Blue skies, sun and sand abound in Phuket
Portable stalls catering to tourists at Surin Beach
This time last week, I was in Phuket, Thailand; having flown there from Penang, Malaysia, where I had flown over to from Hong Kong the day before. Those who know me well would be absolutely correct in thinking that this Thai locale would not be anywhere near the top of my "places I want to visit" list -- and it's true enough that I reacted with horror after doing some research on Phuket in the weeks prior to my trip there and realizing that it's primary attractions involve sun, swimming, sand and spas.
Suffice to say here that my reason for agreeing to go to Phuket wasn't the usual tourist one. As it turned out though, the hotel into which I was booked was indeed one located right by a beach -- and I ended up going there twice out of a sense of obligation to check out an attraction that was about the only one that I could get to on foot from where I was staying.
The first time, it also was to view the sunset -- which was pretty enough to sooth my soul somewhat. The second time around, it was on the morning of the day of my departure from Phuket -- and, because of the blazing heat that was typical of what I encountered on my visit to this Thai island, I only lasted about 15 minutes before beating a hasty retreat to the air-conditioned confines of my room!
The Russians who appear to be particularly attracted to Phuket may have loved the 36 degree Celsius high temperatures but I found it pretty unattractive and hard to tolerate. In addition, I actually found, to my great surprise, that Phuket's much vaunted beaches are less visually attractive than some I've been on in Hong Kong (e.g., I think Sai Kung's Tai Long Wan and Long Ke, and Lantau's Cheung Sha beaches has the one in Surin beat), never mind those to be found in the likes of Okinawa!
As it turned out, it was a good thing too that I (also) hadn't planned to spend time in a spa having a massage or such since the spa in the Phuket hotel I stayed in was -- unannounced on its website -- closed for renovations! Instead, I spent a good bulk of my daylight hours venturing far away from Surin itself as well as its beach -- and it was on my visits to other parts of the island (and, on one day, over on the neighboring mainland section of the country) where I was happiest on this Thai trip.