today was another sad day (you know the trip's good when there are a lot of these), as it was our last in chiang mai. it's such a chill locale w/not too many tourists, and its temperate climate was a welcome bonus thus far. where bangkok was a crazed adrenaline rush (think NYC on HGH) w/borderline toxic air quality, chiang mai is dialed down and much more palatable to the olfactory system.
savored my last free breakfast of fruit salad w/yogurt and toast before grabbing a tuk tuk to the airport to catch our 1pm flight to phuket. we touched down shortly after 3pm to the balmy, tropical island that reminded me lots of maui. we opted for a cheaper mini-bus from the airport to our hotel located on karon beach, on the SW side of the island and away from the madhouse of phuket town and patong beach.
phuket is thailand's largest island, located approximately 540 miles south of bangkok. it derived much of its early wealth from tin and rubber, before making way for a huge tourism boom in the 1970s. and despite the tsunami of 2004, tourism still remains its biggest industry, drawing in over 3 million peeps per year. but the one thing they don't tell you is how incredibly expensive it is here, yowzers. a tuk tuk ride to phuket town - about 22km - costs a whopping 600 THB, or 6 times the equivalent in any other part of thailand.
nevertheless, it's tough to complain about much when your hotel is close to the beach. try 15 steps close. here's a snapshot from the front doorstep, i kid you not. plus, our hotel was nice enough to upgrade us to a suite. sweet. the only catch is there's one king-size bed, but seeing as pam sleeps coffin-like, there's zero chance of an accidental game of footsies breaking out...
choosing to forgo heading into phuket town due to the outlandish prices, we strolled over to karon city, a 5-minute walk from our hotel.
we decided to hang our hat on an indian joint, mostly because we both were craving naan. i also got the mixed vegetables masala, which was just what the doctor ordered. i happened to strike up a convo with a pair of girls the next table over, as one was from philly and the other from boston. i think we were both relieved to find somebody of our generation, because call me crazy, the median age in phuket appears to be 55.
craving something sweet, we happened upon the mr. nana (a.k.a. the pancake man), who drew quite the crowd w/his portable cart. pam went with the mango w/chocolate, i stayed with his tried and true of banana w/honey.