After a day and a half of travel and 18 hours of sleeping awkwardly in a coach seat, I was thrilled to finally be landing in Phuket. It was 12:30am local time and I was excited because I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve had a few friends visit Phuket before and they all warned me of the blazing heat but I didn’t take their warnings seriously because having grown up in the Las Vegas desert I figured I could handle it. Man, was I wrong! It’s literally like a blow-dryer being one inch from your face on high heat at all times and a little light misting system hitting you simultaneously so that you are perpetually damp all day. It was startling and sitting here in Bangkok, I’m still surprised by it every time I walk out of the air-conditioned lobby of my hotel. Were it not for the hygiene aspect I would see no reason to shower daily because you are right back to where you started as soon as you go outside!
After making my way through the airport check point and exchanging money at the airport kiosk (35.10 Baht to 1 Dollar) I walked out to meet my driver. As we waited for my friend Madison’s plane to land (an hour later than mine), I tired to adjust to the heat and more importantly the humidity level. I don’t think the humidity level dropped under 85% the entire time I was here! Keep in mind the temperatures were in the 90s themselves. Hot, hot, hot!
During my stay in Phuket, I stayed at the LifeCo resort, a wellness/detox center I was introduced to thorough an acquaintance (if you want to read about my experience there click here). It was very convenient because it was 10 minutes away from the airport so we were able to check-in quickly and head to bed in hopes of adjusting to the massive time difference between Los Angeles and Phuket.
We woke up the first day, did a nature walk and decided to head into Patong Beach to check out the city. This was my first exposure to Thai city life and it was pretty cool. Even though we were warned that it’s pretty sleepy until the afternoon, it still seemed so busy to me. The streets were full of cars and scooters (the preferred method of transportation here). The only time you actually saw the “sleepy side” of it being before noon was walking into the restaurants. They were pretty deserted. So we sought refuge from the humidity in one of the resorts we walked by and had our first meal. We wanted to try as much of Thai cuisine as possible so we ordered as if we were starving. Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs and for that reason, I’ll be coming back five pounds heavier. Taking my first bite of Pad Thai, I quickly realized the food I thought of as “Thai” was nothing compared to what I will experience here. So I ate, and ate and when I was done eating, I ate a little more. I used the excuse of having to report back to you guys as my reason for inhaling mass quantities of food here but let’s face it, it was gluttony at its finest but hey you only live once.
After our food binge, we decided to walk around a little more and ended up at the Coffee Club, a favorite coffee house among tourists it seemed. There we had some decadent chocolate/sugar drinks with a side of coffee. Soon after we dived into our sugar coma, we decided we could only sit passively in a Thai day spa and get pampered and that’s exactly what we did! We found a place called Let’s Relax and walked in, only to be surprised by the sheer size of this place. It definitely looked a lot smaller from the outside and was packed full on the inside. My friend Sam got a shoulders and back massage while Madison and I got hour long food massages (my favorite). We were served tea while we waited for our therapist to take us back. After washing your feet and storing your shoes in a cubby, they take you back to the massage rooms and start your service. I was very sad when the hour was up as they were so knowledgeable when it came to foot reflexology. After our services, we went back to the resort in time for a raw vegan cooking class and then we headed to the beach near the resort to watch the sun go down. I got to tell you, the sunrise and sunsets in Thailand are among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I got to catch quite a few sunrises while I was here because my sleep schedule was off and I was waking up at 5 am every day. I wasn’t complaining though! It’s such magical time of the day. Nothing but the sound of bird and the ruffling of the leaves. Sometimes, there would be a misting rain first thing in the morning and that only made the animals come alive more.
What really surprised my friends were the sheer number of stray dogs everywhere. I was quite used to it, having grown up in Romania, it’s pretty common out there. We saw many dogs dodging and weaving traffic as we made our way into the city again the next day. This was our day to see the sights and man, we sure picked the hottest day to do this. The humidity was in the 97 percentile and the temperature was around there as well. My clothes were soaked all day but that didn’t stop us from seeing the Chalong Temple, The Big Buddha and the Kata Beach part of town. I have to say I was very sad to drive by the baby elephants tied up on the side of the road being used as props for tourist photos. The rope was so short all they could do is stand there. It made me quite angry but then again so did the tiger shows, fantasy shows and even the little monkey I ran into in a random fishing village. I don’t think tourists realize what is done to these animals to make them cooperate to being near people all day. They are drugged and abused into submission and it breaks my heart to know that there is so much of that going on in this country. I even felt bad after I held the monkey that jumped into my arms in the fishing village the other day because I knew it wasn’t meant to be a pet yet the motherly side of me wanted to treat it like a little baby and I can’t say that when it hugged me and laid its little head on my chest my heart didn’t melt. I have come to feel very strongly about this subject, to the point of not being able to go to a zoo but I won’t turn this blog post into an animal rights speech so let us move on.
Our last stop that day was at the Oasis Spa. When we randomly googled and picked a day spa, we never thought we would end up at such a beautiful one. They have a driver that will pick you up from anywhere in Kata Beach and drop you off at the spa, free of charge (don’t forget to tip the driver though). As we went up the hill we realized that we had hit the spa jackpot. We got out of the car to the most stunning view! A lovely outdoor reception area overlooking the green scenery. We were greeted again with tea, a spa menu and a cold towel. I picked the 4 hand massage: a two-hour treatment with two massage therapists doing a foot massage and hair treatment simultaneously for an hour then moving to both of them doing a full body massage at the same time for another hour. It was such a cool experience and I was amazed how in synch they were. Almost choreographed. My treatment was a little pricey by Thai standards (4900 Baht = $140) but was well worth the experience. Fully relaxed, we headed back to the resort for movie night and an early bed time.
The next day, we went island hopping. You have two options when you want to do a day excursion. You can buy a tourist packet, which you can do through your hotel or the many kiosks around town or you can go to the individual locations and purchase your individual tickets there. The packet you buy from the tourist companies might have a bit of a premium but it pretty much works out to the same thing. We chose to have a taxi just take us to the dock and we paid a private boat to take us to a few islands. We had this boat for 4 hours and it cost 4000 Baht. That was plenty of time to make it to James Bond Island, kayak through caves on a different island and go to Ko Panyi, my favorite island of them all. It’s a fishing village started by two fishing families that’s build on stilts above water. We spent the most time on this island. We walked around the alleyways that connect the whole village, saw the school, the mosque, had a Thai tea, ate a local pastry that smelled too amazing to pass up, and bought some trinkets for the folks back home. After Ko Panyi, we headed back to Patong Beach for some food at a restaurant that is always packed called No. 6 Restaurant. As soon as we got our food I could tell why it was packed! We ordered a little bit of everything and and tried each others food and by the time the check came we could hardly stand. We decided the best course of action was to walk it off so we went in search of souvenirs.
Our last day in Phuket, we spent at the LifeCo resort, relaxing, doing yoga, meditating and enjoying the spa. We had dinner at Joe’s Downstairs, a restaurant one of my Instagram followers had recomended (which was amazing by the way). Then, we took in our last Phuket sunset and packed our bags for our next destination…BANGKOK!
Now that I got you to read a bit you can watch my video in Phuket and get a good laugh!