In Khao Sok, we began to split somewhat. Some of us went home for school again, some stayed and had made arrangements for their accomodation - or at least thought, they did. Anyway it turned out to be strongly recommended to secure your hotel before, when travelling in January. Everything was fully booked and the plan to find a nice hotel by selecting it on-site, simply failed. When a hotel booking was cancelled due to a communication problem, it was re-booked next day and there was no way to get another room in the same hotel or any other place they phoned to. So I was very lucky Tiger had the telephone number of Father's Bungalows where we would start from when entering the schooner. They still had some rooms left and could take instant bookings. The place is simple, without pool or breakfast, but clean, well-kept and low-priced.
See Father's Bungalow in Google Earth!
The ones not being able to get there always only found a shelter for one night and had to move out every morning - three times before going home again.
Anyway, this was our chance to see a bit more of the island than just tourist places. Phuket looks so small on the world map, but travelling the streets may easily take an hour or more by car in Thai speed. And that is NOT a slow one, even less a shy one. The Thai drive like mad and once a foreigner is involved in an accident, they always will blame him. If he would not have been there calmly waiting at the red traffic lights, nothing had happend... It is not a legend, it's the experience of several people we spoke to.
Along the streets, one finds the signs of ancient belief right next to the American left-overs, when sent their Vietnam fighters for recreation to Thailand. It's not only the marching bands, it's the girls enjoying cowboy hats, too. And next to all that modern stuff with lots of dive and internet shops, everyone has a more or less well-kept ghost house, that requires special attention. One never knows where a ghost used to live and if it possibly felt chased away. So it is very recommended to keep the ghost friendly. One never knows...
There is no real public transport on Phuket. Only from Phuket town there are fix priced taxis driving you where ever you want. If you're very brave, rent a motorbike, if you're lucky, use somebody's pickup to travel.
When there still were some arrangements with the bungalows, I could join the others and took the lucky way of travelling. The others stayed in a private home with a friend of Jo's, enjoying his pool and his driver services. So one day we went to a restaurant Steven recommended. You sit on floating rafts and after ordering and receiving your meal, you may trail yourself into the middle of a pond. Along with the meal for the humans, they sell food for the fish.
These rafts are a really nice place with a nice breeze around and the food is as great as Thai food is. But the aboundance of fish (and other) food and the hot climate gets the pond close to the edge. And indeed, the fish I observed were catfish and Giant Gouramis - fish that can survive in nearly oxygen-free water. The only favour I could do these poor guys was not to feed them.
The next day, we would go to the jetty and sail away for a while.
|© 4 pics Jo Kearsley, 1 pic Emma Timbs
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