Yes, i was at Phuket!! It was my 2nd trip there and more mellow than my first trip. Here are some useful tibits of information you may like to read about if you are going for a holiday in that sunny paradise!
How to get from the airport to your hotel:
Once you exit from the terminal halls, there will be people asking you if you want to take their transport to the beaches (Kata, Patong, Surin etc). On both occasions, we took our transport with the company P.M.K. They have booths right outside the airport. If you are sharing a mini van (sits 9 people) to Patong, it cost 150 baht per pax. The van will only leave when it is full. You probably won't have to wait long. If you have 4 people in your group, you can opt to go in a private car. A trip to Patong cost 800 baht. Although taking the car will cost more than the van, i think not having to share the journey with noisy strangers is worth paying more for. Besides, the car will go straight to your hotel but the van will stop along the beach to drop tourists off, depending on which hotel comes first. The van or car will surely make a stop at their tour agency office. They will try to sell you some tour packages. It is ok to tell them you do not need any package. If they try to sell the ride back to the airport on your day of departure, i advise you not to book with them. I will explain why later in this post.
On my 1st holiday to Phuket, we stayed at Aspery Hotel. We loved it so much that we stayed there on the 2nd time too! If i'm going back to Phuket again, i will stay there! That's how much i love the place. Aspery Hotel is located at the quiet side of the beach, near to the road leading back to town. It is only a 2 minute walk away from the beach. The rooms are new and clean. No complains. On my 2nd trip, the hotel staff was thoughtful enough to suggest a family suite to us since the 2 rooms allocated to us were not connected and were on different floors. The family suite consists of 2 rooms (with individual doors that could be locked for privacy), 2 showers, 2 sinks but only 1 toilet bowl. Each room came with it's own safe, TV and fridge. One of the bigger rooms had a sitting area with table and sofas. There is an "infinite pool" at the rooftop. The pool is quite small. It's really a joke to call it an "infinite pool". But we had fun lounging on the deck chairs, drinking ice cold beer and eating Pad Thai when hunger strikes.
Not too far from our hotel is a zichar place we frequented. Just walk towards the beach, turn left at the junction. The place is a little further up, on the side of the beach. I cannot remember the name of the place nor did i take any pictures of the signboard. But it is opposite a japanese restaurant call "Shou". All the staff there from Myanmar. They were very friendly! They'll even stop traffic for you to help you cross if you are on the other side trying to get to them. We had BBQ lobster there. It was 200 baht per 100g. Our's was 800g. 4 of us shared. We also other 5 other dishes including fish cake, vegetables, big deep fried fish (very fresh!), tom yam soup, stir fried beef with basil, rice (thai fragrant rice! sooo good!) and of course beer. The bill came up to 3000 baht. While it is not dirt cheap, it is value for money! Can you find a decent sized lobster for $50 in Singapore? In the evening from 5 to 11pm, they have outside sitting area right at the beach. You can enjoy the sea breeze and waves while having dinner under the open sky. You will be treated to mini firework displays when other tourists buy to set them off! One of the nights we had big grilled prawns. They cost 500 baht for 1 kg. There were around 7 huge prawns. Not the king prawns type of size. They were one size smaller. Very fresh and tasty. Try the fried squid (Calamari) if possible. All of us were craving for it when we got back to Singapore!
You have to try this Banana Pancake. Its like crispy roti prata with ingredients inside. It cost 50 baht for a banana nutella one. That's my favourite.
|Banana Nutella Pancake with condense milk|
There were plenty of shops that sells t-shirts, sunglasses, bikinis, slippers etc. Bargaining is a must. I suck at bargaining and hence, i did not buy anything at all.
