While sitting on the plane to Thailand, I couldn't help but get antsy in my seat. This destination in particular was really going to be a new experience like I've never experienced before. Every component of this destination would be different and completely outside of the norm for me from the culture, currency, food to the language. But in all honesty, that just added to my excitement, I don't shy away from a challenge easily. My first few steps outside the airport brought one word to mind... "HOT!" Despite the high humidity and bright sun I took full advantage of the very hot climate. I've never experienced heat like that before! At first it was borderline unbearable, but in a very short time I gave in and accepted that I was going to be a hot, sweaty mess for the next week. It made the perfect excuse to be half naked most of the time, consume icy cold beverages and to spend hours in the water.
My favourite part of the trip was visiting Big Buddha on top of Nakkerd Hill in Phuket. I hired a car for the day and set off early in the morning. The drive was very scenic (and air conditioned)! I ascended nice and high into the hills (pretty much a small mountain), winding along the very narrow roads passing little restaurants and elephants along the way. Big Buddha is situated on the highest point overlooking Phuket. After what felt like forever, I had arrived. The statue is larger than life! Much bigger than I had anticipated. I stood there for a couple of minutes in complete awe admiring the white marble glistening under the sun and appreciating the architecture. The hill top had a very tranquil feeling, definitely a place of prayer and worship. The air was filled with the sweet smell of flowers and incense. Offerings of drink and food were gently placed under the trees and the many statues which were scattered throughout walkways. It was nice to see that there was a lot of respect from the tourists that were wandering around. The construction on the statue started 15 years ago and is being funded strictly by donations and from what I understand, people have come from all over the world to help build the statue and surrounding area. It's still incomplete but definitely worth the visit. As I walked back down the many stairs, I understood why Big Buddha was built here, the view was beautiful. A perfect 360 degree view as you walk around the base of the statue. Apparently the sunsets here are breathtaking, unfortunately for me it was 11am. I guess I need to plan another trip back to Thailand to see it for myself.