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Kata Beach Phuket aka Paradise

Phuket, Thailand

I'd read a lot of good and bad things about Phuket. The good had to do with how beautiful it was and the bad had to do with being overpriced and overdeveloped. Consequently I spent a lot of our free time over the previous week researching where to stay. For the most part this research was an exercise in frustration as I could always find something bad about every place I wanted to stay. In the end we settled on Mom Tri's Boathouse on Karon Beach.

It was absolutely incredible. The walls of our suite were all windows, overlooking the beach:

In front of Mom tri's at sunset:

My other concern had to do with fighting other tourist for a sun chair and/or a bit of beach, especially since this was the high season for tourists. Mom Tri's was an oasis on an otherwise crowded beach. They seemed to have the exclusive right to provide sun chairs on the strip of sand in front of their hotel. When we went out to the beach they would set up a chair and umbrella for us on demand. If you looked left or right down the beach you would see rows and rows of sun chairs crammed together like coach seats on an airplane. But for us there was plenty of elbow room to the left and right, and nothing but ocean in front.

Red umbrellas in front of Mom Tri's:

Everyone Else:

As soon as we settle into our chairs they rushed over multiple towels and glasses of ice water. And if that wasn't enough, every few hours they would bring complimentary fruit skewers. We were truly in paradise.

For the first few days we did nothing but sit on the beach or swim, with myself indulging in a daily thai massage. On day 3 or 4 we did a dive(me)/snorkelling(michelle), which included visiting the famous beach(The Beach) on ko phi phi.

Diving near ko phi phi:

Miscellaneous views from the dive boat:

'The Beach' from the boat:

On 'The Beach':

We finished up the week with a night in patong, the super party district at patong beach.

permalink written by  soloshell3 on January 26, 2009 from Phuket, Thailand
from the travel blog: Solomon and Michelle's Southeast Asian escape
tagged Beach, Phiphi, Phuket and Kata

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First Taste of Island Life - Phuket is a Zoo

Phuket, Thailand

After a 12 hour travel extravaganza minibus, flight, flight, taxi), we finally arrived at Patong Beach in Phuket. Phuket is on the Andaman coast (west side) of the Thai peninsula. The coast as a whole is known for its ridiculously scenic beaches, cliffs, and rock formations. Phuket itself is a bit of a different story. Though I'm sure there is some fantastic natural beauty on Phuket, Patong beach is a highly developed zoo of hotels, malls, bars, disco, and prostitutes. Not to mention our newly discovered phenomena of older white men out on dates with young Thai womens (basically escort services). The emphasis on Phuket is on partying - at all times.

So, we went against the grain, and saw Transformers 2 when we arrived at a spankin' new, giant movie theater complex.

We spent the next day on the beach (which, aside from the crowds, is actually quite nice). Beacuse Thailand is in its low tourist season, we've found that places are actually never that crowded. We've been told by guides that the crowds increase about 4-fold in the winter months - I can't even imagine how hectic it gets.

At night, we met a few locals and went to a healthy handful of bars, including a rock-cover band bar - brought me back to my Fat Tuesday days - followed by a Euro-style disco.

Though the nightlife is pretty awesome here, we decided to step out of one tourist trap and head to another - an incredibly beautiful one: Ko Phi Phi - apparently the be-all-end-all of Thailand's beaches and island scenery. More on that later.

By the way, I've posted a few more pics from Pai (including the elephant ones, Mom). Also, I haven't written about Ko Phi Phi yet, but I've posted a few pics from there, as well (in the general photo section).

permalink written by  bhkann on June 30, 2009 from Phuket, Thailand
from the travel blog: Ben's SE Asia Voyage
tagged Phuket

