Travelling is freedom - Basti´s global journeys

Welcome to Phuket – Hell on Earth

Hey guys

A lot of shit has happened since we have arrived in Thailand; it have been by far the worst days since the beginning of travelling, but first things first.

Leaving India

Leaving India In Calcutta we had successfully bought the ticket for the next day after having found out that our ticket had expired one month earlier. At the airport I think we were the first passengers ever to show up without a ticket (because we didn’t have the time to print it out) but just with our passports. It took them ages to check whether we had a place on the plane but finally we made our way in. Surprisingly the security checks were basically inexistent, as they did not take away our knifes, any liquids and so on from our hand luggage. Indian style.

Once in BKK we took the next flight to Phuket where the security measures were definitely increased and basically they took away everything from us and there is no way of getting it back, but I mean we were aware of that from the beginning. So far so good, but from the moment we set our feet on Phuket soil, the nightmare started.

Prostitution, drugs, crime – welcome to Phuket

First we needed to get from the airport of the island, which is in the north, to the capital, which is in the south. There are minibuses only which cost a lot of money and we tried to hitchhike, unsuccessfully. Then we came back and wanted to share a cab, but the woman insisted that only driver plus 2 could fit in a cab. I tried to explain to her that at least 3, if not 4 people can easily sit in a  normal cab, and she started screaming at me in Thai I thought, ok screw that, no way I can achieve anything here, let’s just take a minibus. In there this Greek guy with his “wife” sat next to me and reminded me where I had arrived. He was a stereotype sex-tourist. To quote a few sentences “I prefer Greece, but you cannot have the girls there”, or when his wife (20 year old Thai) tried to Prostitution, crime, drugs, alcohol - Phuket speak once “no speak woman, I speak only with men”. This sort of guy.

I have been to Pattaya last year, the sex hub of Thailand, and I knew from before that Phuket must be similar. These two are the worst places for sex-tourism in Thailand. Unfortunately, the government in Thailand, even if it is not proud of its reputation, earns so much money out of it that in certain areas it´s basically legal.

We finally arrived in Patong, and it was quite late, around midnight. So we thought might as well drop our stuff somewhere in a guest house, book an early ferry, party a bit after 6 weeks of India and save a night. After having booked our ferry for 7am we walked outside and it is just horrible. I mean without having seen it you cannot imagine what I am about to write. In the main street – Walking Street, full of bars, brothels and clubs, there are at least 20 prostitutes in every bar. We found an Irish pub which was relatively whore free, had a beer and went looking for a club. At one point we were standing in a normal big sized club. We walk around, people dancing, maybe 500 people, and then you start taking a closer look at the people, and in the entire club, and I mean without an exception, every single woman was a prostitute. Every single one. Most of the guys big bellied, ugly 50 year old westerners who are a nothing back in their country, come here for a few weeks a year, fuck a few Thai girls and think they are the most important people on the planet. Horrible.

The anti-climax of the trip

But Phuket is not just sex, as many travellers, like us, have to stop by here to take a ferry the next day to Koh Phi Phi; it’s one of two ways of getting there. So we kept on looking and finally found a club for backpackers, without whores and had quite a good night. On the way out, however, around 4 am, I saw a man, ugly fat white 50 year old guy, touching a little girl, maybe 12 on the arse. Intuitively I went in between and asked him what was wrong with him, but later I realised that my action was completely senseless and that probably the girl itself was angry at me as she wanted or better needed that guy. It’s horrible, especially because when you think about prostitution in Europe you think about paying a certain amount for a certain service within certain barriers. In Asia there are no barriers. Whatever the man wants to do, she will do.

Let’s come to the point. Patong is at the beach. At 4am after clubbing we thought of going to the beach which is pretty nice and deserted. We dropped all of our stuff there and went swimming naked. When we came back my breast belt was gone. Debit card, credit card, UCL card, Tibetan medicine, addresses, 500€ and my German passport: all gone. We had only my breast belt with us and we had just withdrawn money for Phi Phi and therefore had a lot of money with us.  This was around 4.30am. We looked everywhere, in the waste bins on the beach for the passport, which they might have thrown away. But nothing.

Not a good day

This is how we spent our days on Phi Phi

Around 6.30 am instead of doing the one and only reasonable thing, namely going to the police, we decided to take the ferry to Phi Phi as we just wanted to leave this horrible, fucked up Phuket. Without having slept we boarded the ferry and had a 3 hour journey feeling horrible, it started to rain, we got all wet, cold, nausea, horrible. Thank god I know Phi Phi and my way round as we managed to find a really nice cheap place immediately. But when I lay down I could feel that I was about to get very ill and my body had a few more hours to go and sort out some stuff before I would collapse. So I called the German embassy and they basically told me that I have to report it to the police, I will get a temporary passport with which I can only fly back to Germany, and I  have to do so asap. I cancelled all my cards, called my parents and went to the police. The officer was really really nice and helped me lots and we set up a form stating everything to my favour. But then I already felt the fever coming up, went home, and collapsed, it was 4pm on the 29th, and I woke up basically next day, on my b-day at 2pm. Yassin felt really bad as well, we both had nasty diarrhoea, and he went to bed at 9pm as well. I got really high fever. And Yassin told me the next day I was just talking awake to myself in my sleep about weird stuff. Well to be honest this is not a surprise after what I had experienced the day before.

Birthday diarrhoea

Next day “birthday”, yeayyyy. We woke up at 2, tried to force ourselves to eat something as we hadn’t eaten for one and a half days. Then I skyped a bit and my mother made the best b-day present ever, an idea that might save my trip. I have dual citizenship, and she suggested to send my Italian passport to David, who is coming soon and to continue travelling with it. I don’t know if it will work out, but it might. There are some visa issues that I am not sure My little birthday treat about yet, but it seems a very good idea as I am screwed otherwise. The rest of the day was actually quite nice; I mean we both had stomach aches 24/7. And had to run to the toilet every 20 min. But we managed to go to a nice beach and chill there for a few hours.

