Calling on my goldfish memory, I’ll try to recall everything about my quick Thai island trip from October. I had a couple requests to write this one, so unlikely usually, I’ll do my best to include prices for others planning purposes.
Trying to maximize days off comes in handy when Monday is a public holiday and Tuesday is my day off, like in October last year. I booked Phuket (pronounced Poo-ket) to get a bit of diving in and because I didn’t get to see any of Thailand’s beaches last time I was in the country.
The plan was to leave Saturday after work when I bought the ticket. However, Friday, Carrie Lamb used a colonial era law to ban masks. Surgical masks are common to see anyway as people wear one when they aren’t feeling well, but the target of the ban was the protestors who had been wearing them to avoid identification. My work closed early that day, as did many offices around Hong Kong. The evening saw more protestors voicing their unhappiness of the new ban. With a long weekend ahead, no one knew exactly what to expect it to look like. On Friday, we knew we wouldn’t have afternoon classes, but when we woke up Saturday morning, all classes had been announced canceled. Even though my flight out wasn’t until later that evening, I knew the airport was already doing extra screenings, so I headed out well before noon in case roads were blocked.
After what was the most stressful bus ride, expecting people on the street and road blocks just out of view, messaging my friend who told me she was getting ready to head out for a weekend of protesting, I arrived with plenty of time for an airport beer(s), and was even able to hang out with a friend while we waited. In the end, Saturday was a fairly calm day for protests as they regrouped and planned the rest of the weekend.
Touching down in Phuket, I put worries about the protests out of my mind for a few days. I had already arranged for my guest house, Pek House, to pick me up for the forty minute drive. Including airport transfer, one night stay, breakfast, and transfer to the ferry the next day where the guest house owner helped me find where to convert to baht, I believe I paid about $20USD. I found out later that my transfer was a bit expensive, but still, it didn’t break the bank. Also, converting money at the Phuket Rassada Port was a very good rate. The ferry took a few hours and even slowed down around some of the scenery on the way into Phi Phi (like Pee Pee, not Fi Fi).
Once we docked, I headed over to the diving center I had already picked out to line up my dives for the following day. After checking into my hotel, I walked down the beach to find my friend and her husband as had discovered a few days before that we had booked overlapping trips. The afternoon on the quiet beach looking out on the harbor was followed by a game of uno while waiting for dinner and some souvenir window shopping.
On Monday, I did 4 dives with Princess Divers. The price included all my equipment rental, food in between dives, and in the morning I had an instructor to myself. The diving was beautiful and was much better than the day trip I had done in HK in June. I was really happy with visibility and the amount of sea life. Star fished lazily speckled the floor, a turtled popped by to say hi, a ray kept its distance, and some sharks circled the corals. There were many different kinds of colorful fish and different twisty corals around, so I was pleased with this despite having heard to prepare myself for disappointment. However, I wish I had only done 2 dives since I had such a short time, and the afternoon dives were the same spots as the morning (locations were decided by the captain as he checks out the tides.. so they say). For the day of diving, I believe the total was about $150USD, but it’s been a while so I’m a bit fuzzy on that.
I stayed at Phi Phi Don Chukit Resort, mostly for the pool view and how close it was to town. The room was nothing special, but the pool was definitely worth it. I can’t remember the total cost for this one either, but a quick google shows $20USD a night here when booked in advance.
There are plenty of massage shops on the island as is expected in Thailand. There is nothing like a relaxing massage on the beach with a fresh coconut afterwards. The tiny island is also packed with hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, fast food, and plenty of dive shops. Definitely not the island to go for if you’re looking for a non-touristy holiday, but it is certainly beautiful and there are still quiet beaches that you can have to yourself.
While boarding the ferry back, I was able to pay for it and a transport to the airport at once at a much lower price than my previous transfer. Since I had a few hours to kill, I actually asked for a drop off at the beach nearby the airport instead. I walked along it and had dinner beach front until I could tell that a down pour would begin any moment when I gathered my things and walked around the coroner to plop myself down at the massage shop for one more Thai massage. After it was done and the crazy rain died down, I still had a bit of time left which I used for some dessert and look around at souvenirs. I definitely let myself get scammed on the taxi to the airport as I made the mistake of not talking the price before I got in, but it was luckily the amount of cash I had left so I paid and made a mental note to not forget to agree on the price in the future and kissed my $9usd goodbye.
Here are a few more food pictures. I would say a good budget would be $7 a meal, and that is eating very well.
The little shop I went to for the mango sticky rice was definitely a hole in the wall, or rather, a tree in the roof.
I maximized my time on this trip to the extreme, so my flight touched down in HK around 4.30 Wednesday morning, and made another mental note to not do to myself in the future (which I have since ignored 20x over).