• Ndapanda Haininga

Phuket, a tourist’s dream.


It‘s easy to forget about the hundred hours of flying once you arrive in Phuket. Humidity aside, the place is a tourist’s dream. Tons of fun things to do, kind locals, a night life like you've never experienced and all of that at prices you wouldn't believe! Thailand is cheap!



We landed just in time for a goodnight's rest. Convenient, because the next morning, we were well rested, excited and ready for the tourist experience we flew thousands of kilometers for. Kuzoba lit! (Please laugh).


There was no set plan.


No itinerary.


We were keeping it flowing, just keeping it going.


.. which is how we ended up on a city tour that had us experiencing two of Phuket's biggest land marks, The Big Buddha and the Wat Chalong.



I was taken aback by the size of The Big Buddha. It's huge! It's also very unfinished, I didn't expect that. Our guide explained that it was built solely with donated funds so that made sense.


It is however very beautiful, and the view from up there is majestic!


Up next was elephant trekking.




So what happens is, you willingly climb atop an elephant's back and it treks through the jungle. So, like gambling, but with your life.


I'm exaggerating, but only because I'm terrified of heights. It was fun!


The highlight was the kiss from a baby elephant. I fed her, and to show gratitude, baby girl gave me a hug and a seriously sloppy kiss.


Below is a picture accurately depicting exactly how I felt during our visit to Tiger Kingdom. Tamed or not, a tiger is a tiger, I will not touch it!


I was pleasantly surprised by the number of eateries we came across. Every other corner had a cute coffee spot or an aesthetically pleasing diner. The Thai do not have much space but they utilized it creatively and efficiently.



The islands, oh the islands!


How unforgivable would it be to go to Phuket and not go island hopping?


The islands are so many! Vendors have more than four different island hopping packages and most of them quite decently priced.

We took a speed boat for ours.


The idea frightened me at first but the thrill was worth it.


Stunning as the famous Phi Phi Island is, Monkey beach was my favourite. The sand was the whitest and the water the most blue. I do feel though, that we could have spent more time on each island. Nonetheless, fun was had.



I won't lie, I struggled with the food, even the smell gave me nausea so I survived mainly on McDonald's.


Nothing in this world compares to Phuket's nightlife. Bangla road to be specific. Turn left and there's a strip joint, turn right and Mojitos are N$20. Walk straight and it's buy one get one free on all drinks, all night long.




Nightlife so lit, my travel buddy put me on a tuk tuk and sent me off to my hotel room so he could live his best life without my nagging to go home. HAVE YOU EVER?


Here are a few things I learned during my time in Phuket:



Thai people are hustlers! There is nothing you could possibly need that someone isn't selling on the street. Sudden rain? Someone is on the street with umbrellas for sale. On the beach? They have beach towels and ice cream for a fee. Hurt your foot? I swear to God someone will offer you a foot massage. They work.


They are the nicest people I've ever come across. Everywhere you go, they are polite, they smile, they assist. You enter a shop and someone immediately goes "Sawadee ka!" which means "Hello!"


From my reading, they are also very accepting of the LGBT community.



The assumption was almost always that we were South African. When Vendors weren't yelling out "Ramaphosa!" to get our attention, they uttered a little bit of Afrikaans. "Mooi hemp, broer!"


I spent eight days in Phuket and I wasn't cat-called once, I never felt unsafe and my belongings were never at risk. It's one of the safest places I have ever been to and for that and that alone, Thailand will definitely see me again.




Should you want to visit Phuket and need consultation, please email me on ndapandahaininga@gmail.com.

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