Week 23 – Phuket and Yacht Week

I have arrived in Thailand! My first stop was Phuket. I got here after a long day of travel from Cambodia and when I got out I had to walk down the craziest bar street I have ever seen. I had decided to stay in the area of Phuket called Patong Beach which is the wildest place on the craziest street called Bangla Road. The reason I chose here was because the hostel looked really nice with pod style beds and was very new. What I didn’t know is that you would be able to hear to music blaring all night long. When I arrived it was Christmas Eve and most of the people in the hostel were sitting around and drinking downstairs. After a long day of travel, I knew that I was not going to go out that night, but they asked if I wanted to have a drink with them so I did. Two other girls named Jen and Brenda were also coming to the hostel that night and they were both so nice. Jen was a singer from Canada and Brenda was a math teacher from the states living in DC! I talked to Jen for awhile that night and then we all went to bed.

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Patong Beach on Christmas

The next morning, we headed out to Patong Beach. We walked a bit down the beach so that restaurants would be cheaper and it would be a little less crowded. We spent the day just chilling in the sun, going in the water, and heading to the store to get a couple of beers to watch the sunset. It was a really nice day with the girls and it was nice to be around a lot of girl chat again.

Sunset on Patong Beach

Fun day on the beach with the girls

After sunset, we went back to the hostel and had a shower and got ready to go out that night. Jen and I went down the street to get some really cheap Pad Thai and then we were ready for a great night. First, we tried to go meet up with a guy that Jen had met previously. They were at a really low key place so we changed to a rooftop where the drink were really expensive so we left that place as well. We ended up walking up and down the street and meeting up with everyone else from our hostel. Instead of going to a bar we went to 7-11 and Family Mart and kept getting drinks all night and dancing in the streets outside of each of the bars. We would change our location depending on what type of music each bar was playing. I had so much fun that night dancing in the streets. We were with a girl from Bangkok as well and she really knew how to get down!

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Going out on Christmas

The following day I rented scooters with Jen and a Dutch guy named Robin. First, we went to Karon beach. It took me a little bit to realize that we were driving on the left side of the road. I know that seems weird that it took me awhile, but when you are following someone you take a bit less notice. Karon beach was really nice and we stayed there for a little while soaking in the rays and going swimming. Then, we were back on our bikes to go up the mountain to see a viewpoint of Karon beach. While we were up there, I felt something skim the back of my head and turned around to see an eagle with its wings open. They were selling pictures with the eagle and he was attached to a chain and the owner poked it during pictures to make it put its wings out. It was hard to watch. The viewpoint was very beautiful though. We stopped for a Pad Thai lunch and this local place on the side of the road.

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Lookout point over Karon Beach

After lunch we went to southernmost lookout point. It was a beautiful area and you could see blue water all around and a couple of islands and beaches off the shore. We looked down and it seemed that you could go out to the very tip, but it would require a bit of hiking through the trees. So, we started on a hike down to get to the very end. There were places that you had to turn around and literally climb down and other places that were slippery, especially because we were wearing flip flops. We get to the end and see a bunch of crabs running everywhere. Then, we decide we would like to go into the water. It was a bit tricky getting in, but we did it and it was so refreshing!

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Southern lookout point

Jumping in at the southernmost point

We hiked back up, got on our bikes, and headed to Phuket Town. There was a lot of traffic so we were following the other motorbikes weaving in a out and down the sides. I am starting to because an expert rider (just kidding, but I am more confident). Phuket Town was just alright. There were some cute shops and restaurants, but there wasn’t much else there. We walked around for maybe 30 minutes and then hopped back on the bikes and headed home. The ride was find for awhile, but then it got dark and we needed to go down a super steep mountain where there was tons of traffic. We rode the side land down the whole way and I was gripping on to my bike so hard that my hard hurt when I got down. We went to several markets looking for food and found a super cheap food market pretty near to where we were staying. That night, I took it easy and just chilled.

