Phuket Day 6 (27 Mar 10) – Last Day in Phuket

This is my last day in Phuket. After spending almost 1 week here, I begin to appreciate and understand the way of life here. People exists here due to tourism, and it is the same tourism which spoil the scenery, affected the local’s way of life. The double-edged sword is what brings the cash into the pockets of the locals here in Phuket. Perhaps without the work of tourism, this island will still be a backward town as what I had seen in some non-touristy places on the island. After all, Thais are still friendly, Jai yen no matter which part of the country you will be traveling in. I did not really travel anywhere today.

After the usual breakfast, I walked along the streets of Patong area. This is the first time I walked beyond Bangla St, usually I would make a turn into Bangla St and head towards the hotel, however this time I figured I should visit this area which I had never thought of visiting (partially is to look for cheaper Taxi service to the airport in the evening). Walking along this part of Patong area is no different from the Patong area closer where my hotel is. Except that there are lesser people, lesser shops. Well managed to find a cheaper taxi service then what the others would quote me nearer to Jungceylon or Mercure hotel. Without a thought, I went ahead to book for the service. The lady serving me was friendly, despite giving a cheaper rate. Happy as I am now it is time to head back towards the hotel. At this point of time, I still have not packed my luggage (it was a headache to think about it in the first place). Did not take long for me to reach my hotel. Sat at the balcony mostly enjoying the breeze and have one last look at this island. Originally I was still thinking of taking a dip in the pool before I start packing, traded that idea for a breezy laze in the balcony of the room. The peacefulness and tranquility is what attracted me. Did not take long for me to finish packing up. Soon I found myself lazing on the balcony again (as my balcony was overlooking the Otop night market and some quite nice views of the hills beyond), was quite a relaxing afternoon. Received a call from the reception saying my transport to the airport has arrived. I quickly headed to the lobby for checking out. I asked for the manager who assisted me during my stay here (did I mentioned I made several complains to him?). Well I guess it is time to thank him for his assistance and bid him farewell. We chatted for some 15 mins.

Not long after I was on my way to the airport. Checking in took quite awhile as some tourists seem to have problem with their visa/passport/air-tickets (whatever it is). I was directed to the business class counter and since then checking in was smooth and fast.  Here I am, sitting by the gate, waiting to board the aircraft heading home. Phuket is not all about Patong beach, the off-shore islands (though they are really a must go should anyone visit here), Phuket is more than that. It is about how tourism brought up the living standard here, how the locals vie with each other to ensure they got the biggest catch. Well the vying wasn’t as bloody as it is. After all Thais are still a bunch of peace loving people. Oh yeah it is raining heavily now, first time since I arrived about a week ago. Despite the hot weather, the locals did not complain, they just go about doing their own stuff, carrying out their way of life and ensuring they are able to bring back more cash from the tourists to their family.

Phuket Day 5 (26 Mar 10) – Southern Glory

This is my second last day in Phuket, still wondering if I should watch the Phuket Fantasea show. Well I guess I’ll decide that later… still got plenty of time. As with every morning I went downstairs for breakfast. Think I got marked for complaining to the 2 managers in the hotel, everyone was trying to be nice to me when I told them my room number. After breakfast, I went to the reception to ask about the show. The manager told me it is different from the one I had seen in Krung Thep, and he recommended me to consider. I asked about going to southern part of the island (this is something I kept putting off, it is either today or never). I was advised to hire a tuk-tuk for a time period, and not by destination, as the drivers will charge you through the roof if you had told them where you wanted to go. Soon I found myself sitting in a Starbucks café by Patong beach continuing my blog entry. The place was quiet at first, but as every visitors woke up from their tours or partying the night before, soon the café was full! Glad I came here first. After Starbucks, I headed for Bangla Road (again) and then to Jungceylon to find a tuk-tuk to take me to the southern part of the island. After some bargaining, managed to get one for 800 Baht.

