Phuket is about a 1.5 hour plane ride from Singapore so, thinking we might escape the heat for a few days, my friend Jo Rifkin and I got out of Dodge, so to speak. But we didn’t escape the heat. In fact, it was even hotter than Singapore. We stayed at Karon Beach which turned out to be a very touristy area. Our hotel was filled with Russians. The beach was across the street from our hotel so we made our way on the burning hot sand to the dreamy, delicious water to cool off.
With only a few days to relax, we decided to take boat trips to islands and snorkel. The Phi Phi Islands (pronounced Pee Pee) boat trip offered us a day of sightseeing at Monkey Beach, Phi Phi Don Island, Viking Cave, Pitch Cove, Loh Samah Bay and Maya Bay. Snorkeling was less than I had hoped for but a treat nonetheless.
Another day we visited the Surin Islands. The Sea Gypsy Moken Village at Ruwai is inhabited by a gypsy community which managed to survive the tsunami. They live in raised thatched roof huts, fish and sell their handmade jewelry and trinkets. They have their own language and religion. Litter is everywhere, including floating in the water near the shore. Not very friendly, very poor people. I would skip this. The Nemo or Pineapple Gulf was far more pleasant as well as snorkeling at the Mae Yai Gulf and The Tao Gulf.
The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary was my favorite outing because I LOVE ELEPHANTS. And they deserve to live in peace and safety away from poachers and cruel owners who torture them to entertain humans. This is a sister sanctuary to The Elephant Nature Park in north Thailand where I spent time volunteering a few years ago. There are only 7 elies here so far. This is a worthwhile half day visit.
If I were to return to Phuket, which is unlikely since there are so many new places for me to experience, I would stay away from the maddening crowd and rest my weary head at either at a resort or an airbnb.
See you soon!
Miriam Seiden is a cultural explorer who loves to write about her living bridges around the world.