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Following our trip to China for my brother’s wedding, we took a detour via Thailand on the way home. It seemed such a shame to go so far and only visit one country, and since we’d used our holiday fund to pay for the trip, it made sense to add a holiday on the end.
So, with many thanks to an amazing travel agent who managed to get us everything we wanted at a price even her colleagues couldn’t believe, our next stop was Phuket.
My first impression of Thailand? It’s hot. I’ve been to my fair share of hot destinations but the humidity levels in Phuket completely blew me away. I couldn’t even lie in the shade without sweating. A pale-skinned girl like me is not made to function in places like that. I felt virtually incapacitated by the heat, and spent most of my time in pool or sea. This was no bad thing, not when you had a pool that looked like this.
But I would have liked to explore a little more. We could literally manage a few hundred metres in the heat without needed to retreat somewhere with air conditioning. Our hotel was at the top of a hill, and I’d read that it was a short walk down some (very steep) steps to the resort and beach. Let’s just say I only took this short cut once. Going down, fine. Coming up in 42 degree heat when you’re as out of shape as me? Not a good plan. Bikram Yoga ain’t got nothin’ on this! Luckily there was a shuttle bus and plenty of tuk-tuks to get us up and down when needed.
One thing that did slightly disappoint me was that the food we had wasn’t quite as amazing as I was expecting. While I know the days of 100 baht getting you the best green curry of your life are long gone in a built-up resort like Kata Beach where we were based, I was expecting to find the food tastier and more authentic than the stuff I’ve managed to whip up at home. We had a couple of very good meals and a couple of very mediocre ones. Everything else was just fine. That said, you forgive a lot when a three course meal for two comes in under £25, including a cocktail in a hollowed-out pineapple.
Now onto the good stuff, because I don’t for a second want to make it sound like Thailand isn’t an amazing place. We were very lucky to visit when we did – days before the military coup that’s resulted in a 10pm curfew and soldiers on the streets – and I’m thankful for that.
Firstly, there was the snorkelling. I used to have snorkelling lessons as a child and many of my memories of childhood holidays centre around snorkelling trips, so I do have a tendency to judge a holiday destination based on its snorkelling potential. The snorkelling in Thailand was the best I’ve ever experienced. In terms of sheer numbers of fish swarming around you at all times, it even topped the Great Barrier Reef. The variety of sea life wasn’t quite the same (no turtles or rays on our trip) but that didn’t mean a thing. I’m used to surface diving to see all the best stuff. Here you just stayed as still as possible and stared as hundreds of fish swarmed around you. It was incredible.
Then there was the scenery. You won’t see anything like this in the Mediterranean! Thailand is so green, from the tree-covered hills to the water itself. Obviously one of the best moment was stepping foot on Maya Beach, the idyllic cove where they filmed The Beach. Though it was pretty rammed with people this didn’t take away from how incredible a place it is. And as terrible as the casting of the film was (seriously, read the book!) walking in the footsteps of Leo DiCaprio definitely pleased me.
For me though, one place in Thailand has a special place in my heart, and that was the lagoon we swam in near Phi Phi Ley.
That amazing looking place is where my boyfriend became my fiancé, the perfect way to end an amazing trip!