It was hard to believe that 10 days of doing nothing more than sitting under an umbrella on a hot sandy beach can go by so fast, but it did. We hope our QI is charged for 30 more years. This Kata beach reminded us, at first, of Key West Florida because its always so warm, there is little need for windows, doors or walls on the sidewalk establishments. That’s the only resemblance because the beaches are much larger and its hotter. Since its so hot, most beaches in Phuket are lined with umbrellas. I do not think it is possible to stay in the sun too long with without seeking shade.
Phuket and Krabi seem to be winter getaways for Europeans, whose appearance stands out among the oriental look of the Thailand people. An obvious observation is the attraction of the European men to the young Thailand women. It is not uncommon to see European men accompanied by a Thai women around town or at the beach.
The towns are similar to the towns found in the Caribbean, they are in different states of rebuilding and poverty. The areas for the tourist are in prime shape. Motor scooters are the main means of transportation mixed in with some unfamiliar types; Tuk-Tuks, sawngthaews, motosais and the water transportation of the long tail boats.
After 10 days at Kata Beach we rented a car and drove on the left side of the road with the steering on the left over to AoNang in the Province of Krabi. Once off the main highway, you are on your own as far as directional signs go. In the middle of the 5 hour drive was a horse shoe curved, jungle covered, mountain road that lasted about 1 hour before we came upon a work crew cutting back the highway overgrowth. The AoNang beaches are not umbrella beaches for there are trees to provide shade. The beaches in Phuket and Krabi are great beaches but I think that the USA has a greater variety of winter getaways than the Europeans. One big Thai advantage is the food and lodging are about one third the cost of USA getaways. A lot of long tail boats operate from the beach offering excursions to the limestone cliff island beaches offshore. We found the beaches in AoNang completely fantastic and unique. At low tide you can walk out to some limestone cliff islands near shore. AoNang is more laid back than Kata beach and especially Patong beach. We stopped over for one night at Patong and it is a beach city with all the amenities that big city beaches have. The beach was way overcrowded. AoNang hardly has any bars, so there is no nightlife, making it a completely different atmosphere.
After 2 weeks of beaching in 90 degree heat we felt loosened up and and completely prepared to tackle the overnight flight to Sydney and the overnight train to Melbourne to attend the Australian Open. We flew back to Bangkok for 2 days of urban life to get ready for the city pace. We stayed at the same hotel that when we first arrived in Thailand and were surprised that we were greeted with an upgrade to their best suite. One thing about the Thai people that we came away with is that the clasping of the hands together and a bowing of the head is genuine.