Our second trip to Thailand started off with a 14 hour plane ride to China, followed by another 3.5 hour ride to Phuket. We arrived at our hotel, Sino House, at 2am, promptly showered and went to sleep. The next morning we woke up at 7am due to jet lag, travel sleep schedules, and trip excitement. Julio decided to go for a run, while Stacy and I got up for a walk around Old Town Phuket. We were careful not to get lost, and stumbled across some temples, a playground of school children sitting for prayer, and some great street art. When we got back, we had a nice buffet breakfast at the cafe next to our hotel for 200 baht per person.
We had already decided to rent scooters for the day, so we rented 3 from the hotel and one from the coffee shop next door. Julio and I only paid 250 baht for our scooter for the entire day, which is about $7. The others had to pay 300 baht ($9) to the hotel for their scooters, plus a 1000 baht deposit which they got back on return, and they held a passport.
We practiced riding around the parking lot a few times before heading out on the street, which was a good thing because Uncle Bill crashed right into a hotel pillar out front on his first try!! He was okay, luckily, and the throttle is a little touchy. After convincing the staff that he was still okay to ride one, it was decided that I would ride Julio and I’s scooter myself in the beginning and Uncle Bill would ride with Julio until we got into the more rural areas. I must say, it was a little nerve wracking to pull out into traffic on the opposite side of the road, and I was leading with only a general idea of the direction we were heading. After a stop to ask for directions, we turned out of town towards the Big Buddha.
The Big Buddha is located at the top of a hill overlooking all of Phuket. They are doing some renovations to the building around the Buddha currently to make a nicer visitor’s area and a place for the shops and stalls around the base. At the upper platform right beneath the Buddha, there was a nice spot to take photos of the statue and surroundings, plus a few overlooks. It was getting very hot, so we wrapped it up and headed to the beach.
A friend recommended Ya Nui beach on the southwest side of the island. It’s a beautiful small locals beach that’s away from the more touristy areas of Patong. We found a great spot with some shade and waded out into the shallow cove of crystal clear waters. Julio grabbed us a round of drinks from the bar across the street (120 baht/$3.50 for a large beer and 190 baht/$5 for a mixed drink) and we had a perfect relaxing afternoon.
At about 4:30, we got on our scooters again and went just a few minutes north to Nai Harn beach. My friend told us about a great restaurant called “Lobster,” but after riding the length of the beach, we didn’t see it. So we found a place to park and walked along another strip of restaurants before we found one at the end that sounded good. Once we sat down, I took a look at the front of the menu, and what do you know, we had unwittingly chosen “Lobster!!” We all had some delicious Thai dishes including chicken and seafood Pad Thai, Green Curry, and a spicy Seafood soup, and waters all around for 1100 baht, or $29. Thanks for the tip Faith!!!
After dinner we headed back down to the southern most tip of the island. At Laem Phromthep there’s a spot where you can watch the sunset from a vista up above, or you can hike down to the actual tip of the island on the beach. Uncle Bill, Julio and I chose the latter, and found a nice place to watch the sun set on our first full day of vacation.
We hurried back up the hill after sunset because we knew Uncle Bill would be nervous driving the scooter back into town at night in traffic. It was definitely no small feat, trying to find our way back to the hotel and dodging the other insane scooter riders. We made it back all in one piece though, a perfect start to what’s sure to be an amazing vacation!!