Category Archives: Travel – Phuket 2007 Ii

Phuketism 2007 – A Conclusion

It is so un-me that I did not finish up my travel log, especially for some place that I love so much like Phuket. Various reasons, actually:

1) A mere few hours after I touched down in Changi Airport, I reported to work at my new job. Isn’t ideal. I was supposed to be in tip-top condition, alert and assertive.

2) The erractic weather in Singapore and Phuket has taken its toll on me. In fact, I am still coughing badly as I type this

3) I was a tad depressed at the end of my Phuket trip. Don’t ask me why. Despite my cheerful tone in my previous Phuketism 2007 blog posts, I wasn’t feeling all that joyous, actually

All these contributed to an abrupt end on my Phuketism series. But I am determined to conclude it properly, even if it is not my usual style. I mean, I still have my last day in Phuket to write about. But after a hiatus of two weeks, my memory seems to fail me, so I will do a “top posts” list instead. Now, I need to focus on the positive, so…

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Phuketism 2007 – The Third Day

My third day at Phuket started on a very lazy note. After such a late night the night before, I woke up very late, completely screwing up my plans to go to the beach for a bout of suntanning.

In the end I still go to Patong beach. Old habits die hard la. I still like this beach as it is always abuzz, centrally located. And the sun was beating down so strong, I simply couldn’t resist!

So off I went to the beach, got myself a chair, and promptly ordered a roast drumstick, beer, coconut, spring rolls and prawn fritters. I was starving :D

Here are some photos of my one and only sun tanning session in Phuket this time round:


A customary photo of me...

The crowd that is Patong

The incredibly bright sky

Beer & snack...

Got the tan that I wanted, and then headed back to my room. Rested for a bit (yes I was that tired!) before heading out again for another round of foot massage and (finally!) my manicure. It is quite nice, actually. I am seriously thinking of doing it regularly. My nails look so nice now. Haha…


My manicure - before!

My manicure - after!

Phuketism 2007 – The Phuket FantaSea

At first, my trip to Phuket FantaSea has been an absolute nightmare.

The show was not due to start at 9 p.m., and it was recommended for those who are going for both buffet dinner and the show are to arrive like 3 hours before hand.

I was like… what?

And I was not allowed to ride my way to the attraction (it was located at a visible location at Kamala Beach). I have to pay an extra THB300 for a return trip by designated vans, on top of the THB1,900 I am paying for the show and buffet.

But, never mind. Since I have been here for 4 times already and never once I have visited the award-winning tourist spot, I thought it will be money well spent.

And so the van is suppose to pick me up at 5.20 p.m. I waited, and waited, seeing many, many vans full of FantaSea visitors passing me by, but not one stopped to pick me up.

In the end I had to return to my guesthouse twice to ask for help. The staff, Oui was so helpful that she called the tour operator on her own mobile and waited with me for the van.

In the end, almost an hour behind schedule, finally I am onboard the bloody van. It was another 20 minutes or so before we turned in from the mainroad towards the grand entrance of Phuket FantaSea.

My jaws dropped in amazement.

The whole place was crawling with people. Staff docked in colourful gear stood around to welcome us and show us around, patiently answering questions and soothing some freyed nerve. Everyone around me were excited by what we saw. Phuket FantaSea really does give a feel of Disneyland. Here are some photos from the entrance towards the inside of the place:


Views of Phuket FantaSea

Views of Phuket FantaSea

Views of Phuket FantaSea

Views of Phuket FantaSea

Views of Phuket FantaSea

The buffet spread was to be at the Golden Kinnaree, touted as the best buffet spread in the world. I was skeptical, of course… until I see the size of the damn place and how it operates. It is like a… giant fast food chain!

Views of Phuket FantaSea

Views of Phuket FantaSea

Views of Phuket FantaSea

The Golden Kinnaree

The Golden Kinnaree

Every patron is designated to a particular table. There must be like hundreds of table… with buffet lines serving thousands of hungry mouths. There is even a Muslim section. As amazed as I was by the sheer scale of the place, I wasn’t that impressed by its buffet line. It is too international for my liking. And they kept playing Christmas music. It was such an annoying contrast to the otherwise very authentic Thai setting.