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Main street of Phuket town

The following day I caught a taxi up to the northern part of Phuket where the marina was to start on yacht week. Yacht week ended up not being quite what I was hoping for. It was hard because I was on the boat with 8 other people who had known each other since college and even though they were nice I always felt like an outcast. It just wasn’t really my scene, which is a shame because it was very expensive. The actually scenery though taking a yacht around Thailand was gorgeous, I just thought we would go to more isolated places and have more time on the islands. Instead it was a lot of sailing time and we only went to the most touristy of places.

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Yachts ready to go for yacht week

The first day we spent a majority of the time in the marina just chilling. Our hostess went to the store to buy us food and we had to wait to get our boat checked before we could get on. We had an amazing skipper named Annabelle from Holland and an awesome skipper named Sara from French Canada. Finally, we get on the boat, take one last shower, eat some dinner, drink, and get ready to go to our first party. Our boat and the other boat had matching bright green shirts so we all wore them. I didn’t exactly find it super easy to meet people at the party because people were very drunk and many had already known each other from previous yacht weeks. The party was pretty fun and I came home early because I was getting sick and slept.

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At the front of my yacht

The following day we were off! The blue seas and it was a clear and beautiful day. We stopped about midday to just jump in the water and cool ourselves down. Breakfast and lunch was amazing everyday! I don’t know how Sara managed to work her magic in that small kitchen especially on the rough sea days. To give you an idea of the food we had tacos, hamburgers, baked brie, pancakes, french toast, cobb salad, eggs, and much more throughout the week. We arrived in Koh Phi Phi late in the afternoon and went to shore because some people needed white dresses for the party that night, towels, or just more floaties. We got to see the island a bit and then came back on board to change. We went to dinner at a restaurant on the island for dinner and then headed to the Lonely Bar for the party. We were one of the first ones there and it had a really good view of the whole beach party area. There were fire dancers on the beach and a huge party going on that I kind of wanted to go down there. We eventually did but it ended about 20 minutes after we got there. We headed to a rooftop bar for the after party, but a lot of us were tired so we bought huge slices of pizza and went back to the boat.

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The second day was a long sail day to Koh Lanta South. We woke up really early to pass by the beach from the movie The Beach starting Leonardo DiCaprio. We were there so early and it was already packed! You had to pay 400 Baht just to step on shore so we opted out. We arrived in the late afternoon and it was beautiful and we wanted to swim. Unfortunately, there were massive pink jellyfish swimming around our boat. I have never seen jellyfish this big! At one point we didn’t see any for awhile so we tied the floaties together and tried to get in that way. No such luck. The jellyfish sensed us and made a beeline in our direction and the girls started to freak out and got out.

Instead, we took the dingy into shore and got in the shallow water with a couple of beers because it seemed the jellyfish only liked deep water. We went back, changed, and headed to shore for dinner and the party. The party was nice that night because it was very chill and right on the beach. There was a fire show for us and I ended up talking to one of the skippers Max whose normal job is the pump up the crowds at color runs all over the world.

The third day we woke up really early and headed to Koh Lanta north. Along the way, we took a couple of hour detour to see this amazing cave/lagoon. When we pulled up there were already several tourist boats that were anchored there was lots of chinese tourists. We took the dingy in two different groups and Annabelle dropped us off at the entrance to the cave. I was in the second group and we lucked out because we were the only ones swimming through the caves at that time. It was amazing in there! We could only see with our headlamp and the sun reflecting into the cave made the water look so blue.

Swimming into the cave

It took us about 10 minutes and then we came out the other side into the lagoon. It was beautiful with the water, a little beach, lots of trees, and the cliffs rising in every direction. It felt like something that would be in a movie. A couple of hilarious things happened while we were in the lagoon. First, some of the other yacht seekers dressed up as T-rexs and were running around and it just looked so funny. Second, when the chinese tourists left the cave they all formed a line and held each other’s life jackets to swim out together. Finally, we tried to take a yacht week photo all together with everyone in the lagoon which was pretty hilarious.

