I did not have any Itinerary for the trip, just a list of things to do, places to explore, flavors to try thanks to extensive reading that I had done by going through, wikitravel, phuket.com, trip advisor and lonely planet.
On my list to explore were - Phuket Botanical and Butterfly garden, Phang Nga Bay, Weekend Market in Phuket Town, Promthep Cape, Kata and Karon Beaches.
We were staying in Chalong, the other advantage apart from getting value for money accommodation of being there was, that it lies in the center of all the places I had on my exploring list, some a little walk away, some a long walk away and some a taxi away.
The first place we explored was - The Botanical Garden at Phuket, quite an extensive place, divided into many sub gardens - fern, herbs, rain forest, flowers, cactus, bamboo etc, nicely maintained and labelled (though they could do with having a few guides to give information around) and for some unfathomable reason they were playing Christmas carols all over the park, which was amusing for a while, but got on our nerves after a while. But all in all it was a lovely visit and I would recommend it to anyone wishing to explore it.
From the botanical garden, we hitched a lift (it's quite safe to do so in Thailand in my experience, of course it does cost u 50-300 Bhats depending on the distance) and went on an impromptu visit to Chalong Bay, a nice and happening place cluttered with lots of eateries and Bars. Spent a lovely evening dining by a beach side restaurant called Kaneang (I'd read about it in quite a few recos) - a beautiful place, lovely ambience with good food ( esp seafood, which thanks to my anaphylaxis I can't have). We also managed to book a boat tour to Phang Nga bay from a local tour operator (I suggest that it's better to book directly with the tour companies, as these operators tend to change tours at the last moment)
|Kaneang @ The Pier|
The next day we went to see a real time Muay Thai fight in a local stadium (1000 Bhats for the tickets, I suggest get egular tickets instead of the VIP one's) and it was fun, watching techniques we were practicing, speculating. Each match begins with a dancing ritual to impress the Gods ( and we got to learn the ritual the very next day in the session). One of the matches lasted for just 10 seconds, one punch from the Australian boxer and match over (I'm sure he earned a nasty reputation) another one had this chap who could hardly find time from setting his knickers right and ended up getting a bloody injury and loosing the match.
|The Pre fight dance ritual|
|he lost the match to the pants|
The most interesting part of the match evening was of course the discussion about the lineage of tomato - whether it was a fruit or a vegetable that started between us and the couple from the camp who were accompanying us!! and we are still clueless from where it started, but we now know that tomato is a fruit and that French are a scary lot.
That night we also discovered, a lovely bar we had in our neighborhood, located around a tree, an open air place with a round stone slab, on which u can leave behind a message with ink markers (of course I lost all my sleep as played with the markers) with a yummy meal (as Jacob put it, who thinks bars can serve good meals, well this one did).
This is the beauty of travel - Impromptu moments - a peaceful evening by the sea listening to the waves, the wind, crazy and funny conversations, a lovely night by a bar with music of 90's and so many more - moments that linger in some corner of your memories and come back to you some other time, making you smile at the times gone by.
P.S - account of exploring shall continue in the next post.