First term has come and gone. I can hardly believe it.
Back in Turkey, we spent most of our fall breaks in cold European cities, trying to find traces of autumn that would remind us of home. This year, we took a different approach, instead opting for summery island paradise. While I still long for colorful leaves and pumpkin spice everything, I can’t say I minded spending a week on the beach.
Adjusting to a new job and a new country is exhausting; often, so is traveling. We didn’t want to put too many expectations on our first vacation after a couple of stressful months, so we kept it low key: 1) Hotel by the beach 2) No plans.
Days went by with nothing but swimming, lounging on the beach, drinking out of coconuts, sipping on a few beers, and eating delicious Thai food. In other words, paradise.
After several joyful lazy days, we decided it was worth our while to book a tour and explore more of the island. We joined a half-day Phuket city tour and were the only ones who booked it, so we ended up getting a private tour for the same price as the group tour. Score!
Our first stop was Big Buddha, a monument dedicated to Buddha that overlooks the whole island and can be seen from most of it. As if the statue itself wasn’t enough of an attraction, the views from its platform were stunning.
Stop #2 was Chalong Temple, which was also gorgeous.
Last but not least, we had a couple of hours to explore Old Phuket Town, which is a delightful neighborhood full of beautiful pastel buildings, cool cafes, and interesting shops.
In the end, I may have had one too many Singha beers, bought more souvenirs than I really needed, and definitely left with a sunburn, but I can’t recommend Phuket enough. Is it touristy? Very. Is it fun? Absolutely. The Thai people are wonderful, kind, and friendly and English is widely spoken. The food is cheap, plentiful, and delicious. There is literally something for every kind of traveler, whether you want to be a beach bum, hike, or party until you drop. We chose to stay in Kata Beach, which is a quieter part of the island more suited to couples and families to avoid some of the more obnoxious crowds.
I left feeling refreshed, relieved at having survived my first couple of months in China, and excited to explore more of Thailand in the future.