand but came from Cambodia.  Living with the person who was employing them while their parents were still in Cambodia.  We are told that they go back home when they get older.  I understand I don’t know what is going on here but not sure if I like it.  A bit like child slavery though they look healthy – on the outside at least.  I suppose it is the bringing kids from a different country is the thing that really gets my alarm bells ringing.

Three days of this hectic place is enough for us so off to the old peoples part of the island for the rest of the time.  Cape Panwa is like a retirement village compared to Patong or Phuket Town.  Life is slow, little to do other than eat, swim, take in the rays and rehydrate.  I have to say I just love the Kantary Bay Hotel, great value and the ability to use the facilities of the Cape Panwa Hotel just make it more attractive.

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Yes it is more expensive than the more touristy places but if you are after a relaxing time this is a great place.

We met a lovely couple from England, Andrew and Sheelagh.  A bit jealous as they still had a fortnight to stay on the day we were leaving.  They also hired a bike to look around the area and I think they have convinced us that it is a must do activity the next time we are there.  Had this firmly in our mind till we were at the airport ready to leave and we saw the young couple with bandages all over them from a fall.  Suppose you just have to ride in the right location.  Still intend to give it a try next time.

Found new drink – Gin Fizz.  Like a Margarita but Gin instead of Tequila, Cointreau, no salt, lemon juice and soda.

The most amazing place this visit was the food market in Phuket Town.  It was smelly and interesting.  They sold everything food related for food vendors etc.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, fish and various meats.

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Not really a place for the weak stomached among us.  They told us that it opens around 1 am and goes to around 12 md before they all disappear.  The herbs and spices were amazing both in colour and smell.  Almost forgot – flowers.  Lots of them in bunches – beautiful.

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Worth a look around just to see how they do it.  Might put you off some of the food so just pick which side you want to look at.

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Left the market and got caught by a taxi driver again.  Took us to Old Phuket Town to look at some of the houses that are getting done up and had to do the obligatory stop at the overpriced store so he gets his petrol voucher.

The architecture is lovely as are the colours they are painting the houses they are doing up.  The real improvement was the removal of the power lines from in front of the houses to underground.  Changes the whole look of the place.  Taxi driver told us they were in the process of moving all the lines underground and should be completed in the next three years.  Should really change how the place looks.  I just hope they paint the buildings when this is completed.  They should really jump out then and their features should become far more obvious.  Would love to do up some of the old houses/mansions they have.

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While we were speaking with one of the tailors about things I asked about house prices.  He bought a 3 bedroom house with 2 bathrooms, 2 stories high with parking for his car for 3.5 Million Baht.  Not bad for Australian prices but you can see how they must be difficult to afford for the majority of people.

Well not a lot to say when your holiday was one of those relaxing ones. but a place to be enjoyed.  Planning next year already.

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