More Like A Disaster


Hello, people, I’m back from Phuket! In fact, I’ve been back since Sunday already, but I just haven’t gotten around to writing a blogpost since then because school was incredibly and absolutely hectic.

I’d only managed to obtain wifi in two areas when I was in Thailand, and both places were places where we couldn’t stay for long so there was no way to liveblog like I promised in my previous post. I apologise for that. But you haven’t been missing out on much though, honestly, because my Phuket trip was possibly the worst vacation I’ve ever had.

Let me break it down to you day by day:

Day One. A 12-hour bus ride from Alor Setar to Phuket. Realised a) everyone on the tour was 10, 20 years older than me and b) everyone knew everyone else on the tour, except me.

Day Two. Our first destination was Patong Beach. The beach was nice and clean, the waves calm, and we took lots of photos, but there isn’t much you can do on a beach when you’re on a tour because everyone is always so rushed. In the end, the bus got stuck on the beach and we wasted an hour there doing nothing anyway until they called in one of those huge clawed vehicles (I’m sorry I’m not an engineer!) to pull the double-decker out of its ‘tight spot’. The rest of the day was mainly visiting tourist attractions and local stores. By then, we were fed up with our tour guide due to his incapability to be punctual and responsible, so another reason to call this trip a shitty one. In the evening, however, we went to this drag queen cabaret show at Simon’s Cabaret and that was one of the few highlights of the trip. Even then, the show wasn’t fantastic or mind-blowing, but it was infinitely better than anything else that had happened on the trip (they did a Burlesque show, how cool was that!).

The second highlight of Phuket: it was full of people from all over the world. In one night alone, I had met Korean, Japanese, American, English, Indian, Australian, Arabian as well as other Southeast Asian people, and that was really, really cool because it felt like we’re all in this together! And I know this sounds beyond creepy but I swear to God I just love English people so much. I really do. That night, we also went to Jungceylon Mall, which wasn’t very far from our hotel, and the crowded ambience plus foreign people plus awesome shops (eg. Dairy Queen, Subway) plus live band performance made me feel like I was living life in the fab lane.

But that night, everything took a turn for the worst, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the worst night of my life, a thousand times worse than that particular night during MCYDS. I was disturbed and restless, my paranoia making things worse. That night spoiled the whole trip, honestly.

Day Three. I was a in a fully-activated zombie mode that morning, which carried on into early afternoon. Fortunately, after a nap, things returned to normal, albeit too abruptly for my liking. And then there was the third highlight of the trip: a boat trip to James Bond Island, named so because a James Bond film (no idea which one) was filmed at said island. The boat ride was quite nice and the islands were pretty fantastic. We even saw one with prehistorical cave drawings on it. We didn’t get the chance to go onto James Bond Island itself though, because that would cost 200 Baht per person and our tour guide wasn’t very encouraging about that matter, either. So we only went to this restaurant on stilts and it was there that I saw an English couple kiss, for the first time (In-depth translation: it was the first time that I’ve seen people kiss with my own eyes, not that it was the couple’s first kiss…or it could be, how the hell would I know.) and everyone on the boat went “AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW” instantly.

Ahem, veering off into the digressing lane of digressing.

After lunch, it was another two-hour bus ride to Trang, and we only managed to spend two hours shopping at Robinson’s when we reached there so there goes the agenda for the whole day.

Day Four. I wish I could have started Day Four with something along the lines of “despite the unpleasant experiences of the past few days, Day Four turned everything upside down, and made things right again!” but I couldn’t, because nothing of the sort happened. The morning of the fourth day started with yet another two-hour bus ride to Hatyai, and by the time we finally reached the bustling town of Hatyai, I was already running out of travel-sickness pills and swearing never to set foot on a bus again after this trip. The morning passed by uneventfully and we only started shopping at the market in the afternoon. Now that was quite a trip. After that, we left as soon as we could because we didn’t want to get caught in the jam at the immigration border.

We reached Alor Setar at 8 PM and as Dad drove us to Hai Tao Kee for dinner, I’ve never been so happy to be walking on Malaysian soil, seeing Malaysian people, breathing Malaysian air and most of all, eating Malaysian food. Quite ironic, I know (since Thailand is a Teoh-family-proclaimed Land of Glorious Food) but I was so sick and tired of the past few days that I was eager to slip back into my normal routine.

In retrospect, this Phuket trip wouldn’t have been so ghastly if we went on a better tour, stayed at a better place and ate better food. I’ve had many people ask me “Isn’t Phuket actually a lovely place?” when I expressed my complaints and yes, I do agree that it is a lovely place, but unfortunately, unpleasant consequences during my trip marred the lovelier ones so I was unable to enjoy myself.

Note to self: Next time, if I were to travel a long distance, I would drive all the way there. Drivers don’t puke while they drive, do they? Also, sometimes, forking out more money for better quality packages does make a huge difference. In a way, that’s money buying happiness, right there.

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Michelle Teoh

26-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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