Jungceylon has became my hangout place in Phuket
Jungceylon in the day
Part of Jungceylon

Karon View Point

Not long after we were on the road! The ride towards my first destination was hilly, sloppy but scenic. This is the first time I have been to the quieter and more tranquil part of Phuket. This route is definitely not as noisy and lively as Patong or the nearby beaches, but it is free of traffic and peaceful. The ride to Karon View Point din take long. The view there was magnificent. I can see the whole of Kata beach, the bays Kata Noi, Kata, Karon, and also Koh Poo Island. It is boasted as one of the island’s best views. After spending around 5 mins there, I got on my tuk-tuk and headed for my next destination – Promthep Cape.

On my way to the Viewpoint
On my way to the Viewpoint
On my way to the Viewpoint
Saw some beaches along the way
A quieter side of Phuket
We passed by some towns
Nearing the Viewpoint
Arrival at the Viewpoint
The view here is just stunting
The view here is just stunting
At the Viewpoint
At the Viewpoint
At the Viewpoint

Promthep Cape

I really enjoy the ride on this part of the island, peaceful, free of traffic and the views are nice! The drive to Promthep Cape took around 30 mins, it is not far from Viewpoint, after the driver parked the tuk-tuk, and I walked up some steps which (hopefully) lead to some good views since this place was boasted as the best views in the whole of Phuket, especially during sunset. The cape is a headland stretching is to the sea and forming the extreme south-end of Phuket. As I ascended the stairs, the first thing that greeted me was a small shrine of the 4 face Buddha. Well I felt the need to pay respect to it and paid 20 baht for some offerings. After paying respect to the Buddha, I spotted a structure, so I decided to head over to see what the hell it was. It is actually a lighthouse!!! And it is open for people to visit (and free too), went inside for the air-con (the weather was damn hot) and ascended to the 2nd level of the lighthouse. The view from this level was awesome!!! I can see from Hai Harn beach (the south-western part of the island), to the southern part of the bay where Kaew Yai island is to Rawai Beach area (the south eastern part of the stretch of the island. The view is best on this lighthouse!! After taking some pictures, I exited the lighthouse I went to the cape. Tried to trek to the end of the cape, but I was not wearing my walking shoes and the slippers proved to be too inappropriate to walk along the cliffs. Just snapped some pictures and went back to the tuk-tuk and head for the next destination – Wat Chalong.

On our way to Promthep Cape
On our way to Promthep Cape
On our way to Promthep Cape
One of the beaches in Southern Phuket
Nearing Promthep Cape
Nearing Promthep Cape
Nearing Promthep Cape
Nearing Promthep Cape
Nearing Promthep Cape
Nearing Promthep Cape
Arrival at the Cape
Statue at the lighthouse
The lighthouse overlooking Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Inside the lighthouse
The Lighthouse at Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape
Views from Promthep Cape

Wat Chalong

On the way we passed by Rawai Beach. The beach is peaceful and free of tourists. I had asked the driver to stop for a moment for me to snap some pictures of this beach, it is too beautiful not to stop and snap pictures. After that we continued our journey towards Wat Chalong. The temple is the oldest and biggest on the island. The temple is indeed grand and has its own characteristic. It has a wax museum of 3 monks, supposedly to be the “best monks” in Thailand. There are pictures of the royalties coming all the way to Phuket to pay respects to them. After which I headed to the next building. It is the biggest building in the Wat compound. It has 3 levels. First 2 consist of a hall with a number of Buddha statues. The 3rd level is an interesting one, it holds relics of the Buddha! There are locals whom came to offer their prayers to the relic. What I liked about this level is the views and of course the breeze (which is a blessings in the hot day). From this level, I can see as far as the Big Buddha, which is another temple with a hug statue of the Buddha on top the hills. After enjoying some breeze and views, I reluctantly descend and went to one of the other wat building. What it appears to be was a shrine for the 3 monks. The locals, tourists paid their respect to these monks. Man they are really some big shots in this country. Well the visit to the temple was over, time to hit the road.

Rawai Beach
Rawai Beach
Rawai Beach
Wat Chalong
Entrance to Wat Chalong
Part of the temple
At Wat Chalong
At Wat Chalong
At Wat Chalong
At Wat Chalong
Inside Wat Chalong
At Wat Chalong
At Wat Chalong
At Wat Chalong
Inside Wat Chalong
Inside Wat Chalong
Inside Wat Chalong
View of the temple grounds
View of the temple grounds
At Wat Chalong
At Wat Chalong
At Wat Chalong
At Wat Chalong
At Wat Chalong

Initially I asked to the driver to drive me around Phuket town, think he might had understood as passing by Phuket town and headed back to Patong area. As he was driving, it confirmed my suspicion, so I told him to drive me to Jungceylon instead. It was way past lunch time, so I figured go Jungceylon find some food and decide how to spend the rest of the day. As I reached Jungceylon, I had a sudden urge to catch a movie, went to the cinema to see what’s on. Hey “How to train your dragon” was on. So I got a ticket and went for some food.

After food, I went back to the theater entrance to wait for the time to enter the cinema. Then I saw a trailer for a Thai movie which looked awesome. Went to the ticketing counter and bought tickets for that movie, which was immediately after my first movie. Soon it as time for my first movie, went inside and there wasn’t many people watching this movie. The interesting thing about watching movie in Thailand is before any show, there would be a short clip about their King and everyone must stand for the song. After my first movie ended, I went for my second movie. Well the same thing happened, the song for the King. Then the show started. This is when I realised I bought tickets for the wrong movie, but decided to stay on for the show anyways. This Thai movie was funny and good! Quite liked this show. After the 2 movies, I walked back to my hotel, along the way, it started to drizzle very briefly. Pasted by a Thai restaurant and realized that I have not really eaten in a Thai restaurant. So I decided to go in and eat something. The serving was fast and huge. But their Tom Yum Gai was good!! After dinner time to head back to the hotel for the night……

Phuket Day 4 (25 Mar 10) – Island Hopping

Well the day started out not as good as I wanted. Maybe it is the residual back luck from yesterday, when everything went wrong. Today suppose to go for my island hoping tour, but the card to my safe just wouldn’t work and my camera is inside the safe. What’s the point of visiting the islands when I don’t even bring a camera along? Called the hotel staff a few times, they kept telling me they’ve sent someone to my room. After waiting for 20 mins, I went to lobby and start asking the receptionist again. Again I was told that they will send someone up, at the same time the tour van is already here. My guess is they have been waiting for around 10 mins and the driver might not make it in time to the harbor. I urged the driver to give me 5 mins, after bargaining, he agreed to wait for another 2 mins. At this point I was thinking well at most I head back to the tour booth and make another booking for the tour. Well I went back up to my room, the hotel staff came running towards my room and quickly helped me open up my safe. There it is my camera. I quickly rushed to the lobby and was happy to find that the driver was still there waiting for me (think it took around 5 mins). And we are on our way! The journey to the marina took around 1 hour. Upon arrival at the marina, we were made to sign some insurance form. Waited for another 30 mins, we were then brought to the speed boat for our island hoping trip. Well the coxswain of the boat consistently drove the boat at 50 kts, it was fun, especially when he made the turns.

The Marina where the speedboat is berthed at
Preparing to cast off
and we are on our way
nice weather for island hopping
I enjoyed the wind
One of the islands along the way

Maya Bay

Our first stop is Maya bay. We were told that this bay was made famous by the movie “The beach”. When we reached there, well I can imagine how beautiful it was when the hordes of tourists were not there. Din really enjoy the beach coz of the tourists. Took some picture and headed back to the boat. We were given 20 mins to swim around, take some pictures at this bay. After weighing anchor, we headed to our next destination.

Hordes of Tourists at Maya Bay
Really looks like some deserted island
Hordes of Tourists at Maya Bay
Hordes of Tourists at Maya Bay
Hordes of Tourists at Maya Bay
Hordes of Tourists at Maya Bay
Took some pictures around the beach
Took some pictures around the beach
This is the main landing spot for tourists
Took some pictures around the beach

On our way to Loh Samah Bay

Loh Samah Bay

Did not take long before we reached our next destination, Loh Samah Bay. The ship was moored here and we were given time to do snorkeling. Well this is the first time I do snorkeling, din really know how it works, all I knew was to put some mask on and go swim in the water. That is what I did! It was really fun!!! The bay was beautiful, and I saw schools of colorful fishes swimming near the surface of the water, they were swimming together with us!! Snorkeling around, I saw starfish, sea urchins and the most magnificent of all, are the colorful corals and the fishes that interacted with the corals! It felt as if I was swimming in the aquarium, with the fishes swimming together with me. It is absolutely fun! Well we were given 40 mins to snorkel around; the timing was just nice, not too long and not too rush. It is a pity that I dun have a waterproof camera or an underwater housing for my camera, if not I would have taken pictures of the fishes.

 

This is the spot where we did snorkelling
If only I bought underwater camera
We were anchored here for snorkeling
Fantastic waters for snorkeling

Viking Cave

After we left Loh Samah Bay, we headed towards Pi Ley bay, or the locals call it James Bond Bay, where the area was featured in some James Bond movie some 20 years ago. However due to low tide, we can only see the bay from outside. We were then taken to the next area, Viking cave. The guide told us the cave used to be hide out for Vikings a long time ago, however now it is bought over by some private company to harvest bird’s nest. We were prohibited to enter the caves, and only able to see from outside. I rather like the limestone formations of this cave, look liked one of the hideouts you would find in some Batman movies. After leaving Viking cave, we headed for Monkey beach. Now this beach was given this name due to numerous wild monkeys coming to the beach. As the crew tried to anchor the boat, they were unable to do so as they tide was low and the seabed was covered with rocks. In their effort to try anchoring the boat, I think they had damaged one of the 3 engines. So the coxswain told the guide (in Thai) that we will weigh anchor and head towards our lunch first before coming back here again.

Approaching Viking Cave
Viking Cave
Taking a peep into Viking Cave
Leaving Viking Cave
Leaving Viking Cave

Pi Ley Bay

Took us around 5 mins to get to the bay where the ship was anchored for our lunch. Now this is when I had a feeling we are some castaways from survivor show. As the boat was anchored offshore, we all had to swim to the shore where the restaurant is. It is a refreshing experience, just 1 word to describe it – fun!! Well the short walk to the restaurant was, lack of a better word, hellish (I mean laterally hellish). The ground was heated up by the merciless sun and it was really a bad idea to walk bare footed. I guess it is a bad decision for not bringing any belongings from the boat, so here I was, left with walking bare footed on the heated ground. The ground was hot from the beach all the way to the pavement leading to the restaurant. I admired the local gals (who were with us for the trip, seemed like some family outings), they walked all the way bare footed without complaining. Really took my hat off them. The lunch was so-so, we had fried rice, onion rings (which was the best and crunchy of all) and some soup that looked like Tom yum soup (not really that spicy). After lunch, we headed back to the boat, damn….. the walking and swimming was really tiring, but the experience was refreshing.

This is where we swam for our lunch
This is where we swam for our lunch

Monkey Island

It did not take the crew long for them to prepare the boat and get underway. Soon we found ourselves at the monkey beach (the ride took only about 5 mins). After the coxswain beached the boat, we were on the beach! Well really wonder why they called this place Monkey beach in the first place. The only “monkeys” insight were the humans! Perhaps the tourists had scared the monkeys back into their forest habitat. Some of the stuff that tourism brings….signz……. no monkeys, but the beach was enjoyable. Nice view of the bay, cool water, and not much crowd (maybe is the time we were there, most of the tour group would probably had left!). After spending some 30 mins there, we headed for Khai island.

At Monkey Beach
Monkey Beach
Monkey Beach

Khai Island

This very small island is a place purely for the tourists, we were told to rent a beach chair and relax by the beach. Snorkeling was an option that we can take (which I did), or we can choose to sleep by the beach. I went snorkeling (not far from the beach), well the view was boring. The fishes are not that many compared to Pi Ley Bay, not as colourful and almost all the corals are dead. I saw some fishes feeding off the algae on the (half-dead) corals. Oh yeah there are lots and lots of sea urchins, other then that there is really nothing fantastic in snorkeling here. What boring sights!!! After snorkeling for about 15 mins (really din take long for me to realize it is boring here), I headed back to the beach to relax, enjoy the sea breeze and had an ice-cream. I derived at a conclusion that this island was made purely to make money off the tourists. As I was relaxing, I heard someone singing and there were crowds cheering the singer. I was drawn to see what’s going on and who was singing. Well it was a ladyboy singing, “she” had a female voice and was really good at singing. “Her” voice had stirred up much cheer and the mood of the tourists at the area. Everyone was cheering “her” on and asked for encore whenever “she” finished a song, of course she obliged and continued to entertain us with “her” performance. I guess “she” must had been singing for awhile, eventually “she” gave into “her” tiredness. Someone else took over the mike and so the crowd laterally dispersed. This is the time I went back to my chair and continued relaxing…… soon after our time is up, it is time for us to head back to Phuket island. The ride took only 20 mins and we soon find ourselves on the van heading back to our respective hotels.

At Khai Island
Walking around the small Island
Huts that sells food and drinks to tourists
At Khai Island
Not exactly scenic

The day’s trip was tiring, but due to the fun we had (thanks to our guide who stirred up the mood so much in us) no one was complaining. Everyone returned to their hotel smiling and immersing in the fun experience we just had from the island hopping trip. Well time for me to relax in my hotel (well the night is really young), did not bothered to go elsewhere, just merely spent my time in the hotel writing blogs, surfing net. Was a well earned evening to relax.

Phuket Day 3 (24 Mar 10) – The Greens in Phuket

Around Patong Beach

After breakfast I went to walk around at Patong beach, never really been on that beach in the day so I figured it might be a good time to see the beach, at the same time digest the heavy breakfast that I had. As I was walking along the beach front, the once beautiful beach was littered with hundreds and thousands of beach chairs. Totally spoil the beauty of the beach. As I was walking along the beach, saw a few touts try to get their first catch of the day. Usually the Caucasians are the ones being targeted, as an Asian i felt relieved that I was not being disturb with “sir you want beach chair” chatters. I managed to snap a few pictures before more tourists appear to disturb the tranquillity of the beach. After taking a few pictures, I crossed the road to walk around the road side stalls. They looked sleepy as the stall owners took their time to display their merchandise. Guess the real shopping timings are not that early and the locals really couldn’t be bothered to entertain anyone who walked past at this time (include the farangs). As I was walking towards the famous Bangla st, I came across an interesting sign. Couldn’t help it but to take picture of it, very interesting sign. The shops kept repeating itself and the goods they sell are really targeted at the tourists. I saw alot of imitation goods and T-shirts, but nothing unique to Phuket itself.

Around Patong area
Around Patong Area
Patong Beach
Patong Beach
Patong Beaach
Around Patong area
Patong Beach
Patong Beach
Rows and rows of tanning chairs on Patong Beach
Patong Beach
Patong Beach
Patong Beach
Sign on the road
Some of the eateries on Patong Beach
I find this sign interesting
One of the pubs along Bangla Street

Soon I reached Bangla st, it looked totally different from the night time when i passed it last night. The whole street looked dead, as if it has not woken up from the partying of the foreigners last night. The pubs are opened (well this whole street is full of pubs) but the staffs in the shop are busy cleaning and wiping their glasses in preparation for the night. I passed by this tour booth as I was trying to find tours to Bang Pae waterfall. Found out from the booth owner that there is only 1 company doing tour to the waterfall, and that if I were to take a taxi there and back would cost more (I agreed with her, the night before I had inquired from the tuk-tuk drivers along the street). So i went ahead to book the tour to the waterfall for the afternoon. Since i was there, I also booked a trip to islands around Phi Phi island. The lady gave me an excellent price for the 2 packages i booked. And so i hurried back to the hotel to prepare for the Bang Pae trip.

Buffalo Cart Ride

The tour agency guy popped by to pick me up for the tour, I was impressed by the efficiency of the tour arrangements. It only took them a few hours to get things organised and commenced the tour. We were drove towards our first itinerary, the buffalo cart ride. The journey took around 2 hrs to arrive at the place. As we arrived the farmer pulled the buffalo towards the cart and we were told to board the cart. Man the bull was strong at the same time i thought was quite cruel of them to “torture” the animal like that, although the ride only took around 10 mins. But then again, i was thinking this is probably good for the farmer, i mean how much can you earn from selling vegetables? At least the tourism provided the farmer some extra income to feed his family and of course the buffalo.

This is where we had our buffalo cart ride
This is where we had our buffalo cart ride

Khao Phra Thaeo National Park

After the buffalo ride, we went towards Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. On the internet, the park was boasted as the last virgin rainforest in Phuket. This is on my itinerary list when i was planning for the trip. I figured many people come here for the beach, but do they know the green behind the sands? The first thing that we were showed was the rubber tapping and rubber producing. I am quite surprised to know that there are certain timing in the night to tap and collect the latex from the rubber tree and for latex to be harvested from the tree, the tree must be at least 13 years old and they will stop tapping the tree when it is 30 years old. After which the tree will be cut down to make into furniture and new tree will be planted to replace the old tree

Khao Phra Thaeo National Park
Locals enjoying the cool water
Forest trek in Khao Phra Thaeo National Park

After the rubber tree explanation, we were driven to the waterfall. The trek from the entrance of the park to the waterfall was not far. Took around 20 min of walking to the waterfall. The trek was nice as the trees was sheltering us from the hot rays emitted by the merciless sun. Along the way we saw a few water holes and locals went there to escape the heat. After some walking, we were shocked when we arrived at the waterfall, only at this time we then understand what the tour guide (well she dun speak alot of English, she merely brought us from point A to point B) when she said no water no water. At first i thought water is not allowed to be brought into the park (a weird restrictions though). After seeing the fall then we understand what she meant. The water flowing from the falls is really pathetic, only small steams of water flowing down. Previous i was told by some of the locals that it hasn’t been raining in Phuket for the past few months (and here we are complaining in Singapore when it hasn’t rained for 1 week). No wonder the water from the falls failed to impress us. After we saw the falls, we were brought to the Gibbons Project place. Well this centre again failed to impress us. It was merely a compound with a few cages locking up the gibbons. Kinda felt like this project is either the efforts of a few individuals or it has not been given the blessings by the Thai government (or even both). What a disappointing trip so far.

Waterfall in Khao Phra Thaeo National Park
The trek to the waterfall
Locals playing in the water holes
Very disappointing waterfall
Not too much water at this time of the year

Elephant Trekking

As we were headed back towards the main road, we were at our next item on the list – elephant trekking. At first i was rather against the idea of riding on the back of the elephant, however it is kinda fun and the trainers treated the elephants well. It was a 20 mins ride on the elephant around the area. The elephants walked into a small stream, and then up a small slope towards a pathway.

Riding on an elephant
The elephant even went into a small stream
and back on the roads
The elephant I was riding can’t resist some food along the way
Me on the elephant
Me on the elephant
Me on the elephant
Me on the elephant
Me on the elephant
Me on the elephant

Canoeing in Mangrove Swamps

After some 20 mins, we got off the elephant and headed over to the next destination. Canoeing in mangrove swamps. The last time i saw mangrove swamp was when i was trekking in Pulau Ubin with a friend, then even though we were walking on the planks on top of the swamps, it was as close as this canoeing trip. It was fun, relaxing and refreshing! After the canoeing trip, we were served dinner. The food was so-so, but the fish is really fresh! After eating the tour had ended and we were driven back to our respective hotels.

Mangrove Swamp that we will be Canoeing in
This is the waterway where we did our canoeing
Took this picture on the Canoe
Scene of the waterway where we canoed
Peaceful time canoeing
Just love the tranquility
Approaching the mangrove swamp
The waterway where we canoed
Our guide showed us to the mangrove swamp
Mangrove swamp close up
Mangrove swamp where we canoed in
A peaceful canoeing time
I find this session rather therapeutic

As the night was still young, i decided to see the Simon cabaret show, it was boasted as a must-watch show when you visit Phuket. The van came to pick me up as stipulated. Well this show is about a bunch of lady-boys mimicking sounds and dance of famous songs. Well kinda boring to me! Maybe my expectations were set abit higher for this show after reading the reviews on the net. However i gotta say their costumes, the stage props was impressive and elaborate. The show lasted for 1½ hrs and we were driven back to the hotel.

