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Monday, 12 December 2011

The Land of Smiles, Seafood and Cocktails

In an effort to avoid the flooding in Northern Thailand (which I found out weren’t actually that bad about a week too late) I’d made the decision to hit two of the most popular and relaxed islands, Phuket and Koh Samui, to provide a contrast to the cities I’d been spending so much time in.

Kata Mobile Bar
I arrived in Phuket in the middle of a downpour, my very British luck with the weather wouldn’t change much over the next few days, but made it to Kata Beach, my base for the next few days. What followed was a few days of cocktails and de-stressing. Kata and its neighbour Karon are two of the smaller, but no less bustling, holiday destinations on Phuket and there were plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from, some of them without the almost endless supply of hookers that most seemed to offer. My personal favourite had to be the mobile bars encased in VW vans, which mixed some brilliant cocktails on the streets.

Patong Boxing Stadium
Of course what would a trip to Thailand be without taking in some Muay Thai, especially as they had a “special” card put together for the King’s Birthday on 5th December (the Thai people love their king). A short trip to Patong brought me to the Patong Thai Boxing Stadium. This was a full night of fights, involving Thai local fighters, International competitors, women’s boxing and even a child’s bout of two 10-year olds. Typically, the bout involving the 10-year olds delivered the most brutal KO of the night with ‘Rambo’ (for that was the child’s name) delivering a cracking right elbow to his opponent, causing an almost Rashad Evans like reaction.
Bar Tuk Tuk

The second half of the week was spent in Koh Samui, a lot quieter but with no less buzzing a nightlife in the main tourist centre of Chaweng. Having settled in, and found the fantastic Bar Tuk Tuk, I spent the first full day taking a tour of the various sights of Samui Island. These include the “Grandfather” rock, the mummified monk (complete with Ray Bans) and a trip to Naumang Safari Park with its elephant rides and tiger cuddling activities.

Sadly no Enterprise Fries
My inner geek was awakened when I was informed of Captain Kirk’s Seafood restaurant in Chaweng so I took a wander down. The food was good, the ambiance and location very nice but it seems that I was horribly mistaken in my expectation of a theme. Seems like the people of Koh Samui and I have different interpretations of who Captain Kirk is…

Thailand is an amazing country from the glimpse I was able to have (with an uncomfortably high amount of middle aged men hanging out with Thai girls). 9 days is obviously not enough, and I will no doubt be back in the future with Bangkok and the North still to visit. But onwards I need to travel as I enter the final week of my trip and it's time to fulfil a dream I've had for years: Hong Kong.

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