Coming out into the blue lagoon

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Chinese tourists all lined up to come into the cave

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Photo underwater in the cave

After we boarded the boat (after swimming back to the boat through a crazy current) we made our way to Koh Lanta North. Once we were there we brought our the floaties and finally had our floatie party. Then, we decided we wanted to take a shower. Since there if very limited fresh water on the boat we showered in the water and then did a quick fresh water rinse off. If felt so good to be clean!! There was a party that night, but I have no idea what happened at the party. Its not that I was drunk, but it was just so unmemorable the I have no idea where or how it was.

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Floatie Party

The next day was new years eve and we were headed off to Railey Beach near Kratie. Again is was a long day sailing. First we went to Chickenhead Island which really did look like it was shaped in the form of a chicken. Here we were hoping to do some snorkeling, but again we a bit disappointed. The island we went to was pretty cool nevertheless because during low tide there was a sand bar that you could walk between two island. Other than that the island was crowded and there was very little snorkeling.

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Chickenhead Island

Finally, we arrived on Railey Beach. At this point we had been drinking a bit and were excited that Sara made us homemade chocolate cookies and we gorged on dessert. We got on shore and walked around a bit and had dinner. Railey Beach was my favorite stop that we had and perhaps this was because I got to know this beach the best. We went back to the boat, changed, got ready, and went to the party on the beach next to Railey. It was a beach party that was clearly set up just for yacht week. I come to shore and everyone is so quiet! So, I start talking to some people sitting there on a blanket and they were all solo travelers from a hostel nearby and I bonded with them in seconds. Way more than anyone else that entire week. I hung out with them all night. They lit off fireworks, had more fire dancers, and you could buy lanterns. I bought a whiskey/coke bucket for myself and had my favorite night of yacht week!

Dinner and sunset at Railey Beach

The following day was a bit of a slow start for everyone, but it was really nice because it was really nice that it was our first day that was not a sail day and we could actually spend time on Railey Beach. Railey is special because it has these high limestone cliffs everywhere that was perfect for rock climbing. The group of travelers that I met the night before were all there for rock climbing. An Argentine guy named Hernan that a met was going to be there for 3 weeks just rock climbing! I walked around with the group from the yacht at first, but then the group broke apart on the other side of the island. I went with Ashley and Sean who were married to go see a cool cave. I got along well with them. We saw two small caves on a beach with a large overhang. The caves had shrines in them and only once we approached closer did we realize that the caves were full of penises. They were all different sizes and shapes and made out of different materials. I found this hilarious. Evidently it was a shrine to mother earth and people gave penises in hope for a child.

After the caves, I left on my own and climbed up to a viewpoint. It was a bit of a hard climb over red dirt and I didn’t it in my flip-flops. They had chains on the way up to help you pull yourself up, but it was worth it. The view was spectacular and you could see both beaches. There was also a lagoon back there, but you really needed to climb down to get to it and I thought it would be impossible in my flip-flops.

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View from the viewpoint in Railey Beach

Next, I met back up with Ashley and Sean and we rented kayaks for an hour. It was very fun and beautiful. There were these giant rocks off the shore that we went along. The shore was also full of little places that you could kayak through. We got off at one point and explored a little cave. It was so fun! That night, we had a bit more of a chill party at the hostel where my friends were staying from the night before. I hung out with Hernan because the rest of them had already gone to bed and then called it an early night myself.

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View from kayaking

The next day was our final sail day. We again woke up early and hit the sea. We had one stop that day an a little inlet for a dingy party. They brought everyone from yacht week into this cove where we could stand and then circled the dingys around up and tied them up. Then, they played a lot of music and everyone drank and talked. I really wish they had done this the first day because I talked to more new people that day than I did all week. Then, we just sailed back to the marina. That night I opted to skip dinner and the party because they were far away and I needed some alone time. I showered and ate at the marina and watched Netflix all night.

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Shotgun before the dinghy party

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Going to the dinghy party

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The dinghy party

The following morning we disembarked the yacht and went and had breakfast in the marina. I took a taxi with several of the others down to the south of the island back to Phuket Town for the night. I was a bit relieved but also sad yacht week was over. I never really felt a part of the group, but it was an amazing experience seeing the Thai islands from the water! See below for a couple more pictures of the week. 

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Going out for the night
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Heading into an inlet
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After dinner group pic
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All the girls

 

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