The Thai island of Phuket is well-known for its beaches. Phuket has more than 30 beaches, including some of the best in Thailand. Historically, much of the income for this island came from trade in tin and rubber but now the economy dependent on tourism and tourism support services. According to Wikipedia, the island is 48 kilometres (30 miles) from north to south, and 21 kilometres (13 miles) from east to west with a total area of 543 square kilometres (210 square miles). In addition to miles of beaches, the island is mountainous and covered in forests. Phuket is temperate year-round, with temperatures pretty steadily in the high seventies and eighties.
The island of Phuket, and especially the western side of the island including Kata Beach, was hit hard during the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. However, in the ten years since then, almost everything has been repaired and there are no remaining signs of damage.
After a great first night out to the weekend night market in Phuket Town, I was ready to hit the beach. I headed down to Kata Beach since it was the closest. Kata Beach is about one kilometer long with white sand and views across the bright blue water. I hung out here and read for a while until it started sprinkling. Deciding it looked like rain, I headed back to Kata Beach town for some lunch. I started with a classic veggie pad Thai and finished with an amazingly refreshing lemon-passionfruit ice shake. These shakes are very popular in Thailand and come in a variety of flavors. Made with fresh fruit and ice, it is the perfect thing for days when the heat index is 100 degrees.
The rain passed by and I headed back to the beach. I spent the rest of the afternoon at Kata Beach, and even got in the water for awhile. After a great day at the beach (minus a brief rain break), I headed back to the hostel. I went out to dinner with my new friends from the hostel, and I enjoyed being around these amazing people. The next day, my plan was to head to a second beach area in the afternoon and enjoy Karon Beach in the morning. But, as they say, the best-laid plans often go awry.
When I woke up it was sunny and looked to be another beautiful day at the beach. And then it started raining…and raining…and raining. The saying in Thailand is that there are two seasons: rainy season and more rainy season. It downpoured for about four hours, with high winds and some occasional lightning and thunder. It eventually stopped raining about 1 pm, and I headed out for lunch and then headed down to Karon Beach. The beach was starting to get busy after the rain, and the waves reflected the storm. The beaches this time of year aren’t great for swimming out very far due to rip tides. I hung out here for a bit and headed back to the hostel to get ready to leave at 5:30.
My plan was to take a minibus to Nai Yang Beach, near the airport so that I could be closer to the airport for my flight in the morning. Of course, there isn’t a direct minibus from Kata Beach to Nai Yang, so I had to take a minibus to the airport and then a taxi from the airport. While the minibus from Kata Beach cost 250 baht and took about two hours, the taxi from the airport to Nai Yang cost 400 baht and took about 10 minutes. By the time I arrived at my hotel, it was dark. Nai Yang is definitely quiet, so quiet that it didn’t appear that much was open for dinner (plus I spent all my money on the taxi) so I had some nori (seaweed) potato chips for supper. Thailand has some very interesting flavors for crisps, including nori and spicy squid.
I woke up early and headed out to take a look at Nai Yang Beach. This beach seemed pretty nice, definitely not as busy…but it was also only 7:30. It also wasn’t as clean as Kata or Karon Beach. After that short trip to the beach, it was time to catch my flight to Bangkok, where I was planning to meet my friend Ella from grad school.