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Monsoon Season in Phuket

Phuket, Thailand

We received our rental car bright and early this morning since we couldn't pick it up last night. Everyone is so friendly here so far - the culture is amazingly hospitable and sincere! Thailand, or at least Phuket, is nothing like I have ever experienced before. Kris and I are just baffled at all of the crazy things we have seen today. I think Kris said it best, it is a ghetto paradise. Unbelievably beautiful, but also almost third world looking.
Driving is definitely an interesting experience. First of all, yes, they drive on the left hand side of the road. And Kris has been challenged with not only that, but also driving a stick with his left hand. We keep making 'wind shield wiper' left had turns because the turn signal is also on the other side. Driving anywhere definitely takes a while because the roads are very narrow and we are sharing them with scooters, tuk-tuks (little taxi truck thingies), elephants, cars, buses, people, you name it. It's really not that crowded, it's just a lot of things going on, plus pouring down rain here and there. But without a car, it would be difficult to see a lot of things in the short time that we have here.

Since it is monsoon season, it has been rainy on and off all day - and like 100% humidity. This is truly a jungle!! But that didn't stop us from getting out today.
Here is a snapshot from our hotel room. It is so humid that the camera fogged up as soon as we stepped outside.

We headed to the Big Buddha, which everyone said we had to see. No matter where you go around Phuket, even out at sea, you can see the Big Buddha from high up on the hill. We got there in just enough time to see Big Buddha, make a tile donation since he is still in progress, and we even got some fresh made coconut ice cream, all before it started pouring down rain.

We drove a little farther on the east side of the Island to Phuket Town and walked around the town a bit. We grabbed lunch at the a place called Kopitiam where we got some tom yum soup, more coconut ice cream, and the best ever fresh almond milk.

To watch the sunset, we drove to the southern tip of Phuket to a vista point. We hiked to the bottom of the rocks, where we spent a few hours watching the sun set, even though it was very cloudy and ready to rain again!

There was also a Buddha shrine nearby. It's amazing how there are just random Buddhist displays everywhere with little trinkets, offerings and incense. Sometimes there are beautiful elaborate displays in front of the most run-down looking buildings.

We finished off the night eating pad thai at the Pad Thai Place for 120 Baht, which is $4 USD. The operation was totally outside, and very basic - eg the dishwasher was a person 30 feet away using a bucket and a sponge. Although the food was good, I truly wondered how in the world they weren't losing money on two pad thai dinners with two drinks all for that price... and then my mind started to wonder if we were going to have stomach or other issues in the morning :)
I guess we'll find out.

permalink written by  blondie on June 8, 2012 from Phuket, Thailand
from the travel blog: Asian Persuasion - June 2012
tagged Thailand and Phuket

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Ko Phi Phi Thailand

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

I've been so blessed to be able to travel to some beautiful places in the world, but I think yesterday's trip to the islands off of Phuket just took the cake for the most beautiful place. That combined with how genuinely friendly, nice and helpful the Thais are, makes Phuket one of the best places I've traveled to ever!

I thought I could navigate us to the port so we could take a ferry to Ko Phi Phi (Islands about 42km from Phuket's East coast), but I overestimated my capabilities to figure out just exactly which port we should be heading to, and what company's ferry we were looking for. I got the departure times from the hotel and I thought I had the ferry company's name, but we ended up just stopping and and asking someone directions. Luckily the locals are super helpful and we were up early, so we had some time to spare. We ended up following a woman on a moped to Chalong port, and after talking with some folks, we ended up settling on a speed boat tour of the islands (with Anda Varee tours) which included lunch and snorkeling for 1500 baht each (about $50 USD each).

A little more than I thought we would spend for our original plan to take a ferry to the islands, but this was an all day tour, and it was sooo worth it!

We left around 9:30, and it took about an hour to get to our first stop, Maya Bay, at Ko Phi Phi Lae. They filmed part of "The Beach" here, and you can see from the photos how beautiful this beach is!

Next stop was Loh Samah Bay for snorkeling. Kris went and said the water was a little cloudy and couldn't see much. I passed to stay with our belongings. We didn't plan to exactly do this tour, so we had a few cell phones we probably shouldn't have brought.

