We spent a week in Phuket but don’t worry… I won’t bore you all with an hour by hour account of the week.
The highlights of Phuket for us were:
1. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
2. Phi Phi Islands boat trip
3. Simon Cabaret
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
This is by far the best thing we have done so far on our travels! We booked it through a tour shop just a couple of minutes from our hotel. We paid around £60 each, which for our backpacking budget, was a bit pricey but definitely worth it! The pickup truck collected us from our hotel and then after an hour and a half we were at the sanctuary. They start the session by sitting everyone down and giving a brief talk. This explains where they got the elephants from and the poor conditions they were living in, and then how they look after them now.
I was slightly dubious about doing anything to do with Elephants as I’m sure everyone has seen the YouTube videos of the abuse the elephants receive in some tourist attractions. However, the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary saves elephants from those sorts of places. The reason you are able to get so close to these animals is sadly because they have been used for tourism previously. However, it’s great to know that they are now being looked after and what you’re doing isn’t harming them. They only allow a small amount of people to visit each day and for a limited time. The tour is sold as half a day but really you’re only with the elephants around an hour and a half- which is plenty!
After the talk they then advise you to prepare the food for the elephants. This involved cutting up watermelon and stripping bananas from the bunches. Once we had filled our basket we were shown to a huge open area and we waited in anticipation for them to bring the elephants.
IT WAS INCREDIBLE! The female elephants were HUGE. A little scary at first, but once you get used to them and their size it’s ok. Scott was straight in shouting “Bon” which meant for the elephant to open its mouth and then you could feed her. I stayed back at first taking photos but then I saw a mother and baby behind us, and my heart melted. I went over to the baby, who was happily feeding himself from the enormous bucket of fruit and just watched for a little while before I moved in to pat him. (Do you pat an elephant? I can’t think of the right word to describe it!)
After around 45 minutes of feeding them we then got to get into the mud bath and splash them with mud before then moving onto washing them in the pool and shower. I can’t describe the feeling- it was amazing to be so close to them. I loved every single minute!
Phi Phi Islands Boat trip
This tour started with a lengthy bus journey to the port. Once there, we were all squeezed into the speed boat like sardines. Then we started moving… It was the most horrendous boat journey I have ever been on in my life. Luckily, I had never experienced sea/motion sickness before, however this was AWFUL. The journey from the pier to the first stop at Monkey beach was around an hour. The LONGEST hour of my life. When we finally arrived at monkey beach I wasn’t particularly interested in the monkeys as I was more preoccupied with trying not to vomit. Scott did get some photos though. It was weird, I was actually scared of the monkeys. Maybe because of the horror stories I had read/heard prior to going. Or due to the fact there was one that jumped onto another lady’s back, and another that was pulling so hard at another lady’s dress it ripped. I stayed in the shallows of the water to ensure I wasn’t too close to them!
After monkey beach we headed over to Phi Phi Don for lunch?! It was only 11:30 and I didn’t really feel much like eating after the first hours speedboat ride. However, I did manage to get some food down and it actually made me feel a lot better. We didn’t spend much other time on that island although the beach was very pretty. The next stop was Viking Caves… Well it was more of a photo opportunity as you aren’t able to get off the boat. After that we had a trip to Loh Samah bay for some snorkelling.
Another lengthy and bumpy ride (I think 3 people were sick on this bit) we were at our final stop- Khai Island. We were due to go to Maya Bay which looks amazing but, due to the large waves we weren’t able to. We spent a couple of hours snorkelling and generally relaxing on the beach & then it was time to go home.
One evening we got our glad rags on and had a date night. I say glad rags. Really, it’s the only dress I have with me and Scott got to wear a shirt! It was quite nice to actually make an effort for an evening. I even managed to get a hair dryer to dry my hair!!! We got picked up by a private mini bus and taken straight to the doors of the Simon Cabaret theatre. Inside there is a lovely lobby with a couple of chandeliers and marble effect tiles. It felt very glamorous to us! The show has only male performers but the majority of them are dressed as women. A lot of them pull it off very well from a distance! We watched as they performed a variety of different numbers which included moulin rouge, Chicago and also a Beyonce number. I loved the whole thing. Scott found it a bit strange but he managed to put up with it for me!
My next blog will be about our journey driving from Phuket to Koh Samui and the stops we did on the way. I hope you’re all still enjoying reading them!