Phuket was paradise. The surrounding islands were unreal with its clear warm turquoise waters and magnificent rock formations. After a chaotic few days in Bangkok site seeing, perpetual sunshine and daily dips into the ocean were exactly what we needed.
We stayed in the Patong district at The Senses Hotel, which is perched on a hill over looking Patong Bay. The rooms were spacious, there’s a fantastically gorgeous infinite pool, and the service was wonderful. We upgraded to a deluxe room on the top floor, and it was worth the sunset and ocean views.
We used the first day to get acquainted with the island. We took our scooter out for a test run and covered about half of the island before the sun began to set. We came across the Kata / Karon viewpoint overlooking the endless beaches and the lush green foliage. Afterwards, it was to the beaches to relax.
We had booked a tour through our hotel with Tour by U to visit Maya Bay, Loh Samah Bay, Viking Cave, The Monkey Beach, and Bamboo Island. It was a full day tour which included a decent lunch with the most amazing view.
The tour was … well… touristy… as we had expected. We had hoped that the rest of the twenty something people in our boat would be a fun group and that we would make some new friends. Unfortunately, we were on a boat with a large Turkish tour group who didn’t speak a word of English and six old horrifying Russians. So, P and I staked out a small space in the front of the boat and kept to ourselves, enjoying the sun and taking in our gorgeous tropical surroundings. Our guide was energetic and talkative, but was constantly asking us if we were “happy” so to ensure that he would get a good tip. Boat buddies aside, it’s hard not to enjoy the magnificent views and the blue blue waters.
Since becoming scuba diving certified, P and I try find every chance to go diving. Phuket was deemed one of the best diving sites in the world and rightfully so. The next day, we did two dives, one in Racha Noi and one in Racha Yai, both about an hour boat ride from Phuket. The waters were warm, the tropical fish were aplenty, and there was so much color under the sea. We had a private instructor who guided us throughout our dive, Bjorn, a Swedish former engineer who decided to pack up his bags and move to Phuket to become a dive instructor. He was patient, fun, and took the most amazing photos underwater.
Because I hadn’t dived in about a year, I was nervous… so nervous apparently that I couldn’t eat, drink, or let alone speak to Bjorn about anything, except to tell him that I was nervous. P and I reviewed some of the basics online prior to diving, but I was still shaking from the nerves (and getting a bit sea sick from the choppy ride to the dive site). After a brief refresher course with Bjorn, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. When we finally hit the waters, I was so mesmerized with the beautiful coral and ocean life that I had completely forgotten about my nerves.
All photos below were taken by Bjorn Karlqvist (BjornKarlqvist@hotmail.com):
Check out our little video of Phuket here.