I’m so excited for a friend of mine who is busy planning a trip to Thailand! It made me remember our Thailand experience and I felt like writing about it…
For our honeymoon, in November 2011, we went to the land of the Thai. Marc did most of the organizing through Flight Centre and they gave us a good priced package deal. The holiday magic started when we walked onto the Thai Airways plane and saw the colourful seats and charming air hostesses who greeted us with a prayer-like bow.
We stayed in Phuket for 7 nights, Phi-Phi Island for 2 and Bangkok for 3 nights. (We’d love to go back sometime and stay longer!) We flew 11 hours from Joburg to Bangkok and then from there we flew to Phuket. Thailand’s Airports are also friendly and colourful with a welcoming atmosphere. (The year before, I went to Egypt, which was the total opposite.)
Kamala Beach Resort was the name of our hotel. It exceeded our expectations by far! It was top class luxury!(a bit over the top, but really nice.) Our room was huge! It had an entrance hall with a lounge, a massive on-suite bathroom, 2 televisions (yes, in the same room), a king size bed and a balcony overlooking the resort and the beach. In any other country we would have to sell a kidney or two to pay for all that!
We both love Thai food and I really love drinking their green coconuts. (The coconuts were also usually the cheapest thing on the menu! Cheaper than mineral water! ) We also tried interesting food from street vendors and local markets. Many times we weren’t quite sure what exactly it was we were eating… but we ate at places which looked popular with the locals. That way we knew the food should be good and at least fresh.
“No, I don’t want a massage, a suit or a tuk-tuk ride!” The local people know who the tourists are and everywhere you walk they call out to you for one of those 3 things. Many places offer massages for a good price. I can still hear the slightly annoying, nasal -singing voices all over calling: “Messaaage? Messaaage?” We went for a couple of full body massages. I don’t like it when they want to click my back though. Oh, and if you go for a massage as a couple do insist on being in the same room. We made the mistake of being in separate rooms once… which turned into a funny story. (Nothing too bad, don’t worry!)
Marc had a suit tailored for him. We could choose the material, the lining, the shape, everything! And as expected it was all for a bargain price! I’m sure we could have had one made even cheaper at another place but the guy that made Marc’s suit was such a smooth talker we had to choose him. The suit turned out real smart.
Phuket Fantasy is a show in Phuket that many tourists watch. What I remember about it are the elephants, the acrobats and the chickens running across the stage. The colourfully decorated elephants walk in holding onto each other’s tails with their trunks. They then do a dance routine and some tricks. They were really amazing but I felt a little sorry for them because elephants aren’t really supposed to be on stage dancing and performing. This one elephant lost his grip on the tail in front of him and looked so nervous while he was trying to get hold of this tail again.
One thing that stood out for me was that the Thai people are very organized! All our tours were on time and they used a sticker system to remind people to which group they belong. My favourite day trip was Phang Nga Islands tour where we visited James Bond Island. It was incredible to see all the random mini islands and rock formations in the middle of the emerald green sea. This one “island” was doughnut shaped and we went with canoes under the rocks to the middle of the island. The middle of this island is a big, secluded pool surrounded by rocky cliffs. How did all the monkeys get on those islands? I don’t think they swam.
Riding on the back of an Asian elephant was quite an experience of a lifetime and something we will never forget. The elephants were so obedient! When their trainer says a certain word they even slurp up water in their trunk and spray it out on command. I hope they treat them well… they say they do… but people say a lot of things. That same day we went river rafting which was fun. The guides couldn’t speak English so with no instructions or warnings we hopped onto the rafts and off we went down the river. It wasn’t too scary though.
We couldn’t miss Patong and the famous Bangla road which becomes a party haven at night. Lights, tons of people, parades, colours and restaurants are in abundance. The beautiful lady-boys walk around in their feather costumes. Be careful to take a photo of them because you will have to pay. If you don’t pay they demand money from you in a deep, intimidating, manly voice. Oh, and then there is the Ping-Pong shows… We’d heard about these “shows” before and were quite curious to actually see one for ourselves because some of the things they do there sound humanly impossible. No, it wasn’t a bunch of Thai people playing table-tennis, although I’ve heard that’s also entertaining to watch. We went into a “free” Ping-Pong show… here’s the catch: you HAD to buy at least one drink which costs the equivalent of R250! Most expensive drink I’ve ever had! The star of the show was a chubby, big boned Thai lady, probably in her early forties. Marc named her Mother Goose. And the things Mother Goose could do with a certain part of her body! Incredible! I wouldn’t mess with her! It was an interesting show to watch… but you have to go with an open mind… and it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
We really enjoyed Phuket and wouldn’t mind to go back there some day. I’ll write about our time on Phi-Phi Island and Bangkok soon.