We caught a plane via Bangkok Air (yep! More praise to come of international airlines, even the domestic airlines), where we were given a ‘refreshing towel’ and sandwich. The flight was MAYBE 1 ½ hours and we got a sandwich, I tell you! What does Southwest give you? Well, you get to sit on their plane! That’s good enough! And they may give you some sad peanuts and a shot of diet coke, but if you expect to hang out in an airport lounge with snacks, free WiFi, and cushy chairs while you wait for your flight, you can just go fly with Bangkok Air “Asia’s Boutique Airline”! Which… we did.
(Snacks!)Patong Beach; the most touristy place on Phuket Island. And I don’t mind that. Shore, we all want to find that isolated island completely empty of all other life except the swaying palm trees, the rushing waves, and a few falling coconuts. Well turns out, everyone else really wants to find that too, and they all find it in the same place most of the time. Patong Beach is one of those places, and it’s one of those places for a reason; it’s beautiful. It also has some fantastic hotels (I’ve never seen a schwankier Marriott… not that we stayed there… but we walked by it to the beach a handful of times). We stayed in a lovely little place called “Nice and Om.” Like Zen “om.” Read so: “Nice and Ooooooooommmmmmm.” I think that bodes well right? It does. It did. It was a pretty fancy little dig. No Marriott of course, but for $12 a night, Terilyn and I were deeply impressed. Everything was new, everything sparkled, and they had the most powerful elephant showerhead that has ever been my good fortune to enjoy. And enjoy I did. Yes sir.
Anyway, showerheads and airline praise aside, Patong Beach was not only beautiful, but it was where I consumed my first Thai smoothie… seen below.
It is also a place of intense shopping; and thus naturally some swindling. What do I mean by intense shopping? Well, it doesn’t lie only within the abundance of goods, goods, and goods for the perusing and choosing, but the almost uncomfortable aggressiveness, boarding on sheer desperation (see: civil unrest causes tourists to flee country), of the vendors, selling their various wares for various prices, all at “very good price fo you, lady. Very special price, only fo you lady.” We were accosted from every angle! Everywhere our eyes wandered, we had an eager salesperson right in our ear “Oh, you like? Very nice! I make special price! You American? Special price just went up 300baht…”
After one day in Patong, the next day we boarded a rickety little bus that took us to the Pier where our boat to Phi Phi Island awaited (yes yes yes... where the filming of Leo DeCaprio's "The Beach" took place... blah blah blah. I've not even seen that show - but come to think of it - parts of the little island OFF the coast of Phi Phi were super creepy... super creepy...). Best travel decision ever. It had been recommended to me from several individuals who had likewise visited Phuket Island that all the island’s “round about” were a better way to spend some days in paradise – and kinda thins the tourist herd a bit. We found this to be wonderfully true. Observe the peaceful bliss below…
Some contentment on the boat ride over to Phi Phi Island. Easily one of the most relaxing ‘en route’ journeys I’ve ever taken; as the pictures illustrate.
BWAH! Just kidding! What were you expecting you sickys?!?!
However, my favorite activity throughout the whole Island trip was our all day snorkeling venture around the various islands around Phi Phi Island. I’d never been snorkeling before… and will now make it mandatory anytime I happen to be near a tropical paradise.
Let’s move away from that mental image, shall we? These will help: