Map of Phuket
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1$US =~ 40 Baht


Yanui Beach

 

 

 


Thai Navy Founder Prince


Lighthouse

 

Naithon Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Phi Phi Don

Jan.13 continued

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.
Steve had just flown in from London after his kids told him Phuket would be fun. His wife passed away three years ago, which was a great loss for him. He likes sailing and soccer just like I do and is a very enjoyable drinking buddy. We toured a couple of bars and I showed him the beach. By 2200 we were both tired enough, exchanged numbers and called it a night.

Saturday,Jan.14

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.

Sunday, Jan.15th

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.
There's a great view off the cape and there was what looked like an orange bald eagle. It's the second time I've seen one but it has eluded my video camera so far.
I snorkeled another 30 minutes and then headed back to the hotel for a little siesta.
I went to the Irish bar for happy hour and talked to a few expatriates. One of them, an American named Brian has been here for 10 years and teaches at a private school here where parents pay 10 000$ US a year to send their children. He says the frustrating thing is that there are no scholastic requirements so he has to put up with the kids even if they're stupid and unwilling as long as the money is there. I was asking about the tsunami and apparently it's a huge propaganda scam and a lot of people are driving bigger cars because of it. The first wave hit at 9.30am and people that were lying on the beach got wet but stayed on. The second bigger wave hit at 10.30am and inundated the first ocean front street buildings. People that lived on the second floor only got their feet wet but people that lived one street further away from the ocean didn't even get wet. Had the waves hit at 9pm the casualty rate would have been much higher because of the dinner crowd that occupies the oceanfront restaurants. As it was there were around 70 casualties in Patong. Khao Lak, a narrow stretch along the beach further North was hit much harder.

Monday,Jan.16th

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.
One does see some surreal, felliniesque scenes of old, 300 lbs. men with 3 tiny Thai girls etc. Sometimes money doesn't talk, it swears.....

Tuesday,Jan.17th

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.

Wednesday, Jan.18th

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.
Tomorrow I booked an all day snorkeling tour that takes you to all the great spots on this little archipelago of 9 islands or so.
I had two beers at the Monkey Beach Bar and talked a bit to the owner, a native Thai who survived the tsunami. Here it really hit and just rolled over the tiny strip of land that seperates the East from the West coast, creating a washing machine effect. A hotel capacity of 1000 rooms was annihilated and even buildings built of concrete blocks (bricks) were swept away.
In this case only a fraction of the losses were compensated and rebuilding is slow because the government in Bangkok is thinking of rezoning the whole place and turning it into a high priced, exclusive resort. During our conversation monkeys were throwing coconuts and pissing from the roof. There are two competing monkey families and it is not advisable to venture off into the forest because they can attack and bite. They forage for food and steal or break things whenever the bar is unattended.

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Tsunami Damage

 

 

 


Phromthep Cape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Naithon Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Monkey Beach Bar