I don’t party. I don’t really like beaches.
What the hell am I doing in Phuket?
Those were the thoughts swirling in my head this morning as I left the hostel to go explore the town.
Phuket is everything I hate about travelling – it’s a town just built for tourists. Everything, and I mean everything revolves around them. You can not walk 10 feet down the street without being asked if you want a ride or want to buy something.
Everywhere you look it’s just tourists. There are taxi and tuk tuk drivers everywhere. And restaurants. And tour booths. And massage parlors.
Hell, there’s even a Hard Rock Cafe in the middle of town with a big sign next to it announcing that a Hooters restaurant will be their next door neighbor in the near future.
Any kind of Thai culture that may have existed here is long – and I mean long – gone.
I walked down to the beach to catch a local bus to get to the other side of the island to visit Phuket Town. I figured since it was away from the beaches that maybe I’d get to see the local side of Phuket.
The bus was extremely slow moving and crawled its’ way across the island in just over an hour. As we were pulling up to Phuket Town it started raining.
Check that, it started pouring!
Being here in Southeast Asia you kind of get spoiled with the weather. In fact, I think the last time I saw rain was when I was in Hanoi in Vietnam almost 2 months ago.
It’s been so long in fact that I had long ago moved the little travel umbrella I always carried in my daypack over to my backpack.
So, I’m pulling up to Phuket Town in the pouring rain with no umbrella.
I didn’t get off the bus.
I will say that Phuket Town didn’t look over run by tourists and definitely had an authentic feel to it.
So, basically I spent a couple of hours on a bus travelling back and forth across the island.
It was good though because it gave me alot of time to think and focus on what’s ahead of me.
The plan has always been to end the trip by going from Phuket to Singapore and then on to Bali. After Bali I’d fly to Kuala Lumpur to spend a few days before I’d catch a flight I already have booked to Osaka on the 22nd (just 18 days from now) and then a flight back home just 10 days later.
That’s been the plan.
Problem is my gut is telling me Bali is going to be exactly the same as Phuket. My gut is also telling me I should bail on that part of my trip.
The last time I had a gut feel like this was as I was leaving Chiang Mai and moving north towards the Laotian border. My gut kept telling me to head back to Chiang Mai and I didn’t listen to it.
We all know how that turned out…
This time I was going to listen to my gut so my mind started working on alternatives.
I have one constant and that is that I fly out of Kuala Lumpur in 18 days and would like to arrive a few days before hand to see the city.
So that gives me 14 days to work with.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and part of the evening trying to figure out just what in the hell I was going to do over the next 2 weeks.
In the end I went with the idea that I had been toying around with in my head the last week or so – heading back to Chiang Mai for a week or so and then down to Bangkok for a few more days before flying to Kuala Lumpur on schedule.
Chiang Mai has been, by far, my favorite city on my trip. I think it was mostly to do with how great the hostel was but also the small town feel of the old city.
Oh, and the amazing night markets on the weekends.
So, that’s it. I made it official by booking my flight to Chiang Mai for 2 days from now and booking 5 nights in my old hostel in Chiang Mai.
I have just tomorrow in Phuket and I decided I would do the touristy island hopping tour being offered all over the place.
It’s called the James Bond tour because decades ago one of the films was filmed partly on one of the islands here.
They have the gall to charge 1800 baht ($60) for it but my roommate did it today and said he had bartered down to 900.
I went downstairs to tell the owner that I would be leaving a day earlier than planned. I hoped but didn’t expect a refund for the one night I wouldn’t be here. Of course, he didn’t give me one.
No surprise there as this guy really isn’t in the business to make his guests happy.
I told him I wanted to do the James Bond tour and he quoted me 1200. I told him about how my roommate did it today for just 900 and I told him I would just ask him later where he bought his ticket.
I literally walked 5 steps away and all of the sudden the owner was like, oh yeah, I can go with this other company for 900. Surprise, surprise.
I honestly didn’t even what to give this guy my business because I just feel like he doesn’t deserve the commission but it was already 9pm and I didn’t want to go out to the streets to find a booth where I’d barter down to 900 again.
So, that was the day in the nutshell.
A 2 hour bus ride back and forth, some more pad thai, alot of Google searches and a final decision.
That’s it – this is the path for the next 2 weeks.