Thailand: Phuket

I hate overnight buses/trains/planes.  After a sleepless night, we usually arrive at an unknown location and are hungry, grumpy and we haven’t brushed our teeth.  Not a good way to start the day!  It was the same in Phuket, so we started walking away from the bus station…just picked a direction.  Then we got tired of walking, so we jumped in a pink shared taxi/truck/bus in the same direction but still without knowing where we were headed.  Finally, we found ourselves on a map.  I stayed with the bags while Joshua searched for accommodations.  Just as we had given up hope, we found Old Town Hostel which was homey, smelled clean and had blasting A/C (Joshua likes to freeze in his sleep).

We had the front desk help us book Fantasea tickets…because, you know, we promised the kids.  It was easier to keep the promise before we had to hand over $100 plus transportation (Phuket is hardly an island – it’s so big!) for two tickets to the early show.  We visited the famous Patong Beach before the show for dinner, but found the prices higher and quality 5x lower than anywhere else we’ve been in Thailand.  It was exactly the opposite of beautiful; although, I imagine it once was given the picturesque sunset we both witnessed from the back of a motorcycle taxi (yeah, three grown, sweaty people doing 45kph).

Fantasea was a “cultural themepark” like Disneyland complete with elephants dancing (they were far better than the humans).

Fantasea Redshirts Entrance to the Theater

Elephant Theater

Thai Disneyland

It was terrible in an awesome way.  I’m not sure what to think, but they tried to get us with everything, baby tiger pictures, elephant rides and crazy animal hats…which we nearly fell for.

Crazy Hats My Shark

Who wouldn’t?!

We crossed off our third to-do in Thailand with a visit to Phang Nga Bay.  The tour started with a visit to Monkey Temple (which housed exactly zero monkeys).  Then our driver took a slight detour to pick up a few fried chicken satays for himself while making sure to touch 90% of the vendor’s inventory.

Monkey Cave

After a cold and unappetizing lunch on the water and 5 minutes turned 25 minutes of waiting when our boat broke down, we cruised to James Bond Island, the evil lair of the bad guy in The Man with the Golden Gun.  Limestone rocks literally jut straight out of the water to the tune of hundreds of meters.

Lunch Stop Evil Lair Phang Nga Bay Rock Climbing

The tour continued with a kayak trip into the caves of Phang Nga Bay National Park.

Canoeing in Dark Caves

Our kayak chauffeur even serenaded us with a beautiful rendition of “Un-break My Heart.”  Not sure if it encouraged us to tip or did the exact opposite…

Canoeing Craze

Even with the mishaps, I was pleased with the tour until our Thai “Bieber” mini-bus driver decided to stop at the ATM, make a purchase from a guy on a moto, drop off a few people from the tour, stop at the ATM again and then get gas with us patiently waiting in the back seat.  By that time we were over three hours late to our hostel, so I jumped into the middle row and started honking the horn while he was out chatting with friends.  That didn’t bring him running, of course, but we did make it back shortly thereafter.  Sadly, the restaurant we hoped to visit for dinner was closed by the time we got to Phuket town, so we settled for Italian food, ordering 3 main dishes and a carafe of wine which cured all ailments, weariness and deficiencies!

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