We went through Pilleh Cove, where the water got very shallow and was a beautiful blue green turquoise color, and then we went on to Viking cave. There is a type of bird that makes these nests I think from saliva? They are thought to have medicinal properties by the Chinese, and they are expensive. Because of this, the nests are protected, and in this Viking cave where they are plentiful, they have security guards on watch, and no tourists are allowed to visit the cave.

Monkey beach was the next stop. I really liked our guide because he was so in touch with the nature. He disapproved of feeding the Monkeys on Monkey island, because they are starting to rely only on human tourists for their food. They now bite tourists and now after generations of tourists feeding them, they are starting to have a have a hard time finding their own food. He also disapproved of feeding the fish bread, because the bread gets caught in the corals and then the fish start to attack the corals to get the bread, destroying the reefs.

We took a lunch break at Ton sai Bay on Ko Phi Phi Don, which is the largest of the Phi Phi Island group.

Then we traveled about a half hour to Ko Khai Nai, which was a tiny little island. Kris grabbed a beer and I had a coconut cocktail (fresh pineapple and coconut cut up with a machete right there!) and we swam for a while in the beautiful water. The beach had some large rocks in some places, and Kris decided to climb one in particular, and was met with the force of mother nature. The rock was sharp, and Kris had a few gashes, one in particular that was gushing blood all over. Luckily our guide had some bandages and there was another person on the trip with a similar rock cut that had to be attended to. When we got back to the hotel, we got Kris fixed up a little better by the resort nurse.

Somehow we picked the perfect day to go on the island tour. It was sunny the whole time except for about 15 minutes of rain. I did get a tid bit of sunburn on my shoulders despite my SPF 30. I think I should have reapplied after all the swimming.

So today, between my slight sunburn and Kris now impaired foot, we decided to lay low. We checked out Patong beach area where we got a few souvenirs and met an Australian couple, and I had time to hit the gym. And yes, mom, another post card for you that we mailed out today :) We also met another interesting few people in the Hyatt club where we turned the hours-devours into dinner. I also finally learned how to say hello and thank-you in Thai a bit more properly.

Tonight we took delivery of the 45kg big Buddha that Kris liked at the shop in Phuket Town called Hi.So. It's too heavy, so we'll need to figure out how to ship it tomorrow before we leave for Bangkok.

permalink written by  blondie on June 10, 2012 from Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
from the travel blog: Asian Persuasion - June 2012
tagged Thailand and Phuket

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To Bangkok or Bust...and we Busted

Bangkok, Thailand

The hour leading up to us missing our flight on Monday from Phuket to Bangkok should have been the worst part of this trip so far, but somehow we were able to turn it into something (kind of) fun!

We started the day figuring out the best way to ship our new 45kg Buddha statue that was delivered to us the night before. We knew that we would have to spend a little time figuring this out, so we had the woman at the Hilton business center help us out. Around 9:30am we popped down to the business center and she had gotten us several quotes from FedEx, All Freight, and Thai Airways. Turns out 'All Frieght' was the cheapest, so we went with them. I wrote up a good comment card for the woman's manager because she was so helpful. Kris added some additional packing materials to secure Buddha, and All Freight came to take him away. The entourage that came to pick him up was quite interesting; two little guys, a girl, and a 'Lady-man' who was extravagantly waving his hands around and thanking us profusely for coming to Phuket and Welcome to Phuket (uh even though we told him we were on our way out of Phuket). They put it in the truck and we bid farewell. It should take 20 days to get Buddha at home. I think it was around noon at that point, and we already had our stuff packed and in the car ready to go, so we took off.

For as great as i am with directions (for those of you that don't know, i am damn near a human compass and I am always our navigator) I am just as fully aware that for whatever reason I suck at military time. If I had blogged at the time of our honeymoon, i would have written about the time we missed our ferry from Ibiza to Mallorca because I bought us two tickets for 01:00 (1AM) but I had Kris and I trekking to the ferry with all of our luggage that same day at 1PM (13:00) only to find out we had missed our ferry by 12 hours. I then proceeded to lose our first class tickets so we had to sit in the lower ferry deck with no a/c and Kris almost passed out and puked. Way to go Elaine. Ok so here is lesson #2 (I'm sure there have been more incidents in between here, but none as significant as these two).