I was seated at table D11, across this old gentleman. I was hesitant to make conversation, but he started it first. He was from Finland, and was in Bangkok for a 3-month stint. Was about to fly home, had a few days off, so decided to visit Phuket. He was traveling on his own as well, so he made a fine dinner companion.

After having three servings of food, we decided to take a stroll together around the place, as the door to the show venue (which is at the Palace of the Elephants) will open only 30 minutes prior to the showtime.


The human dummy

The rock hard abs are so defined that I thought this guy is a wax figure…

The human dummy

… when he suddenly boo-ed at the crowd scaring the beejesus out of many!

The glass sculptor

The glass sculptor

Views of Phuket FantaSea

The crowd thronging the “fairground”. It is like Disneyland, Thai style!

Views of Phuket FantaSea

The Palace of the Elephants, where the show will be held.

The elephant and I

Don’t be deceived by the smile I had. I was totally freaked out, as the elephant was moving up and down besides me! I was so scared it will step onto my foot! We also had the fortune to see an elephant stopped in its track and crap loads onto the ground, complete with showerload of wees. You should see the shock on the visitors faces…. frozen for second before cameras were being whipped out. LOL.

Chang & Eng

Chang & Eng… we see the world in pairs!

Similan?!

If you know Hokkien, you’ll know why I found this signboard damn hilarious

Views of Phuket FantaSea

I had to deposit my camera at the counter as no photography is allowed in the theater. The whole place can accommodate up to 3000 pax at any one time, and I think we have a full house that night.

So the show begin, and ran for a good 100 minutes. It tells the story of Prince of Kamala, the fight between good and evil, and the tradition and culture of the Thais. To be honest the storyline is a bit lost on me, but the production was stunning. Just like the rest of the theme park, it was grandiose! Everything is bigger, better, well thought off. Definitely a world class performance by the 100 strong cast, complete with live animals (elephants, oxes, chicken – how did they train them to run across the stage like that???, goats, tiger, pigeons… all choreographed. And then there were the dance sequences, including one involving 8 acrobats hanging midair. Segments of shows kept bursting from all unexpected corners of the auditorium, causing much gasp of admiration from the audience.

Needless to say, I was totally blown away by it. So I bought the commemorative DVD and soundtrack. One track of the CD stood out to me…

To be Thai is to be free…

God, I just love Thailand! This trip to Phuket FantaSea is definitely worth every penny.

Phuketism 2007 – The First Night

There is always, always a first time for everything. Well, last night was my first brush with Thai law enforcement officers. Here’s the story.

It was about 8 p.m., and I was hungry for food after posting the previous entry. Patong area was literally crawling with traffic – there were so many people, everywhere! Finding a bike parking space was a nightmare. Yes, just a tiny space for my tiny bike… and I can’t find any!

Eventually I parked in front of this club, before crossing the street for my long awaited dinner. It wasn’t fantastic, but it is authentic Phad Thai. The wait staff are really, really friendly. Because it was so jam-packed everywhere, I had to share my table with a Caucasian couple. I thought, finally, I get the chance to know some fellow tourists.

But the old couple hardly give me any notice and started jabbering away what sounds like German the moment they sit down. The old man actually gave me an evil stare when I tried to smile to him.

Talk about being friendly to strangers. Bah!

Phad Thai

No. 6 Restaurant

Then I returned to my bike, and to my horror I saw my bike was chained up to another bike! A white piece of paper was stuck to the seat. Fearing the worse (I think it was a parking summon), I tried to read what grave offense did I make to warrant such barbaric act.

But the damn thing is in Thai. Damn!

I looked around in exasperation, and approached the bouncer from the club for help. As I tried to explain what happened, he nodded wisely and tried to explain to me what I should do. The English was horrible, but I gathered that I have parked at the red line (it was hardly visible!), and now I have to go to the police station to pay the fine.

He got me a bike taxi, and off we braved through the traffic of Patong to the Kathu Police Station. My heart was bumping fast as I try to recall what I have read about Thai police – the gulag, the inhuman treatment to prisoners, the filthy cell, the immovable guards…

I shuddered thinking of what fate might await me.

