14-18 Khao Lak to Patong (Phuket)

See trip index here and Southern Thailand index here. Additional pictures here

After a bit of a rest and fresh air, followed by a lovely meal at our lodgings we felt a lot better – so we hoped our illness was just a blip…  Our accommodation at Khao Lak was pretty good having been rebuilt by a Dutch guy after the Tsunami.  The beach area was pretty nice but won’t appear on any top-beaches list, and the nearby town is surprisingly tatty and run down especially considering its total rebuild in the last 7 years.  It seems to exist solely for tourists and is the first place every (and I mean every) shop keeper tries to get you to look into their shop or buy a suit. 

However, only when we left did we see a bigger/better down about 4km further down the road that we did not explore.  To get about at Khao Lak and to see the “nearby” attractions you probably need to hire a bike.

You really get the feel of the boxing day Tsunami by looking at Police Boat 813 which is a fairly large boat and now resides 2km inland where the Tsunami left it.  And looking back to the sea you cannot imagine how it must’ve been at the time with everything between flattened.  Even more moving, someone is leaving soft drinks and fruit at the boat in memory of a lost one 🙁

We’d probably not have stayed too long in Khao Lak, but our health blip was more than a blip so now certain we’ve caught a bug of some sort.  On the bright side we’ll lose half a stone or so if past experiences are anything to go by…  On the downside it isn’t wise to leave our bungalow as trips to the bathroom were every 15 minutes – even overnight 🙁

As our next stop required pubic busses and a bit of waiting around, we decided to wait till we were both fit enough as public loos that you want to use aren’t that easy to come by.  This gave us time to plan Christmas though – and good job we did as it is peak season and a lot of places are fully booked.  We’re treating ourselves by splurging £30 a night for B&B in a rather nice guest house in Ao Nang – and we get a motorbike thrown in.  Annoying having to book, but everything over Christmas and New Year is tight.  Word of warning as well, from 15 December to 15 January accommodation prices are much higher (almost double).

When we felt brave enough we left to get to the infamous Patong beach on Phuket.  Our hosts dropped us on the main road when we instantly got a bus to Phuket (100 bhat each).  The bus wasn’t new by any stretch, but comfortable and had free water – and even free wifi!  At Phuket bus station, after running the gauntlet ignoring all the taxi/tour “helpers”, we wandered 1km west to the local market and caught a local bus to Patong.  I say bus, more of a lorry with bench seats but remarkably good fun.  25 bhats took us the 40 minute driver over the roller coaster of the hill road.

Our accommodation at Patong (loveli guesthouse) was a bit pricy at £25/night (peak season & tourist hotspot) – but its hotel feel made it worthwile.  The owners ran a travel agency and gave some incredible prices on trips that we wanted to do anyway, and some cheaper than we could DIY – so we planned the next week which should be a bit more fun than the last few days….

First impressions of Patong are a mix of old and posh thrown together, with most definitely the most compressed party feel we’ve seen – even compared to Bangkok.  Looking forward to it (if we can leave the hotel….! )

 Next installment here

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