Phuket (19 – 26 Nov)

Chalong Bay

We had already decided to skip Phuket because we had heard it was dirty, expensive and overrun with tourists (especially those looking for rowdy nights out with ladyboys and the like) – basically a good place to miss. However, it seemed all roads between Koh Tao and the Andaman islands passed through Phuket (after about 10 hours of travel), so we decided to spend a couple of days and check it out anyway. As we’ve learned time and time again on this trip, sometimes, you should forget about what you read and hear about a place and go ahead and see for yourselves.

We found an amazing place to stay and ended up enjoying a week in a great part of town. Sansuko Ville resort is owned by Bobbi and Steven, an English couple who were born to work in hospitality. Not only were they wonderful hosts, they have created a place that people (including us) seem to hate to leave.

Wat Chalong

We stayed in a new property they were not quite finished developing, which was especially cool since we were the only guests!  As businesses in Thailand cannot be fully owned by foreigners, Bobbi and Steven had a silent partner since they opened Sansuko Ville. This silent partner, Penchan, was going to be running the new development. A Phuket native, Penchan was kind enough to give us an informal guided tour our entire first day there. She took us to several scenic spots (click here for the photos), lunch and a nice temple, Wat Chalong. We felt like we were visiting a relative we hadn’t met before!

Unlike most of the hotels and resorts, Sansuko is located near Phuket Town, on the eastern part of the island. There is a nearby fishing village which became our hometown for the week. Since it was not a touristy area, we had the pleasure of being a source of fascination for most of the people in the neighborhood, as well as the only tourists at the night market every evening. The night market is where all the locals buy fresh fish and fruit and veggies to prepare at home, but there are also vendors selling grilled fish and squid, fried chicken and all kinds of meats-on-a-stick. They are generally a great option for a cheap dinner, with lots of energy and fun thrown in for free.

The highlight of our trip to Phuket and our stay at Sansuko was definitely participating in the Loi Kratong festival in the fishing village…but you will have to wait to read about that in our next entry!