To my amazement there seems to be a whole group of people gathered at the police station. Mostly Caucasians holding helmets and the same white notice. Then I realised the Thai traffic police has just go on a chaining spree around Patong, and now they are reaping the reward!

Instead of being thrown into the infamous Thai cell, the police simply asked for my name, where I came from, and say I was fined because “no license cannot ride”. I was like, what?

Anyway, the fine was THB 300. Grudgingly I paid up. And I was two minded whether I should thank the officer for taking my money and making my night miserable.

Of course, the suck-up in me smiled at his scowling face and thanked him profusely.

Back to the chained bike. The bloody bike taxi rider charged me THB100 for a simple ride to and fro! I thought it was only like THB40. Kena conned again!

So after hunting down a traffic police whom unsmilingly unchained my bike (again the suck up in me thanked him), I was exhausted by all the doings so I went back to my hotel to rest.

Well, that’s my first (and hopefully) the last brush I will have with Thai police!

And then the night life began in earnest close to midnight. I will skip the story… but all in all great damage have been done. Three bottles of red labels, two clubs, and a truckload of Thai people who got too drunk for their own good.

Come to think of it, I shouldn’t have drank so much too. But it was fun!

Night Out at Galaxy Pub

Night Out at Galaxy Pub

Night Out at Galaxy Pub

Phuketism 2007 – The First Afternoon

It is another habit of mine to kick start my beach-ing in Phuket at Patong Beach. However, as I looked at the crowded beach, I thought, why not do something different this time?

So I rode my bike to Karon Noi Beach, also known as the Relax Bay.

Karon gotta be the longest beach there is in Phuket. The white sand stretches far into the horizon, there are so many spots for me to stop that I didn’t know which one to choose! Undecided, and prompted by my hungry tummy, I stopped for lunch at this little rustic looking eatery called Talay Restaurant. The food wasn’t great, the price is okay, and it got a pretty nice view, so I am not really complaining.


Talay Restaurant

My food! Beef fried rice… quite nice eh? It could have tasted better though

Talay Restaurant

The view of Karon Noi Beach from my seat at Talay

Talay Restaurant

The inside view of Talay

After my uneventful lunch, I headed across the street for a bout of sun tanning… but to my dismay the sky has taken a turn for the gloomy. I think rain is coming. Nevertheless I thought it will be nice for me to laze on the beach for a bit, check out the sights (hehe), try out my new Arena trunk (it’s sexy baby~) and take a few photos – here they are!


Karon Noi Beach

Karon Noi Beach

Karon Noi Beach

Then I made my way for my (another habit) spa session at The Sense Spa. On the way I spotted so nice sights on Kata Yai beach.


Kata Yai

I think this is the Kata Yai beach. Where Club Med is located at? Anyway, this sight is unusual. I don’t see many yatches docked at Phuket beaches like this. I guess the yatches were here for the King’s Cup Regatta, which is held every year in Phuket around this time of the year

Kata Yai

The stretch along Kata Yai, right in front of Club Med

And so on to The Sense Spa. The time was about 3 p.m. (Phuket time), so I contemplated to have a long massage session. The package all sounded pretty nice, but not the combi that I like, so I custom made my own: Thai massage (90 minutes at THB750), Thai foot reflexology (60 minutes at THB450) and facial for men (60 minutes at THB1250).

Total damage: 3.5 hours, THB2,450!!! Definitely the biggest expense I ever incur for a massage session in Thailand.

The therapist started with Thai massage first. I was donned in this massage gear. Unlike oil massage, you need not to take off your clothes. As she twist and press my entire body… I feel a bit uncomfortable. I am pretty sure that she spent too much time “attending” to my groin area!!! I wasn’t wearing any underwear, so it is obvious when she touched me… uh, there.

Instead of trying to relax and enjoy the massage, I was concentrating not to have any reactions to her… advances.

Or maybe my mind is just over reacting. Haha….

After the Thai massage (which is less bone cracking than what I would have liked), she proceeded to foot massage. It was alright… wasn’t very painful (I like it strong, actually), and I feel asleep while she is doing my feet. I think I am more used to have foot massage sitting on a reclining chair rather than lying on a massage bed.

