I was despondent on our 2nd full day in Phuket because we were set on joining a whole day boat tour of Similan Islands, about a 2 hour boat ride away. It’s a chain of beautiful beach islands, famous snorkeling spots if you’re into that. But by the time we were ready to pay and book the tour, we found out it’s fully booked, and there’s no chance for us to join. I couldn’t shake it off. I was in a bad mood the rest of the day because I badly wanted to see those islands I’ve heard so much about. I’m pretty sure it would be just as run over by tourists, but I wanted to see them anyways. But for the most of the day, I put up a brave face and enjoyed Phuket a little more in depth, since we had no choice but to spend more time on the island. One side of Phuket is the island paradise that it is. The beach is gorgeous, and I could just stay there and soak up the sea and sun ALL DAY. Just on a side note, the waters along the beach is never really quite clear, not the way it is in Boracay for instance. I’m not sure if it’s the actual water or just the natural particles suspended in the water. But the second side of Phuket is the seedier side. So funny, Baby Whale was just telling me about an article on the internet about a supposed scam in Pattaya where the people renting jet skis would rent you a jet ski, show you before you use it how spotless it is, then after you return it, they’ll show you a large gash that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, then demand that you pay for the “damages”. Supposedly, there really are damages already, but covered with a sticker or paint that is engineered to peel away once it gets wet in the ocean, so that when you return it after use, voila, it’s damaged. No longer than 30 minutes after we talk about that, as we were walking along the beach, we see a commotion. And as if on cue, the jetski owner was ranting to the customer, about how he damaged the jet ski, pointing furiously at the damage on the side, while the customer was swearing that he never hit anything while riding it. They were haggling on how much the hapless guy was supposed to pay the owner. Poor guy, never saw what hit him.
And of course there’s the fun but seedy Bangla road, Phuket’s red light district. By day, it looks like any other street. But at night, it’s closed to traffic and suddenly it looks nothing like it’s daytime incarnation. It’s like a woman who looks a meek and mild plain Jane by day, then a garishly made up floozy by night. You’d be barraged by barkers offering “ping-pong” shows, live sex shows, private shows, drag queen cabarets, magic shows, etc., and women as well as “women” offering their “services” for the night. One funny exchange between a white guy and a beautiful lady boy — Ladyboy: “I give you foot massage!” White guy: “Sure, how much?” Ladyboy: “400 baht, 500 with happy ending!” That’s the first time I ever heard of a FOOT massage with a happy ending. Hmmm.
So it’s like paradise island on one side, temptation island on the other. It’s got everything for everybody. You’ve got women of all shapes, sizes and ages walking around topless and at the same time you’ll see Muslim women wearing their burkhas with only their eyes exposed to the sun. It’s a two-faced paradise, you’ll never know which side you’re going to get.