Flying to Thailand was a much needed fresh start for us, leaving the stress and surgeons behind us with the dirt and relentless din of India. We wanted a calmer, more relaxed environment to fully recuperate, so once we landed in Bangkok we made a bee-line to the airport ticket sales desks to find the cheapest flight to a sandy spot on the ocean. Air Asia obliged with a 1:30 flight to Phuket. Perfect. We'd be on the beach before dark.
The flight to southern Thailand was beautiful, with emerald waters surrounding stoic cliffs and islands. Once in Phuket we hopped a minibus to the beaches--surprisingly still an hour ride from the airport--where there are three main stretches of sand to choose from. Patong is the most famous, known for its long beach, nightlife, and large resorts, with Karon to its south and Kata even further south nearing the bottom of the island. We chose Kata for its reputation of being more quiet--and particularly more affordable. We thought we could avoid the touristy side of Phuket.
But to no avail. Kata's main drag is standard beach town, with shops selling the same sarongs and sunglasses you find on Myrtle Beach. We were particularly frustrated on Kata Noi (Little Kata) Beach when we found only one food stall that served curries and noodles in addition to the usual hamburgers, hot dogs, and club sandwiches. The beauty of the beaches, however, more than did their part to make up for the hammock hawking hangover created by their supporting towns. Smooth white sand, sparkling turquoise water that warmly welcomed you in whenever the sun got too intense. There's a reason Phuket is a tourist destination.
Luckily there was a bit of Thai flair to flavor the beach. We ate some delicious Thai food full of fresh shrimp from the ocean and Katrina learned to order her curries "Thai style" to get it really spicy; and boy (or girl), they don't mess around. As an accompaniment the locally popular Chang beer became very popular with us.
One of the best things about our stay in Kata was our very large, extremely comfortable bungalow. Two Chefs, one of the fancier restaurants in town, owns a handful of stand-alone bungalows on the hill behind its dining room. The layout is very well designed so that you can't see into the other bungalows or even onto their decks, so it would have felt completely private even if we hadn't been the only guests at the time. From our front porch we had a lovely ocean view and we spent many enjoyable hours there eating and drinking the aforementioned curries and Chang-- which sounds like a great name for a Thai food cart that we can add to our growing list entitled "Potential profitable food and/or drink items to sell on Newbury Street upon return home" which already includes: sucos, empanadas, crepes, and focaccia. Our better yet maybe will just open a store called "Delicious Snacks of the World...Mmmmm, Snacks".
View more pictures from Phuket here.