After three nights on the beautiful Phi Ph island it was time to return to Phuket but this time we went to Patong beach which is where all the action is in terms of beach activity and nightlife including the well-known sex industry which the country is famed for. We started off with jet-skiing and swimming in the sea that first afternoon before hitting the main strip at night for a few bevvies. Surprisingly the first bar we hit, due to its cheap beers (about 60 pence), was fairly normal with no girls pressuring you to get them drinks or ahem buy them for the night!
We did a tour the following day which ticked elephant trekking off our things to be done list. That was part of a rafting tour which was improved, in my opinion, by the torrential downpour at the start of the journey. It was fun rafting down the river and knocking into the many other rafts made it more exciting but of course I hoped for something a bit more exhilerating. What was exciting was standing up and riding on the back of the truck which could never be done in the 1st world for concerns over safety but it seems in Thailand that that sort of thing is not of such importance. The jumping in at Tone Pariwat Waterfall was also a bonus in terms of being way better than I imagined it ever would be.
On the way back to Patong we stopped off at Suwankuha Temple (famous for the many monkey’s present outside the temple and cave) which was OK once but annoying when we returned there on the following days tour. Sandwiched in between visits on the night was something very cultural and what nearly everyone asks about when you mention Thailand. I am of course referring to a ping pong show and for those unaware I am not talking about a table tennis game! It seems like these seedy little places cater for curious tourists like us who want to say they’ve seen it. The place we went to was pretty grim and the girls dancing round the poles were anything but sexy and seemed bored (most likely they were tired) as the show rotated every 15 minutes or so which is about as long as each customer stays for. We didn’t see girls firing out ping pong balls but we did see displays involving cigarettes, ping pong balls being placed on bottles and a poor bird which left the world for a moment before emerging seconds later unscathed from its temporary shelter. Anyway, I am sure you get the idea! It was something which I guess had to be done but certainly wasn’t as exciting as we may have hoped.
Something both Ethan and I had been looking forward to was visiting Khao Ping Gan to view James Bond Island which was given its name after it was used as Scaramanga’s lair in the 1974 film ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’. Once again the problem with tours is that you’re sometimes hurried a bit too much which certainly felt like the case on this island where we had to basically just snap away on our cameras without time to pause for breath to take it all in. We managed to recreate the pose of Bond and Scaramanga thankfully with a pleasing outcome. James Bond island is the main thing used in promoting the tour but the supporting itinerary was also quite interesting with a visit to the Muslim fishing village at Panyee Island and canoeing, bamboo rafting and walking through the caves at Tham Pung Chang.