Phuket – Thailand – 1

We stayed on the tourist haven island of Phuket in the south of Thailand for one week. Sonically, culturally and cuisinely, it was the most unexciting place on my travels. You may notice how the sound files on this entry are drastically fewer than in the following Sound Journal entry in Cambodia. Also, the majority of the images and sounds from Phuket are from one single day. You’ll notice now that I’ve told you, anyway.

Our hotel, The Old Phuket, was on Karon Beach. Apparently the area is very popular with Scandinavians and Russian, and from the amount of blonds and menus in Finnish, this was quite true. In the evenings, restaurants in the area would serve a watered-down version of Thai food and an equally pale ‘Western’ or ‘European’ menu. Most places also had live music in the form of one lone singer/guitarist who would play along with what sounded like a homemade backing track complete with midi drums, bass, synths, strings and backup vocals. Both the food and the music were pretty hard to stomach at times.

On our first day at the beach, we arrived in the middle of a rumbly thunderstorm. The beach was startlingly empty, compared to when the sun comes out. We were much happier to ssit on the empty beach under some clouds.

It was impossible to find a tour that did not include trips to the islands where the movies The Beach (photo above) and one of the James Bonds were filmed. Having never seen either movie, I am only assuming it looked different than when we saw it, with hordes of noisy tourists, noisy tour boats and garbage.

We visited a group of islands north of Phuket that rose sheer out of the 28-degree Adaman Sea. Some of the islands were limestone, and had been shaped by the land and sea in such a way as to have ‘caves’ that opened from the outside of the island into a lagoon in the inside.

The only way to enter the lagoon was by low inflatable canoes, and we often had to lie flat to avoid the razor-sharp stalagtites. The steep cliffs inside the lagoon were covered in trees and vines, and mangrove trees often grew in the water, their roots rising a meter into the air. It was incredible.