Our travel blog- Thailand
WE HAVE ARRIVED !!! Finally, after long waiting and a 16-hour flight, we landed on The Phuket International Airport 🙂
We had a chance to fly with Qatar Airlines for the first time. Our impression? WOW… The standard of the service on board is so impeccable, the planes are extremely comfortable, with the wide variety of entertainment for the flight. As for the food, during our first flight we didn’t chose any special option and received an appetizer, biryani chicken and a cheesecake for desert, all of which was really tasty.
For the second flight, and it’s a huge WARNING, we pre-ordered the fruit platterns; for one part, out of curiousity, for the other, because I (yeah… it was my fault 😉 ) decided that we don’t really need a huge meal for a night flight. Actually, before the departure, Konrad did warn me that it may not be the best idea, but, of course, I didn’t listen. We ended up getting only fruit plattern: no appetizer, no desert, nothing, apart from fruit. It wouldn’t be a problem at all, if not for the fact that like 80% of the meal was mango, which I personaly hate. And Konrad ended up hungry as hell 😉 But here, another huge plus for Qatar, they brought us additional meals and offered to bring another ones if that wasn’t sufficient.
At 6 AM we landed in Phuket. Before coming here, we did some research and the first and major thing we knew about Thailand was: DO NOT take a taxi, unless you really have to, and even then go only for the one that has the meter on. Obvious, isn’t it? Well, it seemed obvious to us as well. Before getting here, we also tried to download the google off-line map, but it turned out that this option is not allowed for Thailand. So the first thing we did was getting the Thai sim card to get the access to the Internet, just in case. At home, we checked how to get from the airport to Phuket and decided that taking a bus was the best option. We weren’t in any hurry and had plenty of time before our check-in time in the hotel. Having all that in mind, we went out of the terminal, extremely happy following the signs for the bus station, or so we thought… And the first major problem was that the airport was undergoing some renovations, so almost all the area outside of terminal was blocked out from traffic. The second issue was that the so-called bus station turned out to be the taxi and minibus station, with no signs of the local buses. We searched in google for like half an hour, or something, and with the amount of equipment that we had (we carry climbing gear as well and this is heaaavy), we finally decided for a minibus. We paid for it probably at least twice the price of a regular one and were led to… a TAXI? ehh… I guess that everyone who travels to Asia get cought into this scam at least once in the end… To make things worst, the driver, who, obviously, didn’t speak a word of English, stopped by some shady shop and a muslim lady came out to talk with us. That was a moment I got all my senses back somehow and didn’t allow for any extra payment (she claimed that our hotel was in the other zone and we should have paid more…) and cut off all the discussions about any trips and boats they would like to offer us. Ok, I got angry and told the driver to leave us in the city center, as we’re going out to eat something and to just drive away.
But there was a problem.. We still had like 4km to get to our hotel and, normally, it’s nothing, but getting there with heavy backpacks (in my case- 2, as I’m carrying the climbing gear) in a serious heat was a true challange. But after over an hour of crawling we finally got to our bungalow. And that completely changed our first impression! We ordered this hotel , because it was supposed to be almost next to the harbour, from which we’re leaving for Phi Phi Islands tomorrow. Honestly, we expected a complete crap… but ended up in a cute, clean bungalow with a swimming pool, Wi-fi connection, breakfast included and all the fascilities you may need.
Next, we headed to the harbour, which turned out to be a 40 minute walk (without luggage!) in an over 35 degree heat, with no shade along the way. We thought… great, a wonderful sign for tomorrow 😉 But, luckily, we got our ferry boat to Ko Phi Phi and then to Railay Beach for 1000 bahts with a transfer from the hotel in the morning. We checked the pices before coming, and the online price was around 600-700 bahts to Phi Phi only, so it wasn’t a bad deal ;).
What about Phuket? The only thing clear about the city center was that this town is not entirely touristic. I mean sure, we did spot 2 or 3 backpackers in the center, but that was pretty much it. Here, in our neighbourhood, we seem to be the only foreigners around O_O We walked most of the day today and seriously didn’t see any other tourists, apart from the harbour itself. And it’s pretty amazing.
The Thai are extremely nice people, sometimes irritating, when trying to sell you something, but generally pleasant and polite. I went for a short run today and almost everyone, and I do mean everyone, kids, girls, boys, adults, were smiling at me or waving. The Thais are known for their smiling attitude for a good reason. On every corner here, you see a real Thai life and, unfortunatelly, the poverty.
However, staying in a local place has also another impact. FOOD. Oh, yeah, food. Having heard so much about this absolutely delicious Thai cuisine and the outstanding street food, we expected to have at least a decent meal today… Here comes a surprise. Apparently, the type of street food strongly depends on its recipiens, so, since there are no tourists here, it’s dedicated to the locals. There are lot’s and lot’s of street markets offering fruit, like pineapples or coconuts! That’s great, but we also wanted to eat something more solid after a long journey. And there came a problem. Sure, there are several street spots where you can get something hot to eat, but the thing is that the only thing they offer here is… chicken. You may say: what’s the problem? The problem is that what they sell here are only chicken feet and strangely looking wings, and heads with the necks- in many forms. But it seems absolutely not possible to get any other part of that animal that we would be more accustomed to. Ok, I know that you should try local specialities and all, but we said pass here. We finally managed to find somebody to make us an egg with something that was not a chicken and, in the end, we had some rice with eggs and parsley O_O. I mention it here, as we almost always hear great things about a variety of Thai food, street markets and all that, but what we had to realise today is that all this is true, but only for the tourist regions. When you look closer to the locals, who do not live in the popular areas, their life and habits may be completely different.
Tomorrow morning we’re going to the Phi Phi Islands 🙂 And now, we need to get some good-night sleep 😉