After another substantial and delicious breakfast we are taken by long boat to the Phi Phi pier for our ferry to Phuket. We are a bit sad to leave Phi Phi, it was so beautiful and relaxing here.
We are one of the first few on the ferry, like good soldiers we are always there at the designated times while everyone else always saunters in an hour later. We did manage to get a seat however which was a bonus. The ferry is less than ¼ of the size of the BC Ferry and packed to the rafters. There are far more people than seats and the luggage is piled ten feet high in the back of the boat. Ours is on the very bottom. All the stories of overcrowded sinking ferries in Thailand come to mind at this point.
At 9:30A we finally cast off and after only 10 minutes stop in the middle of the ocean. Another ferry of the same size pulls up along side. Are you kidding me???? They have people pass with their luggage from the other ferry to our ferry in the middle of the ocean. I guess we still had room??
Arrival at Phuket harbor an hour and an half later was pure chaos. Everyone trying to get off this one small departure point at once and also get their luggage. We just hung back as ours was on the bottom anyhow.
We are transported to the other side and quite amazed at how big the city of Phuket is. An hour later and we are close to the beach I suppose, it is hard to tell. It looks like Bangkok to me, busy streets, lots of tourists of all shapes and sizes walking the streets in bathing suits and cover-ups.
Our hotel was less than I expected it to be, the pictures on the internet portrayed it a little differently. Check in time was not for another hour and a half so Jane took off to find out if she could get some inexpensive prescription glasses and Lana and I went to find the beach which apparently was two blocks away.
We arrived at Patong beach and just stood and burst out laughing. We looked at each other in disbelief! How can I describe it? Waikiki beach with four times as many people. There were thousands of people lying on lounge chairs (that you have to rent) about 20 deep and the entire length of the beach in both directions as far as the eye can see. The water was also busy with swimmers and people cooling off. Parasailers fly overhead, sellers on the beach flogging their wares. What a frickin nightmare. Not only are we wondering why we are here, why the hell would anyone else come here?
We left to do a bit of window shopping but the humidity is just killing us so we duck into an Indian resteraunt for a fantastic lunch. The Indian man working there was so thrilled that I had been to India and doubly thrilled that we had been to Myanmar as two of his staff were from there that he gave us a free dessert, took our pictures and gave us a big hug and kiss as we left….. People are very friendly here in Phuket.
Jane was already in the room when we got back and we didn’t say a word about the beach to her. We wanted to see the look on her face. She had found some glasses that she wanted us to check out and we approved of her selection so they will be ready for pick up in three hours at ¼ of the price of getting them at home.
Down to the beach and Lana and I rush ahead of Jane to be able to turn around and see her face. It was priceless. Shock and awe. We had a great laugh about it and so thankful that we only booked two nights here. We did a bit more shopping on the way back to the hotel, didn’t buy anything but had a look around. Lana and I chipped in on something special for Janes Birthday to always be able to remember this trip by.
We booked tickets for this recommended show and were picked up in a van with some other folks. A young man of 28 from Singapore was on his own and asked if he could join us which was great. It was like a Las Vegas revue show and the women costumes and sets were gorgeous.
Aren' they gorgeous?
These are boys, ladyboys to be exact. Thai transvestites. Some are so beautiful you just cant believe it and many have breast implants and tuck the other parts away so you cant tell even in a skimpy outfit. It does cause some problems sometimes for some of the male tourists that come and think they are bringing a gorgeous Thai woman back to their room…….
Then there are the ones that are just not very attractive men dressed as women. It was a fun show however and we were glad we went. On the ride back the man I was sitting beside asked me where I was from and so asked the same to which he replied ‘Iran’. I told him that we have met people from literally all over the world but he was the first Iranian. He was with his wife, mother in law, two kids and sister and brother in law and owned a plastic factory in Iran. He really wanted to talk, so I just kept asking questions. I asked him how he felt about the US going into Iran and he said he thought it was a good thing. I said “Really? How do you feel about how things went when they went into Iraq?” Lana almost fell out of her seat.
He was a bit hard to understand as he spoke very quickly with a heavy accent but I got that he thought the Iraqis were crazy and the Americans going in was a good thing too. He said something about changing his religion and that the Iraqis have more than one wife and treat women very badly. He only had one wife. I said my husband probably figured that one wife was enough too, to which point he and his entrourage all laughed. Our stop was here all too soon and I am sorry that I didn’t have the foresight to arrange a coffee date with him tomorrow. He told me that he normally does not talk religion or politics but wanted to talk about it to me for some reason.
We agreed it was too early to go to the room so ventured out to wander the streets looking at the many shop vendors and just people watching. A left turn took us down a three block area where we noticed we were the only women. Young men sitting in what resembled sidewalk cafes, some alone, some with older men. In the back were nightclubs, a few doors open to see stages and young men, perhaps 17 or so although it is hard to tell with Asians they all look so young, dancing and shaking their scantily clad booties. There is a HUGE population of gay men that come here, some in couples but a lot looking for young Thai men. We saw quite a number of older men with either young Thai men or young Thai women.
We felt a little out of place so turned right and ended up on this street blocked off to traffic and everyone who had been on the beach that day was here now. It was packed! The underbelly of Phuket was here and it was a show! Girls dancing on bars, pole dancing, ladyboys and a lot of alcohol flowing. On the second floor of some of the buildings were girls in windows pole dancing. Most of them looked right out of it. A lot of blank faces and just going through the motions. At this one bar that featured Russian girls the pole dancer could barely stand up. You wonder if they are there by choice or one of the horror stories you hear about.
We were asked many times if we wanted to see a ‘ping pong show’ with young ladies. I will let you figure that one out. We stood off to the side and just watched it all go by. Young men who had too much to drink, older couples coming just to gawk at the freak show, young families which surprised us, couples and singles. You saw it all. After a bit I was feeling ill, it was just so disgusting to us. We made our way back to our hotel by way of possibly our last ‘banana pancake’ from one of the street vendors. They are sooooo good. We will miss those for sure.
This morning is our last day of our vacation. We have to leave at 5AM tomorrow to fly to Bangkok and then our Cathay flight back to Vancouver. We lazed by the pool reading, I worked on this blog, and we will go out to see about some last minute shopping and pedicures this afternoon.
We had an amazing trip, we all got along well and three seemed to work out better than four in a lot of cases. It is hard for us to believe that it has only been four weeks, we have done so much since we arrived. We also know that after we return home it will feel like it was a lifetime ago since we were here too. We can always relive it looking at our pictures and this diary however.
Thanks for all your comments and coming along with us.