Phuket is a tender in port, which means the ship can't dock and so it brings down the lifeboat boats to take us ashore that way. A bit of a pain as it takes a while to go back and forth.
The Phuket area was hit by the tsunami and there are now signs and a warning system in place. It's a very tourist focused area with lots of fun shopping including the some pretty nice knock-off merchandise. For example a large number of Tiffany products were available. They even came with the little blue Tiffany's soft bag and the blue Tiffany shopping bag. Note to self - don't buy this stuff on eBay, it's probably from the same fake source.
This stop was one of the three ports where I signed up for the pricey ship tours. It was a tough decision on whether to go to "James Bond" island or the island where "The Beach" was filmed. I went for James Bond. First they took us by bus to the east coast where we boarded a speed boat to the James Bond island. This area was featured in "The Man with the Golden Gun" which I viewed via Netflix when I got home.
Our boat also went through a cave in that same area, giving the kayakers a bit of a start to scatter out of our way. All perfectly safe I'm sure. :-|
We next went to a floating Muslim Water Village in the same general area. Interesting to see this village over the water that has all the things one might expect to see in a small town - shops,
a school with a sports court, restaurants,
I even saw a boy riding a bike. I almost was left behind when I got lost in the maze of alleys and didn't get back to our boat on time. Fortunately someone noticed I was missing and the guide came back in and found me.
We then went to another island where we had a lovely lunch at tables set under trees (shade!) on the beach and had some beach time after lunch there too.
This area is really spectacular though Phi Phi island is probably equally as beautiful. Apparently there was controversy about the movie "The Beach" in Thailand. "After the film premiered in Thailand in 2000, some Thai politicians were upset at the way Thailand was depicted in the film, and called for it to be banned. The depiction of the drug culture was said to give Thailand a bad image and having a statue of Buddha in a bar was cited as "blasphemous"." This is a bit hysterical if you've been to this area of the world. Uh... are you really concerned about the drugs? What about the blatant prostitution? I went into Phuket in the evening with some friends from the ship and one street in particular there seems to be devoted to it.
Also the only place I've seen a street sign that indicated to watch out for drunks crossing the road. A very cute sign, btw. ;-)