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    Tropical Punch Tour: Thailand Part 1

    Thursday, July 15, 2010
    Phuket Town, Thailand

    Some standard picturesque signage in Phuket Town, Thailand.

    The most important meal of the day at Phuket Backpackers Hostel in Phuket Town, Thailand.

    Shaped exactly like an elephant’s head, Thailand is a vast, sweltering hot tropical kingdom whose landscape ranges from powder white beaches with turquoise water to ultra-green, lush jungles and mountains full of traditional hill tribes. Insanely ornate, gold-splashed Buddhist temples dot the villages and cities, where ramshackle shantytowns nestle up to glitzy shopping malls. Ladyboys, tuk-tuks and picturesque floating markets also await the foreign visitor’s dollars. Welcome to Thailand, one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

    A songthaew plies the streets of Phuket Town, Thailand.

    Rice and tofu at the China Inn in Phuket Town, Thailand.

    I know this is going to be a shocker, but since yesterday was a travel day, I took it easy and relaxed all afternoon in the Phuket Backpackers Hostel. This hostel might be the best I’ve stayed in yet. A nice coat of paint adorns the walls with cheerful colors, and all of the rooms, halls, stairs and–gasp!–the bathrooms are clean, even around the edges. Plus, there’s free internet, TV, DVDs, comfortable couches (which is an extreme rarity in Southeast Asia), a kitchen and a bar down front. I started the day off right with a big, beautiful breakfast, including eggs, toast, two bananas and fresh-squeezed orange juice, at the hostel for only $2.00.

    A slaughterhouse right on the street. How convenient! Phuket Town, Thailand.

    A shrine for the King in Phuket Town, Thailand.

    One of the first things I noticed when I started walking around Thailand is that almost every street sign, store sign and major product logo are written in the Thai alphabet. The Roman alphabet is only used in a secondary manner, if at all. Luckily, streets signs append the Thai alphabet with a smaller Roman version right underneath, or I would have a much harder time finding my way aroound. For a late lunch, I dined on a scrumpdillyicious bowl of veggies, tofu and rice at a really classy place called the China Inn that is disguised as a high-end antique shop out front. At night, I followed that up with a wander around the dark streets of Phuket Town, where I photographed a food cart bearing the carcass of a large animal, and a shrine to the King of Thailand. For dinner, I stumbled upon a crowded little eatery with no English in its title, where I savored a big bowl of curry noodles and leafy greens soup.

    A typical small diner in Phuket Town, Thailand.

    Some serious leafy greens and curry noodles for dinner in Phuket Town, Thailand.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    All words and photos ©2010 Arcane Candy.

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