Monday, February 19, 2007 - Phuket, Thailand
Monkey in a truck - photo by Lee Johnson
Getting there but no accommodations
I took a 1 ½ hour flight to Phuket. The flight cost about $60.00 but the luggage weight restriction was 15 kilos so I had to pay another $100.00 just for my luggage. I was a little upset with myself because I could have booked my ticket with Air Canada direct to Phuket and I would have saved $160.00. By the way, a ticket to Thailand with Air Canada (one of the best for international flights) can be had for $1050.00 return. Come and visit!
Last year when I was here it wasn’t tourist season so there where a lot of cheap accommodations. Today I spent the entire day driving around in taxis and on motorbike looking for places that are close to a training camp. Last time I stayed at Phuket Muay Thai training camp but it was too far from the beach and I had to have a motorbike to get anywhere. This year I wanted to be walking distance from everything, so I decided the best course of action was to visit the different camps and make an evaluation based on the quality of training, the location and accommodations. Every camp has two training sessions per day: one in the early morning which less people attend and one in that starts at 4:00pm that generally more people attend. I wanted to visit the school in the afternoon so see how many students there were in relation to instructors and to evaluate the quality of the instruction.
The day did not go well. Everywhere I went the accommodations were full and the ones that had vacancies were too expensive. I stopped in at Rawai Muay Thai at 4:00pm but I didn’t like it at all: too many students and not enough instructors. Plus, the camp was located quite a distance from everything, particularly the ocean.
The difference between a tourist and a traveler
While looking for accommodations I bumped into a very nice Belgium couple. They asked me if I was English. Assuming that they were questioning if I spoke English I answered in the affirmative. They responded with a less than enthusiastic “ah”. As I mentioned last year, most British tourist here are unbelievable bores and not very well liked at all. Worse than any other tourists I have ever seen anywhere in the world. There are some exceptions of course – like my British friends. Anyway, correctly judging their disdain and now understanding the intent of their question, I corrected myself and explained that I was Canadian. Their faces lit up instantly and they said “ah, then you are not a tourist, you are a traveler”. A nice compliment to say the least.
Finally, late in the evening and well into darkness I found a room for $23.00. Much more than I wanted to spend, it was small and was not even equipped with hot water. I am a little disheartened and tired.