Now we have arrived in what I imagined Thailand to really be like - this place is crazy! We started out this morning by just enjoying our wonderful villa and eating a small breakfast in the room. We were so sad to have to pack up our stuff and leave Mai Khao beach, but we were definitely looking forward to the fun ahead in Patong beach.
We took one last trip down to the beach before checking out just to get some good pictures - Derren has some more good ones on his better camera, but I will just show you ones we took of each other - another beautiful morning!
We then headed back to our room to grab out suitcases, and as we were stepping out of our villa, a golf cart pulled up and drove us to the front desk. We swear that they had like a hidden camera and could tell when we were about to be cheap Americans and drag our own bags back to the lobby. So we got a quick ride to the lobby, and they called a taxi for us. This taxi was much nicer than the old one we took from the airport. We were told that in Thailand the taxi companies have "zones" and you can only get a cab from whatever zone you're in (aka. you can't call a cab from somewhere else to try to get a cheaper fare or something). And their costs are set depending on where they take you - it's not metered. Weird.
Anyway, we took about a one hour drive in a brand new Toyota sedan (the taxis in the zone around the resorts are all brand new cars - lots of Toyotas and Mercedes.) The trip cost us about $30. It was a really neat drive down the Phuket peninsula, and gave us a good chance to check out the landscape and people of Thailand. We then arrived to our little hotel in Patong - a VERY different setting than what we've been accustomed to, but still a nice little hotel. This is also the first time that we've had to pay for a hotel and didn't rely on using reward points. This hotel cost about $40 per night, and we will be here for three nights. Check out the little hotel we're staying in, The Limburi Hometel:
And here's what our room looks like - it looks down onto the busy streets of Patong - definitely not as isolated and quiet as our stay last night!
And I thought this was quite interesting. This is the view from the second story balcony in our hotel (there are no rooms on the first floor because its all shops and restaurants, etc.) This is how the people of Patong get their electricity - kind of crazy!
After putting our stuff in the room, and locking up our passports and cash in the little safe, we hit the road to find a market that Derren had read about to get some lunch. To get there, we had to walk through this mall that is famous for this area of Patong. It's an "international destination" and is full of many westernized stores and restaurants - and LOTS of tourists! Here's what it looked like going into the mall:
And here is an example of some of the things you can find here (Derren really wanted to get their pizza with a cheese and sausage stuffed crust):
There was also Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, McDonalds, Starbucks, and more in this mall. So after walking through the mall for a bit, we headed to the local market BEHIND the tourist mall. Derren had read a bunch about the Banzaan market online, and it reminded me a lot of the markets in Chinatown in Singapore, but this one was a lot smaller.
The bottom floor of the market was full of produce and raw meat:
Then on the second floor there were a few restaurants, all cooking local Thai food. Here is a photo of the stall that I got my lunch from:
I paid 50 baht (less than $2) for this...does it look familiar to several of my past meals? This is pad-puk, which is essentially fried vegetables, rice, and a fried egg. One of the health fitness workers at the JW Marriott had written the name of this meal in Thai for me, so I've just been showing it to the different stalls and they nod and make it for me - each their own version!
And again, Derren had a similar meal. This is Kra-Prao-Kai, which is the same as mine, but fried chicken. This cost 50 baht as well (< $2).
Derren also ordered a papaya salad for us to share, but they put dried shrimp in it, so Derren ate the majority of it. This also cost 50 baht.
After eating, we headed downstairs and I got a Thai iced tea. I was SO hot after eating in the sweltering food court and eating hot food, so I wanted something cold to drink. This drink was mostly ice (hopefully manufactured ice and not homemade from tap water...) but only cost 20 baht (about 60 cents).
Then we continued to walk the crazy streets of Patong and checked out all the stalls with TONS of fake merchandise that you can barter for. We went into their version of a quik stop (called Family Mart) and Derren got an energy drink. He got a Red Bull, which we found out actually started in Thailand - except they are more syrupy and not carbonated here. Here he is with his 10 baht (30 cents) Red Bull:
And here is a picture I took of the street we walked along and that our hotel is on. There are TONS of crazy drivers and scooters everywhere. To cross the street you just have to wait until you think you can run across fast enough. It's a little scary, but that's how everyone does it - and I haven't seen anyone get hit yet....yet.
After some more walking we finally picked a massage parlor to go into. They are like every 5 stores as you walk, and we found one with the cheapest price, so we headed in for an hour long foot massage - only 250 baht each!!! (That's about $8 for a ONE HOUR foot massage!)
It felt absolutely wonderful, and they spend the last five minutes doing a head and neck massage. I think we're going to go back tomorrow or the next day for a head/neck or full body oil massage - still only $10 or less!
Then we did some more walking - here's a pic of us in that westernized mall. We love Patong and Phuket!
Oh, and my first dog picture of the day - these are for you Mom and Amber! :) This guy was sitting right along the outside of a wine bar/restaurant. Just patiently waiting for someone to share something with him. This was INSIDE the mall area...
Oh, and here's a picture of how they sell gas in Patong. They sell it along the side of the road in old wine bottles and water bottles. It's so weird!
Then was our next destination of the day - the night market! This market goes from 5:30-11pm everyday and is located outside the Banzaan market that we had been to earlier in the day. All these people pull up in their restaurants attached to scooters and sell food for SO CHEAP!!!
Look at all this chicken - like 10-20 baht per piece (less than $1!)
And another dog pic! Look at this little guy hanging out at the night market!!!
Here's where I got my dinner from (and believe me, there were very few places that looked okay for me to eat - mind you there are like no signs on things, and when there are, they are usually in Thai). But my dad would be SO JEALOUS of this place - it's just mushroom soup. And look at all the different mushrooms they put in it!! Oyster and inoki, and severeal others that I can't even name! It was quite yummy, and I got the large size for 80 baht (a little less than $3).
Derren and I also got a icy beverage - he got a passionfruit smoothie (just ice and fruit) and I got a pineapple one. So tasty in the hot hot heat!! And at only 25 baht a piece, you can't beat it!
And this is one of the places that Derren got dinner from. He basically just points at what he wants and they serve it up. He got a green chicken curry, and from another place, he got a red pork currry.
We took the food to go, and went back to our hotel room. We went inside to cool off in the A/C of our room before eating our food out on the balcony of the hotel while it was pouring rain and lightning outside (we were covered of course!)
We are now getting ready to head back out to the night market for dessert (and maybe another snack for Derren)...I will try to take pictures and share them tomorow! And then after that we are going to take a stroll down Bangala road, which is the hot street to be at night - lots of bars, nightclubs, transvestites, etc. It should be an interesting street to check out! I will let you know tomorrow how it goes! :)
Ashley & Derren
Ashley & Derren