Our first whole day in Phuket wasn’t really in Phuket, as you saw. Instead, it was spent in a screensaver.
In our continued quest to spend time away from the pit of comfortable first world delights, we signed up for a tour around a few cool spots on the island of Phuket. The first stop, nice and early in the morning, was a beautiful lookout point over Karon Beach.
There was a guy here hanging out with two eagles. Just having an early morning eagle chill sesh. Until you tried to take a snap of his eagle friends at which point he would launch into his celebrity management routine and charge you 500 baht for a picture. STEEP. BYE.
Speaking of the exploitation of wild animals, the next stop was an elephant ride. I didn’t enjoy this at all and the very memory of it makes me sad. Mostly because when we booked the tour and were told there was an elephant ride built in, the tour associate promised me (and, foolishly, I believed her) that the elephants were respected and treated very well because they recognized how special they were. The ride was about 2 minutes around a circular track stuck in elephant traffic because they had too many elephants and elephant riders present. There was no shade. The elephants looked hot. I felt like such a guilty crappy western tourist. So, no photos.
But then we moved on to the “Big Buddha” of Phuket which you could see from MILES around. It was magnificent.
This was our first experience at a religious site on the whole trip, and it felt so refreshingly different from anything we’d seen or done so far. It was quiet. All of the tourists we encountered here regardless of age, gender or origin seemed to share a sense of respect – for each other and for the site. We saw some beautiful things on our trip to Thailand, but being at this site actually felt beautiful.
So – it was only appropriate that we moved on to Wat Chalong.
That picture just above is so funny, and such a great example of Eli during the entire trip. He is already a tall guy in general but he was ENORMOUS in Thailand. People would scurry (literally scurry) out of his way so quickly I’m not sure he even noticed them. He’d just move gracefully and largely on, like a peaceful giant. He’s great.
Then it was on to my favorite part of the day. We toured the Phra Pitak Chinpracha house in Old Phuket Town, which was the location for “Heaven and Earth,” and “Young Indiana Jones” among other shining examples of cinematic genius.
We stayed at: Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket
We flew from Ko Samui to Phuket on: Bangkok Airways
We booked our travel through: Momondo