The final few days in Phuket were much the same as the first few. The whole idea of coming to Phuket was literally to relax and spend some quality time together without having the hassles of travel and everything that comes with it. It was a week where we could holiday. And there is a difference, when backpacking you see and do amazing things, but often the family time, the time to relax is lost in whirlwind days of exploration and sights.
We found out that the beach we were on – Karon Beach is actually one of the deadliest in Phuket. Deaths are a frequent occurrence due to the horrific rip tides. It really is quite sobering because the sea itself looks so placid and welcoming. Yet beneath the turquoise waters lies a current so fierce it claims lives on a regular basis. After reading a pretty harrowing account of a British man who drowned here last year I decided to move our daily operations of relaxing and paddling in the warm sea to another beach. The next beach down the coast is Kata Beach and about 3km away. So we decided to head there.
In Phuket you have tuk tuks and they are all part of the same company. They are known locally as the Thai Mafia. Their prices are fixed and they are fixed ridiculously high. An example is that when we first tipped up in Phuket Town I got a tuk tuk 20km for 300Baht. I tried to get one from Karon to Patong the other day which is 4km and was told 300Baht. When I laughed and told him I’d pay 100 (which really is a good price) he got offended and stormed off. He looked away in shame when he saw me flying past on the bus for 30 Baht! Ok so technically there is no bus service on Phuket island, but there are (and I know the spelling is wrong) Sawngethaew’s. These basically are trucks with a bench down each side and prices are about 15 – 30 Baht per journey. They all run about 20 mins apart and if you see one coming just stick out your arm and it will stop. When you want to get off ring the bell and it will stop wherever it is. They are very slow but the opportunity to get some shade and a bit of ad hoc air con as the wind rushes past you is worth the 30 baht alone. There didn’t seem to be a kids price, the driver simply plucks a number from the air, if you whinge you can expect to get the price a little lower.
So we got to Karon beach and went right to the South end, this was the best part and by far one of the best beaches I’ve ever been to in the world. Honestly, I’ve been to some of the best beaches on the planet and only one beach comes anywhere near it – Dolphin beach, Cancun, Mexico. Not even Clearwater Beach Florida (my favourite in the whole US) comes close.
We hired a body board and spent the last 2 days just having good wholesome family fun. Surrounded by talcum powder style sand, clear turquoise waters, tiny Thai islands and the odd Russian thrown in for good measure. It was a blazing 30+ degrees without a cloud in the sky and we made the most of it.
The only hassle we had was me getting stopped by the police whilst breaking the land speed record on a bike. I was asked for my license and provided it. Basically the conversation went as follows (P – police, M – me)
P – Where is your Thai licence
M – I don’t need one, My English license is sufficient
P – No its not valid in Thailand
M – Yes it is
P – No it isn’t, how long are you in Thailand total
M – 15 days
P – show me your airline ticket
M – Here is my passport showing when I arrived
P – Is this bike insured
M – Yes
P – Prove it
M – Here look ( I proved it)
I was then waved on my way. He tried it on good and proper and was obviously after this weekend’s beer money.
The next few days involve some hefty travelling. The plan is that on Friday 0500 we head for the bus station. We get the 0600 bus to Hat Yai which is the Thai border town with Malaysia, the bus takes 7 hours. From there we take the train (if we make it in time) to Kuala Lumpur (16 hours) If we miss the train then we get the bus. Either way we arrive into Kuala Lumpur about 5am Saturday. We have a day then night in Kuala Lumpur and Sunday night we get the overnight train to Singapore, we have Sunday and the night in Singapore before we fly to Jakarta, Java, Indonesia Monday morning. We then travel by train (12hrs) to Surabaya, Java. From there we have an 8hr bus to Denpasaar, Bali.
We intend on learning how to surf once in Bali, mixed of course with some major down time 🙂