Thailand - reflectionsThailand - ladies loo

Oh Thailand, you and I are fickle friends. We have known each other since 1992 on and off over the years and each trip I threaten to throw in the towel on our friendship. This trip was the closest we have come to a permanent break up. We stayed in Mai Khao beach in north Phuket (we were kindly offered a great deal). As an area it has never stuck out the guide book as one to visit but being off the beaten track is my favourite place to be.

But here I encountered a new side of tourism. The Fear Factor. Golf buggies move you between the three resort complexes – this is classed as ‘exploring’. At every turn you are warned about dealing with local taxi drivers, getting ripped off, danger, danger, danger. Stay on their private beach so we can protect you. Protect us from what? Be afraid.

All nationalities are catered for. You can get bento boxes, burgers or pizzas. There were activities – ping pong tournaments, pilates, towel folding classes (really). But every corner you turned the resort sales staff were there; peddling this ‘lifestyle timeshare’. If you express a desire to leave? Eyebrows are raised – why would you want to leave this paradise?

Because we want to see Thailand. Thailand and I were going to fall out, again.

We escaped. (I don’t think we were alone in this.)

We found a beach hawker stall. His food was simple, cheap and tasty and he had a swing that the kids played on for hours. We found Kin Dee restaurant. We went early to watch the sun go down. From their terrace we watched the fisherman walking through the shallows with their nets and then as one all the cicadas began to make their noise and do their thing. It was deafening. Have the prawns in holy basil and garlic chilli with a cold beer. It’s worth it.

Hawker stall - Mai Kao Beach

Freedom on the Beach

Thailand and I made up. Again.

Dom and I will always, always be backpackers at heart.

Thailand - buddha