This has been a strange week. I had two days off in a row which is a huge rarity, even more so as they were mid-week. During this “free time” I managed to get caught up on a couple of long-term projects and get started on one or two others. Unfortunately, I wasn’t motivated to do the research needed for my originally-planned theme for this edition of “Friday Photos”. I decided on another which would require the bare minimum of commentary. That idea was to cover the occasionally-odd and often incomprehensible signs one encounters around Phuket but, in the end, I decided on something simpler – photos of ONE location that many local residents don’t even realize exists!
If you drive east along Deebuk Road past Sofa Pub and the old Limelight Avenue shopping plaza (home of the weekly Indy Market and currently being transformed into a large shopping center which will include a Tops supermarket and a McDonald’s) you will encounter Seng Ho Books at the intersection with Suthas (left/north) and Montri (right/south) roads. Continuing eastward the street is now called Luang Po Road; on the right, you will see the shortcut into the back of the old bus terminal at Vanich Plaza (which, along with the bus terminal, was a Japanese military camp during World War II). At Surin Road, take a quick right and then left again on Surin Soi 2. This soon turns into Srisuthat Road which will carry you over the causeway denoting the separation of Phuket with the small island to the east – Koh Siray. You’ll see the colorful fishing boats in the port to your right and will soon reach the Monkey View Point or. as the sign proudly states, “Monkey Seeing.”*
It there was ever a sign that deserved to be a t-shirt, this is it! This was my original inspiration for the planned “Signs of Phuket” theme but why hide it amongst other signs? That and the line of meditating golden monkeys make this a must-stop spot.
I tend to spend more time looking at the fake monkeys than the real ones, who live in the mangroves adjacent to the viewing platform. I have no idea whether these are macaques, gibbons or what, but they are more difficult to capture photographically than their static guardians particularly given my meager picture-taking abilities.
It looks like these statues are begging for food. Lucky for them there are usually vendors nearby who are more than happy to sell you some fruit or peanuts to toss to the monkeys in the mangroves. If you prefer, they will sell you some juice or food for you to snack on during your visit.
It doesn’t seem like very many tourists and expats make it out this way as I rarely see another non-Asian stop. That’s a shame because I always enjoy stopping here when I’m in the area. Maybe I’m just a sucker for weird viewpoints. I like the fact that the monkeys are “down there”, especially after having been “attacked” by a bunch of hungry primates a few years ago on To Sae Hill in Phuket Town.
I’ve named this little guy Oliver (“Please, sir. Can I have some more?”). As Koh Siray becomes more developed (it was VERY rural when I first visited about nine years ago), I would hate for the monkeys to go elsewhere. Where would I do my safe “Monkey Seeing”?
*If my directions baffle you, simply hop on the Number 3 pink bus in Phuket Town and it will transport you to Koh Siray where other destinations include some really nice local restaurants, speedboats to the Phi-Phi Islands, and the soon-to-be-completed (I hope) Sea Gypsy Museum.