Thailand: Day One.
Thailand Day 1:
Our poor amount of sleep and long day of traveling led us to sleep in, but once we were up, we were excited to explore Kata beach just five minutes walking from our guesthouse. One of the nice things about our guesthouse was the awesome and cheap food. If you stay over five days or so, you get a free breakfast, and if you want to upgrade your meal it’s a cheap difference to pay. Southern Fried Rice Guesthouse is a three-story building with an open-air dining room, so we ate our continental breakfast and delicious Thai drip coffee (I’ve got to find out the name of the coffee they gave us), with the sun beaming down on our pale winter-experienced skin.
We took the five-minute walk to Kata beach and were surprised by its beauty. The beach had hot white sand, clear blue water, and was framed by palm trees and hills. Just out a few hundred meters from the beach was a small island to the northwest.
There were quite a few people taking in what the beach had to offer, but it was neither crowded nor busy. It seemed to be a primarily European beach crowd, and they all seemed to be concerned with one thing: relaxing. Which is what we wanted too, so we found some beach chairs, and did just that.
I got antsy pretty quickly, so I rented some snorkeling gear and went out exploring underwater, while Jill relaxed under the sun. The water was cool, but warm. It wasn’t so warm that I felt like I was swimming in bath water, but it was just right to balance the temperature from the hot sun. Underwater wasn’t as clear as I was hoping, but it was clear enough to see all the awesome exotic marine life within a ten-foot radius.
After a quick lunch on the beach, I convinced Jill to go snorkeling with me for her first time ever! She was a bit nervous at first, but she did great and we had a ton of fun together exploring the cove around Kata.
The location of our guesthouse puts us in the middle of Kata Night Bazaar, so it wasn’t difficult to find a restaurant for dinner, but it was rather difficult to choose one. We finally decided on this really nice looking Thai seafood restaurant called Kampong Kata Hill. It was situated up on a hill overlooking the streets below. From the looks of it, I thought, “we’re going to hurt our wallets on this meal.”
The interior was one of most characteristic atmospheres for a restaurant that I’d ever experienced. It was decorated from wall to wall and architecturally designed like a traditional Thai palace with a modern influence. The food was awesome too! Jill had a pork and seafood noodle entrée, while I had a delicious cashew nut chicken with steamed rice meal. Fortunately, our Thai appetite didn’t cost us the $40 to $60 I’d expected from such a nice looking and tasting restaurant. The bill came to a grand total of approximately $15 USD!
After dinner we explored the streets around Kata and Karon beaches to take in the sites and sounds. We had some coffee, and then tried not to laugh when we walked by bars full of lady-boys screaming for us to come inside to join them. It’s humorous to experience the screaming, but it’s also hard not to sense some sadness for the many Thais who subject themselves to the legalized sex-industry.
When we got back to our guesthouse that evening, we got to meet Terje who is the owner of Southern Fried Rice (SFR for short). It turns out that he is native to Norway and decided to retire here in Phuket for the warm weather. Quite a difference from the winters that Norway is famous for! We told him that we were really interested in taking a day tour into Phang Nga Bay to see the famous Khao Ping Kan (a.k.a. “James Bond Island”) and surrounding islands. He gave us a few options, and after we decided, he made a quick call, and booked it for us. AND, because he speaks fluent Thai (as well as English and Norwegian), he was able to bargain down to 50% less per ticket for us! We got two tickets for the price of one!
After a long, but exciting first day, we hit the sack to rest up for our speedboat trip into one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world.