Day 1 started at my house in Ishiyama, where I said goodbye to my son, wife and parents and headed to Otsu station to take the Haruka to Kansai International Airport. I then flew to Phuket airport via Shanghai, arriving in Phuket at 2am. I was met at the airport by a taxi driver who had been arranged by my guesthouse. It was my first time being greeted by someone holding a sign with my name on it, just like in the movies. The drive from the airport to the guesthouse was about 1 hour and my driver, who had been forced to wait a long time because my plane was late, was tired and asked if we could stop at a 7-11. I agreed and we stopped, where he promptly bought and drank a can of beer!
The guesthouse was dark at 3am, but after ringing the after-hours doorbell, I was led up to the dorm room by a sleepy but friendly, pyjama-wearing staff member. I fell sleepily into bed, which was the top-bunk. I awoke excited at 7am to find my bunk-mate still asleep. I headed out for an initial scout of the area, had breakfast at the guesthouse, got a bottle of water and headed to the beach. It was absolutely stunning! Two kilometres of beautiful white sand, people swimming and suntanning, kids running around, and the emerald blue ocean stretching endlessly to the west. I walked the beach end-to-end (which took almost 2 hours!) then returned to the guesthouse to get out of the mid-day sun and grab a nap. I was surprised to find my bunk-mate still in bed!
After lunch and a nap, leaving my bunk-mate still sleeping, I went down to the cafe in the guesthouse where I met my fellow backpackers. The first 2 people I met were a pair of Canadian girls, who were unfortunately just leaving. The next person I met was an Australian man who agreed to join me for sunset yoga and a jog (he jogged and I did yoga). We enjoyed the sunset then had Phad Thai sold by local street vendors. I finished the day at the local pool bar, played a few games and hit the sack.
Day 2: Tigers, Elephants, Snakes and more!