TOURING  PHUKET                                                                                                     

We hired a car and driver to take us around the island for a few hours. Phuket Island  is not all that big and it is easy to drive around the island in a day. Our first stop was to visit the Sea Gypsy Village, which lies on a peninsula just outside of Phuket Town.

Ko Ban Yee

The village known as the Sea Gypsy Village is built on stilts around the mangrove swamps. The Gypsies, originally from Malaysia, are fishing folk who once led a nomadic existence.

As we walked down the street passing villagers with a wave, friendly and used to seeing tourists in their neighborhood. We watched a man hand make a fish trap, with the traditional method of weaving twine in a chicken wire pattern.

The people of the village still maintain their subsistence from the sea. The beach was lined with fishing boats, some being built, and fish traps.

Interesting sights around Town!
How many can you get on a bike?

Street vendors had stalls set up to sell their shells.
The boys made a purchase.

Chris' Birthday

December 30 Phrom Thep

A promontory stretching into the sea and shaping the farthest south end of Phuket, Phrom Thep is famous as a place to enjoy spectacular sunsets.

The cape has tall cliffs that affords a great view of the  coastline of Nai Han Beach.

Homage to the Elephant

At the landing there was a Buddhist Shrine complete with hundreds, if not thousands of elephants, all sizes, decorated in some very unique ways. Many people were gathered to pay homage to the elephant.

We purchased joss sticks (incense) and flowers so we too could participate.

We had to remove our shoes

There were 5 separate shrines, each numbered for a specified order. Following the lead of the Buddhists surrounding us, at each station we lit incense and prayed (to the God of the Elephants?) for good luck.

On a platform at the summit of the hill, there was a tall stone shrine statue topped with shiny gold elephants

We had dinner on a grassy hillside restaurant overlooking the bay and outer islands while the sun set over the still tranquil ocean. Clouds threatened rain but we finished eating before the skies burst forth.

Phuket Town

We took the local bus to Phuket Town, where we did some quick shopping. We visited the open market with its array of clothing and shoes and the boys bought luggage to transport all their new acquisitions home.

Phuket Town is a busy community, far removed from tourism. Most of the streets are lined with Chinese style shophouses, three stories high, the ground floor being stores and the upper floors are living quarters.

Khao Phra Taeo National Park

We drove through Phuket's monsoon evergreen forest until we reached the starting point for the hike to Bang Pae Waterfall
The walk took us through the shady forest and thick foliage as we climbed up the natural steps made from exposed tree roots.

Arrival at the waterfall was somewhat disappointing as it was nearly dry.

Gibbon Rehab Center

Best known at Khao Phra Taeo Park is the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center,  a project to return domesticated gibbons to the forest.

We had a close up look at the Gibbons in their cages and read about the center's work in protecting the species.

Wat Phra Nang Sang

Our next stop was to the oldest Buddhist temple on Phuket, built when Thalang was still the capital of the island. The architecture was extrememly decorative in typical Thai style with an abundance of gold inlay  >>>>

Pra Tong Temple
This shrine encloses a golden statue of Buddha that sprang up from beneath the earth long ago. The story is of a young boy who tied his buffalo to what he thought was a post.
After doing so, he fell down in agony and died. According to legend, all those who subsequently tried to dig it up died. So the villagers decided to protect their miraculous statue by covering the part that stuck up from the ground with a plaster cast of Buddha's head and shoulders - the way it is today.

A Day of Golf

Chris and Craig experienced a round of golf with Liam and Annie at the Phuket Golf Club, an elite 18 hole course. The boys had to buy pants and long sleeve shirts to meet the dress codes. Each had a private caddy, all dressed completely covered for the part.

January 14

The last evening before the boys left to head back to Canada, we had dinner above The Aquarium Anchorage, next to Chris and Craig's hotel.