*Szilvi: Italic , Levi: Normal*
Phuket was a very pleasant surprise and I’m glad we started our new life there. It has everything to offer we needed to start. It’s not a secret, on our first trip we avoided Phuket, cause all you can hear is it’s a party place, clubs and ping-pong shows everywhere and really, that’s not for me. I even heard the beach was dirty. So, now I can say, it describes only Patong. But the rest of the island is stunning and I’m sorry for the people who visited Patong only and thought they knew Phuket.
Our condo was basically in the middle of the island in Kathu, so in 30-45mins tops we could get everywhere by scooter. We spent 2 months there and I can’t say it was enough. We started on a low budget, trying to set our life up first and without thinking we are on a holiday. So, no scooter in the first month, but lots of hours in front of our laptops, setting up our profiles on different freelancer sites, applying for jobs and hoping to be spotted amongst thousands. To be honest, in the beginning I didn’t even missed the beach as I imagined it’s dirty anyway. And we had a decent pool at the condo with a small gym on site, it’s way better than any of our flats before. We visited Patong beach a couple of times, only reason being a local bus went to that beach only. All my expectations became true, if you want more than being amongst drunks all day and harassed by girls to go to shows, than better to avoid this place.
It’s just not for us. Wherever we go we want to see its authenticity, its scenery, the hidden places and the way the locals live and not the tons of bars, escorts and drug dealers, the harassing tour operators, animal shows like tiger kingdom or different elephant shows (huge f*cking NO-NO). A drugged tiger, or a baby elephant on chains being poked by drunk tourists, others even ridden by them are just not nice sights. These are only for tourists who think that`s the way here and these make a good holiday. But these aren’t real, all scams.
I joined a yoga place and I actually got so inspired, that mastering yoga became one of my goals – read all about my NY resolutions here. The locals were so nice to us, I never felt unsafe or being excluded as a foreigner. Rather, they were genuinely welcoming and friendly with us. I guess you know when someone’s being nice only to sell you something, now this was totally different. I had a very nice experience at the local fruit stand, here is the story if you haven’t read it.
That’s what makes our life happy here even though we slowed down, we don`t explore as actively as we did if it was just a holiday. People here don`t complain, they avoid all confrontations even on the roads. Traffic is horrible here, accident rates are high, people don`t really follow the rules, yet there is no honking the horns like crazy or yelling one another by the lights.
The sun shines, smiles are constant, food is lovely, respect is real, it is like there was nothing to worry about. Which is true, there is never anything to worry about. (Oh, I`m so Buddhist now, haha)
Eating out is normal, I couldn’t believe it. I - who cooks a lot - was served with fresh meals twice a day, what cost less than the ingredients for a western food in the supermarket, unbelievable. And so yummy foods, hmm. I have to admit it though, I got surprised a few times when I ordered my meal and I received something totally different, never mind, I don’t like complaining. Let’s just say, it’s lost in translation.
For the second month we rented a scooter, we needed some time off and look around the island finally. We visited markets, amazing waterfalls, stunning, hidden beaches and agreed to come back sometime as this short time was hardly enough to see all the beauties there.
One of the highlights: the little trip with Matyi and Szandi on the island. After about 10 years it was good to catch up with Matyi (a fella from my hometown) and got to know his fiancee. Surprisingly there is so much in common, we`re all up for self-improvement, self-awareness and a successful life out of the ordinary, they`re in Malta, we`re on this side of the world.
And then…. something really bad happened. When Levi called me I knew something’s wrong, he never calls, only texts. He’s in hospital with a broken shoulder. I was in shock for a minute, couldn’t believe it’s happening and all scenarios from A to Z went through my head. I was still limping by a previous ankle injury, but somehow, I managed to jog to the hospital. He looked better than I expected, “only” a broken collarbone. It’s not ideal, but we can deal with it. A little bit of replanning and less activity for a while and we’ll be over with it. Not saying it’s easy, but many times we just burst out laughing on our pity. I have a child basically to look after, at least a well-trained one :)
So that’s the reason why Szilvi leads this post and I just assist here with some thoughts, which are not exactly necessary to make her job good and well crafted but my ego wants to show off. After all we write this blog together regardless of how painful it is to lean above the keyboard and type. Yes, I was really upset and really down for a few days, but I have to focus on the positive that is supposed to come out of it. Oh, by the way, hospitals here run on high standards, very professionals and very cheap. If you have a health problem or a broken collarbone, I`m happy to show you around here.
All in all, Phuket has so much to offer beyond the touristy spots, you can find real gems, you just have to look a bit closer. Check out some of our recommendations and pictures below:
Where we stayed:
The Scene Condo
Where to eat:
Fongnom Ketho Café
Seafood Restaurant ( next to Fongnom)
The Big Chicken
Phachomtawan (a bit pricecy, but view is stunning)
“The favourite place”
Kathu Fresh Market (the best fruits)
Na Ka Night Market
Where to train:
Phuket King Muay Thai
Just Fit Phuket
Bangwad Dam - Lake and forest to run. A lap around the lake is 4 miles.
If you get injured where to get fixed:
Siam Physiotherapy - Yanee, the amazing therapist
Waterfalls we visited:
Bang Pae Waterfall - taking a dip is a must!
Beaches we visited:
Nai Harn Beach
Ao Sane Beach (good snorkeling)
Patong Beach (awful)
Hat Laem Sing