A 6 hour public bus took us from Khao Sok, through beautiful countryside, to Phuket. We successfully manouvered our way through three public “bus” changes to reach town and our hostel location, Patong Beach. Honestly, we don’t have much to say about this place. Overly-catered to tourists, the region’s character seems to have been lost behind flashing lights and ping pong shows. It was interesting to see for a night and bemusing to observe the shows’ advertisers and various go go bars lining the main street, but the beach was average and we spent most of our time wandering the Jungceylon shopping mall to escape the sights outside. Maybe spending one day there, we missed what Phuket can really offer, but other travellers we’ve met on our way had a similarly unenthused outlook on the city.
On the 10th, we departed back towards the main ‘New’ bus station to embark on our journey to Chiang Mai, crossing the whole of Thailand! Green bus Thailand was good value for money, with excellent service, four meals, snacks, reclining seats and individual TVs – better than an economy flight! It took 25hrs and we were extremely glad to reach Chiang Mai by the end, but the passing scenery was stunning, we watched a Jurassic a World in Thai (highly recommend) and had an interesting experience at a service station stop; herded into a communal dining room at 11pm, we found ourselves the only tourists amongst hundreds of Thai locals. They entreated us to help ourselves to the prepared buffet and I went for a safe looking curry. The first spoonful revealed a clawed foot, so I stuck to the rice and sauce after that. Not only my mouth, but my whole upper body imploded with heat and I spent five minutes shovelling the fires of hell into my mouth as tears ran down my bright red face, so as not to offend the locals. We made our escape shortly after and, asking Blake if he was ok, he was unable to answer due to the 5 ice cubes stuffed into his mouth to ease the pain. Fun travel times!