Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text:
Here I am, back in Brittany after three weeks in Thailand. Sunday evening, I finally pushed open the door to my home, and collapsed straight into bed. Fourteen hours of sleep in a row, to recover from the long journey from Phuket...
It may come as a surprise: for my last night in Phuket, I chose to land at Patong Beach.
Patong is ugly, with its plastic deckchairs and noisy jet-skis, its MacDos and Burger Kings, its souvenir stores and girlie bars. What's more, the place is overrun with an unsympathetic breed of tourists.
In short, not at all the style of beach or atmosphere I like in Thailand...
But I opted for the easy way out: minibus connections, cabs to the airport, stores for shopping, wifi connections everywhere, choice of accommodation and restaurants...
Excellent choice. Close to everything, refined decor, impeccable cleanliness, warm and cheerful welcome. The cheapest rooms start at 1800 baht (approx. €40), breakfast included. An excellent deal. For 2600 baht (less than 60€), I treated myself to the luxury of a quasi-suite with mega king-size bed wider than it is long and a Jacuzzi... Argh.
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this supreme comfort after my long climb up from Koh Lipe.
A two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride to Hat Yao Pier, Trang's landing stage, followed by a five-hour drive in a minibus... I arrived exhausted.
Last but not least, this stopover in Phuket gave me the chance to meet Valérie and Olivier, with whom I'd previously only exchanged e-mails and phone calls. Thanks to their website Asiaqua.com and their advice that I opted for the Eden Divers boat, one of the few to offer cabins single for the Similan. That was the essential criterion for me, but everything else was up to scratch: the comfort, the crew, the supervision, the atmosphere, the food. And the nitrox was free... Again, a very good choice.
I was right to trust Valérie and Olivier on this one. Both divers, they have been in the area for a long time, know each of the cruise boats they offer on their site, and act as efficient intermediaries when it comes to sorting out various practical details.
We kept in touch after the cruise, and they came to see me on Saturday at the hotel, before I left, for a chat and a drink.
It's always a great pleasure, when traveling, to turn virtual exchanges into real encounters. A nice epilogue to my stay in Thailand!