And then the facial. My first, proper facial.

My eyes were closed (obviously), so I can’t really see what my therapist was doing. She deftly tie a towel around my forehead, and proceeded to put something very, very cold onto my face.

It smelled damn familiar. No, not facial product. Definitely food of some kind.

Was it…. sour cream? Mustard? Custard?

And then it hit me – the cold stuff was yogurt!!! OMG I was having yogurt spread all over my face, massaged into every nooks and corners.

It took all my will power not to lick around my lips. I am not so sure this stuff on my face is edible.

Then it was something like… cucumber. And something else that smells like… cucumber. Or maybe it is seaweed, I am not sure. At one point I think I detected honey. My mind was busy identifying all the food being put onto my face that I forgot to enjoy the session. Silly me!

And I am very sure those pieces of stuff that made my mask were pieces of cucumber! LOL – I can’t imagine it if I actually have allergy to cucumbers. Here are some photos from the spa:


The Sense Spa

The entrance to Sense Spa, where I had my most expensive massage in Phuket, ever!

The Sense Spa

The tea served at the reception before I began my treatment

The Sense Spa

I always thought the bathroom in The Sense Spa is pretty nice. Cascading water, like waterfall. I like :D

The Sense Spa

The room where I had my 3.5 hour long treatment!

The Sense Spa

That’s me in my Thai massage gear. I look so pale!!

After the session (I tipped my therapist a hefty 300 baht!), it was only 6.30 p.m. but the sky is already dark. Hurriedly I made my way back to Patong, refueling on the way (those little gasoline kiosks in Phuket are so adorable, considering they are serious fire hazard), and back to my the sanctuary of my guesthouse.

I can’t wait to kick start my night life tonight! :)

Phuketism 2007 – And so it begins…

I gotta cursed myself for forgetting three important things for this trip!
1) The main plug for my international power plug adaptor set. I think I lost it :(
2) My swimming trunk! Not that I will really swim or anything, but I need it for my beach sessions
3) My, err… supplements. LOL. Okay I hope I can do without it.

As I walked down the soi from my guesthouse to the beach, I can’t help but marvel at the marvelousness that is Phuket. That glimmering sea view, with a dazzling skyview, the multitude of tourists and locals thronging its waterfront… I am glad that I made my very first trip here 12 months back.

Had my breakfast at Starbucks. Read Phuket Post. I must say it is an excellent publications. Not complicated, very laid back, and very relevant to visitors to Phuket. Much better a read compared to the commercialised rubbish we have back home.

Then I went to rent a bike from my usual agent. My usual bike is there! Haha… talk about being fated. However the nice uncle is not there, and in his place is an unfamiliar man who can’t offer me the usual loyal customer treatment. Ah well. I just have to drop by later and see if the old man is around and say hi.

Then off I go to Jungceylon, the biggest shopping centre there is in Phuket. Bough an Arena swimming trunk (THB 330), and a retro eye shades (THB 199). Came back to the guesthouse to pick up my suntan lotion.

I think I will go for lunch and then Koran Beach, or something, for a tad of suntanning and get some colour onto the fat old me :)

Here are some photos I took this morning:


The view out of my hotel room

My room was on the 3rd floor. Looking out you can just see Patong beach, a mere 50 metres away. This guesthouse is worth every dollar!

Another view...

Another view … as I walk from the guesthouse I am staying to Patong beach

Breakfast @ Starbucks

My grande black coffee with milk and chicken pie @ Starbucks. First breakfast in Phuket!

Glorious, glorious Patong!

My first view of the heart breakingly beautiful beach of Patong

My faithful bike

This is the *very* bike that I rent everytime I come to Phuket. Talk about familiarity! I should consider getting my own helmet and ask the rental agency to keep it for me. LOL

And here are some views of Jungceylon:


Views of Jungceylon

Views of Jungceylon

Views of Jungceylon

Views of Jungceylon

Views of Jungceylon

Views of Jungceylon

Views of Jungceylon

Views of Jungceylon

Views of Jungceylon

Views of Jungceylon

Phuketism 2007 – The Arrival

The flight onboard JetStar was somewhat… (dare I say it?) boring. Apart from the group of Caucasians who cheered when the pilot announced our arrival at Phuket airport, and the little girl whom vomited spectacularly and stenching the plane, everything else was pretty mundane.

