We left Bangkok for Phuket Island, Thailand at the end of January. We had no idea what was in store for us in Phuket but at this point in our travels we were ready for a place to call, “home” for a short while. We’d guessed island living for three weeks was a solid choice.
We’d been frequently moving locations from December 15th, 2017 to January 23rd non-stop. Here are the places we went in a month’s time:
- The Amalfi Coast for hiking
- Colombo, Sri Lanka to Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
- Back to Colombo for a day.
- Rathaburi province
- Back to Bangkok.
That is three countries and more than fifteen cities in one month.
At this point I think we finally reached what we’d read about called, “travel fatigue.” As grateful as we’ve been to experience this journey, moving frequently with all your bags can become very old. We were tired and cranky and ready for a place to “hang our hats” for a bit, as we had in Florence, Italy for 2.5 months.
Arrival in Kathu
We booked an apartment via Air BnB in Kathu, Phuket. Kathu is a small town in the center of the island. We chose this location because of price and the ability to get to different parts of the island relatively easily. A cab ride was between $10-15 dollars and renting a car for a day was very affordable. We originally wanted to rent a moped to get around but after seeing the driving standards and foreign people with huge bandages wrapping their bloody and bruised arms, legs, or heads we decided to leave the mopeds to the locals.
Phuket Island is a not a place I’d ever visit again.
The over developed resort areas of the island have nice beaches, and some of the lesser known beaches are nice too, but every beach we visited had trash floating everywhere. We were disappointed at how much trash we saw on the once beautiful beaches of Phuket.
We also didn’t appreciate the tourist vibe in Phuket. The tourists that visit are (mostly) obnoxious and do not respect the local culture. They leave trash on the beach and participate unabashedly in rampant sex tourism. We saw a lot of tourists from countries that shall not be named (they were NOT American, thank you, God!!!) that treated local employees in the travel service industry like shit. Like literal servants!!! These observations left a bad taste in my mouth.
The only way I think you’d enjoy spending time on Phuket Island is if you were at an uber-exclusive, expensive (for Thai currency) resort. But I feel like that isn’t a “Thailand” experience. You can go to a much more beautiful location in Mexico, Vietnam, Florida for relatively the same expense and experience: beautiful beach, tiki bar, massages.
I have heard mixed first person reviews of the other small islands around or near Phuket Island. Koh Samui, for example. Some people said it was paradise, some people said it was full of trash and over priced. I can’t speak about those islands.
We went to the Koh Phi Phi Islands archipelago and did experience their beauty on a day trip – but again – the islands seemed over developed and grossly crowded.
Daily Life In Kathu
For the next three weeks we welcomed the respite. As much as I didn’t like Phuket, I was happy to be somewhere for a three-week period. We took day trips to beaches in between working on our various projects (our freelance projects, my novel, personal creative projects).
In the morning we’d make coffee and catch up on emails. For midday break we’d leave the apartment for lunch somewhere. The food places were decent, but nothing special. We’d usually cook dinner at home. We ate A LOT of coconut rice and curry during those three weeks.
In the afternoon I’d sun tan by the pool. The pool at the apartment was my favorite part of the apartment. It was a lengthy infinity pool and tanning beside it was very relaxing.
Our Happy Hours in Kathu were some of my favorite. We’d buy beer or off brand whiskey with Thai soda while dancing and listening to one of three musical artists: Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley, and Jack Johnson. I also grew to love cleaning/dancing in the apartment to one of these three musicians. This is a past time I will bring back with my to America. Why not?! 😉
We saved money, made money, and got projects done in Kathu which was the goal of the three weeks.
Since hindsight is 20/20, if we could go back in time, we should have stayed in Northern Thailand, rather than south.
Northern Thailand – from what I’ve been told – is less tourist ridden, authentically Thai, and beautiful. We should’ve stayed in Chang Mai for three weeks instead of Kathu, Phuket. But these are the things you learn while traveling. You don’t know till you get there. You Live You Learn.
Images from around Kathu: