Market Day (Thailand Day 15: Saturday 7 July 2012)

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Written on Saturday 25 August 2012: 5 years 11 months on … Advantage CBD

I was “Thai-ED”and needed to sleep. It was our second last night on The Island.

Saturday morning, and it was Market Day in Phuket Town. That is where the group was headed.

All except me, that is. I decided that I had had enough shopping and would remain behind at the hotel. A relaxing day at the pool and on the beach … but the rain continued and so, there were brief moments in the sun at the pool for me interspersed with a number of lazy naps in our hotel room.

The Poncho Brigade left in the rain for Phuket Town round about noon. They visited some malls and the Phuket Weekly Saturday Market – shopped ‘til they dropped! The last of the Bhats had to be spent before our return to SA on the next day (Sunday).

Saturday evening, we celebrated Phill’s birthday in Thai style at the restaurant next door to our hotel. Originally, we planned to go through to Kata Beach – a more vibrant area – but I think the bums were tired from all the scootering around the shopping areas of Phuket! So, it was simply a short walk up the water-logged road to our local neighbourhood Thai restaurant. Besides Phill’s birthday, we also celebrated our last dinner together in the East.

Tomorrow, Sunday, would see us returning to SA. It would be our “goodbye” day and as my ex-pupil, David Aldo (Abbate) sings from Los Angeles – “Where’s the good in goodbye?”


S&T – Scooters and Temples (Thailand Day 13: Thursday 5 July 2012)

Thursday 5 July 2012

Wake up time 9am
Breakfast time 10h00 to 1100
Temp 32 degrees
Pouring rain still
Sitting in coffee room waiting to go scootering!!!
Rain rain go away!
Started pencilling in blogs
Bought ponchos to depart in the rain!
Left at one for Phuket Town on scooters in pouring rain … the Poncho People!
Visited Temple – Wat Chalong (Polite dress required – in effect meant the ladies needed to cover their shoulders, and all had to remove our Thai plastic “fish” sandles that we all had bought and were wearing by now)
Returned to Patong Beach – Visited Big Bang Bar
Lunch from the sidewalk scooter vendor (hamburgers! LOL)
Back to Kata Beach
Mostly in the rain
I went back to hotel (bum worn through on scooter!)- rest of group to 3- beach viewpoint for drinks
Supper at restaurant next door
Early sleep!

(Updated on Saturday 25 August 2012: 5 years 11 months on … Advantage CBD)

Phi Phi (Thailand Day 10: Monday 2 July 2012)

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Written on Tuesday 21 August 2012: 5 years 11 months on … Deuce

Swim and sleep to end our rest day, and to prepare for an early start for our boat trip to Phi-Phi on Monday!

One of the excursions that we all wanted to do was a boat trip to Phi Phi Islands – the location at which the Leonardo de Caprio movie “The Beach” was filmed and often the postcard pictures that get used to advertise Thailand.

There are actually two islands – Phi Phi Ley and Phi Phi Don.

Tickets for these various excursions – besides being able to arrange them from home – are available all over Thailand, from Travel Agents through just about any of the shops to “sidewalk sellers”. The prices vary considerably and depend on number of people travelling, the add-ons and add-ins that one requires (like pick-ups at hotels, meals, type of boat, snorkelling, equipment, etc etc) and of course, how good one’s negotiating skills and endurance and perseverance are.

Alison and Pera had purchased our tickets at a sidewalk seller at Patong Beach on the Sunday. We were to be collected at the hotel at 7h30, transferred to the harbour at Phuket Town, taken to Phi Phi on a speedboat (no more than 50 people!), stop at a few places and eventually returned to our hotel at 17h00 that afternoon – all at the price of BHT900 per person (just less than R300).

And the tour operator through his agent commanded “Let there be Phi Phi Tour”. Evening passed and morning came – it was Monday and there was tour. And we were very pleased with what we saw and it was good!

We were picked up (again punctually!) and went eastwards across Phuket Island, through Phuket Town to the harbour. There we were given an orientation programme by our tour guide, a flamboyant ladybird,  as to the day’s events, safety etc and sea-sick pills for the hour long trip over the Andaman Sea to Phi Phi Ley.

The sea was not calm, as I believe it can be, and it was not rough, as I believe it can get. But we did bump a bit and on the way there and we did experience our first rain shower of the trip. Soon we turned the corner into Maya Bay and expecting a lonely beautiful tropical beach, I was quite shocked when I saw the hundreds of people on The Beach and the numerous boats offloading more and more! As some left, more arrived.

But what exquisite beauty to behold – beach, cliffs, sea, sand, vegetation! The photos tell it all …

We swam for a while (and dodged boats) before we departed to Viking Cave, Monkey Beach and Phi Phi Don Island.

After lunch on Phi Phi Don Island, we snorkelled  and then left for Khai Island. The boys were a bit disappointed that we did not find the 20m cliff that Mr Rory Duncan, their rugby coach, had challenged them to jump off! Maybe next time!

We had about an hour to snorkel on Khai, swim or just to gape at the hundreds of people who were lying on the beach under a myriad of umbrellas.

Then we headed back to Phuket Town and onwards back to the Hotel in Patong City. We were a bit bumpier for the boat ride but it had been so well worth it. What an experience!

A swim in the hotel pool was followed by the obligatory nap, and then we had supper at the hotel. For some or other reason, still not quite known to me, we were given “apology” complimentary tickets for hotel dinner (which are normally much more expensive than meals obtainable at restaurants).

The Bryants went to town for supper (Subai Subai!) and we had dinner “in style” in the diningroom overlooking Patong Bay. There was just one other couple there and we were joined by an Aussie who was travelling by himself and who I had met earlier in the pool. Dinner came complete with an evening of Thai entertainment (spot the “lady boys”!) and a drinks bill for a round of drinks that was far more expensive than had we gone for a meal and two rounds of drinks on the town!!

Ha! Ha! Caught again! But the buffet of Thai food was excellent, and we really did fill up, so I guess it was well worth it (and anyway, so much cheaper than back home.)

We were very “Thai-ED” when, after the usual late night swim, we eventually went to bed and drifted off to sleep. Tuesday, the next morning, would see us having to move to our next hotel at Kata Noi Beach.