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Thailand-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September 2005 - March 2006  |  by Matthew Audley

Phuket

We arrived in Phuket a few days ago and found a room at yet another fantastic dirty old place. IN FACT, the On On hotel posed as a Khao San Rd. flophouse for the movie "The Beach" (yes, featuring Leonardo Dicaprio). It's really some sort of crazy hollywood version of the dingy backpacker place and it's been here for the last 80 years or so.

Note the art deco font up there.  Hopefully i'll have some better pictures by the time I get finished with this place.

Note the art deco font up there. Hopefully i'll have some better pictures by the time I get finished with this place.

Our room.  Hey, it has a sink.

Our room. Hey, it has a sink.

Our first day in town, we decided to forego the nearby beaches (due to sleeping-in related issues) and explore the town a bit. On our map, a spot at the end of a long, solitary, twisted road, labelled "MONKEY OBSERVATION FITNESS PARK". That's right.

And quite frankly, it delivered. Turns out it was a road up a huge hill, naturally enough. And we hiked up it at two o'clock in the afternoon, the peak of the impressive heat here. It just keeps getting hotter as we go south. Anyway, we survived the hike and maybe 3/4 of the way up, there were these fantastic old, rusty exercise machines as well as the usual wooden posts to jump over. Strangely enough, we weren't looking for extra exercise at this point. There was a pack of goats that were bullying us along on our way anyway.

Then! The monkeys! Over a hundred, I'm sure. And despite past incidents, I think we handled the situation fine. I'm learning to read monkeys a little better and I had a tiny stick to wave impotently whenever there looked like trouble.

Safe monkey.

Safe monkey.

Dangerous Monkey.  You see, this situation was one that actually required a little of that ineffectual stick-shaking on my behalf.  Monkey climbed to the top of that pole to try to intimidate me and then I just thought that was so neat I had to have a picture.  Time ran out and some stick shaking was required.  Never did get the picture I wanted either.

Dangerous Monkey. You see, this situation was one that actually required a little of that ineffectual stick-shaking on my behalf. Monkey climbed to the top of that pole to try to intimidate me and then I just thought that was so neat I had to have a picture. Time ran out and some stick shaking was required. Never did get the picture I wanted either.

Aw!  Bashful little monkeys, right?  Well, maybe, but they started making those shocked faces at me, eyebrows raised, and I knew it was time to move on.  Good for me, good for the monkeys.

Aw! Bashful little monkeys, right? Well, maybe, but they started making those shocked faces at me, eyebrows raised, and I knew it was time to move on. Good for me, good for the monkeys.

There was no shortage of other wildlife on our journey up up and away, either. Mostly spiders. The biggest spiders I've ever seen with inch long bodies and legs that probably made them the size of my palm at their biggest (that's MY palm, not yours.)

And this one had the sinister skull marking, too.

And this one had the sinister skull marking, too.

What else? Did I mention tons of huge spiders? Some of the webs were big enough for me, no exaggeration required. There were also butterflies big enough to compete with those spiders, skinks, neat birds, but mostly spiders and monkeys.

Our second day here, we headed out to Kata beach via one of the many convenient and cheap busses. The beaches there were beautiful, but alas, crowded with tons and tons of people under tons and tons of umbrellas that you have to pay 100 baht to sit under. We managed to have a decent afternoon at the smaller of the two beaches here, but hopefully we'll find something better. The water and the sand WERE spectacular, don't get me wrong. The water especially is amazingly clear, making Phuket one of the world's top diving destinations. (oh oh oh, I think I've convinced Catherine to do a "Discover Scuba" thing with me, so mayhaps we'll get to see some of this magnificent diving.)

It's a beach.  Can't quite capture it.  Except that it was way more crowded than this picture would indicate.  Pictures lie.

It's a beach. Can't quite capture it. Except that it was way more crowded than this picture would indicate. Pictures lie.

That would bring us to today. Another day in town. Phuket is certainly large enough to sustain more than a few days worth of exploring. Mostly we shopped today - managed to pick up a snorkel and catherine bought bag number.. three, I believe. Then, we went BOWLING! It was fun, but we got ripped off. Best to forget it, as we're always under-budget anyway. It was FUN!

BOWLING!  Fun fact, guess who makes the machines here?  That's right, old BRUNSWICK seems to have a worldwide monopoly on bowling supply.  No laughing matter, I'm sure.  Who's lauging?  Stop that.

BOWLING! Fun fact, guess who makes the machines here? That's right, old BRUNSWICK seems to have a worldwide monopoly on bowling supply. No laughing matter, I'm sure. Who's lauging? Stop that.

© Matthew Audley, 2005
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The trip
 
Description:
Leaving for bangkok on Sept. 12. Where we go from there is anyone's guess. Hoping to see Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos. Be back in six months or so if everything goes well. There really isn't much of a route planned - we'll see what happens.
Details:
Start of journey: Sep 12, 2005
Duration: 6 months
End of journey: Mar 19, 2006
Travelled countries: Thailand
Canada
Laos
Vietnam
Cambodia
Southeastern Asia
Malaysia
The Author
 
Matthew Audley is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 13 years.
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