Lady-boys posing for picture for a fee
Lady-boys posing for picture for a fee

 

Phuket Day 2 (23 Mar 10) – Lazing around

This Day started with some official business. Included in the visit was a lunch at this place called Cape Panwa. The restaurant was facing the sea with horizon stretching to what seemed like the end of the world. The clear sky, good weather (Was told it hasn’t been raining here for the past few months) and hotels that was built on the cliff in the area. nice view, great lunch… indeed was very relaxing. On the way back I decided to stop by the Otop market just 3 mins walk from the hotel. This big night market that seemed dead in the day. You dun hear the usual touting by the shop keepers. They are either resting, storing up their energy for the night; or busy stocking up of their goods. Now my months of learning Thai language was out into use this moment when I decided to get a pair of slippers, and a Chang beer singlet (the weather is just too hot to wear even T-shirts). The shop keepers are very willing to cut their prices without much bargaining effort (not too sure if it is my Thai language or simply their do not have the energy in the day to even bargain with me). Got my stuff and headed back to the hotel to laze in the afternoon.

Sunrise from my balcony
Sunrise from my balcony
View from the balcony in my room

After lunch headed back to the hotel. The weather is just too hot to even leave the room. Since the sun is so generous in gracing us with its warmth, I decided to try out the swimming pool. Spent the whole afternoon lazing around in the pool, like the many guests in the hotel. After spending some 2 hours lazing around, time to head back to the room relax relax abit.

The fantastic pool in the hotel
Buildings around the hotel

Phuket Day 1 (22 Mar 10) – First Impression After 10 years

The moment I left the aircraft to immigration, well the impression I got from the first Thai I met, the immigration officer, was less then welcoming as compared to Bangkok. Left me wondering if there is too much tourists to Phuket so much so that the locals find tourists a nuisances. Well I am just here for a few hours, too early to even pass that “judgment”. As we were driven towards our hotel, there seemed to be alot of areas on the island that the locals couldn’t really be bothered to develop. After all those are not the “golden” areas. Along the road saw an ambulance, seemed like some traffic accidents. There is this local, who seemed to be performing some kind of ritual to ward off the evil. He seemed to be performing this dance that one would see prior to the commencement of their very own Muay Thai. Despite the held up on traffic, no one was whacking their horns. Everyone was patiently waiting for the opportunity to continue their journey.

As we arrive at Patong beach area, the scenery changes from the vast lands to one that is cramped up. Every inch of land was being utilized on this part of the island, everywhere was establishments of either trade to make tourist money, or restaurants, or massage palours, or hotels. This place indeed was made for the tourists!! Arrival at the hotel took no longer then 40 mins after leaving the airport. Checking in was fast, Service was good (so far). The hotel room was simple, 1 toilet, 1 bed, a balcony that overlooks Otop market. Not too bad I thought, at least quieter then those rooms facing the swimming pool, where you only get peace in the evening when they shut down the pool for the day.

My room in Mercure Phuket
My room in Mercure Phuket
View of Otop Market from the Balcony of my room
View of Otop Market from the Balcony of my room
Pool in the hotel at night

I made my way to Jungcelyon for dinner. Walking along the streets of Phuket was certainly different from that of Bangkok. You will see stores and stores of souvenir shops, massage palours and of course restaurants of all kinds, from western food to Thai food (which was in lesser amount that those of western food), to Indian restaurants. I came across this restaurant called “Hells Kitchen”, wonder if it is inspired by the TV series… gonna try that one of these days. Along the streets you see locals paddling for business, masseuses waiting shouting “massage massage” as they spot foreigners passing by their shop. Indeed this place exists solely for the purpose of tourism. It is the same tourism that seemed to spoil the area. feels too touristy for me. anyway my objective is to catch dinner at Jungceylon, and that is all i did.

Jungceylon Shopping Mall