Thinking About Phuket, and South East Asia

After what will be a long cold winter for me up in Lapland and the Baltics, I’ve been thinking about my plans for next year, and have decided to head somewhere nice and hot. Its been in my head for a while now; I want to head to South East Asia. My ‘sister’ lives in Cambodia currently and I’d like to visit her, as well as travel to other places like Vietnam, Burma, and Thailand.

Phuket, Thailand
After working hard and travelling a lot I’d like to go somewhere sunny. Somewhere relaxed with a gorgeous beach and pale blue seas; that's when I found Phuket, the largest of the Thai islands. Before the tourists turned up in their swimmers and flip flops, the island was full of rubber trees and tin mines. These days the tourists are found on the islands beaches where they can go kite surfing, or diving. This is in fact a great place to become a dive master, with some school’s offering the certificates. Or, of course, you can just relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Once I’m finished chilling on the beach, I’m looking forward to checking out the new Big Buddha, built as view point across Chalong Bay in one direction and Kata and the Andaman Sea in the other. This place would be perfect to get one of those gorgeous sunset pictures. I’d also like to head inland towards the towns to see some of the other religious sites. The one that sticks out to me right now is the Shrine of Serene Light where you can see Taoist etchings on the walls. The altar is made up of fresh flowers and burning candles. The shrine, though restored, was said to have been built by a local family in the 1880’s.

There are great festivals in Thailand for example in April you can be part of Songkran, or New Year. For most people this means hitting the streets, getting a bit merry and chucking water at everyone and everything. On the first day of the festival things start pretty quietly, but by midday trucks are lining the roads, their backs full of icy water! Small children also join in carrying water guns through the streets. Whilst it’s a national wide festival, Patong is the place to be in Phuket province.

Not in Thailand during April? Well, how about the Vegetarian festival in September? This year it’ll start on September 24th. It’s an annual festival held during the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar lasting for 10 days, and has been happening since 1825. It’s followed by Chinese ancestry Thai’s who follow a strict vegan diet for 10 days during the festival for the purpose of spiritual cleansing. Sacred rituals are performed at various shrines and temples. People also walk over hot coals barefooted and up ladders with bladed rungs, this done by devotee’s known as “Ma Song”.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2014      XOKA3318bs
Attending local and traditional festivals would also be a great way to get to know the local people. Thai’s are known for their warm, friendly smiles, and hospitality. There is a lot of talk amongst the traveller community about scams, often people are just trying to make a living. Is it worth arguing over a matter of cents that don’t matter to us, but could make a real difference in their lives? Plus Thai's have the best sense of humour, and often as sweet little laugh to go with it.

With all these things on offer, I don’t know why I didn’t think of Phuket before, have you been, what would recommend I see and do?

Thanks to Thomson Flights for helping to bring you this post. 


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