In December 2004, a friend and I decided to go to Thailand for Christmas vacation.
We didn't have a fixed itinerary, we just wanted to see the country, so we decided to spend a few days in Bangkok, then go to the coast, then spend a few days up north in the mountains.
Little did we know it'd be more of an adventure that we could ever have imagined.
After a few days in Bangkok, we decided to go to Phuket, on the coast. We arrived December 23'rd, and spent lazy days at the beach, and going into town for the evenings. The day after Christmas, I woke up early, and went to breakfast in the hotel restaurant. While eating breakfast, I felt the ground shake a little. It was very windy at the time, and I thought it strange that the wind was making the entire restaurant shake. No one else seemed to notice it, so I went on eating and forgot about it.
An hour later, I was back in my hotel room, and hear some Japanese tourists screaming. I looked out the window, and saw a huge amount of water rushing by our window. At first I thought a water tank had burst, but it was too much water. I then realized it was a tidal wave. We rushed outside to look, and the entire hotel had been flooded. We started wandering around, taking pictures. I walked around the side of the hotel, when people started screaming at me to run. The second wave was coming towards me, full of debris. I ran, but tripped on some submerged debris. The water hit me, slamming me into some concrete, cutting my shin. I escaped up a flight of stairs just as the full force of the water started pushing cars down the road.
After everything settled down, I had to go to the hospital to get stitches. (just getting there was another adventure)
They were swamped with very serious cases, (mine was minor in comparison) so I went back to the hotel (another adventure - all the roads were jammed, no taxis were available - got a guy on a motorcycle to take me) The next day, I went back and got stitched up.
The hotel had lost all power. The kitchen was flooded. We lived on fruit and crackers for 3 days until the country settled down, then headed out of the area for somewhere un-affected - ended up in Koa Samui. After a couple days there, decided traveling around Thailand was too chaotic and decided to come home.
The Thai people were fantastic. They banded together after the disaster and helped each other, and us.
I decided if ever I was in another disaster, I'd prefer to be in Thailand with the Thai's. (I hope they never have to go thru another disaster like that one, but they certainly have the right attitude for supporting each other)
Here are some of the pictures we took. In the Phuket group, my friend, Cole, got some shots from inside the bar of the second wave coming over the sea wall.
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