There’s an adage in Telugu that says ‘dongalu padina aaru nelalaki kukkalu morigayi anta’, meaning, ‘the dogs barked six months after the burglars broke in ’. Likewise, I took out sometime, after six months, to write this post about my first videsi trip.
Soon after I tied those three knots, the countdown started. Planning sucks more than travelling and there’s an extra amount of burden after marriage because you want everything to go as per the book. Considering the bank balance and leave balance, my wife and I decided to spend our most interesting days of marriage in Phuket. I was anxious, excited and partially naive, but that didn’t stop me from going with the flow. We took the Thai airways flight which had nothing great to offer and they bored us to death with a continuous loop of ‘Just for laughs gags’ episodes. It seemed more or less like any domestic flight with bland food.
I caught an initial glimpse of Phuket from the flight window, and it looked exquisite. Small islands spread across the huge ocean and sunlight streaming through the gaps in clouds. Phuket gave a good first impression. Clean roads, moderate traffic and greenery all around. Our accommodation was five star so no complaints there. The drive from airport to our hotel was long which gave us a decent chance to scan through most parts of the town. Nothing appeared extraordinary or amusing within the city except the famous Thai massage shops, which were almost on every corner of the street. We didn’t have much to do on the first day as we checked-in late and the only event that we were able to catch was the ‘Phuket Fantasea Show’, a cultural theme park showcasing the heritage and culture of Thailand. The show happened in an auditorium named ‘Palace of Elephants’, and if you ever go to Phuket, don’t ever return without watching this show. I’ve never seen elephants, goats and even chickens perform so well in harmony.
I still remember the name of our guide, King Kong, who took us through Phi Phi and Krabi islands the following day. I was lucky enough to sit on the front deck of the boat which offered a great view of the huge rock islands spread across the ocean. We had a brief snorkelling session in the afternoon which wasn’t as great as expected but still gave us a good chance to swim with the fish, which are tourist friendly. The best part was the time I spent travelling on the sea, with the ocean breeze hitting hard on the face while the sun took care of the rest. Almost gave a ‘Life of Pi’ feel. It was also the worst part because I had first-hand experience of sun burns. Never underestimate the power of a common sun. 😛
The third day we covered the Phang Nga bay, where we saw islands, islands and more islands including the legendary James bond Island which was too crowded in my opinion, and a typical place for a patel shot. Every island is unique with its own freakish shape and size. Later that day, we passed through few magnificent sea caves, on a kayak, that lead into the center of its many karsts. These lagoons can get quite interesting depending upon the size of the tides. A low tide can almost reduce the lagoon to mud. I came to know later that kayaking happens only during mid-tide when the water level is low and steady, else it’s not possible to enter those caves during high tides.
A great experience overall. Little bits of skin on my face and hands started to peel off by the time we returned to Delhi airport. It was there, the aerial view of Phuket, right on my face. Thanks to the sunburns, I got a complete facial peel for next to nothing.