I’m back in my room after an exhausting day exploring Phuket Town but it has been worthwhile and I’ve seen a lot of things.
This morning I had breakfast on the roof terrace at the hotel. The food itself was average but the view was really nice and you could see from Monkey Hill to the north all the way south over the city. This provided great photo opportunities but I didn’t stay long as I wanted to get out and explore.
The first port of call was the Phuket Thaihua Museum which is dedicated to the Chinese migrants who settled in Phuket when it was nothing more than a fishing island and about the culture they brought with them. It’s located in an old Chinese school and houses all sorts of artefacts including old school books, immigration papers, photos, musical instruments, an old Chinese typewriter and all sorts of scenes depicting the history of the Chinese people of Phuket and of the school itself. The building itself was a little hard to find as all of the maps only showed a vague location but after arriving I spent probably an hour and a half looking around without seeing everything. It was probably top of my list of things I wanted to see in Phuket Town so I was glad I went and I would definitely recommend a visit if you’re interested in the changing history of places you visit.
Just down from the Thaihua Museum was a great little cafe serving freshly cooked Thai food that was filling and incredibly cheap. I spent some time here watching the world go by in the old town before slowly making my way up to my next port of call, Rang Hill. Rang Hill, so the guidebook said, was the best place to catch a view over the city so I thought it would definitely be worth a visit. As I was walking towards the hill I was constantly nagged by taxi drivers trying to get me to ride with them up the hill but I declined as it was such a nice day I wanted to walk.
The walk up took rather a long time, and was rather exhausting due to the heat, but it was nice to experience the scenery and see more than if I had been whisked up in a car in a few minutes. I passed several apartment buildings, cafes, restaurants and a fitness park before arriving at the top. By this time I was pretty exhausted so I’m glad that I bought a few bottles of water from the 7-eleven at the bottom of the hill. Unfortunately the view was slightly obscured by construction work while I was there but there was a cafe and restaurant which were right on the edge and should have provided a great view if I had decided to stop there. I explored around the summit for a while taking photos and could see that if the view wasn’t obscured by construction it would have been really nice.
It was soon time for me to head back down to the city, and the walk down was definitely easier than the walk up! I decided to head to my hotel to freshen up and so took a detour half way down the hill past a temple and through some residential areas which acted as a shortcut. One thing I can’t get used to is the heat and humidity in this part of the world compared to what we’re used to back in the UK. Right now it’s probably raining and only in single digits whereas in Thailand it’s in the high 30s and sunny all day. This meant that the quick stop turned into a shower and a refuge in a room with air conditioning to cool off before venturing back outside again. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad it’s this hot, and I knew how hot it would be before I came, but it takes some getting used to especially if you’re doing a lot of walking.
After relaxing in my hotel for a little bit I headed back out to explore some more. The idea was to do a big circle of the city towards the big King Rama IX Park in the south of the city to see some sights, take some photos and scout out some places for dinner tonight. The walk itself was fairly uneventful, other than the repeated calls of “Hello, Taxi” and “Hello, Mister, I take you to women” which were aimed in my direction. That’s something you get used to when travelling though, similar to being called Mzungu when travelling in Africa. I see some interesting buildings and parks although unfortunately most of the photos I took were obscured by a smudge on my lens that I didn’t notice until checking them over tonight.
When I arrived at the park I had planned to sit down and read a book until sunset and then head out to my chosen restaurant, in this case an Italian restaurant I liked the look of in the city centre, but within seconds of sitting down on the bench I was covered in rather large, red, evil looking ants. As a result my time in the park was limited but it looked a great place to relax with friends, enjoy a ball game or chill with an ice cream if you didn’t mind the ants. I decided it would be better to do another loop of the city back to my hotel and leave everything I didn’t need before heading back out to the restaurant.
The restaurant I chose, Salvatore’s, was very expensive by Thai standards and was closer to western city prices but I was just in the mood for somewhere I could sit down quietly and relax rather than one of the chaotic places I had seen in the very centre of town. It also looked like a really nice restaurant and I was in the mood for treating myself after an exhausting trip. The food was beautiful and didn’t disappoint. I chose a parma ham and melon starter followed by a four cheese pizza and it was almost at Italian standard and the restaurant itself was really nice. I would have had something other than pizza but I had a problem with the local ATMs and pizza was the only thing I had enough cash for.
After dinner I headed back to my hotel to relax and called my credit card company to find out why my cards didn’t work in the ATMs out here. It turns out they had blocked my card, even though I told them I was travelling, as I only tried to take out a small amount of money and they considered that suspicious. Well of course I tried to take out a small amount of money – the food is so cheap over here and I only needed enough money for food to make up for the rather large key deposit that the hotel had. If it wasn’t for the key deposit then I would have budgeted perfectly. After a 10 minute phone call everything was sorted out though so at least I can eat tomorrow.