A Weekend in Phuket

Over the past weekend, I decided to take a solo trip to Phuket, Thailand. 

Friday Night: 

Immediately after work, I boarded a train that took me straight to the airport. As the drive from the airport to Patong Beach where I was staying took extremely long, I decided to just check into my hostel and head straight to bed. It was my first time staying in a hostel and I was pleasantly surprised by how modern and clean the facilities were. There was a pool, a restaurant, and even a co-working space on site. 


I woke up bright and early at 6am and boarded a mini bus to the pier. Prior to arriving, I booked an all-day boat tour to a nearby set of islands called the Phi Phi Islands. These islands were made famous by the movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. While the film was good for Thailand’s tourist industry, the copious amount of visitors that the film attracted practically destroyed are area’s ecosystem. Most notoriously, Maya Bay’s coral reefs were destroyed, harming the wildlife that depended on them. Nevertheless, efforts to revive Maya Bay’s ecosystem prompted the area to be closed for four years. Today, Maya Bay is open to tourists, however swimming in the bay is not permitted. 

As we pulled into Maya Bay, I watched as hoards of tourists flocked onto and off of the narrow pier to enter or exit the island. I then looked overboard and saw a few small reef sharks swimming about. Once on land, we took a short walk on a crowded, narrow pathway to the famous bay. The area was picturesque. However, unfortunately, it was beyond crowded. Though swimming is not permitted, whistles could be heard every few seconds, signaling tourists to get out of the water. As I walked down the bay, I watched as someone got out of the water after taking a swim out of the lifeguards’ line of sight. My heart broke as I thought about how this type of neglect for the rules will continue to impact Maya Bay’s ecosystem. 

The rest of the day consisted of paddle boarding, swimming, and snorkeling at various locations, and grabbing dinner at a the last location with some friends that I made on the tour.

After getting back to the hostel, I headed to the hostel’s pool and spent the night meeting new people from around the globe. 







I woke up on Sunday with set plans of exactly what I was going to do. However, after talking to one of my dorm mates, I decided completely throw all of my plans out the window and join her though I had only met her five minutes prior. We took an hour long bus ride to Kata Beach - one of the only places in Thailand where the waves are good enough for surfing. We got extremely lucky and unknowingly stumbled upon a surf competition. We spent the day surfing, watching the competition, and window-shopping at the market that had been set up just off of the beach. 



After a long day of being in the sun, we headed to Old Town Phuket. The street is lined with pastel colored buildings and is filled with vendors and performers. Here, we walked up and down the strip, stopping to listen to street performers, and eventually picking a place to grab dinner. After dinner, we headed just up the road to Lard Yai Sunday Night Market and then eventually headed back to our hostel. 


Later that night, we sat by the pool, made new friends, and talked about travel plans. 


I woke up early Monday morning and headed to Monkey Hill. I had been warned that the monkeys were aggressive and were known to steal things from tourists. However, I was naive and thought that as long as I didn’t have any food on me, or purchase food to feel the monkeys that I would be fine. Nevertheless, my trip there was a bit short lived as one of the monkeys went into my friend’s pocket and took stuff out of it. They then started running towards me and proceeded to grab my water bottle. At this point, I decided that seeing the viewpoint at the top was not worth it. As such, I turned around and headed back to the hostel. 


Back at the hostel, I spent the day catching up on some work for my internship before heading to the airport to go back to Bangkok. 


Overall, I had a lovely weekend and made amazing memories. Some of the friends that I made this past weekend and I already have plans to head to a different island together next weekend. While solo traveling and staying at a hostel at first seemed daunting to me, I am beyond grateful that I was able to push myself outside my comfort zone to take this trip.