Thailand - Day #1-4 - Bangkok
18.10.2007 - 18.10.2007 30 °C
Bangkok greeted us with a brand new spiffy and huge airport. Pushing past the limo drivers offering exhorborant rates to get into the city, we got a regular taxi. If you can call a hot pink mazda regular @_@
Most people have been to Bangkok so I'll spare the details. But the basic packpacker routine is to head for Khao San road, get a nasty hotel, shop, party and sweat till you can't take anymore, then leave for either jungles or beaches in the rest of Thailand.
We lasted about 4 days before it all got rather repetitive. The only site we bothered seeing was the Royal Palace. I managed to buy a new camera, same as before, but quite a bit cheaper even.
Scotto's really had his heart only set on seeing India and is not really your palm tree dwelling chill master type, so he decided to move his return ticket way forward. Which left him about 4 days to do something before leaving.
I hadn't been to Phuket Island and that is easy and cheap to get to, so we decided to head down there. We booked a ticket on OneTwoGo airlines which you may remember had a nasty crash about a month ago on landing in Phuket. Also we planned to initially stay in Patong Beach on the Andaman Sea side of Phuket island, which was quite hard hit by the tsunami back in 2004. So though there was nothing to worry about statistically, in the back of your (well mine anyway) mind the what-if's can start to gather.
We got on our plane and sat in our first row allocated seats. Mmmm the crumple zone. We finally landed with a healthy bump in Phuket International airport. It was quite late and pouring with rain. People were standing around waiting for taxi's to the beach locations. Its about 1 hour drive to Patong Beach. No official taxi's were coming, so I negotiated with some freelancer and got on the road.
We had thought it would be a relatively straight forward taxi ride but after only a kilometer or two he pulled off the road without a word and drove slowly up to a building and stopped outside in the rain. We asked what was going on and got no reply. He mozzied out of the car up to a semi lit unit with glass front wall, while leaving some lady in the front seat with us. We could see him talk to some other guy in a singlet, then he headed to the back of the unit and helped himself to something in the frigde. By this stage, we were getting mighty pissed off and a little worried. The girl in the front seat just remained silent. Eventually Mr singlet man plods over to Scotto's door, opens it, leans in and starts asking us where we are going and what hotel we have booked. Annoyance started to vastly overtake any fear we might have been harbouring and we defended our initial plans. It took quite some time just to get our driver back and simply head to the main street of Patong Beach.
We finally made it to Patong Beach and just wanted to be dropped at the hotel we asked. Either he really had no idea where it was or he had another cunning plan in his head, cause he took us through some dodgy streets to some other hotel. We got out and after painful discussions with the staff were told "You know this is the gay area". We forced the driver to take us closer to the main area. He took us to a hotel called Aloha Villa where the rooms were modern and fine for 1000 baht a night (around AU$30).
After freshing up we found the closest restaurant, gorged 2 crabs and other assorted seafood and headed down the main street for a look see.