We took a totally unplanned trip to Phuket City today. You may wonder how that happens….well let me just say sometimes you jump into the back of a truck/bus not knowing where it is going because it stopped and says 40batt on the side (40.00 Thai Baht=1.0883544 US Dollars). The bus driver turned and looked at us and said “Phuket City not Beach.” We replied “Ok, sounds good.” He looked again and shook his head and we were off to Phuket City. The open air bus trip over the hills was a windy and exciting adventure in itself.
Upon our exiting the bus at a random location in Phuket City we were greeted by a fabulous Tuk-Tuk driver who asked us what we wanted to see. Apparently we were a bit too vague…….because to be honest we had no idea what we wanted to see. So he said “I know what you want to see” and we were like….”sure cool”. So off we went to see….. what we wanted to see. I will be honest….he pretty much knew.
First we took a harrowing drive up a mountain to Khao Rang Hill view point. If you would like to hear the scream of that engine be sure to turn the sound up.
There was a lovely little coffee shop there with a very natural bathroom. I mean let’s be honest who does not want to potty in a full glass wall bathroom at a tourist stop.
Next we took a bit of a drive around and of course ended up at a The World of Gems Factory…. This is always were you will end up (or one like it) because the drivers get a stamp on a card for free gas if they bring tourist here. It is an interesting stop where you will be confronted with a room filled with beautiful hand crafter jewelry from master crafts people. If you are in the market for a piece of Jewelry it is an excellent choice but if you are not it is still a very interesting place to go just for the shear wow factor. Also as a side note….riding in the back of a tuk tuk on a highway is an experience. I can now check that off in the book of things I never knew I wanted to do and I am not sure I should have… Terrifying, and yes it was the tuk tuk that barely made the hill in the video. lol
Then we were off to the Old Town. Just some quick background. Phuket City was established in the 1800’s from the booming tin industry. It now boasts small busy streets filled with shops and many restored buildings. The Old Town is a 10 block area with colonial Sino-Portuguese architecture in bright colors. Each building is 2 or so stories high and quite narrow. The bottom floors consist of small cafés and storefronts. Many of the buildings also have small artworks and murals on the exterior side walls. Do not miss the fabulous tile work that abounds in this area.
We had a phenomenal lunch at a KOPITIAM by Wilai a local café on the street next door to the oldest Herbalist in Phuket City. When I say the food was phenomenal I am not kidding it was delicious and the prices were great for a full on tourist location. Jeff and I both ate and had cold drinks for approximately 550 Thai Baht =14.971237 US Dollars.
After lunch we did some more exploring.
We had been told by the Bus driver that the last buses left at 6pm so it was time to make a decision….try to find the bus or get a taxi. Jeff of course was all in on the bus. If you remember it was 40Bhatt. So we started wandering around looking for the bus. When we finally found the buses lined up on a back street, the bus to Karon Beach had already gone. However there was a bus going to Patong…..so we took that bus….yes it was not going to where we wanted to go….. but they have a Starbucks on Patong Beach…and I needed a coffee. So I agreed.
If you have ever been to Phuket and you have gone over that ridiculously treacherous hill to Patong you will understand my trepidation but there was a Starbucks Espresso Frappuccino as a reward…. so I got on the bus. I will say it was horrible. I thought I was going to die from just flat out fear. Of course the mother with her 2 young children who probably takes this trip everyday seemed fine with it. lol That said no video as I was holding on for dear life.
We made it to Patong and the Starbucks….delicious. But now we were in Patong. We decided to take a walk on the beach just as a storm was blowing in. I love a windy stormy beach. We got soaked.
Eventually Jeff broke down and we took a Taxi (with doors and everything) not a Tuk Tuk back to Karon Beach. I literally did not have it in me to go over the hill in another open air vehicle.
It was a long day full of unexpected delights.