Here's a short bit of information on how to get to Phuket Town. Stand along the road near the beach. You'll see a big blue bus coming. That's the bus to take to Phuket Town. You can flag it down along the road. There are no bus stops. If in doubt, check with the bus conductor before boarding. It is supposed to come every 30 minutes. We waited around 15 minutes before it turned up. It cost 25 baht each pax to go to Phuket Town. The journey takes about 30 minutes. This bus will also stop along the way at 2 big shopping centres. We didn't go there but we saw other tourists getting off. The bus conductor will announce when the bus arrives there. In Phuket Town, we stopped at this roundabout thing with a status in the middle. As we did not have ample information on how to get around Phuket Town, we only managed to walk the surrounding area. There was not much shopping to be done. The place reminded me of Malacca with it's shophouses. One thing about Phuket Town is the bottled water cost half of those in Patong!! After an hour, we decided to head back to Patong. But where is the bus? We happened to chance upon the "bus terminal" while walking around. At the roundabout where you were dropped off, look for a Marie-France ad. Look at where the lady in the ad is facing, that's the direction you should go to find the buses back to the beaches! There are many buses that are like covered lorries. They are all blue. On each bus, they'll state the beach they go to. Just board the buses/lorries. They'll leave when it is 75% full. The journey back to Patong cost 30 baht from 1 March 2013 onwards. The bus conductor will collect the fare when on the way to Patong. Be prepared to squeeze abit on the bus as it can get crowded. If you want to alight, just stand up and walk towards the exit. The bus conductor will know you want to alight. It was a good short local adventure for us.
On my 1st trip to Phuket, we went for the Koh Phi Phi tour. We booked our tour with the tour agency beside the hotel. It cost 1500 baht each pax. The tour includes pick-up from the hotel at 8am (or 8.30am). They sent us to a marina to board the speedboat with 20 over other tourists. They provided motion sickness pills FOC! The ride to the first island took quite awhile. I'm guessing about an hour. We sat at the head of the speedboat and were treated to the blazing hot sun and a bumpy ride. It was very enjoyable nevertheless! We went to a few island. Maya Bay was very beautiful except it was overcrowded. What's new? I had alot of fun snorkelling at one of the last beaches we were at. Yeah, i can't swim. So i only dared to snorkel on the beach. There were fishes to be seen! Lunch and drinks were provided. The tour ended around 4-5pm and they sent us back to the hotel. Remember to put plenty of sunblock on for this! They tried to sell us a video (DVD) of our tour for 2000 baht. It is OK to refuse. Do not feel pressurized to buy anything you don't need.
|Souvenir pics to be bought on one of the beaches|
Let the party animal out! My favourite club at Bangla Soi is the "Tiger Cave". Ok maybe that's not the real name but there are many tigers on display and they look like they were in a cave like thing. You can't miss it. It is probably one of the biggest clubs along Bangla Soi. I was there on both trips. There are pole dancing for entertainment. On our 1st trip, we got on very well with one of the bartenders. We even took some pictures together. On our 2nd trip, we found her still working there! And the most miraculous thing is she recognised us! What are the chances? She was very friendly and hospitable. Before we left, she said "see you next year".
Going to the Airport:
I suggest you book the taxi back to the airport with the hotel. If the taxi failed to turn up, at least you have someone concrete to give pressure to. It should cost 800 baht for a car. On our 2nd trip, we booked with P.M.K when they tried to sell us packages. We paid a 300 baht deposit but the driver did not turn up. We waited 40 minutes, got the hotel staff to call the number on the receipt but nobody picked up the phone. In the end, we decided to get another taxi. The lady at Aspery Hotel's travel desk was our savior. She made her call to her driver immediately when she knew we needed another taxi. She did not take the chance to jack up the price or anything. Her driver came within 5 minutes and we were off to the airport. As there was an accident in Phuket Town, we heard the main road was jammed. Maybe that's why the PMK driver did not turn up? Anyway, our new driver took another route to the airport. With his superb driving skills, he overtook cars and squeezed into impossibly small lanes just to get us to the airport on time. We made it in 50 minutes, in time for check in!
Will i go back to Phuket again? You bet!
Will i go back to Phuket again? You bet!