This August I got Up and Away again! This time to Thailand for my friend Lauren’s 25th Birthday. I have heard nothing but good things about Thailand from everyone who has been there so I was very excited to see the land for myself. And after Tokyo, I’m not ashamed to say I was most excited about all the delicious new foods that would be on offer.
In the air we effectively lost a day. We boarded at 12:30pm on Tuesday and arrived at our final destination at 9:00am the next day. Thai airways fulfilled their slogan of being smooth as silk, with our landing in Bangkok being nothing short of flawless. I’ve never experienced such a soft landing. On board we were fed often and tucked away to bed, I managed to get a few hours kip to begin the next day somewhat fresh.
On first arrival to Bangkok and Phuket we were very happy to see the sun, as both of us had seen forecasts predicting nothing but rain and thunderstorms for the duration of our stay. Warm air caressed us as we meandered through the airport and to our taxi waiting to take us to our hotel.
Initial landscapes are reminiscent of Jamaica. Green hills roll on forever, buildings are somewhat dilapidated but colourful. And the border where the pavement ends and road begins is pretty hard to detect. We marvel at the familiar stores. Tesco, IKEA and 7/11. Excitement builds as we approach Patong beach. Buildings got larger and fancier, with more places to spend your baht becoming apparent. It’s evident we’re approaching a tourist area. From the car we spot a sign for the tourist police, the tagline being ‘your first friend’ tickles me, and I immediately save the number in my phone.
After what seems like a quite a while of driving I check the time to see when we got in. I’m a bit worried the driver will ask for extra money due to the traffic we’ve had to sit in. The clock reveals we’ve been on the car an hour, and no sooner do I gasp at this fact, we pull up to our hotel. The Marina Phuket Hotel, which looks shiny and fabulous and much bigger than I had expected.
Upon entry I am floored. My friend made the booking for us, and as such I didn’t examine the place with the fine toothed comb that I might have if booking the place solo myself.
The staff in the hotel are wearing a crisp cerulean blue, and beautiful wide smiles. They’re happy to welcome us and I’m damn near elated to have arrived. We can’t check in till 2pm and it’s just turned 11. As such, we take a seat in the lobby for a little while to cool off, before going in search of the local Family Mart because I am ravenous! (Heads up – this is a theme of the holiday, me being hungry 100% of the time. Maybe there was something in the air.)
The roads in our local area are really something else. Comparable to Amsterdam, they require diligence, stealth and confidence to make it across safely. On our way to the mart we are tentative and it takes us more than 10 mins I’m sure to cross. On the way back we are practically pros and make the crosses like locals. N.B. Locals who have been living abroad for quite some time and are easing themselves back into their homeland.
Lauren and I were hollered at by street vendors left and right. I am ready for this, and exercise polite but firm refusals of gifts and special offers. I see my neck will get a good work out on this trip from shaking my head ‘no’ so much. But as long as I do so with a smile, my British apologetic nature doesn’t feel too bereft.
I pick up a few snacks at the shop, noodles, crips, but nothing that’s really going to satiate my hunger, so I head up to the Marina Phuket rooftop area. My thing is they must be selling some snacks at the bar. What a fool I was to wait so long. They didn’t just serve snacks, but a truck load of food at the bar. I ordered a giant chicken burger (literally its name on the menu) for 180 BHT (approx £4.25) and TUCKED IN!!!
Satiated, it was now conveniently check in time. The room was gorgeous, and the bed looked incredible inviting, but the sun decks on the roof were calling to me: I took a shower to wash off the journey and donned the closest swimwear to the top of my case and off I went.
A Mai Tai and paddle in the pool later, I lay drying off on a deck chair as the sun sets, typing this post on my phones teclado de español. I’m still trying with this language learning!
First impressions of Phuket? I’m in love.