Monday Feb. 4, 2013 – After a short 1 hour flight, the plane landed into Phuket airport…as I looked out the window to see the sun-shining onto green, lush vegetation in the mountainside, my anxiety and stress levels (from NYC & BKK) were immediately lowered…I had finally made it to the tropical island and MY NEW HOME 🙂
This is my second trip here and now a veteran…I moved past the schemy tuk-tuk drivers offering me rides for inflated prices, towards the back-area where a legit cabbie counter is. I told the lady Chalong and she handed me a piece of paper with the quoted fair of 500 baht. After a 50 min ride, I arrived to Anchan Boutique Hotel, on the same street as Tiger Muay Thai, Dragon Muay Thai and Phuket Top Team gyms.
Initially I was going to stay at Fern House Retreat again, where I spent 3 weeks back in June…but my two friends, Nick & Suhaila were moving to Anchan and didn’t want to be stuck there alone. The monthly rental price is double and there was a bit of sticker-shock (mind you I won’t be working for at least a year and have been budgeting x-amount of dollars in my planning)…but the minute I walked into my room, my jaw dropped! The hotel is only one month old and I’m the first one to live on this top-floor room as the fridge wasn’t even plugged in. It’s a one bedroom with moveable room divider and a private balcony with gorgeous view. Fully furnished, TV, wifi, kitchen, pool and room cleaning service once per day! Now I know why the place charged double and it was definitely worth it! Here’s a video tour that gives a better explanation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ2LgUYqc30&feature=share&list=UUzt2LlkTchsCj8xBCYRLxew
To be honest, I felt a bit guilty to be living here as it’s way too nice…part of my moving to Thailand is to simplify my living and “get back to basics” without the materialism and consumerism that’s rampant in the US. I wanted to re-ground myself…but for now I guess, it’s okay to spoil myself as I make the transition.
As I was checking in, my good friend Nick came by. It was so good to finally see him again. We got to know each other well during my first trip here and is a big reason for me returning. He helped me settle in last time and showed me the “real” Phuket, not the touristy crap that bores me. Nick has been living in Thailand for 15 months now (originally from Australia) and runs his own digital business here…definitely someone I admire and look up to.
Although it was the afternoon and I was still dealing with jet-lag, he convinced me to do the walk up the hill to the Big Buddha statue. This is not some short 20 min walk, but rather 45 – 60 min ONE way up, which can get quite steep. At the top, we ate at a small outdoor restaurant with a beautiful view overlooking the mountains and ocean…there’s also a chained up monkey to play with, lol. I had the chicken with basil, rice and fried egg…I barely ate anything up til now and this meal tasted so good, especially after the long walk up. After eating, we started the trek down and it was soon dark.
A few hours later I met Nick’s girlfriend Natcha who is from Chiang Mai and went out to dinner #2…it was at a local spot that specializes in Northern-style cuisine. Luckily Natcha ordered for us and the food was amazing!!!
Tuesday Feb.5, 2013 – Woke up and had brunch at Tony’s, a staple on this soi (street). Because it’s high-season here, it was a bit crowded. In terms of my muay thai training, I didn’t want to want to jump right into it yet. Reason # 1 is because it’s ridiculously hot right now, around 90 degrees (dry heat)…last time I was here, it was rainy season and in the 80’s, humid. So I wanted to take some time for my body to adjust and decided on just strength and conditioning exercises for the week. Nick and I went to Nai Harn beach and walked up to the wind-mills, did 5 sprints up-hill plus pushups/ dips. Afterwards we went into the ocean for a refreshing swim. Lastly, we drove to Chalong Gym and did a chest workout. This took about 3-4 hours and was so much more fun than just “lifting weights” like back home 🙂 That night he treated me and Natcha to a delicious all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ joint just down the road from us.
Wednesday Feb.6, 2013 – Finally picked up my scooter. Got a new one, Honda Click 125cc 🙂 It only costs 3200 baht, about $106/ month.
Did same routine as yesterday with Nick plus Chalong gym. He also brought me to Lion Gym in Rawai…we got a tour and spoke to the new owner Ollie from UK. Now that’s it under new management, it’s being run differently to give it a different atmosphere/ vibe for people training Muay Thai there (ie. no MMA program anymore). Nick also brought me to another Muay Thai gym, this one owned by a German guy, which he only does private lessons with (Western Style boxing).
Went food shopping at Tesco.
Thursday Feb.7, 2013 – Breakfast at JaJa’s, another staple on this block. Just a shoulder-workout at Chalong gym, then met up with Mike G. and Suhaila who treated me for lunch at Shanti Lodge. These were my good friends from my last trip and first time seeing them since returning, yay 🙂
Friday Feb.8, 2013 – My friend from back home Mike Chu, had his girlfriend Jersey and her friend Mary meet up with me. They ended up getting a room at Anchan as well. Nick and I showed them Nai Harn and few other spots to catch the sunset. That night we went to Ska Bar in Kata.
Saturday Feb.9, 2013 – Had lunch at Muay Thai House, down the block…the girl remembered me from over the summer. This is the 2nd person on this street that remembered me and it feels good 🙂 After I met the girls at Kata beach for a bit. That night, Nick, Natcha and I headed to Phuket Town to find a local Thai restaurant. I like Phuket town because it’s a bit more authentic…the architecture of the buildings is older as well. Also for Chinese New Year, the streets were decorated with red-lanterns. We found a spot to eat at and it was delicious…after we went to some Thai Hi-So bars that locals and ex-pats goto. Timber Club was good and had a live singer/band. Didn’t stay out late though.
Sunday Feb.10,2013 – Chalong gym for chest workout. Then an hour sports massage down the street at Ittana/ Tennis Courts. The ladies working there are all different from the ones over the summer. This one masseuse worked a bit too hard on my left Achilles heel and now it’s sore 🙁 After this, Nick, Jersey, Mary and myself walked upto the Big Buddha again (#2 for me). It was still pretty hot out. We got some nice sun-set pics and funny ones as well (Instagram! haha). Later that night we had a nice big Sunday dinner with everyone plus Mike and Suhaila at Sala Mexicala.