This is part 1 of 5 talking about my trip to Phuket and Phi Phi Islands in Thailand at the end of January, during my Chinese Spring Festival vacation this past year.
My flight from Guangzhou to Phuket left a little after midnight and got in a little after 3am, so I decided to book my first few nights near the airport, since I knew I was going to be tired. Even after I went through customs, picked up my backpack from luggage claim and bought a SIM card, it was barely after 4. Even though the hotel (Airport Hostel Phuket) was about a mile from the airport, it was dark so I paid 400 baht (about $12 US) for a taxi. In retrospect, I should have asked the hotel to help me arrange a car, because they could get taxis for 200 baht.
All the hotels I stayed at in Thailand were really nice. I booked hostels and had bunk beds, and in some rooms there were roommates. In this hotel, I made friends with two European guys who had been backpacking through Thailand. One was returning home, and the other was headed to Vietnam and wanted to buy a motorcycle while traveling.
I spent my first day in the area wandering around the little town on the beach at Nai Yang and sitting on the beach in a few places. There are plankton in the water that cause a bit of a sting which gets uncomfortable, so I rotated between napping and swimming.
In the afternoon, I wandered up from the little town to Sirinet National Park, where I had to pay a small entrance fee. There were a couple trails, but it’s a relatively small park. One of the coolest things was that it was right by the airport and every so often I had a cool treat that you can see in this video.
For my second day, I decided to walk down to Banana Beach, which was a few miles south of my hotel. In the map here, it’s at the bottom left corner.
On the way, I listened to some My Favorite Murder, caught some Pokemon, had some great views, and worked up a sweat by the time I got there.
Banana Beach was the least developed of the beaches I went to and one of the nicest on the island. There wasn’t a road that went directly down. Instead, you had to climb down a bit of a hill – there are step things in the dirt path, so it wasn’t too hard. There were two kitchens set up where you could buy some food and snacks, and they had an outhouse built so you could have some privacy to do your business.
After Banana Beach, I walked up to Naithon Beach, which about a mile north along the same road. There is more of a town there, with more shops and restaurants. I swam a bit more there, had a beer and some ice cream, and then caught a taxi back to the hotel area.
Even though this area isn’t as exciting as other places, it’s nice and was a good place to relax for a few days. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you spend as much time there as I did. The main benefit is that it’s close to the airport, which I needed since my flight got in so early. I stayed for three nights (two full days) because I had my 65L backpack. I can carry it fine, but it’s heavy and a bit annoying to move. I know I overpack, but also I was going directly from Thailand to Japan to visit my parents, which meant packing for 2.5 different climates and including warmer things which are bulkier.
Also, switching hotels frequently takes time out of your day – you need to check out usually before noon and you can’t always check in until 2 or 3. Additionally, you have to move between hotels, which means schlepping things (ugh) and also paying more money.
Check out my photo album for Northwest Phuket!