Wake up, drink coffee, open blinds, look at beautiful ocean, go to poolside bar for breakfast, drink more coffee, swim in pool. What a wonderful way to start your day, and that’s exactly what we have been doing. Marvellous.
We are already settling in to life at the Hotel and having a great deal of fun, and we’ve only been here a few days. It is a charming place set in the midst of a mountainside jungle with a spectacular view of the Andaman sea with a tantalising glimpse of Kata beach to whet your appetite for a day of adventurous sunbathing!
Our first night consisted of a dip in the pool, then bed, and after a wonderful nights sleep and a fabulous breakfast we took full advantage of the hotel shuttle service, (being perched on a mountainside is all well and good until you actually have to climb said mountainside, which is where the shuttle service comes into it’s own!), and headed off into town to get our bearings.
The villages of Kata and Karon are situated in the South West of Phuket and between them are home to what must number several thousand hotel rooms, several hundred cafes restaurants and bars, a slightly smaller number of retail outlets and 3 glorious beaches. Kata Noi is the smallest ( but still nearly 1 km ) and most secluded of the 3, then just around the headland is Kata beach a beautiful 2km stretch of golden sand, and if that wasn’t enough, a little further on is the long straight stretch of Karon Beach with its bizarrely squeaky sand.
Kata beach is the most commercial beach with many and varied activities from parasailing, jet ski-ing and surfing to the slightly more sedentary hair braiding services (which Moo just had to try and astoundingly sat for over an hour while 2 nimble fingered Thai ladies worked her ‘do’) and numerous massage areas where you can get a full hour oil massage for the princely sum of around 6 pounds (which I will be trying out in the very near future!).
All of the beaches are home to numerous food stands which serve both Thai and western menus and a mouthwatering selection of tropical fruit smoothies, or you can just have a freshly picked coconut with a straw. The beaches are also home to many many vendors who will try and sell you anything and everything including sarongs, belts, necklaces, musical instruments and a vast assortment of souvenirs featuring elephants, (the national animal of Thailand), and just about anything else you can think of. If you have no wish to buy a polite no thank-you or 3 and a smile should do the trick, but be warned if you do buy anything you will become a target for the other sellers for the rest of the day so it’s best to leave any purchases you wish to make till you are just about to leave. And don’t forget to haggle.
On our second day we visited the village of Karon and found what I think will be our favourite eatery. It’s a roadside shack (as many of them are) opposite the temple school and if you hit it at the right time of day you can watch the sunset over the temple and listen to the monks evening chants as you eat some of the best food I have ever tasted. Magical stuff. We had ordered a simple meal and as we waited Moo became completely absorbed in an episode of a very strange Thai soap – opera that was on the TV. The general jist was something about an evil spirit who took control of various leading ladies causing them to fight each other for no apparent reason. This story continued during our meal and I got not one single word of conversation from Moo till it had finished, at which point she declared it to be one of the best things she had ever seen. There’s no accounting for taste.
When we finished our meal a plate of mystery fruit* was presented for us to try and Moo was given a beautiful paper flower that the waitress had been making while we were dining. Such small gestures of kindness and welcome have been found all over the place since we arrived and I cant wait to get more of a taste of the island over the coming few weeks.
*The mystery fruit has since been identified (and purchased in bulk) as the delicious langsat