The most exciting thing about Phuket was the ferry ride between Phi Phi Don and Phuket Town, when two blokes aboard our boat discovered they had gotten on the wrong ferry. The operators had to radio up the Krabi ferry to come alongside so the two errant passengers could be transferred from one boat to the other. It was accomplished easily and with precision (and astonishingly, without any ropes or tie lines between the boats), leading me to believe that this is not the first time they’ve had to perform this maneuver. I watched as each of the young men handed their luggage over our boat railing to outstretched arms waiting to grab it on the other boat bobbing up and down next to us. Then, timing their jump for a moment when the two boats were level with one another, they jumped across. I said a silent prayer of thanks that it wasn’t me who had boarded the wrong boat.
The island of Phuket is the third largest in Thailand and is the second most popular tourist destination in the country. Phuket Town is just another big city with not a lot to offer, as it doesn’t even have a decent beach, so most people head for the beaches on the west coast. Patong, once a popular beach destination, has lost favor because it is crowded, dirty, and noisy. Better options are the beaches to the south of Patong (Karon or Kata beach) or those to the north (Kamala, Surin, and Bangtao beaches). Since we had a flight out at 9 AM the next morning we decided to head for the northern beaches, as they are closer to the airport.
Bangtao seemed pricey so we settled on Surin beach, which consisted of a few stores at a junction on the main road, with a couple of sleepy side roads running along the beach. There was nothing much going on here – in fact they basically rolled up the sidewalks at 8 PM. I can’t say I’ve ever had the desire to visit Phuket and, now that I’ve been here I doubt I’ll ever come back. The prices are incredibly inflated by Thailand standards. Taxi drivers wanted 400-500 baht (the equivalent of $12-15 US) just to take you into Phuket town and we had to search around for a semi-reasonably priced restaurant. Even the beach was disappointing. I’m so glad we spent only one night here. Tomorrow morning it’s on to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand.