First stop, Phuket
Arrived. It is hot! Who would have expected this..
The way to my hotel was quite comfortable. I used a shared taxi and a local bus to reach my destination. 180 Baht (4.86€) in total, quite good if you´d ask me. So, first things first! I had to get some food.
The fitness challenge
I heard a lot about the 7/11 stores in Thailand. There was one down the road. This shop was the first station. After ten seconds in there, I realised that this would not do the job. Only sandwiches, snacks and all sorts of beverages.. That would not satisfy my hunger. At this point, I had fasted for 30 hours. After another 30 minutes of walking around, I found a little Thai supermarket. The smell in there was awful. But I bought some fruit, veggies, eggs, rice and canned tuna. Enough for the first day.
I realised that I´d have to rent a motorbike. Without it, this place would not be manageable. Easy. Five euros a day was affordable. It was time to visit the gym. Chalong (The fitness Mekka of Phuket) was too far away. I needed to find some alternatives. First stop Smile Gym. Small, dirty but quite cool. The price was 33 euros per month. Too expensive for what you get. The second stop was SB Living Place, a hotel gym. They do not even have a barbell.. I was drained, the traffic costs you a lot of nerves. So, I just did food shopping in Big C. A western style supermarket. It was big, but the food selection was not what I am used to. However, there was a significant advantage. You could buy chicken for 1.5€ per kilo.
Back at home, I did my first workout on the roof “gym” of my Hotel. Nearly without equipment. At least I had my rings. At least for the first half of my workout. After that, one strap snapped.. F*** up!
I finished with one ring front lever work and pullups. The post workout pineapple was the treat I needed after this day. I thought it could not get worse.
Wrong. After eating my stomach acted like a washing machine on steroids. I went to bed and slept for a long time. The next morning, the food wanted to get out of me. I spent half of the day lying in my bed. In the evening, I had to get some movement in for the day. I decided to go for a walk. Surprise. Only one kilometre away I found a nice gym. No option for dips but the rest was perfect and brand new. They also had a student tuition. 40 bucks a month. Since I wanted reliability, I accepted the offer. By the way, I was not training at this day ;).
Time to explore
The following days looked quite similar. They were much better! I got up early and hopped on the scooter to explore the surrounding. I was always back slightly after noon. So, I had enough time to relax for one hour. I trained and ate my first meal post workout.
These are the places I have been to:
- Kathu Waterfall (Not impressive but chilled)
- Sirinat National Park (Quite cool and calm)
- Chalong (The street of Fitness)
- Hua Beach (A dream! Calm and beautiful)
- Bang Pae Waterfall (Worth it but you must be there as early as possible)
- Bang Wad Reservoir (Not worth it)
- Paradise Beach (Many tourists)
- Sa Nang Manora Waterfall (This was the day I liked the most. If you are there walk down the lost track!)
Phuket was not the heaven on earth! But can have a very good time. I should have informed myself better before booking a place for 30 days. Lesson learned!
Tip: Use Instagram to look at places you want to visit. There are lots of photos and not only unrealistic ones ;).
Training and Nutrition
The progress in training was good. I had to take three days off in total due to stomach problems. But my body will get used to the food over time.
Here you can find my barbell full body routine. The gymnastic day (every second) is not perfect yet.
What do I eat?
I had to keep it simple. Foods like nuts, almonds, butter and beef mince were too expensive for daily usage.
- Coconut Milk (Tonnes of it, around half a litre a day)
- Coconut oil
- Sometimes Bacon
- White Fish
- Tuna (Canned, only for emergencies)
- Fruits (Banana, Pineapple, Mango, Dragon Fruit)
- Jasmine Rice (As usual)
- Thai Honey
- Coconut Water (Intra/post workout)
I wanted avocados and fatty fish too. But…
You could not find avocados in the local markets since they were too pricey. Fish was only available in whole. It would be a lot of work to prepare it every day..
I´m searching for more sources of fat. You will see if this ends successfully..
What I have learned
Appreciate what you have!
Most central European countries have well-equipped supermarkets even in the smallest villages. They do offer everything from meat up to exotic fruits. If you want to, you can buy large amounts for reasonable prices! The quality is outstanding too.
In comparison, the local supermarkets do not offer as much unprocessed food. These western style supermarkets mainly sell instant products, beverages and local specialities for tourists. Even local fruit is expensive. In general, the selection of food is not as diverse.
Tip: Buy the fruits in the little shops at the main street. Down the there are DIY-Markets that sell high-quality pineapples for a quarter of the average price.
This is not only true for grocery shopping. I even have problems to purchase a new strap for the gymnastic rings. It is easy in Germany, just buy a pair of lashing straps from the DIY-Market. With the thought that I could solve this problem, I hopped on my scooter. Four DIY-Markets and three supercenters later I realised that it was not as easy. No straps and the employees don´t have a clue what they are doing.
You couldn´t buy a pair of rings in the local sports markets either..
Last chance: ebay. I ordered a pair of straps with priority shipping. I hope that they will find the way..
The standard of living in Europe is superior! You can buy all sorts of things with high quality for a reasonable price. The selection is immense, and we take it for granted.
Keep in mind that this standard of living is not always connected to a high quality of life! It is the luxury we don´t even notice.
In my case sunshine is more important for my wellbeing than the western standard of living. That´s one reason why I am happier as I was before.
What happens next?
A flight from Phuket to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) is booked. I will leave this place on the 13th of March.
I will use a visa on arrival. It should enable me to stay there for three months.
If this works, there is the option to buy a motorbike in Ho Chi Min City. If I get one I would drive up to Hanoi or Sapa with various stops. If everything goes well, I can sell the bike in Hanoi before leaving.
So, keep on reading. Plenty adventures are waiting for you and me.
See you in the next article.