The plan is no plan: Big Budda – Phuket

Diary March 2016

When travelling, there always needs to be a certain level of planning involved and as the saying goes, “luck is a combination of hard work and preparation”, but sometimes luck is also about putting yourself in the right environment and head space to be able to receive it.

Consequently, constant planning or too much worry can work against this. I have learned that it is good to always have a plan but also be open to change and adapt and most of all act when spontaneous decisions call.

On 1 May 2016, my travel companion and I arrived to Phuket, Thailand. We checked into our accommodation at the Sugar Marina Nautical Resort near Kata Beach in Southern Phuket late in the evening.

The next day begun with a spectacular view of a big Budda sitting in the distance as viewed from the resort gym. My initial thoughts were to go for a recognisance run but only being 2 months post ACL knee reconstruction my better judgement told me otherwise.

Phuket big Budda
View of the Big Budda from the resort gym

My travel partner who was ready to plan out every hour of the day asked me what I wanted to do for the day and I suggested that we go for a walk to the big Budda. The staff at the resort laughed at the idea of walking to the big Budda saying it was too far and would take all day but with a bit of persuasion, she agreed to at least start and see how we go.

Using the big Budda as our reference, we followed any roads that looked as though they lead us up the hill. We followed the road until it turned into the motorway, despite being on its fringes, scooters and motorbikes were flying past us very closely.

We were pleased to discover that we were not the only ones making this pilgrimage as we passed other tourists with the same idea on the way. This reassured me a little more about todays endeavour, as all I had managed to do thus far was to embark on a very long walk in the burning sun on a motorway where there were no footpaths. Had I been alone, I would have been fine, but since I wasn’t, I felt responsible.

At the other end of the motorway my partner had to stop to use the bathroom at a nearby hotel and when the staff heard about our grand journey they gave us a ride to the base of the mountain. We were both very grateful but we still had a long way to go.

Part way up the hill we came across an elephant safari and got up and close to a pepi (baby) and what appeared to be his uncle having a horoi (wash). This was a special moment that we both enjoyed.


We continued on until we arrived to where all the safari staff appeared to be having lunch. It was a little Thai kitchen on the side of the road selling great Pad Thai and Green Curry. There’s nothing like a good kai after a long walk!

After lunch, we continued on our way in what appeared to be the hottest part of the day. While I continued trucking on with recently reconstructed ACL, my partner started lagging behind…this got me worried as it was one of the first times she had gone along with one of my “off the cuff” plans and I feared that she would never go along with one again if today wasn’t a success. We continued for another few 100m when a green jeep stopped beside us and asked if we wanted a ride to the top. Talk about good timing!

A bunch of travellers from Malasya in a green ute gave us a lift to the top.

At the top, the views of the big Budda and Phuket were amazing. We soaked in the scenery and knew that our long pilgrimage in the heat had been worth it.

Once we had finished soaking it all in, I knew that walking back wouldn’t be an option so we started searching for a taxi. Just as we were about to discuss the cost with a taxi driver, the green jeep stopped by again – completely out of nowhere, and not only brought to the bottom of the hill but to our road on Kata beach!

We finally arrived back at our accommodation after a fun and adventure filled day born of spontaneity. While things like this don’t always happen, I think that it’s your mind space that attracts it and continues to give hints or signs of the opportunities available to us.

This Big Budda example is but one of the many awesome ‘off the cuff’ experiences I’ve had along the way.

“ko ia káhore nei i rapu, té kitea = He who does not seek will not find”


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