The next stop on our journey to Asia was Phuket in Thailand. Just a short flight from our last stop Singapore. Now this part of the journey I was looking forward too as whilst we were in Phuket it was to be my 60th birthday, it was supposed to be a laid back leg, sun, sea, and sand, but I have to say I was somewhat disappointed. Yes it had the sun, sea, and sand but not much else in my opinion. Karon beach where we were staying was a bit like Benidorm in Spain for my liking, full of tacky souvenir shops, not very inspiring restaurants “except where we went for my birthday” with menu’s like the Encyclopedia Britannica, quite how they can produce all those dishes is beyond me. Also another thing that spoilt it for me the whole place caters for visitors from Russian. Most of the signage was in Russian and nearly all the restaurant menus were the same. Now let’s get this straight I having traveled extensively around the world, but when I leave England and travel to wherever it may be I want to sample that country for what it is, the food, and the culture not because most of its visitors are from a certain part of the globe. This is the same reason I steer clear of places that cater for the “Brit Abroad” I absolutely hate it.
We did hire a scooter and got around a bit though. We went to Kamala beach which in my opinion was much nicer than Karon. Rode through Patong, which looked like a living nightmare and visited The Big Buddha. On my 60th we went to, probably the only nice restaurant in Karon, and that was the Boat House, a really lovely restaurant right on the beach front, recommended in the Lonely Planet and by most internet searches for restaurants in the area. A beautiful meal was had and washed down with a lovely, if not expensive bottle of wine.
One place I would highly recommend visiting when visiting the island is Old Town Phuket. Lots of interesting little shops and restaurants and really lovely buildings, and more importantly much much cheaper than the resorts
Beware, you will not find a metered taxi around any of the popular beach resorts on the island. You will only find small Tuk-Tuk’s, albeit the modern variety which are small vans, normally opened sided, which huge sound systems blasting out ear shattering music, all seemingly run by the local taxi mafia. Thankfully we only used them once. Their rates are quite frankly extortionate, our short journey of about half a mile cost around £5.00, and they will not negotiate. Getting a metered taxi from the airport was ok but getting one to return as like I said it was impossible to find one. So I suggest if you get a good, friendly driver from the airport, get his or her number and use them for your return.