Thai Mueang-Phuket-Krabi, Evrim and Elif Yiğit Tour Journals – October 9, 2011
I guess it’s been a long time. After getting wet in our recent lodging Ranong, we began our way to south with desire to feel the sun a little. The continuing rain on the road caused both our bike computers to break down. I guess I’m not going to use Cateye again. Until finding a solution to our problem at the next bike store on our way, it seems like we’ll have to keep on without our bike computers.
We come across to a Chinese tradition, a vegetarian festival on our way. According to the information we got from them, the last and the greatest day of the festival will be held in Phuket. I guess this last day of the festival will be the the most formidable one. As I learnt, people don’t eat meat for a while during the festival. And not as sympathetic as its title, walking on fire, stabbing skewers or swords through their mouths or tongues are common behaviors in Phuket during this festival. At the temple we stopped to have a break on our way, a stack woods twice as high as a person was waiting to be lit to form the fire to be walked on. We proceeded on our road for a while and shorten the way to Phuket which we’ll stay in the next day. 120km remaining to Phuket, we come across to a settlement and decide to stay. I guess this will be the most luxurious place we’ve stayed in Thailand. We choose one of the bungalows around an artificial lake with a 30m wooden bridge on it and a natural river. To lodge in this facility with a swimming pool costs us only 25TL.
We dine at a small market in a small village thereabouts and drink a beer. The girl who brought us our beers works in an hotel and gives us information about Thailand and the vegetarian festival with her well-spoken English. She is one of the Thai-Chinese living in Thailand. And oddly; somehow while there are a few Thai-Chinese in Thailand’s north, which’s near to China, there are more Chinese in the south and Malaysia.
Next day we depart to Phuket in the early morning. I feel quite excited to see Phuket for the first time. Elif and I had decided to go to Phang Gha and not visit Phuket at first but later we decided to pass through Phuket to Krabi by boat and visit the Phi Phi Island during this boat trip. I guess we made the right decision. Because Phuket Town, which’s the oldest town on the island is a quite charming place. Beaches around the island are more touristy places. There are plenty of authentic cars, colorful houses and a store which we can complete our lacking equipments from in Phuket Town. We settle in an old but as pleasant hotel called On On Hotel (5$ per person). After dining outside, we go to a place called Music Matter. Three musicians are playing live there. As we were entering, we encounter a scary attack of a cockroach and panic a little, then we decide to sit with our feet high from the ground. There’s only an American customer inside besides us. After the first song, the musicians take a break and the pianist asks us what we’d like to have and the drummer asks whether the incident at the entrance was caused by a cockroach or a mouse. We comprehend that the pianist is the owner of the place and also the barkeeper. As for the American listener, he is a traveler who’ve been wandering around the world for 10 years. The drummer is Australian and the sax player is I guess European. Music goes on and we start to grab our own beers. After a while, 2 or 3 car-full of people come inside, not to listen, but to play. After this, in a place called Music Matter in Phuket, we start to listen one of the best jazz concerts I’ve ever listened. As they inform us afterwards, this meeting was planned for the previous day but because of the loud noise caused by the last day of the vegetarian festival, they decided to postpone it for a day and wait for us.
Next day we make a research on the tickets for Krabi. I guess the best way here to find a ticket is the agencies, you can make a deal for half the price. If you go directly to the port, they demand twice the price. Thus we go to an agency and say that we don’t want to pay for the bikes. They communicate with the company for us (they can explain better in their languages) and bargain for the bikes. In the evening, we hang out in a place across the On On Hotel. We play a round of backgammon, the result is the same as always; I win. After a while, we recall that we’re in Phuket and think “backgammon?” Then Elif figures it out. The owner of the bar must be Turkish. Then we meet Aydın. He says that we’re the second ones that go there without knowing that it’s a Turkish bar. Generally, people go there hear or read about it somewhere before their visit. We ask a couple of questions to Aydın about the King. It’s quite dangerous to talk about the King here. Since we know that, speaking in Turkish is the most pleasant way. I suppose he has a short time to live, because he’s sick. The King contributed much to the development of Thailand. Since I got this information only from Aydın, I cannot say that they’re definitely true. However I may summarize as;
I suppose this king was born in a foreign country and was educated in Europe. When the King died and as a coincidence his brother also died, this man became the king and came into the country. As he came, he also brought plenty of innovations with him. I guess the biggest reason why he’s liked so much is that he has a democratic manner. He didn’t interfere to anyone’s business and he conserved the country’s democratic structure. After that, they had a president called Taksin. He gained people’s votes via aid and money and he became a popular leader especially in north. I suppose he may be called as a wealthy leader. I guess the most wealthy leader of the world was Taksin. (I apologize, the internet connection here is quite slow so these may vary after I check for the credibility) Then as South Thailand supported the King, North Thailand supported Taksin. As Taksin was in a meeting outside the country, the government was overthrown (a coup d’état was carried out) and an arrest warrant was filed for Taksin. Since that day, Taksin have never returned to his country. Typically he sent his wife to Thailand knowing that she’d be arrested. And of course she was arrested. Afterwards, the president started to live in England and became richer as being able to buy a football team, surely with his fortunes being levied after the revolution -I guess in 96- he must have chosen to do so for economic reasons. Today, Taksin’s influence still carries on. Taksin supporters are still acting out opposing to the government in North Thailand. The current president is Taksin’s son in law or something similar. This may sound ironic but Taksin somehow aided the poor people during the elections. Furthermore somehow he couldn’t rule the coast side. Surely after his investments he became a little rich and for some reason defraudation lawsuits were file against him.
We move to Kho Phi Phi from Phuket, and then proceed to Krabi after staying there for four hours. It’s not necessary to speak much about Kho Phi Phi. I didn’t like it. But Krabi suits me a lot. If you’d ask about the food, I guess one can gain 10kg in two weeks here. If you’d ask about its nature; Thailand’s most interesting mountains and seas can be found here and the underwater is quite fascinating. As soon as we arrived to Krabi, we settle in a Guest House and arrange a boat trip for the next day. The trip starts early in the morning and keeps on till 16:00 and stops by 4 islands. It’s possible to see fishes here under the water that you may have never seen before. But you can redden like a tomato at the end of the tour.
The mountains in Krabi are formed by lime stone. I thinks this is one of the awkward occurences of the nature. Hills and mountains here resembles bottles on a flat table. As you see that many bottles next to each other, you assume that it’s a sierra. During my previous tour as I saw these mountains I said to myself: “Get ready to climb Evrim” But as you get close to the mountains, you realize that the road goes on flat between those “bottles”. It’s the same with the sea. Hundreds of islands seem like a wide one piece land. But as you get near them with the boat and wander around them, you get the idea. I think it’s one of the different geographies that a biker can enjoy.
Tomorrow we’ll move on to another town called Trang. We couldn’t find a solution to our problem about the bike computers. We’ll see on our way about how many kilometers our road is. I guess we overcame our problems about reaching to Malaysia by passing from Phuket to Krabi by boat. After this, we’ll proceed to Malaysia a little easier.