I was sure that our flight was at 2:40pm, so on our hour drive to the airport, we decided to stop at the beach for a few minutes and get a bite to eat.
We got to a cool beachside restaurant when Kris decided to double check our flight time, and we discovered our flight was at 1:40pm (13:40), which was in an hour at that point! We were still at least half hour's drive drom the airport at that point. So we quickly got up and ran back to the car and took off as fast as we (safely) could. We pulled up to arrivals and I took our bags to the counter and checked in while Kris tried to return the rental car. Well Avis proved to be extremely difficult to find and we ended up leaving the car in the arrivals lane and pleading with them to get it for us! When it was all said and done, the Avis folks seemed to be in no hurry despite our time constraint and I think we missed our flight probably by about 4 minutes. We rallied pretty quickly and were able to get another ticket on a different airline that left in a half hour. I got my bag back, but Kris' was already on its way to Bangkok.Our original flight cost us $40 per ticket and our new flight cost $80, but I guess it could have been worse. We arrived in Bangkok to find Kris' lonely bag on the belt. The 30 minute cab ride cost us all of $9. I sure love how cheap this place is!!
At least we were in good spirits when we arrived and we got to the hotel just in time to still get some snack on the club floor :)

Our hotel, Hyatt Erawan, was in a pretty good central location within the city. The Erawan shrine was also right outside of our hotel. Tuesday we headed out to see a few of the famous 'wats', Buddhist temples. We really didn't take the time in Phuket to check any out from the inside, but that's probably just as well since we enjoyed the beach and water more and there is none of that in Bangkok.

First was the Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the Emerald Buddha. The Buddha statue fell sometime in the 15th century, and its plaster cover cracked to reveal that it was made of solid jade. It was subsequently stolen by Laos invaders in the 16th and the Thais invaded Laos 200 years later to retrieve it back. The palace was built later to house the Buddha, and it's considered the country's most revered Buddha image. This was the largest wat and very impressive! To get into this wat and some others, men need to wear pants and t-shirt at least, and women need to wear pants or a skirt and cover their shoulders. We got stopped by some scammers telling us that we could not go in because we had shorts on, and that at noon, it would be open for us to wear shorts. He offered us a tuk tuk (little motorcycle taxi thingy) ride to the nearby tourist destinations and he had a Pitt hat on and wanted to talk about Pitt. Luckily I remembered reading in my Lonelyplanet book about this scam and we declined. Apparently they try to take you to all the fake gem places and other garbage. I told Kris I wanted some street credit ha! So the Grand Palace was in fact open and I had a scarf for my shorts and Kris got the 'loaner' pants they have there onsite (you can see our awesome clothes in the photos). So the guy's 'noontime shorts are ok' scam was a load of crap.

The second wat we visited was Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha. This represents Buddha's passing into nirvana. It's the longest Buddha at 46 meters long and 15 meters high! Huge!

The third wat we went to was Wat Saket, the Golden Mount. This wat was up on a hill so that you could see around the city which was cool. By this third wat, Kris was starting to pass out from heat exhaustion, so we went back to the hotel to rest up a little.

Kris' foot was still hurting him, so we got the hotel's mini medical office to fix it back up again with some more steri-strips which seemed to be working well. Then we headed to the mall across the street from us to get some air conditioned food. Kris says he had his best Tom Yum soup there. I got radish cake which I loved when I was in Taiwan but somehow this wasn't as good. We've also been eating a lot of raw Thai coconuts from the street vendors and we've gotten better at bargaining for them. We were paying up to 40 Baht and we ended up with getting them for 20 Baht.
I had always wanted to try a Thai yoga massage, so I later in the day, I looked up some reputable places to get a massage. A Thai massage is a little different, where it is like a passive yoga stretching with massage and you wear clothes. We picked Health Land and Kris got a regular massage for 90 mins at 850 Baht or 28USD and I got a 2 hour Thai yoga massage for only 450Baht or only 15USD! Kris didn't like his massage much and I couldn't tell if my massage was energizing, or if I got hit by a Mac truck. It was a bit intense and I think I may have bruised a muscle or two. I woke up Wednesday morning a little sore.

