I had a difficult time planning the itinerary for Dave’s trip to Thailand. I knew I wanted him to see two places: Bangkok (for the historical sites) and Khon Kaen (because I live there). However, I didn’t want to spend a full week in each spot. I especially didn’t want to spend a full week in Khon Kaen since there’s almost nothing to do there! I wanted to take Dave somewhere else, but I had a hard time choosing where to go. My first thought was Phuket because I had heard that it was a great vacation spot. I did some research and learned that Dave would be here in the middle of Phuket’s rainy season. I was a little disappointed that we wouldn’t have the “ideal” Phuket experience but I also thought it might be great because Dave and I both love the rain, Phuket is not busy during the rainy season, and hotels offer great deals during the off-season. I made up my mind on Phuket and started telling people about my plans for Dave’s trip. It seemed that no one thought it was a good idea! Some people said that Phuket was too “touristy” and that we should go to a smaller, less well-known island. Other people warned me about the dangers of swimming in the ocean during the rainy season. Phuket has some powerful riptides that can pull you out to sea. Many people suggested that we go to Chiang Mai instead to see the king’s gardens. Finally, I had a talk with Ajan (professor) Penny. I told her about my concerns with going to Phuket in October. She said “so if conditions are bad, you’ll swim in the swimming pool instead of the ocean.” She also said that the gardens at Chiang Mai are nice, but that they’re for older people. It was all the encouragement I needed to go forward with plans for a Phuket vacation.
Phuket is really wonderful. I feel so relaxed! We have an adorable (and cheap!) hotel that’s just across the street from Kata beach. The weather is perfect. It’s cool and breezy. It rains, but not all day. It seems to rain in short 5-10 minute bursts. I believe it only rained twice today. So we’ve had plenty of opportunities to walk along the beach and do some shopping. Phuket is remarkably easy-going. Many people speak English here, so we haven’t had any challenges getting around or communicating. There’s a pizza parlor on every corner (sometimes more than one). Unlike Bangkok, people aren’t constantly trying to scam us. It’s great! It’s nice to be in a touristy place for a change.