There is nothing quite like Thai-island hoping, at least not that I’ve done yet. Despite being passed from one mode of transport to the next during the course of a trip; with touts threatening a longer wait time without additional

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payment, it’s actually a cinch – just as long as you stay persistent!

Beautiful Phuket

We were traveling from the east to the western islands for our next destination – to the popular island/peninsula of Phuket. The overnight journey went off with only a few hiccups and before we knew it we were standing in front of our Couch Surfing hosts house in Chalong Bay. Our host Val is originally from France but is posted up in Phuket running her scuba diving school and has been for the past few years. She made us dinner and we spent the hours in conversation about political & social issues surrounding the marine conservation efforts that she is involved with there. She is an absolutely lovely woman whom we so easily bonded.

Chels's first time driving

When daylight came we took off early in search of a motor bike. It had been such a success in Koh Phangan it deserved another go. We had a place in mind as we walked down the main strip of Chalong Bay. Since the first place was closed we ended up renting from a Thai Massage business that tripled as a restaurant and apparently bike rental place, perhaps even travel agent if we needed. Normally this might have seemed dodgy, but in Thailand even the most unsuspecting places are legit and as it turned out, so was this one.

Phuket is more metropolitan than Koh Phangan so instead of avoiding crater-like potholes and steep dirt roads we now had to watch out for other drivers whizzing past us. Despite all

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that, cruising on a motor bike had become one of our new favorite hobbies. It’s such a great way to explore an island, cruising to the far reaches, feeling free. Not only did we get a chance to explore but we felt like locals (even though we can’t balance 3 kids and two adults on one bike). And pulling off to fill up our gas tank with a Johnny Walker bottle full of petrol at little stands set up along the roads was a welcomed experience!


Val clued us in to a sweet snorkel spot on the south east corner of the island and even loaned us some equipment. The road to the secluded beach was spotted with signs reminding us of the past tsunami that had devastated parts of the island; and pointing you along an evacuation route but in some places informing drivers that you have entered a point of no return (if one were to hit). But who has time to worry about stuff like that during an adventure (kidding mom/mum).

Chilln with the fishes

We had to walk the bike down the steep beat up road to our secret snorkel spot and as soon as we touched the sand the gear was on and we hit the water. We spent the next hour or so skimming the surface, spotting many of Nemo’s buddies, who weren’t always so happy to see us, as we were them.

Snack time!

It was such a peaceful area that we decided to have some lunch at the snack shack set up on the beach. We had spent the rest of that day lounging on beautiful white sand beaches, wadding in the warm Thai waters. As daylight drifted we soaked the last rays up on the tourist popular Patong Beach for what turned out to be our unanimous favorite sunset; having lots of fun snapping photos and playing in the water.

Sunset at Patong!

Headstands at Sunset

The sad reality of sex tourism reared its ugly head as we walked up and down the infamous Thanon Bangla road. Old white men rubbing their much younger hired Thai dates in often inappropriate places. An unfortunate circumstance of rampant poverty, cultural differences and a soaring exchange rate. Besides the urge to vomit we enjoyed the area, ducking into the dirt cheap markets with knock off goods and yummy eats.


The lady boys were just starting to emerge on the scene when it started pouring down rain…i mean monsoon!! Crazy heavy thick rain! We ran into some tin-roof covered markets and tried to wait it out while browsing. Luckily i had saved a poncho i picked up for free at GurtenFest in Switzerland, and now it was FINALLY coming in handy! The rain just didn’t let up, and we figured it was now or never to make the 30-minute drive home. Really though…if not now, there might be some flooding with all the crazy hills. So on the scooter we hopped and Brad got us home safe and wet! :)

Pumpkins and Ponchos

On our next day we decided to hit the more rural areas of the island and take a trip to see big Buddha. He is currently being built at the highest point of the island and so anticipating we would get hungry on our trip, we picked a coconut from one of Val’s trees and stored it in our motorbike basket.

The road up to see Buddha is a windy and scenic ride and well worth it once you get to the top. The views were spectacular and although neither of us is a Buddhist, Buddha was so enlightening and we think of him as a model human we should strive to imitate. And we certainly appreciate the dedication of the monks who dwell there.

Big Buddha

Inside the area is gong that you can hit or rub the back of with your bare hands to create this deep vibrating sound. Both Chelsea, me and several other tourists failed to create a sound. But when a young boy, maybe 6 or 7 years old got behind it he slipped into a meditative state and it began to sound (All the tourists, including us…were mesmerized!!).

super powers

On our ride down we were getting a bit thirsty and remember our coconut. Spotting an elderly man on the side of the road selling fruit we pulled over and signaled to our coconut. Immediate he walked across the road to his “workshop”, grabbed his hatchet and cut open our coconut. Of course, you can buy ones that are perfectly shaved, chilled and served with a straw; but we preferred a still green, hand-picked, cut open by a rural farmer and drank from the opening. A strange but sweet taste! The best part being the connection we made with the man, who was amused by our excitement.


We rode through to a Si Ray, a small little island off the coast to grab some lunch. It was a place off the beaten tourist track. And the locals were quite surprised to see phalong (white people) when we rocked up. By far the cheapest and best food we had on Phuket, full of such flavor.

On our way back we fed some monkeys and hit up Phuket Town. In search of a tourist agency to get pricing on a ferry to Phi Phi, we ran into an agent flying solo who overheard us asking locals. He said he could offer us the cheapest prices because he worked independently. At first we didn’t believe him but he seemed harmless and we ended up booking anyway. As it turns out, was a super nice guy! He arranged to pick us up the next morning and walked us all the way to the ferry boat to ensure our send off. We waved goodbye to him and Phuket as we sailed off to the magic that awaited us in Phi Phi!

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