Walking the beaches at 5am, soaking your feet into the fine, white sand and dipping your legs into the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean - for us city people this is but only a dream. Not in Phuket though...
This little island is one of the most unique and beautiful places I have had the opportunity to visit. It somehow grabs the natural beauty of its location and makes it home.
From the beaches to the towns and city centres, the culture and vibe of this place is so electric you can't help but embrace it all.
Four of the islands which were hit by he 2004 tsunami. It's great to see that such a tragedy has been embraced by the locals and in some instances the affected areas have not been rebuilt, while others have been beautifully redone.
Islands in Thailand somehow remind me of paradise, if there ever was one. Blue skies, crystal clear waters, warm weather, simple lifestyle and pure peace. A place like this you have to visit at least once in your lifetime.
The gypsy island where approximately 1500 muslim locals live. They have made a village on the sea where they live, have markets and even a school and a floating soccer field. There are pipes which run along the sea floor which have insulated wire which carries electricity to all the islands, however not to this village.
I never spotted any TV or electronic device. They live a humble and very poor life and suppose the only money they receive is from tourists who buy from their markets.
In Phuket there's a bunch of things to do, from bugging up the mountains to quad biking, water activities and also petting tigers, watching a monkey show, visiting the iconic Big Buddha and the temples. We did all of this and more.
Ever wondered what it would feel like to pet a tiger? In Thailand you can lay down with cubs right up to fully grown adults. Amazing and beautiful creatures - an experience I will always remember.
This is a typical Thai tradition when you visit the Big Buddha - you buy this golden metal leaf for 100 Bhat and write a message on it. You then attach it to ornaments located at the bottom of the Big Buddha and is suppose to make your wishes come true and provide blessings.
The enormous Big Buddha.
Thailand monk temple
For a small island only covering 567 km squared, Phuket is something special. Upon my decent back to SA is felt filled with a sense of family and closeness. The Thai people are friendly and welcoming people who embrace you as their own when you visit their country - it's very weird experiencing this but also very refreshing.
Also, one thing worth saying is Thailand is filled with night-clubs, discos and bars all along Bangla Road in Phuket - and if you like a good party this is the place to be. I can honestly say I have never partied like that in South Africa.
I will leave you with a quote from the former King of Thailand who recently passed which I find so true to their nation.
"Thailand was built on compassion."
- Bhumibol Adulyadej