permalink written by  blondie on June 14, 2012 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Asian Persuasion - June 2012
tagged Thailand and Phuket

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Day 1

Phuket, Thailand

Let my holiday begin!

I touched down in Phuket at around 9.30pm last night. By the time I got to the hotel it was about 11pm. Tired and sleepy, I scanned through the 80+ channels only to find 5 English channels. Went to sleep with LOTR (dubbed in Russian) on TV.

Day 1 was pretty chilled, actually all my days are usually chilled. HAHA! Woke up, had breakfast, laze around a little, then took the free shuttle to Patong Beach. Walked around the streets looking at stuffs but not really keen to buy anything. So I just had a pancake from a street/bike hawker and went to the beach.

The beach is pretty crowded with hawkers and vendors trying to sell you stuffs or services, like any commercialized beaches. Like hair braiding, massage, food, sarong, hat, jet ski ride, and beach chair (yes they charge you for that but I don't know how much). But they weren't persistent and most would usually leave you alone after u politely tell them 'no'. The rain comes and goes at almost every hour but luckily they were mostly passing showers. Walked into a little street where there's loads of italian food and massage places. Made a mental note to come back here for massage. There's 3 art shops that caught my attention. One in particular was own by a deaf artist. Unfortunately the only painting I liked in the shop wasn't for sale. Tough luck!

I decided to walk to the paralleled road as I recall seeing a big market that reminds me of ChatuChak on the way to the beach, but not as huge of cos. It started raining as I was walking there and decided to take shelter in a nice looking cafe that has a huge 'illy' sign. The cafe looks so nice and quiet so I decided I MUST have a coffee here! I ordered my latte and proceed to sit indoor. It was just me and my coffee in that whole indoor sitting area... PURE HEAVEN! Absolutely LOVE that place (not forgetting the latte cost only 95baht)! I finished my coffee in between a few sms and some photos. Only after I walked out of the building did I realised that I was actually in the Hard Rock Hotel. No wonder everything look so nice! This is actually my highlight of the day! :)

The market was pretty boring to me as nothing has a price tag on it and I am not in the mood to bargain. Actually not very interested in the stuff they offer as well. So I went back to the street and got a foot massage (a proper massage, NOT reflexology!). The Thai lady seems to know I have an injury in my left ankle cos she was spending a lot of time on it. The massage was pretty good and left me sleepy...

Went to the beach again as it was almost time for the sunset. There were lotsa clouds today but least I get to see some sort of sunset. I sat on the beach for about 30 min and left when the sun disappears behind the clouds.

While waiting for the shuttle back to hotel, this VW van came outta nowhere and transformed itself into a bar. After hesitating for a good 10min, I sat down and ordered a mojito at 100baht (that's less than S$4). The drinks were served in plastic cups, well, I did just pay 100 baht for it. But I have to say, the mixed drink tasted WAAAY better than the last few 1s I had back home (and I paid S$16 for each of those)!

By the time i got back to the hotel, I was flushed red! I wasn't sure if it was from the sun or the mojito! Waited til I was back to normal color before heading to dinner nearby. I had pasta in the end. Actually wanted Thai food and thought the place served Thai. Only to find out they only serve Western food. It was late I was lazy to move somewhere else so I made do with it. Dinner was ok but I was trapped at the restaurant/bar for a good 1 hour due to heavy rain. The lady boss told me it's like this every night and tomorrow as well. In the end, I went to the convenient store next to the restaurant/bar and got a poncho so I can walk back to the hotel in the rain.

