Phuket, Thailand

DMK, Bangkok to HKT, Phuket

Day 12: 4/24
The flight from Bangkok to Phuket was so quick. As soon as I was able to recline I did. I was flying with Asia Air. I was given an aisle seat but the row was full. The guy in the middle wanted both arm rests. I wasn’t going to put up a fight, he has the shitty seat. I jut leaned toward the aisle. Right as I started to fall asleep I was woken up by a stewardess. Time to put my seat back up, we were landing- so quick!
I was off the plane in no time waiting for my backpack. Sadly, it was clear my bag not coming around the carousel- it didn’t make the flight. I felt like this was strang, I was at the DMK airport with plenty of time. I could not find the lost luggage staff- it was late and no one was at the desk. I found a janitor cleaning a nearby bathroom and tried to ask them. They happily assisted after I was able to properly communicate what I needed. The language barrier here seemed the hardest so far.

Air Asia lost my luggage

I effectively communicated with the airport staff and she gladly found me the right guy. He said the bag was still in Bangkok because someone there didn’t sticker it properly. He was even able to get an image of my exact bag from Bangkok to show me it was not lost. I was able to go to my hostel sans the extra weight. He promised it would be on the next flight and then delivered to me in Bangtao Beach; it would be at the hostel no later than 02:00. I really needed to sleep, I’d been up since 05:10. “Sounds good” I said. Although I really wanted to sleep, it did my back a huge favor. I only wished they had the Grab Bike option because I could’ve saved money on my transfer to the hostel. The only place with Grab bikes I visited in Thailand was Bangkok.
I arrived around to my hostel at 22:00 after all was said and done. My Grab driver was very friendly and made me feel comfortable after the luggage fiasco. I had waited at least 45 minutes at the luggage carousel and in that time I had seen the empty window for Air Asia; the window where I would need to report my issue. Then after giving up all hope I waited another 15 minutes for someone to come to the desk- I thought maybe they were outside smoking or using the restroom. I felt helpless- this was my first (well I guess second, to the missed flight) issue I’d had on this trip. I was so relieved to have seen photo evidence of my bag and be given proper contact details and updates on my belongings. Air Asia, like Delta, handled this situation AMAZINGLY!
I used my waiting time to video call my sister for a little and get new bearings on my new hostel. I actually fell asleep! Oh my God. I woke up and had a missed call, I freaked out. Apparently the phone must’ve woken me because it was the same time, they called again. This time I answered- the car was at the lobby with my bag waiting. It was only 00:45. Not bad, now I could actually sleep for the night!

Bang Tao Beach, Phuket

Day 13: 4/25
I slept well. I woke up around 07:30 and laid in bed resting a little longer. Next, I went to the beach. It was about a 2 minute walk for me. I set up my towel about 3 times. Then by 11:00 the beach practically disappeared. It was all ocean. The tide is high during the day and lower morning and night.
The water was so blue, it was warm, not like the Atlantic. It was cool enough- still, refreshing from the heat. It was perfect! Sadly, there seemed to always be at least 1 piece of trash either in the water or washed up each time I went in. I slowly began collecting it when it was in my pathway. By the time I left I had a full grocery bag of trash.

I have read: with movies and increased popularity the beaches are getting trashed! I will definitely not say tourists aren’t the cause- they are. However, the locals are just as bad.

I think everyone should abide by the ‘pack in, pack out’ rules of national parks. A free beach isn’t a trash bin.
I was sad to see all the trash; even from the restaurants, just in piles- no bags. It was everywhere. I noticed there were not many trash bins, and I’m sure no one to empty them either. I would love to somehow start a program where we clean the beaches. It would of course start by adding trash bins to the beach or at the exits and having a pack in pack out ordinance. I would hope with this effort people would also pick up other trash they find laying around.
It might not be your trash, but this is our world and we need to take care of it regardless.

A fisher man walking from his boat to the beach shore holding a net, the longtail boat behind him- 2 other men sitting on board. The boat is tied up to the beach.

