|1$US =~ 40 Baht|
I went to an Irish bar around 1700 and got into a nice conversation with Steve from England. Since my arrival I haven't come across one Thai who speaks a decent English so this was particularly gratifying.
I rented a motorbike for 5$ a day and checked out the island. There are beautiful beaches and great views from mountain tops. I went swimming off Kata Beach and found another quiet beach, Yanui Beach,where there is good snorkeling. It's not even on the map and I'm happy I went off the beaten path and found it. The picture shows remnants of one of the few tsunami damages that I could find. - The motorbike is a Yamaha and does 100km/hr. It's the best mode of transportation one can imagine. I'm keeping it for tomorrow and going snorkeling.
After a 40 minute bike ride I was at Yanui Beach at 10.00 and snorkeling. Lots of little fish around. I then drove a couple of minutes onward to the Southern cape with a lighthouse on it and a monument to a Thai prince who in 1880 was sent by his father to the Royal Navy Academy in England and after studying there for 6 years came back to found the Thai Navy.
This time I explored the beaches to the North, starting with Naithon Beach, which became my favourite because it's quiet and has good snorkeling. Surin Beach and Kamala Beach are hugely built up with resorts etc. You might want to save that map of Phuket onto your computer so you can zoom in on it. As you drive along the mountainous coast you see a lot of beautiful beaches, some big, some small and tucked away with only one resort on them.
I hit the nightlife for the first time. It's amazing how the streets change from their daytime appearance. Go-Go girls, Go-Go she-boys by the hundreds if not thousands. You wonder where they are all coming from. I ended up at a disco named Tai-Pan, like the great novel by James Clavell, until 2.30 in the morning. All the typical western disco hits, rap etc. I'm still disappointed because most Thais do not really speak even a conversational English but I had fun anyway because they can be amusing in their own unique way, especially after a few beers.
I booked my boat ticket to Ko Phi Phi and will be picked up tomorrow at 7.30. ETA in Phi Phi at 9.50. I plan to spend a couple of days there. That's the island where "The Beach" was filmed with Leonardo di Caprio. After that I'm planning to take the boat to Krabi and stay there for a while. Phi Phi is supposed to be really quiet and Krabi sort of in between with pristine snorkeling but also a bit of action, although not as crazy as here. I went to take a bit of video footage to capture the essence of Patong Beach but went to bed at 23.00.
Wow, this is it. There are no motorized vehicles on Phi Phi except boats. Gone are the noise and exhaust fumes. I'm staying at the Phi Phi Don Chukit Resort for 1000 Baht (25US$) a night. I have a fan instead of air conditioning and no fridge but everything is so close that you really only need the room to sleep or in my case write, read and relax. The island is so beautiful and in such a natural state that monkeys are still competing with man for dominance.