After one week in Malaysia, we arrived in Phuket Island, Thailand.
Phuket Island was a complete departure from the secluded, private feel of the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia. I felt as though Phuket was made to cater to all the needs of the tourist: Thai massages, bars, clubs, island tours, and an endless amount of other miscellaneous attractions.
We stayed at Baan Lai Mai, which is quite possibly my favorite hotel out of all my travels to date. The name itself is fun to say over and over again. It was conveniently located right across Patong Beach, was close to shopping centers and restaurants, and was only a five-minute walk to Soi Bangla (the party street). Best of all, they had an enormous outdoor pool that lapped around the entire hotel. Seven-year-old Joyce would've stayed there all day to make up stories of underwater princesses, mermaids, and pirates. Twenty-three-year-old Joyce spent time at the pool bar and practiced heading soccer balls into tube targets.
I was excited to eat authentic Thai food since it was my first time in Thailand. But, for our first dinner, I took the Italian to have Italian food because he's Italian and likes Italian food and wine over all else. We arrived at La Gritta just before sunset and requested the best table right on the water's edge. It had an incredible view of both the Patong Beach skyline and the horizon of the ocean.
Him: I'm crying of happiness inside.
Me: Aww, how sweet!
Him: This wine, it's just so good.
Me: Great. Nevermind.
Unlike the Perhentian Islands, Phuket Island had a great choice of restaurants and varying cuisines. We mainly stuck with Thai food for the remainder of the trip. I loved the delicious seafood choices, something I don’t find often in Thai restaurants in the US (curry crab, anyone?).
The next few days were full of animals (monkeys and elephants and tigers, oh my!), lazy naps by the pool, tuk-tuks lined with neon lights, fruity alcoholic drinks, alternative modes of transportation (jet skis, ATVs, scooters, boats, elephants), odd but cheerful locals, and meals with at least two entrees per person.
We finally rented a scooter on our fifth (and final) day in Phuket, despite warnings about how dangerous it was. There’s a statistic that says that one person dies per day because of a scooter accident in Thailand, and that doesn’t include the many that get injured. Just as we got the keys, it started pouring rain. Perfect.
We made our way over to the opposite side of Phuket Island from Patong Beach to Phuket Town. Though we'd heard good things about Phuket Town and its charm, we found out that Phuket Town was full of old, broken-down homes, and otherwise empty.
We also discovered that really hurts to ride a scooter while violent raindrops crash against your face. Luckily, that was the extent of our injuries. WE SURVIVED!
Phuket Island was amazingly fun. I really did not want to leave, but it was time to move on. Next stop: Bangkok