Phuket Island and Phuket town are not places that are high on my must-see wish list, but there is a lake, and a promising one actually that even contains sediments. This is a rarity, since many lakes in Thailand have been dredged and emptied of their sediments. And since we really need more sediment from lakes in southern Thailand, so that we may be able to (some time in the future) make a real paleoclimate North-South transect, we headed off to Phuket to core this recently discovered lake WITH sediments (thanks to Waw and Pi for this discovery!).
Luckily we did not stay in a hotel along the coast, but in a fairly quiet place in the central part of the island called Phuket Bike Resort. This friendly place with large, nice and clean rooms and easy access to a pool and free wifi was ideal for us, since we only had to drive a few kilometers to our lake.
We only shortly visited the – in Sweden so – famous Phuket beaches once, to deliver coring equipment to colleagues who were organising a tsunami symposium and needed our boat and corer. The drive from the central part of Phuket Island to the beaches along the east and southeast coast was not a nice one. Beach after beach was cramped with hotels, restaurants and tourists, and the roads were choked by traffic, 4WDs, busses, motorbikes, tuk tuks and lorries.
Several of these beaches had been terribly hit by the 2004 tsunami, but no trace of it is left, and hotels are being build as close to the beaches as only possible, and as tight as possible. I got the feeling of a complete building boom, where every little corner is being used to build yet another hotel, restaurant, disco, or golf course.
This place is so far from the Thailand I am used to. Walking around in what is probably the center of Kata Beach with its tourist shops and tourists, it felt like any large (and hugely ugly) tourist resort anywhere in the world. This short visit made it quite clear that this place is not my place and that I prefer the few undeveloped beaches that still exist in other places here in Thailand. The question is just: for how long?