I am hoping to go to the Phuket town tomorrow and I really hoped it would be more sunny tomorrow. Well, least be cloudy but not raining. Reiki please grant me the perfect weather tomorrow! Thank you!! :D

permalink written by  wangyng on August 21, 2012 from Phuket, Thailand
from the travel blog: Phuket! 2012
tagged Beach and Phuket

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Day 2

Phuket, Thailand

Well seems like Reiki worked and gave me the perfect weather today. It was all sunny and no rain at all! Woohooo!!

Was planning to go to Phuket Town but then I was aching and feeling lazy. So I decided to just chill and do pretty much nothing. LOL

My day started with a lunch at a very quiet restaurant tucked at the end of a small street. I read online somewhere that they serve very home-cooked style Thai food. I walked around a little before I found it. It was actually in the little street I had my massage yesterday! The food was nice and not too pricey. I had Phad Thai and Spring Roll. They were so yummy! I was full but couldnt stop eating the Spring Roll! I think I will go back there again tomorrow if i have the chance!

After lunch, I went around searching for postcards. I looked at all the souvenir shops but couldn't find any. The 1s at post office looks awful! I finally found some nice 1s at the supermarket. I spent the next hour or so writing it at the same nice cafe @ hard Rock Hotel before heading back to the hotel. Love that cafe!

I spent some time lazing on that patio outside the hotel room. It helps when there's a cute boy who stay in the room adjacent to mine. :)

I went to the beach right outside the hotel to watch the sunset. There were street hawkers there and it was quite busy. I got myself 2 chicken wings before heading back to the hotel. Actually wanted to eat at the beach but there's a dog eyeing my chicken and even followed me all the way back to the hotel! In the end I ate them in the comfort of my room. The chicken were YUMMMY!! Goodness I should have just eat street food all the while! Cheap and Good!

I had dinner at a nearby hotel. It looks like the food wont be too ex and it gives me a homely feel. True enough, The green curry was nice. The waitress told me I look Thai. She said her sister is also very fair like me, so if i spoke Thai, they will think I am Thai. So much for my limited Thai. LOL

I went to another hotel nearer to my hotel after dinner. The bar is opened til 12am. I ordered a Tequila Sunrise and tried to read. There was a guy with a guitar playing for a short while. It was nice. The sea, a nice drink, live music, quiet bar, a good book... c'est la vie! Pure BLISS!

Tonight is the last night I will be spending in Phuket. Tomorrow night, I'll be on my way back to reality...

permalink written by  wangyng on August 22, 2012 from Phuket, Thailand
from the travel blog: Phuket! 2012
tagged Beach and Phuket

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I found heaven in Phuket

Phuket, Thailand

Romcation has found paradise. In the movie Groundhog Day a weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again. I deeply wished for that to be the case while I was in Sri Panwa.

"If you only had one day to live, what would you do with it?"
I wouldn't mind repeating any one of the few days that I had in Phuket over and over again.

Surrounded by the Andaman Sea. There is a private beach and countless swimming pools. You will never have a shortage of places to cool off and if that wasn't enough each and every room and Villa has a private pool.

As sunset approached we would be sure you make your way to the Baba Nest. It is located at the highest point in Sri Panwa. A "Crows Nest" like outdoor wooden patio which acts like an Island ontop of the mountain providing 360 degree views of the Ocean. Lounge on the bean bags, grab a drink, and enjoy the pink, purple, yellow, orange sunsets that ensue above the Oceanic view.

We were staying in Villa X-23, ah-maze-ing!!! The sunset here looked liked it belonged in a Katy Perry music Because I couldn't lay in the cotton candy clouds eating candy, I decided to sip an espresso martini. It was the most perfect way to end one of the most romantic days of my life. If only it really was "Ground Hog day"

Pictures and more on our blog :)

permalink written by  romcomcation on December 30, 2014 from Phuket, Thailand
from the travel blog: Romcomcation
tagged Thailand, Paradise, Phuket and SriPanwa

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