Exploring Phuket’s best beaches and excursion to James Bond Island
After finishing my experience at the Vipassana Meditation temple, after days without speaking, I was anxious to get back in touch with society, so I went where I was sure I would not be short of people, to the beaches of Phuket.
The last time I went to Phuket I only stayed one night. This time I wanted to see a little more and I was so comfortable that I ended up staying 4 days and 5 nights.
I stayed at the Black Pearl Hotel; a nice, clean and cozy hotel right next to the beach and the disco area of Patong, the busiest area of Phuket. The owner was a very nice Frenchman who for being low season left me the private room with double bed for only 4 euros per night.
The best beaches of Phuket:
Phuket’s best beaches are on this side of the island, the west side. Patong is right in the middle and from there you can explore the surrounding beaches.
If you choose to stay in Patong during the day, you can visit its lively beach and/or walk its crowded streets with shops and tourists. During the night, it is advisable to get lost among the bars and discos of Soi Bangla where you will find party every day.
In my case, the first day I stayed around Patong. The second day I went directly with a motorcycle taxi to a viewpoint that was by the beaches of the south.
Beaches south of Patong:
Karon and Kata Beach
From Patong, heading south, the first viewpoint you find is past the beaches of Karon and Kata. Kata Beach is divided in two: Kata Main Beach and Kata Noi Beach.
From the viewpoint I decided to return to Patong walking along the beaches. The Kata Main Beach was the one I liked the most, with an islet just in front that gave it a distinctive touch.
Once I saw this beach, I hitchhiked back to Phuket. In one of my return autostops I was picked up on his bike by a woman in her 40s. She smiled a lot and seemed very nice. I just sat behind her and smelled alcohol. She was very drunk and started driving from side to side ahead of all the vehicles. As much as I could, I got off and politely thanked her for the adrenaline kick.
Beaches north of Patong:
The beaches of Kamala, Surin and Laguna
The next day I went north to Kamala, Surin and Laguna beaches. Surin was undoubtedly the beach that most convinced me of the three; small, surrounded by palm trees and with a bar with swimming pool where you can have a drink and relax with the sound of the waves.
To go from Surin to Laguna I was hitchhiking for a while but as nobody stopped I ended up taking a taxi. In Phuket you have to take special care so that the taxi drivers don’t cheat you.
My taxi scam experience
Before getting into the taxi I asked the taxi driver how much it cost to go to Laguna and he showed me three fingers. The distance from Surin beach to Laguna is not much, so I asked him: “30 baths?” (80 cents), and without mentioning a word, he showed me three fingers again. I repeated again: “30 baths?”, and he confirm without saying anything.
I got into the taxi and, instead of taking me to the beginning of Laguna beach, which was next door, he turned all the way around, and after about 20 minutes he left me at the end of the beach, which is huge. When I arrived, I took 30 baths to give them. He looked at me with a strange face and suddenly, with good English, said: “300 baths” (8 euros). It was to be expected… We argued for a while, I ended up giving him 100 baths and I got out of the car.
I walked all over the beach as the sun went down until it got dark. I went out to the main road to look for someone to take me back to Patong and after a while I was picked up by another woman on a motorcycle, this time, fortunately, 100% sober and very nice, who left me near my hotel.
James Bond Island Round-trip Tour
On the fourth day I took a round-trip tour to the famous James Bond Island, which is in the northeastern part of Phuket. The tour cost me 1000baths (20 euros) and included a car ride to the boat, a boat ride around the area to James Bond Island, lunch, a kayak ride and a drive back to Patong.
I didn’t expect much because I imagined a mass of tourists taking pictures and buying souvenirs, and although I did, I still liked James Bond Island.
It’s as spectacular as it appears in the photos. But, above all, I was impressed by its surroundings full of floating islets that reminded me a lot of Vietnam’s Halong Bay. Although James Bond Island was good, I can say that I enjoyed the tour more than the destination.
With those four days exploring the beaches of Phuket I was satisfied. It was the perfect time go to another island. I took a boat to another of the world’s most famous islands, Koh Phi Phi.
From the beaches of Phuket to Koh Phi Phi Phi
It was nice to come back to Koh Phi Phi four years later. It was still beautiful, but as expected, it had become even more touristy. Even the main beach wasn’t as clean as it used to be because of all the parties that were held there every night of the year.
One morning, in order not to change the good habits, I ran up to the viewpoint as I did the last time I was there. Halfway there, suddenly, a Thai family stopped me. They told me that it was the “Highway” and that I had to pay if I wanted to go on.
I asked them to let me pass. I didn’t have anything on me, and nowhere did it indicate that there was a fee entrance. Of course, they categorically refused. I was fortunate that just at that moment some Chinese lady I had met on the boat to the island passed by and paid my entrance fee. Although it was a priceless price, I had already broken the harmony of the place.
Once I arrived at the viewpoint, while 4 years ago I was able to sit alone to contemplate the wonderful landscape in a stone surrounded by trees, this time, I was overflowing with people who were looking for a good place to take a picture. It was a little disappointing. But, honestly, if this is the first time you’ve been there, just for the views, it’s still worth it to climb.
From Koh Phi Phi a Bangkok
I spent two days in Koh Phi Phi and said goodbye to the islands. Time passes quickly when you travel and my days in Thailand were coming to an end.
I returned to Bangkok by bus for about 500 baths (13 euros) and still had time to go to the J.J. Market, a huge flea market, to buy a few gifts and eat my last Pad Thai.
Before taking the flight home I had time to think about my trip. It had been very different from the last one, neither better nor worse, different. When you travel alone you miss your friends and don’t have as much fun as when you’re with them, but you also learn to do everything on your own. Make your own plans and wake up when you need to. You may not like to travel alone, but once in a lifetime, you have to.
Die with memories, not dreams.