12 January 2012

Journey to Thailand: Part 3 in Phuket

Later in the evening after our speedboat tour we decided to explore some more of Phuket at night even though we were really tired! Even though we had been out at night before we hadn't really looked around and simply stuck to the route (roads) we were familiar we were with.

As we walked through the streets we really noticed how lively the place was. There were a lot of foreigners spread out between the many different bars. Whilst we walked we were approached by a promoter trying to invite us to a Ping-Pong show but we didn't want to spend 800THB to get in!!!

It was really noticeably how much attention Ashley and I received just walking down the street. The women in Thailand really seemed to like Black/Brown skinned men. Often the women would just approach us to talk or shout out "Chocolate Man" from afar. I remember one time finding it vey funny as one of the massage ladies near our hotel shouted out "Chocolate Man mi wan' know you!". But this type of attention was totally different to what we normally receive in Japan and to be honest we both liked it a lot more.

As we walked down one of the main streets lined with bars either side we were approached by some girls from one of the bars. We had seen then before another day we had walked down the street but didn't stop to talk to them because we thought they just wanted us to come to their bar as they shouted at us. Once they approached us one of them said "Hey, we've seen you two before walking around." to which we replied "Oh really?" knowing full well we had seen them before. We spent a few minutes talking to them briefly before we parted ways.

We continued to walk around even going to the beach. On the beach we saw a few people lighting paper lanterns and watching them float slowly in to the air. A long side the beach street side there were many food stalls some even selling fried insects. At this time I wasn't really brave enough to eat anything big so I settled for one of the smaller larva while Ashley settled on a bigger insect resembling a grasshopper. I remember as we walked one young guy offered me some weed. I thought good thing that I didn't smoke as I remembered all of those videos I had seen on YouTube about being thrown in jail for having some weed!

The next day we had decided to check out the 'Simon Cabaret Show' since this type of show was something that Thailand was known very well for. We organised the trip to the performance via the Tour Desk and again Kun Boom was very helpful! Whilst at the theatre we were unfortunately unable to take any photos after we went inside the performance hall which was a bit of a downer. The show mainly consisted of the Lady Boys doing cover versions or miming to well known songs. At one point in the performance one of the performers got off the stage and came in to the audience to perform in front of one lucky person! I was unfortunately seated on the the far left of the stage and there was a high possibility that they would come to me but luckily for me that never happened!

After the show all of the performers had lined up outside of the theatre to pose with the audience while they took pictures. Just as we stepped out of the theatre two Lady Boys called us over for a picture. We thought hey why not even if they weren't the most convincing. After we had taken the picture they told us that it cost 200THB!! We thought "What?!!" because they had magically forgotten to tell us this before we took a picture. In the end we gave them 100THB each but felt slightly cheated because they conned us.

The next day we didn't do much except I did go to the cinema again to see 'Real Steel' only because it was 150THB but the movie ended up being quite entertaining. Later that evening Ashley and I decided to have a walk around the city. We stumbled across as Reggae themed bar near the hotel with a crazy but entertaining man which was interesting. We then made our way around the crowded streets and down to the main entertainment district. We bumped into a few of the girls from the other night who we stopped to talk to for a bit before we walked towards the beach. As we walked towards the beach we saw a few more Lady Boys who actually looked a lot more convincing than most of the ones we had seen at Simon Cabaret!

There happened to be a live performance going on which was apart of the countdown party to New Years. There were hundreds of people on the beach getting wild to the music. We walked around for a bit before deciding to go back to the hotel. We tried to see if those girls were still at the bar but we didn't see them as we walked past. However as we walked back to the hotel I began to notice that here in Patong every night was party time which was kinda crazy but in a good way!

The next night was the last of the festivities in the area because this night was actually New Years Eve. There were around twice as many people in the area compared to the previous night. Ashley and I went to the bar were those girls were to hang out with them for a bit before we decided to walk around some more. As we walked we saw a few more lady boys posing for photos. But having asked them the day before for a photo we knew that they would have wanted to charge us. So without them knowing we quickly took a few pictures of them. The two that we saw were actually the most convincing ones we had seen during our whole time in Thailand.

There were a lot of people on the street like I said and everyone was acting wild! The streets were covered in silly string and girls were grabbing us left, right and centre. I remember looking at one girl as she walked past and then she began to follow me back up the road!

We made our way down to the beach where a big party was going on. Ashley then remembered he had wanted to show me an art studio he had found the other night. As we got there the artists were working on some large canvases. There were quite a few interesting pieces they had for sale. After talking with them for a little while we told them we would be back before Midnight to pick up a canvas or two. We then quickly made our way back to the bar where the girls were. We sat at a table outside so we could see both the street and the bar. The girl that liked Ashley wasn't actually there at the moment but her sexy sister was so we just hung around! The sister asked that we buy her a drink which we both went halves on. She thought it was weird that we both ordered water to drink. As we were sitting at our table more of the sisters friends came to chat to us. Most of them were hot and very flirtatious with us. I thought to myself why the hell didn't we come here earlier?! But the more we stayed there the more we realised that these girls were actually pretty cool people and nice to talk to.

During our time there we saw some of the girls get really wild on stage and with each other. I remember asking the sister where her sister was (the one who liked Ashley) and she for some reason mistook that as me asking to see her tits! She then started to do a sexy dance and slowly pull down her dress. Ashley and I were thinking WTF is going on here!!! But unfortunately she never took her bra off but I told her what I had originally said and she just laughed and said she thought I asked to see her tits. Again Ashley and I thought why did we take so long to come here!

