Imagine a five-hour, countryside bus, full of drunk Chinese people and their screaming children, and that’s what my flight from Beijing to Phuket was like. I don’t recommend Hainan Airlines for that route, but I also took them from Seattle to Beijing and that flight was pleasant enough. Needless to say, arriving at my quiet guesthouse, Green House Phuket, around 11pm, was just the rescue I needed. My head hit the pillow and I knew that no nightmare could compare with the real life I had just gone through.

green house room phuket green house phuket

Moving to a new country is nothing like a vacation. I woke up and felt as though I should be off exploring temples and the beaches, but I’ll have many months to do that. More pressing was buying a phone and figuring out where the hell I was. Ming, the receptionist, was extremely helpful and showed me a map on her phone of where the Tesco Lotus was located. She said a taxi would be around 300 baht/10 dollars one way.

“Is there a local bus?” I asked, as I did want to pay for a taxi.

“This is not like Bangkok, with buses every minute. There is one, but it takes a long time. No air conditioning and open,” she warned me.


Ming took me on her motorbike through the daily market and down to the Heroines Monument. I made her take a picture of me because I thought my American flag helmet was hilarious, but you can’t even see it in the picture.

dorky AF

dorky AF

She then gave me some advice as we waited to cross the street.

“Make sure you ask how much the ride is before you get in. Some people here are nice, and some people not nice.”

Ming grabbed my hand.

“Here, people do not stop for you. You must walk in front of them.”

In a sweet act of helpfulness, she walked me across the lane and then handed me off to some random Thai dude and told him in Thai, what I think meant, please help her get across this next lane now.

“Sah wat dee kaaah!,” she cried and then disappeared.

I waited at a stop for one of the blue, open trucks and it took maybe fifteen minutes to show up. A taxi would obviously be more convenient, but the “bus” is so much more exciting. I jumped on, as it was pulling away (thank you driver) and sat with all the women whose shoppings bags were pilled high on their laps. The men stood, hanging off the back ladder rungs. I found it somewhat gentlemanly that it was situated this way. A large portrait of the king hung by the window and a girl next to me wore a shirt proclaiming “We love the King!” One man’s bag of chicken feet was close to touching my own feet and I had to put it out of my mind so I wouldn’t get squeamish. I was certainly in Thailand now.

The bus only cost 20 baht/50 cents one way. Bargain. Tesco Lotus has groceries, clothes, an office supplies store, and KOREAN FOOD. I can’t wait to try this place out.

korean food phuket

I bought a burner phone for 700 baht/19 dollars and topped it up, then feeling fairly successful, decided to treat myself to some Thai Basil stir-fried chicken from the food court. It was only 55 baht/1.50 dollars and was so spicy that I dreamed of a glass of milk, but instead ate pieces of cucumber to try and smother the fire. I treated myself to a iced cappuccino at Blue Canyon Cofeee afterwards, which cost double my meal, but was completely worth it.

basil chicken phuket

coffee phuket

The area in which I’m staying, and ultimately living, is called Thalang and so far, it’s fairly local and I’ve only seen a couple foreigners wandering around the Tesco. A coworker of mine told me it was “rural”, yet I find that laughable, coming from the woods of California, and having lived on farm land in Korea. It’s more accurately a suburb set in the jungle. I can walk to a 7/11, pharmacy, and food vendors from my guesthouse, but there are no fancy restaurants, bars, or shops to be seen. I love it. I’m well aware that once I venture out of this area, it will be tourist/foreigner central, and ultimately, more expensive. I’ve always enjoyed living close to the action, but not in it. Right now, I’m deciding if I will rent an apartment on this road, a 5 minute walk from my school, or get a condo that is a 10 minute drive from my school, but in a more modern area, closer to the coast. I’ll get to see both places by the end of Monday.

my rainy route

my rainy route

Riding back on the bus, the rain poured down, and I felt overwhelmingly content. I am giddy to be here and I’m so happy that I literally felt as though I could cry. I love walking in the drizzle along the road, smelling spices being cooked in oil, and looking at billboards that show a festival where men have metal swords poking through their face. My soul loves an adventure. I just started reading Tales of a Female Nomad and it has been resonating with me very deeply. This quote sums up why, yet again, I’ve decided to move abroad and teach, despite it being “time” for me to start a career and settle down.

“I’m not running away. I’m running toward…toward adventure, toward discovery, toward diversity….Once I leave the U.S., I am not bound by the rules of my culture. And when I am a foreigner in another country, I am exempt for the local rules. This extraordinary situation means that there are no rules in my life. I am free to live by the standards and ideals and rules I create for myself.”

That’s just it. I feel free. No matter what tribulations I face with acclimating to this new life, that won’t change. I can’t wait to create this new life for myself and I’m ready for what may come.

Can’t wait for you all to visit! 😉




6 thoughts on “First Day In Phuket

  1. This was exactly what I needed. I’m reading this while I sit at my reception desk on the 5th floor of a building in downtown Seattle on an especially cold and dreary morning, and my collared shirt is feeling exceptionally constrictive. I’m so jealous of you. Last night I was just telling Chris how much I miss night markets and wet markets, and why the hell are farmers’ markets in the States more expensive than grocery stores.

    • I’m going to want a picture of receptionist Regina 😉 I’m glad you liked reading it. If it makes you feel any better, it’s gray skies here as well. Still in the rainy season, but I hear it should end in November, if global warming doesn’t get its way. But I’m going to the beach today :p

      Yeah farm to fork aint cheap in the USA. I paid like 10 bucks for a grilled cheese in SF at the “market”.

      By the way, I watched The Layover in Seattle on the plane and you’re in a rad place yourself (albeit expensive) so take advantage of it for me! ❤ you.

  2. Visited the beautiful Island of Phuket in 2007 for some serious scuba diving.

    After a 4 day hectic schedule to see the delights of Bangkok and surrounding areas and after many tuk-tuk rides till the early hours of the morning we moved to the beautiful Island of Phuket and stayed in Pattaya, Patong and Karon Beach and from there we branched out to scuba dive at Racha Noi, Shark Point, Anemone Reef, Racha Yai, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Dok Mai.

    Awesome place and friendly inviting people. Very humbling.

  3. I’m soo jealous! But super excited for you to experience Phuket. I can tell you love it already. Be sure to check out Naiharn and Promthep cape for weekend beers on the beach. This is Alana and my favorite place in the world! Have fun and be safe if you get a motorbike!

    • I can’t wait to check out the other beaches! So busy with school and finding an apartment right now, but once I settle in, game on 🙂 Your love for Phuket helped me decide to come! Hope you’re both enjoying being back in California, miss you two!

      I’m practicing the motorbike starting today or tomorrow! 😮

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