We flew into Phuket on July 23. My Chinese friend/student, who owns businesses in Phuket, came there with his 8-year-old son, Dou-Dou (Beans), to meet us. He arranged for a van to pick us from the airport. He booked us a hotel in central Phuket; however, we wanted to be by the sea instead. So, we just stayed one night and moved to the one that Dominik and Xenih had booked themselves.
Libing gave us a tour of central Phuket in his pickup truck. Out of the seven, three hopped onto the flatbed; that’s allowed in Thailand from sheer practicality. As a welcome gesture, he took us to his favorite restaurant where he treated us to a big feast. After, he took us to a nice lounge where the young fashionable locals hung out. Libing and David had whiskeys, while the rest of us had beer. Libing can surely chuck it down … a very common trait amongst the Chinese. Click the picture below to see some images of our first night in Phuket.
I first met Libing when he lived across the house I had built in Lijiang, China. He owned several businesses there. I had invited him to come learn Wing Chun Gongfu from me, but he said he was too busy. However, a couple of years later, when I took in a student from Trinidad-Tobago, he joined the class. This was in 2009. I gave them an intensive 3-month crash course. Libing learned so well that, at the end of the course, he sparred with a Gongfu master with 25 years experience, and matched his skills. Click the image below to see a video clip of the training at my house in China in 2009.
Rawai Palm Beach Resort
The next day, we checked in the Rawai Palm Beach Resort. We each got a room for 1,300 bht, which included a big buffet breakfast; that’s CAD$55 … the price I pay for a spot at a campsite for my motorhome in the US and Canada! Our rooms were very large and spacious. We were on the fourth floor. The rooms on the main floor have patios that connect to the main swimming pool. The pool is only 1.4 meter deep, but stretches from one end of the property to the other. That makes it very convenient for young kids to play in it. I wished Acelin had come with me. In the middle of the pool, there is a bar that one can sit to have snacks and drinks. Additionally, an artificial beach with shallow water was built for kids to play and swim. The bulk of the patrons were Chinese tourists that came and went by busloads. They’d rush through breakfast and loaded onto buses to go sightseeing and shopping. They didn’t return until late at night, and were gone again in the mornings. During the day, a small group of Europeans used the hotel facilities. We were able to use the children’s sandy beach and gazebo for training without interruptions. Most of the children came with the Chinese groups, so they weren’t around during the day. All of us enjoyed the resort very much. It was well located and surrounded by beaches, restaurants, and mini-marts. Click the picture below to see images of the resort.
Click the image below to see the buffet spread.
When I made arrangements for this trip, I made sure that we stayed away from the typical tourist-infested place; one renown and infamous of these places is Patong; twenty kilometers from Rawai. I thought I may take my gang one night to just visit it, but they found out about it through Google, and went to it that very night; only David and I stayed back. They didn’t return until 5:30 a.m. It became a routine for the three Swiss. David and I went with them on the second night to have dinner with Libing. What a crazy place! It was Bangkok’s Patpong multiplied ten times. After Libing and Dou-Dou went to their condo, we went into a Go-Go bar called Suzie Wong. The funniest thing to watch was the Go-Go girls smacking the heads, shoulders, and backs of customers sitting right in front of the stage with a pair of foam tubes. In exchange, the customers are allowed to smack the butts of these girls with them. The tubes are light so do not inflict pain; however, these girls are experienced in using them, so could deliver some pretty strong hits. They make loud smacking sounds so you’d think that the hits would be painful; but in actuality, the sound is made from the two foams smacking against each other. Anyway, the place was loud. So, David, Albert, Rafael, and I left to go back to the hotel. The Swiss gang stayed in Patong the rest of the night. Click the picture below to see some images of the Patong Strip taken by Albert. No cameras were allow inside the bars.
Ban Nui Beach
With the Swiss gang coming back in the early wee hours, we were not able to train together at the same times. Neither could we do other things together. On the third day, David, Albert, Rafael, Xenia, and I walked to Ban Yui Beach 2 kilometers away. We walked past typical Thai village houses and shops. The beach itself was small and quaint, with very few beachcombers. The sand and water was clean. We were able to enjoy some quiet time as well as do some training. Click the picture below to see images of the Ban Yui Beach.
Click the image below to view video clips of Ban Nui and the boys doing the Battle Punches.
When we headed back for the hotel, we stopped by one of the many massage houses to get our bodies rubbed and cracked. I went for the 2-hour massage, while the others did just one hour. I went in and out of sleeps and caught myself snoring and farting while the masseuse worked on me. The gang later told me that they were laughing every time I did that. I’m reminded of how I used to laugh when my dad snored and farted; now I’m in the same boat.
In spite of going out every night and coming back in the early morning hours, the gang was able to squeeze in time to train. They trained hard in the sand, pool, and under the gazebo. Click the image below to see clips of our training.
Here are portraits of some of the trainees.
One of the things that I did everyday at Phuket was getting a massage. David joined me every time. His first time was in Bangkok; that time, he was too sensitive to it. By the time he got to Phuket, he was hooked on it. The best massage I got was on my last day; the male masseuse popped my parts of my back where nobody was able to. I felt rejuvenated after that day.
For the last night in Phuket, Libing came to take us out to his favorite seafood restaurant. Although I’m not big on seafood, I agreed to it thinking the other guys would enjoy it. However, David was too tired to go out, Ben, Dominik, and Xenia went to get their last fixes at Patong. So, only Rafael and Albert came along. It was an interesting experience. The restaurant only provided the cutleries and the cooking; the patrons bought live sea creatures from the market to bring them for cooking. The restaurant charged the cooking by weight. I was only going to eat the fish; however, to not appear unsociable, I ate crab, lobster, and squid for the first time in my life. I was worried that I may react from allergy, but I didn’t. As a child, I would break out in hives just walking through a seafood market. The food was tasty all spiced up. That was quite an experience for the three of us.
Apart from the hot weather in Rawai, albeit cooler than Bangkok, we all enjoyed Phuket very much. The people, environment, hotel, food, massages, and nightlife (for some of us) were excellent. Libing was a great host, looking after us from Day-One to the end of our trip. We will always have fond memories of our visit here.