29 June 2010

Sawatdeekhrup!

The title means hello in Thai if you were unfamiliar.  One of the few words I managed to master during my awesome adventure of Thailand over the last 10 days.  Wow, what an experience it was.  I have been fortunate to travel quite a bit this year, something that has always been a dream of mine for years now.  The more exotic and different to my current Australian life the better.


My latest escape from reality was spent at Patong Beach, Phuket, Thaliand which is currently the furthest I have been from my home of Victoria, Australia.  To basically sum up this trip: it was fun from day 1.


Everyday was an adventure =)

One thing I love about holidays is experiencing all the activities, people, geography, culture and much more that you never get the chance or opportunity to back at home.  This holiday I got to experience quite a lot of things for the first time!

We went jet skiing, rode elephants, explored the town, tore it up on ATV's (quad bikes), went white water rafting, played volleyball at the resort pool, drank heaps, ate more, snorkeled, canoed into bat caves in the middle of the ocean, visited tropical islands, fed monkeys, shopped, the works!

 
 


Sweet!

The people there were awesome, I felt so safe and welcomed, just walking down the street even at midnight I felt calm, at home.  After 10 days you start to get to know some of the regular shop keepers, by the end I had made some pretty great friends, got talking to them for ages about where they are from, about their family, their history.  What their hobbies are, goals, dreams.  It is so interesting that even people from a completely different country, race and culture, humans as a species all seem to have a common core set of values; to be healthy, happy and safe.



One of the more prominent differences between my culture and theirs was definitely their shop keeping style haha!  Anyone who has already been there will know exactly what I am talking about, the shops keepers really want you in their store.

"Hey, you sir, suit, you want a suit? Come on, here just have a look in my store, I do for you cheap real cheap!"

I seen the funniest t-shirt, it summed up what it is like perfectly.


Now the thing is is that I stayed at Patong Beach, which is a heavily saturated tourism spot with a very noticeable Western influence.  While of course there was still Thai written all over the place, you got the sense that is was a front, an act from what the real Thailand is really like, especially when on our travels from our resort to the dock to catch our boat trips to the island which was a good 40 minutes drive away.  As soon as we left the Patong Beach area the glamorous stores, the clothes people wore, the condition of the store fronts and roads all changed considerably. 

This isn't to say shame on Western cultures for their interference and influence on the Eastern cultures, you can easily argue the benefits of us bringing all of our money into an otherwise relatively poor country.  The point I am getting at is simply that some day I would love to get a taste of the real culture.  The people, buildings, foods, way of life that's away from the tourist hot spots.

There are countless more stories I could tell.  The fun I had bartering with the shop keepers, the time I pretended to be a shop keeper and tried to sell merchandise to customers and the other shop keepers, the time I pretended to work at one of the massage stalls, offering massages to passers by in a Thai accent screaming "Massaaage!? Massaaaage sir!?".  The time my grandpa accidentally walked in on my cousin and his girlfriend during their alone time (we will never let them live that down!), or how much fun it was when Thai people ask where you're from and you spend 10 minutes trying vehemently to convince them that you're actually from Phuket and just don't go outside very often (hence the white complexion)... ha wow, such good times.

But alas, long posts about other people holidays can be boring I can assume.

All in all it was an amazing 10 days, one that I would highly recommend with a group of mates (or even your family).  The food and activities are insanely cheap (we got a pizza, milkshake, side bowl of chips for $10au, and the two hour quad bike tours were only $40au), the people are very friendly and welcoming, you can shop to your hearts content and see some of the most beautiful coastlines and country sides that I have yet to see.

2 comments:

Sue Lin said...

Sounds awesome when u played a fool trying to say ur Thai and trying to sell stuff! =) Must be hilarious! I've never been to Phuket, i heard its very touristy. Loved Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Koh Tao though

Out of Sync said...

Haha it was so much fun, they shop keepers had a good laugh also. Yep Phuket is crazily touristy, sometimes you barely felt like you were in another country. I guess I'll have to go check out Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Koh Tao on your recommendation ;)

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