I’ve read too that the reef here is being destroyed. Not just from the plastic pollution but also the over fishing. This isn’t entirely to blame on the locals. They’re fishing to make a living. Seafood is one of the largest exports of Thailand. With less fish to keep the natural system alive it is far from thriving.
I was a bit saddened but also in such awe of this beautiful beach. I stayed there from low tide to high tide and thought after 5 hours I better head in. Although I applied sunscreen continuously I still managed to burn. My shins are burnt as well as my back and shoulders. It’s going to suck to carry my big backpack!
I came back to my hostel, rinsed off in the outdoor shower, and went into the pool. Then I laid in a hammock to dry off in the shade. I could stay here longer… it’s so nice. The hostel is called ‘Chill Hub’. I’m getting hungry now- this is a pretty isolated quiet area outside of the main Phuket area. At least it’s pretty quiet and slow now- end of April as we head into the wet season, May.

I’m bunking with girls from the UK. They had been talking about food and where to go. I listened to Georgina and Sophie’s advice and went to a not so spicy thai place. I had a Tom Yum soup with noodles and chicken. It was pretty good, also a little bland, but NOT spicy! I honestly don’t think I could handle spicy on top of this sunburn. To be honest… I can’t handle real thai food… from Thailand. I finished off my meal with an oreo chocolate banana shake- yum! Then I began writing- I was recapping Bangkok. I prefer to write in the moment but have already fallen behind. I stay here until 16:30 all alone before the dinner rush. I had a fan blowing on me and the quiet I needed to think.
I went back to my hostel to change and put on mascara. I don’t really know why I did mascara other than the fact that it was getting cool outside and I knew it would actually stay put. I wanted to make it to the beach for sunset. I was pretty tired from the night before and also the heat. I laid down in bed listening to a podcast while culling all my photos from the previous weekend. I’m also behind on my Instagram posts- my main form of communication to family- the way they keep track of me, currently. I decded to set an alarm in case I lost track of time.

Bang Tao Beach at night

I made it to sunset and took many pictures, all pretty much the same. As I was taking pictures I was half in the water half out. Then I saw something floating, it looked like a fish. It eventually washed up- a dead fish. This of course only made every thought from ealier SINK in– for the sea life and what humans are doing to it. I noticed the lakes and rivers in Thailand were polluted, too. In Bangkok I saw a fish floating by the pier with a plastic noose around it’s neck. It really makes me wonder if the locals know.

Two people walked up to the washed up fish next to me at this time. I met two local dogs following behind them. One is named Bicky and the other is nameless but the Australian couple they were following said they’d named the other Ricky because he is Bicky’s friend. He doesn’t answer to it of course. I wondered if the dogs would eat the fish. I thought about how buddhism thinks about deaths and the continued circle of life. I thought maybe they do understand, or at least they see the signs of the damage we are doing- the locals that is. I still believe it has to be a misunderstanding for them. Sure, life continues but the small effects add up and their whole environment is transfroming. I doubt they want to ruin their land.

Impromptu beach party

I started to head back to the road when I heard some fireworks behind me. When I turned around a guy had one in his hand and was dancing. Earlier I had seen a sign stating there would be a “fire show at 7:00 pm”. I figured that must be this. I began taking pictures of the ‘show’. Then I learned it was just a random tourist and a group of his friends. I asked if he would do it again. I had taken 2 really cool shots but wanted to be prepared and take more. He didn’t speak English, so I showed him the picture and said “again?”. He was so excited about the picture he asked me to join him and about 150+ other people at a dinner party he was hosting on the beach. I didn’t want to intrude but he INSISTED, truly. He even sat me with the English speaking crowd.
I sat with Marina, a Russian living in Shanghi. I spoke some more with the host but never caught his name. I got his info so I can send him his pictures. Then a few other people began speaking to me. The translator was American and spoke fluent Chinese. When she was translating I figured she too was from Shanghi and only knew English. Neither of us realized the other was american because we have been communicating with so many foreigners. We would speak in such plain, simple english, you would think it was our second language. Then the host told her I was from the US. We couldn’t stop laughing and making fun of ourselves. It’s funny to think how we will sound when we get back to the states. The host asked me to join them on a day trip to Phi Phi the following day. I had to decline.

