I arrived at the airport in the afternoon and needed to figure out the minibus or shuttle service to my hostel located at Kata beach, about 45 minutes from the airport. The service ended up being pretty simple, but took forever to leave as they were waiting on more people to pack into the van. I was a little annoyed because I was waiting for like 30 minutes and could have maybe found another easier way but oh well. I finally arrived to my hostel around 5:30pm so it was worth saving the money (and I later realized I didn’t even pay for it because the lady gave me the voucher and I assumed the driver would collect the money after but didn’t so it was free). The hostel was down some side streets and seemed like a perfect backpacker hostel, I had booked a private room and there was a kitchen. I was planning to meet up with that girl, Sirena, I had met in Golden Coast, Australia who lives in the town of Phuket about 30 minutes from the beach town I was staying at. So we met up and had a lovely meal while catching up, talking about our travels (it was great to see a familiar face again). She had to work the next day so it was a short but sweet visit and definitely hope to see her again in Australia if that works out for the both of us. I went back to my hostel and was exhausted and very congested. I felt like I was getting sick with a cold so I showered and went to bed. Thankfully I was able to sleep in until 11am (but went to bed way too late, around 1am as I was looking up things about my tattoo I wanted to get in a couple weeks). Then I walked to this Italian coffee shop that had good reviews like 10 minutes away and it was fantastic, it had a nutella cannoli and I also ordered a regular breakfast meal that was huge and was stuffed by the time I left but it was so delicious. I thought I could get a Grab to the Big Buddha statue at the top of the mountain, but turns out only cars are available on Grab (not scooters) so I asked where I could get a scooter/bike and they said there should be some local scooters with red jackets I would just need to flag one down. So assuming there would be plenty as I started walking, I didn’t see a single one, except one with someone already on it and just decided to keep walking until I finally found one and thankfully bargained for a roundtrip there and back, and he waited for me at the top as I took pictures. It was a long drive actually, there’s no way I could have walked the whole way to the top, that would have been impossible haha and then I saw some elephants on the side of the road on the way up (which was depressing to see them captivated up on these hills like that, because they barely had any space). When I reached the top of the mountain, I was asked to put on a covering around my waist because you couldn't show past your knees - they provided these shawls which I used. I didn't realize it would be a religious place, but there were many statues and monks giving out blessings. As I approached the Big buddha with all the tourists around, it was huge and spectacular, set up on the very top with a great view of the ocean in the distance...just the vibe wasn’t the best because of all the people, but met these two girls and we took pictures together and then I was off to the beach.
It wasn’t too crowded surprisingly, and I found a nice quiet spot and enjoyed swimming in this beautiful clear blue water, no waves and some fish you could see. There were many European tourists and this was definitely a prime attraction for vacationing. I tanned and swam for 3 hours before walking up this steep hill to a sun deck Sirena told me about that had a perfect sunset ocean view. I ordered sangria and got a 2 for 1 special for $12 which was a good deal and enjoyed watching the different colored rays change drastically from above the ocean. After sunset, I started to walk back towards town, bought some different types of fruit and the streets were packed with tourists (mostly Euros and Russians). I actually ended up stopping and getting a 45 minute massage (back and feet) that allowed me to relax a bit more since for some reason I was overwhelmed..probably from all the tourists. This town also had tons of massage pop ups so I felt like I should take advantage and happy I did.
After the massage, as I walked up to my hostel, I could tell there were people out chatting like they had been the night before as it was a chill party hostel, so I decided to have a beer and be social. I met this couple from Germany (who I ended up meeting up with again) and this one guy from Utah who was telling us about this ping pong stripper club where they shot out ping pong balls out from private parts along with other random things - he was quite interesting. The German girl and I chatted about our travels and backgrounds a bit and then I called it a night and got organized and ready for bed since I was heading to the Phi Phi islands the next morning!