We arrived at our port of Ao Makam much earlier than expected with another serious medical emergency on board. This was of course not good for them but we got to wake up to a magnificent view of the lush tropical mountains of Thailand.
With no real agenda for the day and a pre booked minibus and driver to greet us we headed off in the direction of Chalong. We had promised the kids we would not visit any more temples but with some bribery we persuaded them to see one more.
With the large amount of elephants in Thailand we couldn’t go past the opportunity to see them again so we stopped in at a nearby trekking station. Used purely for the entertainment of westerners the elephants take you on a 45 minute track through rainforest and nearby rubber tree plantations. They are extremely well cared for and not overworked – that’s what we wanted to hear and believe and it does appear that way as they never shout at them or get aggressive. On returning to the station after the ride we were able to feed the same elephants sugar cane and also feed a baby elephant bananas. It was just a small snack for these giants that eat up to 250kg each per day.
From here we went high into the mountains where we could get a great view over Phuket and all the main beaches. Also sitting high up on the mountain was a giant Buddha statue made of cement and covered in a thin layer of marble.
We headed back down to civilization and the shops where Louise and the girls had fun haggling over new swimmers while David & Luke were ushered down a quite alley to a secret room. Once the special knock was recognized the door flung open to reveal a sea of pirate DVD’s. Every film ever made was there including many that we were sure hadn’t been released yet all around $2 each.
By this time food was on everyone’s mind and our driver “Au” (pronounced ooh) who was extremely friendly suggested a waterside restaurant out of town. It was very popular with the locals situated right on the water. The outdoor style restaurant, as most of them appear to be in Thailand, had large concrete tubs at the entry where we could select the live fish for lunch. We told the kids it was a fish pond. The food was sensational and the service entertaining. Of course we had to get a Thai transvestite for our waiter and kids, as they do in nice loud voices, asked why the lady had “boy’s feet” and spoke like a man.
After a relaxing lunch we were all keen to cool off at the beach however all of the main beaches were closed due to strong rips and unsuitable for the kids. Au suggested a small bay where his family lived and offered the use of his grandmother’s house to change and shower afterwards.
After such a great day we all fare welled Au back at the ship and quickly spent the remaining Thai Bart we had left at the dockside stalls on more clothes and cheap beer.