Going to Phuket was something my wife and I had really been looking forward to. We were excited about the beach and the food and whatever entertainment we could find. We got a few suggestions from friends as well. We started making plans well before we went, but somehow those plans wound up getting thrown out the window.
The problem was the weather. We booked our tickets and accommodations about a month in advance so there’s no way we could have foreseen what was going to happen, but we made the most of it.
The trip from Singapore to Phuket was standard. Nothing special. It’s a short flight. There is a time zone change of one hour, but that’s not too bad.
When we got to the airport in Phuket we had to get past the horde of people trying to sucker us into taking a ride in an expensive taxi. Just outside the door there were people holding laminated signs advertising their services. Most of these guys want 600 baht. I recommend going to the right just outside the door and walking straight until you cross a small road and are at a taxi stand. The official airport taxis are multicolored (red/yellow I think) and have set fees and set maximum fares for destinations. You’ll pay about 400 to 450 baht for most destinations there. No point in letting yourself get ripped off unnecessarily. The airport taxis are new and clean as well.
Once we got underway I was surprised by how similar Phuket was to the Philippines. Even the driving style was similar. Apparently the lines on the road are just a suggestion in Thailand. Also, when we started following the coastline the driving barely slowed, despite the severe curves and the fact that we were just a few feet from long drops down to the ocean. At least the roads themselves were in good condition!
Patong Beach could’ve been a town in the Philippines.
The architecture was a bit different, but the feel of the place was similar. It really reminded me of Antipolo.
As for the weather, it got progressively worse. When we first arrived it was overcast and drizzling.
Throughout the day the rain would lighten or stop, then come down in heavy showers again.
The second day was about the same.
By the evening of the second day though, the rain started coming down more and more heavily and it was nonstop. I can’t be sure but it seemed like every time I woke up that second night it was raining, and the whole third day it rained too. About an hour before we left for the airport the streets started to flood.
This set the tone for our trip and we spent less time on the beach (because there was no sun and the surf was rough from storms) and more time exploring the town and eating.
Of course, we didn’t get to see everything and we’re definitely planning on going back.
(More on Phuket tomorrow)