After Cambodia, we needed a little time to regroup and plan for our next destination. We also wanted a little more beach time and since flights are so inexpensive, we headed for the island of Phuket for around $40 per person from Bangkok. We stayed on the southwest side of the island within walking distance of Kata beach on the Adaman Sea. Right away we noticed that Phuket had one major thing in common with a beach we had visited in Vietnam… Russians. For the first few days of our trip, I swear we were the only tourists at the hotel who spoke English!
You could spot the Russians easily. They were the bright pinkish-red people you would see walking back from the beach after sunbathing all day, completely unprotected. I’m not sure, but I don’t think that Russians have heard of sunscreen. These people were not just a little sunburned; they were the bright red, angry kind of sunburned that you know is going to keep them up all night and out of the shower for a few days. Someone really should start a sunscreen business on the beaches in Phuket… there is definitely a market for it.
Phuket is filled with things to do. It is a jumping point to visit other exotic locations such as Phi Phi Island or James Bond Island. There are shows and temples and parasailing and a million other touristy attractions, but this destination for us was really about relaxing and planning. Our days were spent catching up on homework, getting massages, reading about the different things we wanted to do in Myanmar, swimming in the pool, filling out visa applications, enjoying the sunsets, and playing at the beach… you get the idea.
I did take the opportunity to spend a few hours at a Thai cooking class, however. I learned how to make green curry, pineapple fried rice, and shrimp pad thai – all from scratch. The food was delicious and I am really looking forward to being able to recreate some of the dishes when we return home. I also got recipes for red curry and bananas in coconut milk!
With all our homework done and our bodies rested, we’re ready to return to more rustic conditions and start the second half of our journey.