Whilst we were sitting at the table a random woman came and sat with us. She said "don't mind me, I'm married." we thought to ourselves she's a bit weird but let her sit there. We asked where her husband was and she said she didn't know and Patong was a wild place so he could be anywhere. As we were talking to her a fight broke out between two security guards and a punter. The guards began to lay into him with Muay Thai elbows a kicks to the face. The guy was really messed up but managed to stagger away with a bloodied face! As this was going on Ashley and I were very excited but our new lady friend was not so amused and found it disgusting and shortly after this she got up and left. We asked one of our new friends at the bar what the guy had done and she said he probably tried to skip out on the bill!

We were enjoy ourselves at the bar so much that we forgot that we need to be back at the art studio before the closed! We tried to make a crazy dash through the crowded streets of Patong to make it back to the studio before it closed! We we finally got there it was closed but luckily the lady was near by at her friends stall and opened up the studio again for us. A few other of the artists came back too as Ashley and I discussed what we would like to pay for the two pieces. Once the amount had be settled the artists happily wrapped them up for us. We then made our way back through the streets at this time many people were setting off fireworks and lighting paper lanterns. As we walked a few woman came up to us and said "Hey! Chocolate Man Happy New Year!" which we both found amusing since most of the just shouted it instead. Overall we had quite an interesting New Years Eve/New Years Day!

The next day we were a little tired so didn't do much. Ashley woke up earlier than me and so went off in search of souvenirs since this was our last day in Phuket. I woke up a little later but also decided to look for some souvenirs. Thailand overall had been a great place to buy gifts since everything was already so cheap and you could haggle the price of everything on sale. Because this was our last day in Phuket both Ashley and I thought it would be good to see some Muay Thai Boxing. We went to the 'Bangla Thai Boxing Stadium' in Patong which was just behind the main shopping mall in the area. We had decided to meet at the stadium as we were both still looking around the area for souvenirs.

When I arrived at the stadium that evening it was really busy with many patrons entering. I payed at the door and met Ashley inside. The first set of matches were children which we both found a little uncomfortable at first. After the children had finished the teenagers came out then finally the adults. Throughout the whole night we only witnessed one knockout which was a bit disappointing. We also noticed that around 95% of the spectators were foreign which made me wonder where do the Thai people go to see real Thai Boxing? But after the event had finished we both could honestly say we had enjoyed our first real experience of Thai Boxing!

The next morning we were picked up at our hotel by a shuttle bus. I had arranged the bus the day before through a company situated close to our hotel. On the way to the airport the bus stopped to pick up other tourists heading back home. We managed to get to the airport a bit too early so we couldn't check in just yet. However whilst we were in the airport I saw some friends from Kumamoto who were also heading back to Japan after having spent Christmas in Thailand.

When it was finally time to check in I received some questions about the canvas I was carrying. But luckily they let me bored the plane with it as a carry-on. The flight back to Bangkok was quite quick and since we had been here earlier in our travels we could navigate our way from the airport to our new hotel a lot easier.

This time Ashley picked the hotel and like The Siam City Hotel that I had picked earlier this new one was nice also. The Hotel Windsor Suites was not situated in the greatest of areas but it was really close to the BTS and the Terminal 21 mall. That evening Ashley went to mall to watch a movie while I stayed at the hotel because I was feeling a little tired. Later that night I decided to walk around the area a little bit and went to an Italian restaurant near the hotel and ordered a pizza and some chips! I thought I may as well enjoy some more pizza before I go back to Japan since pizza there is a joke when it comes to pricing.

The next day we had some time to kill before we needed to go to the airport. We both then decided to hang out at the Terminal 21 mall. It was my first time here but Ashley's second since he had been the previous night for the movie. This mall like the name suggests had a theme of an airport. Each floor was also country/region specific like for example there was an Asian floor, British floor and an American floor. After a little while we made our way back to the hotel to collect our suitcases and then went to the airport.

At the airport there was a little confusion when I was asked about my final destination to which I said Fukuoka. The woman at the check-in counter then tagged my suitcase as Fukuoka and sent it off but then Ashley reminded me we had an overnight stay in Hong Kong. So the manager had to be called to find someone to retrieve my suitcase and tag re-tag it.

So unfortunately for us (or maybe fortunately) we were not going straight back to Japan but instead to Hong Kong where we would have an overnight stay then catch our flight to Japan in the morning. When we first arrived in Hong Kong the British influence was really noticeable from the English used and even the plug sockets. For us this was great as it was like a home away from home! However due to the time we arrived at the airport we were unable to see anything else in Hong Kong apart from the airport.

We went to the shuttle bus area to wait for the shuttle bus to Novotel Citygate which was our hotel for the night. But after waiting nearly an hour for the bus we decided to take a taxi. When we finally got to the hotel I was a bit pissed because on the poster advertising their hotel/airport shuttle service there was no end time. The woman at the front desk informed me that it finished at 23:00 and I made a point to tell that it was not stated anywhere! After having my say at the front desk we made our way to our room which was small but very nice! But to be honest I expected as much since it cost HK$1,552 (¥15,699 - £123.5) per night which was kinda crazy for us but unfortunately it was the closest hotel to the airport with availability.

On check out we were a little surprised that they added on the tax afterwards. So we ended up having to pay more than we originally planned which was a little annoying to say the least. Fortunately for us this time we could get the airport shuttle bus from the hotel back to the airport. We made it to the hotel with plenty of time to spare.

Apart from a few mishaps Ashley and I could both put our hands on our hearts and say we had a VERY good time whilst in Thailand! We both would love to go there again and as soon as wee got back to Japan we missed Thailand.

...the end!

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