Phuket, Thailand.

We the caught boat from the island of Koh Phi-Phi to mainland Phuket. From there, our accommodation required us to get another boat to a small island just off of the mainland of Phuket. We got a taxi to the pier for “Coconut Island“, which is a small island owned by the resort owners of “The Village Resort” – where we were staying. We arrived at the pier and before long were back on a short boat journey to the island. Arriving at the resort, we were blown away by the luxuriousness of it. We were greeted by the customer relations manager at reception, who introduced himself, gave us some information about the resort and provided us a list of different activities to do over the next two days. Once we were all checked into our room, we headed down to the beach front restaurant and grabbed a light lunch as we sat enjoying the sun. We spent the remainder of the day making use of the resorts facilities and relaxing by the pools and beach, and planned to go explore mainland Phuket the following day.

Waking up the following morning, we went down to the restaurant and were pleased to a HUGE buffet on offer for all the resort guests. The variety of food was amazing and we were definitely well fed before catching the hotel boat through to mainland Phuket for the day. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t quiet as nice as the day before and when we arrived off the boat at the mainland it started to rain. We quickly jumped in a taxi and asked the driver to take us to the main strip of Phuket, since it certainly wasn’t a beach day, where we were hoping we could find enough shops and market stalls under cover to keep us entertained until the rain went off. It was about a 20 minute taxi journey. The driver dropped us at Walking Street in the main town of Phuket (a shopping area we had been recommended by the staff at the resort). From here, we found a pretty big indoor market-like complex where we wondered around for a good bit. The stalls within it were selling a variety of things- mainly clothes (many, many clothes!) but also shoes, bags and purses. I was on the lookout as always for some cheap gym gear but to my disappointment there wasn’t much apart from some very cheap looking, unsupportive sports bras! So I wondered round and looked at some denim shorts instead before finding Gav eyeing up the wallets. A lot of the clothing here was knock-off for UK clothes stores like ‘Topshop’ and ‘Zara’ etc. but there wasn’t any big brand news like we have found at previous markets in Thailand. After wondering around inside, we decided to explore the area outside as the rain had now stopped. We had previously seen images of busy outdoor markets on Walking Street although there wasn’t much happening outside at all due to the weather. We walked past a few sad stalls trying to sell heavily fried chicken legs and other unappetizing foods. We had researched a viewpoint to hike up where you can overlook the city. As there didn’t seem to be much else happening, we started our hike. We walked for around an hour up a gradual winding road to reach a little restaurant at the top. Here we sat and enjoyed the view (although kinda dull weather) with a drink.

By the time we then made our way back down from the viewpoint we were pretty hungry and decided to go to one of restaurants we had walked past for dinner. As soon as we sat down and ordered our meal, the lights went out and we sat in complete darkness! The waiter came straight back over and informed us that the whole street had had a power cut and they were unable to cook our meals. We had previously experienced several Thai power-cuts before and knew that they weren’t always a quick fix (sometimes hours) so we got up and continued to wonder the streets in search of a restaurant with lights- there wasn’t much choice! A few blocks away we found a small bar near a main road which served some pub grub. There was one other customer in the place- sat at the bar drinking and talking to the staff. We asked if they were still open for food and after having to translate to the most English speaking Thai member of staff, we got summoned to sit at a table at the back of the room. After waiting several minutes, Gav then had to go up and ask for the menu, after great difficultly of understanding we got given the menu. There wasn’t many options on it for a main meal and some of the dishes were pretty questionable. Gav played it safe and went for a plain cheeseburger and chips. I stupidly chose the Thai Salad. Thai salad’s are known to have a bit of a kick to them and am not that great with spicy food so I asked for it with no chili. Of course, the waiter only pretended to understand this and shortly after I was presented with the hottest dish I have ever eaten. My mouth was on fire! I couldn’t even taste the food, it was just over powdered by spice. I was so hungry so I tried to eat what I could and by the end I was quite literally crying and had probably made my way through more tissues than what could fit on the table. The waiter found it all pretty funny as he cleared away the plates and presented us with the bill. We paid and left to haul down a taxi back to the pier. As we were walking back along the street we spotted a street food stall across the road selling the famous Thai dessert – Mango Sticky Rice. This dessert had never previously appealed to me as I wouldn’t have imagined mango and rice to go together (and always feel that a dessert has to involve chocolate).. but we had also been recommended this dish by the staff at our resort, and I was also still pretty hungry after my fail of a dinner. So we darted across the street and bought one, the rice was warm and the man sliced the mango over it there in front of us and then drizzled it some sweet milk-like sauce (not sure exactly what the sauce was). We sat down to try it and oh my god! It was unexpectedly amazing! It tasted so sweet, not rice like at all and sauce just made it mix in so well! I was so gutted that after a month in Thailand, I was only trying this now, on our last night! After polishing it off, I felt much more satisfied. We grabbed a taxi back to the pier, caught the hotel boat service and went back to pack our bags for our early morning flight the next day to Bali, Indonesia.

Overall, my experience of Phuket wasn’t the greatest! I loved the resort we stayed at on Coconut Island however, the actual town of Phuket was probably my least favourite place we visited in Thailand. I found Phuket to be just like another city, and no where as pretty as the Thai islands. We also thought the town seemed slightly dirty and run down. Baring in mind, we did only get one day on the mainland of Phuket, and no experience of the beaches as and it just so happened to be raining on that day. Therefore, we probably didn’t get a chance to experience the good parts of it which I have heard about (markets, beaches and nightlife) but I definitely wouldn’t be hurrying back to do so.

Gillian O'Neil

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