We would touch down in Phuket at around 5pm, claiming back an hour of lost time during transit thanks for timezones, this hour however would promptly be spent in a taxi ride from airport to hotel that would last around an hour and a half anyway. The taxi would give us a fair display of what we could expect to see on the island, the majority of the roads and buildings looking old and run down, with dark greys and shades of rust being part of the primary colour palette after the rural greens and browns found on the undeveloped land between buildings. We would see all manner of third world transport methods, including the evidently popular ‘full 4 person family on a motorbike’ and ‘open top tour bus’ on agricultural lorries, these guys are as fearless as the animals, of which our taxi driver almost ran over 3 during the trip. We would also see cows on the side of the road, dogs in the middle of the road and my brother claims he saw an elephant, but nobody believes him.
Eventually we arrived at our hotel, the Old Phuket, situated next to Karon Beach. First impressions of the hotel were good, with a bus boy to take our luggage and a round of Thai bows and sawadeekaa’s, the building itself fairly grand with a bit of a temple theme, or perhaps it once was a temple, who knows. We were put up on the 4th floor, in a room with mediocre air-con (a far cry from the goosebump capable Singapore air-con) and a balcony overlooking the rest of the hotel as well as a nearby mountain and its surrounding forest/grassland. The room was looking pretty decent, until we noticed the rather odd window looking straight into the bathroom from the rest of the room (perfect for couples who want to talk while one is taking a shit I guess?), there was also a small ant problem on the furniture, with ants going crazy on the table and cupboard in the room – A call to room service later and someone was promptly spraying down our room and removing dead insects with a cloth.
We explored the rest of the hotel a little, there was a gym room with no weights (only cardio equipment, obviously everyone’s favorite in a 30 degree environment), a ping pong table and a swimming pool which had sticky water (or so my dad tells me), we also got attacked by some giant fly / bee / cockroach hybrid, which was not very fun. The rest of the beachfront area (literally linked to the hotel complex) wasn’t too much better, the majority of it filled with cheap massage parlours and market stalls filled with goods made in personal basements if not worse – looking too long at either will arouse the shopkeepers who go into full attack mode, enough to put you off even if you were initially interested. Hawker stalls were present of course, but of questionable sanitary conditions, my current light stomachache told me to stay away though the stand doing grilled fish did look appealing.
Dinner was eventually served at one of the restaurants near the hotel, where we ordered a selection of traditional Thai favorites including Pad Thai and Tom yum goong, the waitress recommended a few dishes for us as well which were okay but not particularly mind blowing, the servings of Pad Thai, morning glory and Tom yum goong soup were very nice though, and tasted authentic, the latter in particular was practically half full with soup ingredients like ginger and lemongrass resulting in a sweet and sour spicy broth with some prawns for good measure.
A short walk around the beachfront once again, where we spotted little of interest aside from a dangerous looking electricity pole which was literally sparking and buzzing. So it was back to the hotel room once again to wash off sweat and wind down for the day. We originally had a boat tour planned for tomorrow but unfortunately due to wind conditions the trip has been canceled :'( Not entirely sure what the plan is now, probably some beach and then the nearby nightlife town of Patong.