TWO WEEK HOLIDAY HELL IN THAILAND – My husband and I are both in our early 30’s and we both like a little adventure and to try new things. Last year we poured over the holiday brochures and decided that Thailand might be something completely different and worth a try.
A few days later we booked our two week holiday for the following month and we were both geared up with excitement.
Our chosen destination was Phuket, Thailand and we flew out on Singapore Airlines. Neither of us had flown on the Airbus A380 so this was an added treat and it was a fabulous experience.
After arriving in Singapore we had a 3 hour layover before our connecting flight to Phuket on Singapore Airlines sister service Silk Air; this was basic but adequate for a flight that was just over 1 hour.
During our stopover we explored Singapore Airport. I think you can learn a lot about a country from the way their airport looks and is run and with Singapore everything was simply pristine; they even had several ‘garden’ areas with the most beautiful orchids.
When we disembarked at Phuket Airport my husband and l looked at each other. To be frank we’ve both seen some pretty ugly airports but Phuket took the biscuit; as my husband said ‘he’d seen better looking toilets in Calcutta’.
The queues at immigration were long and it took the best part of two hours before we finally reached the immigration desk. The immigration officer barely looked at me but simply held out his hand and said’ “passport”.
As I watched the immigration officer paw through my passport my mind wondered back to the glossy tour brochures with images of Thais smiling; it even denoted ‘The Land of Smile’. I was now beginning to wonder what deluded soul put that brochure together, for the immigration officer didn’t come anywhere close to what was depicted.
After examining my passport he stamped it and then unceremoniously handed it back; I honestly expected a smile with maybe a few words of welcome, but no; not a word.
My husband went through the same treatment and as we walked to the baggage department he asked if this was the right place for it’s likely that a convicted murderer back home would be better received by a government official.
Maybe the officer was having a bad day; it happens.
Once we collected our bags and went through customs we were immediately set upon by half a dozen taxi drivers, all offering their services. You might have thought that the authorities would have insisted in a little order but this was just a free-for-all.
We had in fact pre-booked a taxi with the hotel and we spotted a guy holding up a board with our name on it.
The driver was pleasant enough; even managed a nice smile. Unfortunately the next 40 minutes were complete hell. No less than six times my husband asked the driver to slow down.
At one point I noticed the speedometer and it was reading 160. Being from the UK we work in miles per hour (mph) but we realized this was kilometers per hour (kph) but still his speed was excessive; especially when I noticed a sign that denoted the speed limit was 60 kph.
We did eventually arrive at the hotel in one piece but only by the grace of God. It wasn’t just our driver’s appalling driving habits but the rest of the residents also drove around like they were on a death wish.
At this point my husband and I had only set foot in Thailand for less than 4 hours and already we doubted our choice.
The hotel reception staff were nice enough (no I won’t bother naming names) but they weren’t exactly able to communicate effectively. My husband remarked that he’d get more sense out of a 3 year old.
It could be said that his statement was a little harsh; after all these are Thais and not English. However people need to realise that Thailand is slated as an international tourist destination and considering English is the universal language you might have thought they would have taken the time out to learn a little.
It was late in the evening and we decided to grab a light meal from the hotel menu, a couple of drinks and turn in for the night.
Breakfast was nothing to write home about but this wouldn’t be the first hotel on the planet to serve sub-standard breakfast fare.
We decided to do a bit of exploring over the next few days but this would be planned with all the hotel brochures whilst we spent the day just relaxing by the pool with a few drinks, a massage and some food.
I can honestly say, apart from the poor language skills of the staff (they were very helpful), if we had stayed in the resort it would have been a perfect holiday.
The pool was wonderful and the scenery divine but unfortunately when we did step outside in broad daylight it was a shock.
The brochures talked of a high-end holiday destination; it was basically a dump. No matter where we went there were stray dogs everywhere and their production was prolific – not just in the breeding sense but in what they excreted everywhere.
Besides the dogs there was also the rubbish. It could be noted that the dogs had a fair amount to do with spreading this liberally about as they took to tearing through black bin liners in order to get at any food scraps. Unfortunately when you observe Thais it doesn’t take long to realise that they have no pride in their environment as they too simply dropped their rubbish were they stood and spat at every given opportunity.
I kept closing my eyes to see the images in the glossy brochures and whilst there were similarities that’s about as far as it went.
Neither my husband (a qualified electrician) nor I could work out the system of all the power lines – talk about a blot on the landscape. Phuket could have been made to look so much better if A) They had buried all the power and phone line and; B) Bothered to put in decent pedestrian areas.
Yes it could be argued again that Thailand is not the UK, but again the brochures do continuously bang the drum that Phuket, Thailand is an ‘International’ tourist destination and therefore one might expect the basics.
We decided to take a trip to the famous Phi Phi Island. That was a journey we will never forget. We were crammed in a speed boat with 30 others and driven at breakneck speeds. Each time the boat hit a wave we were all thrown about.
