After seeing the messy and chaotic part of Thailand, it was time to enjoy the well-organized resortish part of it. At least this is what we thought. Ok, I admit that we haven't spent much time researching what we will really find on our trip to Phuket. What we were expecting was some kind of a mix between paradise lonely beaches, luxury resorts, british-kind of organisation on the streets (no idea why!) and high class nightlife.
What we actually found was not so different from seen in Bangkok - chaos and bargains everywhere. At least the beach was organised, may be too organised. The whole area of Karon beach was full of flags restricting the access to the water. There were specific areas (at Karon there were 3 for the entire beach) where a person can get wet. So, it was too crowded there. And every time someone moves a bit, and for some reason goes "out" of that specific area, the lifeguard starts whistling like crazy. So, the beach experience in Phuket was not so heavenly peaceful, as expected. But it was beautiful, though.
The hotel was nice and we ended up spending more time by the pool, than at the beach. And the mojitos (and two happy hours per day) were great.
Watch out, because the local food in Phuket is very spicy, and it seems no one finds it necessary to advise you about it.
Definitely, the highlight of my trip to Phuket was when we went to Kok Chang Safari for an elephant trekking. It's located in the middle of a rubber-tree forest, just above Kata beach, and has great views over the bay. I'm not going to comment whether I support this kind of "tourist attractions". I just hope the price we paid for it (800 bahts for 30 minutes, per person) will be spent on the well-being of the animals.
After the trekking we stopped at Kata for a late afternoon walk around, some drinks and seafood dinner. Kata has more vivid nightlife than Karon, but it's not too messy as Patong.
The next day was the day we were waiting for - visiting Phi Phi island! We were finally going to visit (and experience) the paradise beaches from the movie The Beach, although we knew Leo will not be there. And even if he was there, we would never find him. It was packed! Everywhere we went, there were at least 20 more boats full with tourists. So, it was kind of a let down.
But we still got to swim in between the mountains of the island...
We got to see the monkeys at Monkey Beach...
And we went to the beach at Bamboo island - this is where the actual beach scenes of the movie were shot. While here I couldn't help but notice that at some point I was surrounded by a "forest" of selfie sticks and crowds of tourists, everybody trying to take the perfect picture. For social media I guess. And I kind of felt sad. Not for them - everybody's free to live their life the way they want.
No, I felt sad for the place we were at. A gorgeous white-sanded beach, beautiful turquoise water and rocky mountains somewhere far. And no one was able to enjoy it the way it deserves to be enjoyed. As someone took off this beach the ability to give what it has to offer... And all the sudden, I got happy. Quietly, just for myself. Just because I got to notice the real beauty of this place. So, I stopped for a while, tried to isolate myself from the noise and the crowds, and simply enjoyed the moment I've been dreaming for years. It was not such a bad experience after all, I guess.
We could not leave Thailand without experiencing the Thai massage. We went to a traditional massage studio, very close to our hotel, and for 300 bahts we were beaten for 1 hour. In fact, it was lighter than I expected it. But the fish spa was something that is hard to explain... I paid (negotiated) for 15 minutes, and it took me around 14 minutes to get used to the tickling.
Honestly, when I came home from this trip I was feeling a bit disappointed. But now, as I am writing about it, I realize I had a lot of new, memorable experiences there. And even if it was not what I was expected, I enjoyed it. And this is what travelling is all about - get out of your shell and create unforgettable memories.
Thank you, Thailand, for reminding me that!