For those who don't know, I LOVE thailand. I have loved it ever since my 6ish months here in 2003. Everytime I come to Southeast Asia I want to incorporate a trip to Thailand into the visit, and so far I have been pretty successful at doing so. Conrad has never been here, so I definitely wanted to show him a bit of the country so he can really see why I love Thailand so much and want to eat at Siamese Thai, the most delicious thai food in the Greater New ORleans area, multiple times a week.
Since I have seen most of Thailand but not yet the Westernside islands and Conrad wanted to enjoy some beach time, we decided to go to Phuket. Phuket is Thailands biggest island, and a huge tourist spot. Having been to Samui and all those islands on the eastern side, I figured Phuket would be really similar, and in a way it is. Pristine beaches, friendly always smiling people, and lots of tourists. I just underestimated the % of tourists and how much the city caters to them. Samui was touristy, but I never felt like I wasn't having a thai experience. Here, that is not the case. Our hotel is swarmed with Dutch people, and the streets are lined with dutch restaurants, signs, etc. There are also a ton of scandinavians, russians, italians, and israelis, but not many americans. The vendors on the street always try to talk to us and guess where we are from, and not once has anyone guessed American. Most people think (or claim to) that we are Aussie, cause I assume there are alot of Aussies here too. Anyway, the short end of the story is, when I walk down the major street near our beach (Kata, which is a beautiful beach), I don't even feel like I am in Thailand. Conrad and I made good effort to find some authentic thai restaurants (where thai people eat) and one that doesn't serve Weiner Schnitzel or other European foods. We did a good job. We got lost, but it was a good lost. Our first dinner was at a place that didnt even have a menu. Just a husband and wife with some food laid out on the counter. Since I am obsessed with thai food, I know alot of names of dishes, and I knew what we were both craving. I asked them if they had a few of them, and a few minutes later we had some delicious food. The wife thought I was thai since I knew so many thai words (all food related) and so she told me she was going to leave, go to the market, but if I want anything else to order it in thai to her husband (who only speaks thai). I laughed.
Today we found an even better place for lunch, and it was so delicious we went for dinner too. Another mom and pop stall that made delicious curries and tom kha gai. Conrad had an awesome watermelon shake, and I finally found some yummy chai yen. Also, I bought some som tam on the street that was dang good.
Other than eating delicious food, we visited Kata Noi beach (a 15 min walk but in the blazing heat it felt like forever to me) which was awesome and less crowded than Kata, where we were yesterday. We spent the afternoon reading by the pool. I lost to Conrad in HORSE ;-( but I had a good showing. He just kept bouncing the ball off the turtles and elephants that lined the pool, and then made a ridiculous shot. It killed me. We enjoyed some more mai tais and pina coladas by the pool. The bartender let us drink the coconut milk before and eat all the carved out pineapple. it was delicious and juicy.
We are definitely enjoying the relaxation (we even slept in til 8am today!!) and are looking forward to heading out of this uber-touristy island and exploring a more low key one. we settled on Koh Lanta first and will spend a few days there. Its farther away than Phi Phi, but should be more relaxing and has just as great snorkeling (some say better, since there arent a ton of people to scare all the fish away). We will be there two nights, then decide whether or not we want to stay another night on Lanta or head to Phi Phi for a day and a half. I don't really think we can lose...both sound beautiful with great snorkeling and natural beauty. Phi Phi just sounds overrun with tourists for its size.
I am proud to report that Conrad is losing his paleness to a certain degree. He has officially lost his forehead tan line (thank God) from his hat and our Mekong Delta bike riding tour. He is even starting to lose the t-shirt farmer's tan that has plagued him for many years I suspect! I am turning quite dark, but sadly have my raccoon eyes (from my sunglasses) already. I will try to get rid of that before I come home.