It's fun when you sit on your elephant for the first time, but soon after that...
“We highly recommend everyone who visiting Phuket to try elephant ridding experience,” says the advertising.
We don’t need to be rid of them completely; we rather enjoyed looking at them in Phuket, but the family’s elephant trekking experience was underwhelming, to say the least.
Elephant trekking is one of the ‘must-do’ events while in Phuket, to judge from the number of brochures advertising it in every hotel lobby and tour booking stall. It conjures visions of a wild adventure, lumbering through jungle tracks where no wheel could ever roll, with rivers to ford and the chance of shooting a tiger (with the camera of course). Continue reading
The Big Buddha contemplates the work being done on his nether regions.
I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog that much of Phuket can no longer be regarded as beautiful. Perhaps this is just what happens when pristine beaches and friendly local people are discovered by millions of tourists. Nonetheless, there are some attractive little oases left. Continue reading
Some judicious photo cropping is needed to make Phi Phi look as deserted as this.
‘Thanks Heavenly Father the terrible tsunami we were free from dangers in this area,’ announced a noticeboard at our lunch stop on Phi Phi Don island.
It made the cynic in me wonder what other areas of Phi Phi had done to offend the Heavenly Father, and why He didn’t try just a little harder to prevent thousands of tourists and locals from being fatally caught in Ton Sai Bay in 2004.
But yesterday we were glad He’d decided to spare parts of Phi Phi; the islands are certainly among His more beautiful creations.
Being both beautiful and easily accessible by speedboat from Phuket, this paradise is naturally very popular.
At Phuket Lagoon Boat Marina, under blazing sun, we shuffled along the gangplank to board a Royal Andaman cruise boat for the one hour trip out to Phi Phi. Many others, a good proportion of them Russian, were doing the same. Continue reading
Mind you don't get those bikes wet!
We finally arrived in real Thailand yesterday. We rode bikes through little villages and rubber plantations, past stalls selling dried fish and pineapples, threatened by mangy dogs and encouraged by cheerful locals. We saw forests and streams.
In sympathy with the tribulations Thai people are suffering at the moment, we also got soaked by tropical downpours as we waded through floods.
Tropical downpours have the great advantage of being made from pre-warmed water, but apart from that, it was hard to remember ever having ridden in worse conditions. And I know we’ve never had so much fun riding in the rain. Continue reading
It was all a bit of a blur.
I lost a bit of credibility as an alternative-type traveller yesterday.
Around lunchtime I sat in the Karon Aussie Bar, clutching a beer in a stubby holder, my eyes glued to a TV screen in the corner.
Friendly Thai ladies hovered behind me, ensuring I had regular refills and supplying a packet of wipes when, during a particularly exciting moment, chilli sauce slopped off my fishcake and onto my shorts.
If I keep doing this sort of thing, I could soon find myself among the Australians behaving badly at Pamplona or Oktoberfest. Continue reading
Beautiful gardens, but is it paradise?
Mevrouw T and I are not accustomed to staying in up-market resorts, so we’re not sure what such places are supposed to do to earn their extra stars, other than pleating the ends of the toilet rolls.
We’re more used to B&Bs and hostels, but this is a family holiday following a family wedding, so the resort at Thailand’s Phuket with children and grandchildren is the destination. It may be a little unconventional to invite the whole tribe on the honeymoon, but having free babysitters on tap makes the deal attractive. We were happy to accept the invitation. Continue reading