Monday 20th November
On Monday we dragged ourselves off the sunbeds (Alice and Marc now acclimatised) and headed out on a trip to Chalong to visit some more Buddhist temples – so back on with the longer clothes (tank tops specifically prohibited!!!) and shoes removed. As always magnificent buildings and a wonderful sense of calm spirituality. You could purchase flower and food offerings and sit cross-legged on the carpet to receive blessings from the monks. One of the temple guides demonstrated to us how to pay our respects to Buddha – the 4 of us knelt with him in a line and bowed up and down with our incense sticks – it made me giggle a little as from my viewpoint we looked like a row of nodding dogs, all nodding at different times!!
And then we drove on to the Big Buddha on the hill. We can see this Buddha from our resort but we had no idea just how BIG he would actually be. It was a long drive up a very steep hill – unfortunately peppered with all things commercial – elephant rides, monkey shows, snake shows, shops and cafes – but it was definitely worth the trip up. The views at the top were magnificent as was the Buddha statue – the temple was serene with monks chanting – again you could queue up for blessings from the monks. Gold hearts with personal messages adorned areas of the temple grounds.
I was particularly grateful for the toilet facilities (as basic as they were) as my tummy was having another of ‘those days!!’ 😩
Coming down the hill was fun – luckily Mr Lec our driver is pretty steady but we were being overtaken by scooters and quad bikes galore – very windy roads, tight bends, steep drops!! One of those best not to look moments!
From there we headed out to Patong so that Alice and Marc could get a taste of Phuket’s equivalent to Benidorm. We stopped for some food first and then headed down the chaotic Bangla Road – the bars were already buzzing at 7.00pm – but we resisted their charm and resisted invites to ‘the shows!’, choosing a stroll along the moonlit beach and a cocktail at a beachside bar as an alternative. Alice and Marc have decided to head back to Patong another night – without the old fogeys in tow!!