Archive for August 3, 2018

Phuket, Thailand

     We docked in Phuket on the morning of March 17.  Last time we were here we had a great time riding elephants & visiting temples.  See it here:

So this time we decided to go in an entirely different direction.  If you have seen the movies “Man With The Golden Gun” or “The Beach” you have seen the craggy limestone islands that lie a ways off the coast near Phuket.  We joined a private tour by speedboat to see these islands & maybe do some snorkeling there & have lunch.

     We got off to a good start, driving to the nearby boat dock & boarding the speed boat.  There were about 15 of us, more or less, and the boat was open on the sides & back for a good view while also protecting us from the sun with a roof.  It wasn’t too long, however, before we began to encounter some very high waves & swells.  Not only did this slow us down substantially as the boat was constantly rising on the waves then crashing down after, but a couple of people began to get seasick (one a member of our family).  So the sea conditions (and the condition of the passengers) prevented us from going to the islands we had hoped to see.  Instead we headed for some closer islands.

     We landed at Khai Nok, a tiny island with a hill and a beach.  It was crowded with visitors, who were taking pictures on the beaches, sitting in the many beach chairs under umbrellas and shopping at the many food stands.  We were told that a large percentage of the visitors were Chinese, who do not swim but just take pictures of each other standing in the water.  This was not what we had hoped for at all, but at least we were able to relax for a while on dry land.

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     In the ocean near the island were a number of fishing boats & there were some rocky islands visible in the distance.

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     A few people went in the boat to a nearby island to snorkel, but they were snorkeling right off the boat so most of us stayed behind and relaxed on the beach.  When they returned we all boarded the boat and headed for another island where our guide hoped we could be accommodated for lunch.  Since our itinerary had changed the place where we had lunch reservations was too far away.  The guide went up to the restaurant on the first island but they didn’t have room for our party.  So we headed off to another island where she was confident we would be served.

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     On the next island we hit pay dirt.  Not only would they host us all for a delicious Thai lunch with fresh caught fish, but no other tourists were there to spoil the beauty of the long beach.  We went ashore & headed down the beach to the open air restaurant.

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     An old wooden dock extended out into the water and a number of fishing boats were in the area.

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      We had a delicious & very plentiful lunch at tables set up on a platform open on three sides with the kitchen at the back.  The dog who lives here was sacked out for the duration & next to the platform we found a pair of fish lying on the sand . . . no, wait, those are actually sandals.

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     After a last look at the still deserted beach we headed off to the new floating dock to board our boat for the trip back to Phuket.  We got a close look at some fishing boats that were tied up to the dock.

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     We sped away from our lunch island and headed back to Phuket.  As we neared the port we passed some navy ships at anchor.

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     After some shopping in the market set up on the pier we sailed away shortly before sunset.  We could see in the distance Thailand’s Big Buddha sitting on top of a mountain.  It had not been finished when we saw it in 2016, but now it is, we were told, the largest sitting Buddha in the world, surpassing the Big Buddha we visited on Lantau Island in Hong Kong.

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     After dinner we hit the sack after a day that turned out much better than it started.

 115 Phuket, Thailand4. Colombo, Sri Lanka