When we finally reached Phi Phi I was exhausted from the exertions of hanging on for dear life plus I was black and blue all over – the realization of having to travel back with what was little more than two morons and a retard at the helm was not an inviting one.
Phi Phi was also another complete let-down. It was basically a hole and where once, natural beauty no doubt thrived.
Phi Phi looked nothing like the brochures. The entire place was almost concreted over with filthy looking buildings, power lines everywhere, rubbish everywhere – it was basically a toilet.
Our fourth day consisted of relaxing by the pool and thanking the lord we made it back from Phi Phi alive. There ought to be more warnings about those speedboats for they are just an accident waiting to happen.
The next day we tried Elephant trekking and it was a mediocre experience to say the least. Even trekking through the jungle areas you couldn’t avoid the stray dogs or the rubbish thrown everywhere; even our guide was happily munching away on some awful looking mess from a plastic bag that he simple tossed to the ground after devouring its contents.
It was quite frankly disturbing, disgusting and extremely sad that anyone could be so ignorant to their own environment.
I have to say we were both pretty deflated and I was still nursing the bruises from our trip to Phi Phil however we decided to take a taxi into Patong; a place we had heard so much about.
We hit Patong early evening and decided to take in a meal with some good wine. Thailand, as we were told by the brochures, was a fairly cheap destination but that was a complete lie.
The price of a bottle of wine was outrageous. Yes you always pay more in a restaurant but the cost compared to the UK was nearly three times the amount. The food, for a so-called high end eatery, was mediocre and that’s the kindest thing I could say.
After the meal we decided to take in the sights of Bangla Road which was portrayed in the leaflets as having a vibrant nightlife.
Neither of us could have prepared ourselves for what was to come. The first thing that hits you is the stench of raw sewage; the root of the foul odor came from the open sewers and was almost unbearable – I honestly thought I was going to lose the dinner I had just paid for.
However my senses were taken over by the streets activities; we were both expecting to see many street performers but what we got was hundreds of bars with scantily clad young girls – some weren’t in fact girls but rather ladyboys; boys dress up as girls.
My husband and I are not prudes, not by any stretch of the imagination, but how Thailand has the affront to promote Bangla Road as a family nightlife entertainment centre is beyond comprehension, for it is nothing more than a whore house where old foreign men sit and fondle young girls, many of whom looked underage, with one hand and nurse a beer in the other.
I’ve seen some pretty disgusting places in my time but this place topped it all – I would venture that the Devil himself could learn a thing or two by visiting Bangla Road.
One of the truly disturbing aspects was the swathes of young girls; I’m talking under the age of 10, roaming in and out of the bars trying to sell flowers.
I certainly appreciate there are poor people in the world but for any parent to stoop so low and for westerners who simply appear to accept it is a level where no real humanity exists – it’s simply a case where they would sell their soul for a few baht.
There were quite a few police officers roaming along the road but it was obvious they were just for show for they simply turned a blind eye to these very vulnerable children.
During the remainder of our holiday on Phuket we continued to tour around the island but we were both outraged at the prices of taxis and those tuk tuk’s are a different matter altogether – we honestly can’t remember the last time we took a holiday where the people were so rude and so greedy.
Their attitude appeared to be one of disdain at best and that they have a right to rip tourists off. We did, luckily, hear about the Jet Ski scams and therefore avoided them like the plague.
There were so many disturbing aspects of our holiday that it would take me forever to write them all down but to sum it up:
Taxis and Tuk Tuk’s are a complete rip off.
We were treated little more than cash cows.
Discrimination is rife – we visited a national park where we were asked to pay 200 Baht entry when the sign clearly stated Thais only pay 20 Baht – yes, ok the Thais may be poor but it’s an insult to rip off tourists in such a fashion; and this is a government run tourist attraction which just about says it all.
The island was filthy from top to bottom; it was basically a two week holiday in a rubbish dump.
Driving is a complete nightmare – it’s like everyone is suicidal.
There is a severe lack of care towards foreigners – our boat trip to Phi Phi and back was a clear demonstration of that fact.
Phuket could be viewed, considering the number of bars, as little more than an old man’s sweet shop – in other words, it’s akin to a giant whore house and what right-minded family would want two weeks of that?
The last four days of our holiday were spent within the confines of our resort but that was pretty boring. All in all it was a holiday from hell and Thailand is one hole we never intend to return to.
We posted our holiday snaps and comments on our Facebook accounts and of our combined 300 friends and family I doubt any of them would ever consider visiting Thailand.
The issue here is whether Thailand really does want foreign tourists because if they do then they need to wake up and realise what tourists want and it certainly isn’t a two week holiday in a glorified whore house where you have to wade through the rubbish and where every Thai is trying to fleece you – that includes the government.
Thailand, or at least Phuket, is a complete and utter disgrace and we did make a formal complaint to the travel agent as they really do need to change those glossy brochure due to complete misrepresentation.