Then we had a good meal and went to the party locations. I mean Phi Phi is the best place I know in Thailand for partying. Prostitution is forbidden here and inexistent, and basically travellers get stuck here, open their own joint and include the Thais 100% in the society. Ok I know it should be the other way round, but it works out quite well here. The result is a totally western oriented Thai party island, in a beautiful location. If you have seen the film “The Beach”, it’s right there, those islands and it looks like that. Prices are quite high but you get a lot.

 Well we went to the beach in the evening, without fever, but realized soon there was no sense in doing anything and went for some pool.  But then suddenly Yassin started to get very pale. I brought him home and the moment we arrived he ran to the toilet and has been there at least 60 times since, quoting him “I don’t even know whether it’s coming out from the top or the bottom”. We had another horrible night, this time the other way round and I think he got a proper intestinal infection. I got him everything he needs from the pharmacy today, and he is feeling better, but looks horrible still and is too weak to move. As you can see, we did not necessarily have a good time since we got here. We thought this would be the best time ever, the perfect birthday, and we have spent more time on the toilet than anywhere else on this island.

A lesson learned

Also we have tried for 6 weeks to limit the amount we spend every day from maybe 17 to 15€, saving 90€ in 45 days, and now losing 500 just seems so unfair. But we have been stupid, we had to learn our lesson and I think it all has a sense in the end. We are only 21 and it’s better to learn it this way, in Thailand, where they even have a German consulate in Phuket and a police station where they speak English, rather than in Laos or something. It’s really shit, especially because we might have to go back to Phuket tomorrow to go to the consulate, and after what I wrote you about the island and our physical condition you can imagine how eager we are on going back to that hell on earth. I just hope that Yassin will feel better soon, that I will get a grip on my diarrhoea, as the consistency has improved a lot, but a normal person would still not dare to be happy about it, and especially that I will sort out the passport problems in order to be able to continue travelling. I needed this lesson to learn that without a passport you cannot travel, no matter what else you have, it doesn’t matter, it’s the most important thing you have with you and it was just silly and stupid to leave it there on the beach.

Well thank you guys for all the birthday wishes still, and it was very nice to hear some of you on that day and the support was important, as on the 29th and 30th I was a mental wrack. I hope we can sort out stuff, and by the time we meet David on the 4th in Bangkok we might be able to travel as before. And one more thing I realised now, travelling and partying is not compatible. When you live in London or anywhere in Europe, you are used to going out and all that stuff. But when you travel like we do and arrive in such a place, the body is just not used to it anymore and it´s complete nonsense to think that it could cope with the same stuff we are used to from Europe. Well a lot learned and a lot suffered in 3 days, but we will get our shit together and keep the positive attitude going. Everything has a reason, and every negative experience is just an important lesson to be learned.
Savadikap guys

Basti

4 Responses to Welcome to Phuket – Hell on Earth

  1. damien says:

    Phuket can be a great place if you know what to do and where to go. Most of your problems were self inflicted no disrespect intended. im young as well and am not a sex tourist. For this reason i do not go to patong and i most definetly dont stay there. I prefer kata beach about 15 minutes motor bike ride south. I mean what were you thinking leaving that stuff on the beach? I wouldnt do that here in america. NEVER carry your passport on you. Make several copies go straight to the hotel (no matter the country)put it in the safe and carry a copy with you. You are complaining about prostitution yet go to the red light district in patong. Im guessing you went in low season simply because the clubs in patong are filled with young tourists guys and girls. Your whining about the taxis from the airport is spot on however, they mark up the prices as no one really has a choice but i mean its still nothing compared to what you would pay in america. I rent a motorbike for about 7 bucks a day and always wear a helmet. Your sickness was probably “travelers diarrhea”. Once again i dont mean to be harsh but this is common in any third world country. For that reason dont eat street food, drink tap water or eat sea food you dont normally eat. i have been to phuket 3 times and have never seen the drug life (course i wasnt trying to). Penalties are very harsh and actually strictly enforced as they set up license checks all over patong and look for these drugs and drunk drivers. Maybe this will help with your next stay or someone who is going and reads this.

    • Basti says:

      Hello Damian,
      Thank you for your answer. I do agree that many problems were self-inflicted and I am quite certain that I would avoid them today. This post was written quite a while ago during one of my first trips.

      I can imagine that Phuket can be a nice place, I would just prefer one of the many other beautiful islands in Thailand or Malaysia/Cambodia if I had to go again, as I generally disagree with the tendency for crime on this island, which you won´t find in other places.
      Thank you for your comment and keep travelling :-)
      Basti

  2. Zac says:

    Hey Basti,
    Cool blog. Ha, I had so many of the same experiences as you in regards to transport and my distain for sex tourism. Did you find any other cool places to go? The food here is awesome and so far cheap and I’m relatively diarrhoea free.
    Just wondering what the answer is here? My moral compass directs me against prostituition. However, I think trading services (even sex) for money is okay as long as its done with consent. 12 year olds with 50 year olds makes me sad. But if you ban it, then so many people are out of work and families left struggling and without their prostituition income. It’s a poor country and moderately wealthy, unattractive foreigners prey on this generous exchange rate and relaxed sexual attitude.
    Haha, definitely plenty of old German men here! Maybe the problem isn’t just here in Phuket? Maybe it extends to the whore consumer who is walking the streets in Germany and around the globe?

  3. Fuck Off says:

    Your a bunch off sod fucking weaklings

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