If you’re looking for a culture shock, somewhere different to the highly developed western world that you know, South East Asia will meet those needs.
I know many people often travel to this part of the world and plan to stay for a couple of weeks and even months however we only planned a week here which although is an incredibly short period of time for this part of the world, we surprisingly covered a satisfactory amount of experiences.
We chose the busy, tourist hub of Patong as our base. We stayed at a boutique hotel situation on top of a hill offering beautiful views of the village and beach called Baan Yin Dee. It was away from the hustle and bustle of Patong-Phucket but it only took a 2-minute ride down on the moped to reach the busy streets below. We stayed in little villa-like rooms. It didn’t even feel like a hotel room at all. As soon as we stepped outside the pool was literally by our feet. They offered a great breakfast and the staff there were highly welcoming and friendly. The room was so well decorated yet simple and modern. You felt like you were really in a luxurious Thai 1-bedroom apartment by the sea (minus a kitchen). I’d book this place again or recommend it to those of you looking for a similar type of accommodation.
During our time, here we did various island excursions such as the infamous Phi Phi islands tour and the Pang Nga tour with a tour guide and other tourists alike. Both were unbelievable and amazing places to have been able to experience. The beaches were so clean, the sand was soft and white- nothing like we’ve really imagined, the sea was a colour of greeny blue that we’ve never seen before, it was also so clear. It was just like once of those places you only see on television or on a postcard. Two islands which blew us away was Khao Phing Kan also known as James Bond Island after it was featured in one of the films as well as Maya Bay which is essentially a beach enclosed by three 100-metertowering cliffs. Nonetheless both excursions were enjoyable as all the islands were amazing and offered a private-beach, secluded, in the middle-of-nowhere type experience.
The food. Was. Amazing. Usually on the island excursions they’d provide us with freshly cooked authentic Thai food- everything from Tom Yum soup to different curries, tempura as well as veggies and fruit. There was even the standard spaghetti available for the most pickier eater so they made sure there was something for everyone!
One of the things that we enjoyed the most was the night markets which always offered the yummiest overwhelming varieties of food at very inexpensive prices – you could probably feed yourself and a friend on the Thai Baht equivalent of £5-10! There were tons of different BBQs to different breads and pastries, to rice dishes, noodles, seafood and fruit to veg and desserts.
There were also insects and cockroaches and all the other South East Asian “delicacies” that tourists often try when visiting this part of the world. Aside from the mouthwatering food there are never-ending stalls of those selling everything else from souvenirs of every kind to clothing to jewelry and even pets!
One more thing to mention about Thailand are the animals those used in Tiger Kingdom and on the various elephant excursions offered through-out the town to tourists. When planning trip to Thailand we were most excited about being up close and personal with a giant tiger and taking many photos and similarly to riding an elephant through the forests. As enjoyable as it might have been for a while however you really do get a feel for their treatment and welfare.
During both our experiences with the tigers and elephants we witnessed them being constantly prodded or sometimes hit with a stick. They also appeared quite tired and lazy. I know there already is a lot of talk about this in general but I guess that’s another story. The point is, we did end up walking away from those excursions with a slightly different outlook on these types of excursions and a sense of sadness for these animals.
Unfortunately, due to time constraints we couldn’t experience the highly recommended North of Thailand i.e. Chang Mai/Chang Rai however it’s on the bucket list for next time. Overall Patong was a great experience. A different world to the one we know and live in today - the people, the views, the FOOD and the overall casual lifestyle that they live in. Our return journey awaits!