I have one more day in Phuket- I’d be staying in Old Town. I planned to stay there to be near the ferry. I already have reservations to stay on Phi Phi. I would have considered a day trip with them if Marina was going, too. She was calm, like me- not drinking, and full of great conversation. The others were more lively and wanted to party. I’m not there yet- not comfortable enough to let my guard down. I declined all the drinks and stuck with water. I watched people dance and enjoyed the atmosphere and company.
We ate great food and cake! I was so happy to have been invited and hope to stay in touch with my new russian.. or shanghi friend. She doesn’t know how long she will stay in China. She has lived in many countries now and has been talking to her husband about possibly making Canada their next home. We exchanged Facebooks and she left to catch her flight back to China. I left and went back to my hostel shortly after.

I forgot to mention the host wanted me to light fireworks and take pictures again for the bigger ones. I said I’d take pictures but it would be hard to do both. I was right there with him as he lit them and little did anyone know.. although they were mortars… they’d only shoot up about 10 feet! These huge fireworks burst right above our heads- they lit 4 at once. I was in a battle ground. Explosives flying, balls of fire falling all around me. Needless to say I didn’t get many pictures, I got away from the box!
It seemed like everyone was pretty upset at the table, debris was all over them and their food. I didn’t do anything else worth telling that night or the following morning. I just packed and have been writing this in a Grab car. I’m in Old Town now, about to check in to a new hostel.

Old Town Phuket, Thailand

5 boats sit above the water with a small island behind them in the distance. Somewhere off the islands of Southern Thailand

Day 14: 4/26
… it’s been 4 days, recapping as I leave Phi Phi Island.
I was not a fan of that hostel in Old Town. They proudly posted all their awards on the wall in the lobby. I believe the last one was from 2017. The walls were thin, I heard EVERYTHING. Once I am asleep, I can sleep through e.ver.y.thing. I found a bug crawling in my bed- not a bedbug but still… NOT a fan. The bathrooms weren’t very accommodating either. There is only 1 bathroom per gender and inside the bathroom there was nowhere to put anything. These bathrooms were on the main floor away from all the rooms. They also are 1 large single room with toilet and shower- open with no curtain… and waiting, lots of waiting. The sink is outside the bathroom. I didn’t want to walk around with a towel so I brought my clothes into the shower room with a shopping bag.
I’ve also learned you’re not to flush toilet paper or anything else other than human waste into the plumbing. I’m not sure this is for the entire Thailand country or just the beach region. In hindsight, I think this is in most of South East Asia. All of my hostels and even resort have signs saying this. I was only staying in this hostel for 1 night; I wish I had more time to see the old town. If I did, I would have surely switched hostels. There is potential for the hostel I stayed in- it’s in an excellent location but there are other options right around the corner! The hostel I stayed in was called Ai Phuket hostel, on Yaowarat Rd. I do not recommend this one.
I do hope to go back to Phuket. I somehow managed to stay away from the parties there. I had a great dinner at Kopitiam by Wilai. Here I ate chicken pad thai and had the butterfly pea flower milk. The milk was really good at first… then it became too much. It’s purple and blue. Really pretty… the taste reminds me of a gum ball, like the 25 cent ones that spiral down to the metal door of the 5 foot vending machine. It tastes like the hard outer shell made of sugar. The food was great and was highly recommended online- I will definitely go there again!
On the way back I found this perfect shop for souvenirs. They were of high quality and great prices. There were so many beautiful things I wanted to buy for people back home. Sadly, I’d have no way to ship the, I’d leave before the post office opens and it was already too late. The store is called The Elephant and is on Yaowarat Rd- it is directly across from Ai Hostel.

Going to Phi Phi, Thailand

I woke up and made my way to the pier. I was headed for Phi Phi (pee pee) but needed to get to LaemTong pier. The only way I could get to the correct pier was with Adamman Wave Master- this company has the worst reviews online, I personally had no issues. I arrived with my printed ticket, signed in, and was able to immediately board. I grabbed a window seat and stayed here for about 30-45 minutes. They had a movie on- not sure what it was, maybe James Bond? I wasn’t watching. Eventually I went to the sundeck, I stayed there for the rest of the ride. The views were spectacular. We first arrived to Tonsai Pier, the main pier for Phi Phi. Majority of the passengers got off here. Only a few others stayed to go to the other side of the island.
The resorts are on the other side, and the other end. There are private beaches there. About 30 minutes later I hopped off the ferry to a long boat with a shallow bottom- I only purchased 1 ticket for this whole journey. This is how I arrived to LaemTong beach. I was perfectly situated at my resort. I stayed at The Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi. It was free with my points.

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