Of course I ordered my customary coffee and peanuts, hehe.

So onwards to Phuket airport. The queues were long and slow moving. Thank God for iPod! As I belted out Hairspray OST (again!), I must be the only one who wasn’t bothered by the long wait. While everyone else kept grunting in impatience, I actually danced a little to my favs.

Come to think of it, it was a miracle that the custom officers didn’t pull me aside to reprimand me. LOL.

And so Khun Sombat, as pre-arranged, was waiting for me at the arrival hall. This time he took an alternative road to Patong. Usually, one would have to go through Phuket town and climbed up and down a hill before reaching Patong. This time he took a road through Surin Beach, then Kamala Beach, before finally hitting Patong.

The road was long, dark, winding, boring… I preferred the hill hike.

Anyway, on to my hotel. Star Orchid Guesthouse is worth every dollar! It is clean, well kept. The staff are friendly, even the mini bar stuff are cheap. I think I am going to be very happy here, hehe.


Star Orchid Guesthouse - The Bed

Star Orchid Guesthouse - The Entrance

Star Orchid Guesthouse - The Wardrobe

Star Orchid Guesthouse - The Toilet

After dumping all my stuff in the room, I set out for dinner. Sat next to this incredibly expressive table of Spanish ladies and a man. The way they speak, gesture, articulate, joked with the wait staff… I was so mesmerised that I didn’t realised I was staring.

Now, today, the 5th of Dec, is the King’s Birthday. During this celebrated day, all bars and clubs in Thailand will be closed, and no alcohol will be served. I read from somewhere that it is quite offensive to ask for beer and stuff on this day. But surprisingly I saw many tourists were drinking away at the restaurant I was in. I am not sure if this is…. allowed? Customary? Customers are always right?

To be on the safe side, I ordered a milk shake. Hehe…

First dinner in Phuket...

After dinner, I stumbled up the road in the manner of the very full, and decided to get a foot massage. The therapist is super chatty. In fact, the whole place, which happened to be a full house, were abuzz with customers and staff chatting away.

So much so that I feel pressured to make conversation!

So I did… and the therapist noticed my unkempt toenail, and asked if I would like to get a manicure.

A manicure! Me! A man! I tell you!

Of course I did. Haha… there is always a first time for everything.

I must say, having two girls working on you at the same time is a perplexing experience. One is plucking away at my dead skin and overgrown nails, another were flexing my toes and pressing at spots I didn’t know can hurt (and please) so much.

And my therapist noticed that I have a birthmark on my little toe on my right foot. She told me, in Thai custom, someone with my marking will have the luck to travel the world.

I told her I traveled around Thailand, does that count? Hehe…

Well, the before and after effect was… pretty amazing. And I promised the girls that I will be back tomorrow for a pedicure! Haha…


Good? Good!

Here’s my therapist, whom gave me an hour long foot massage. This is her favorite pose!

My bubbly, bubbly manicurist

My bubbly, bubbly manicurist. She kept a constant chatter throughout our session. Fun!

The before photo

My right foot before the manicure… urgh!

My perfectly manicured toes!

About 40 minutes of plucking, filing, and clipping, here’s the result!

I must say tonight was a good start for my trip! I am really happy to be here! :)

Phuketism 2007 – The Beginning

Here I am the Changi Airport, waiting for my flight to Phuket. This will be my fourth trip to the beach town in the last 12 months.

I have to say, I must be crazy, but nothing beats a stress-free holiday at a place you are so familiar with.

Since I only got back from my hometown early this morning, I had to rush all over the place trying to get my employment pass done, last minute preparation for the X’mas party rolled out, and packing up my bad.

It was 4.45 p.m. before I was ready, and my flight was at 7.35 p.m. The weather has been gloomy and threatening – heavy rain since late this morning, and I wondered if getting a cab is going to be a nightmare.

A nightmare it was!

I was on the phone for at least 30 minutes before I finally got through to the operator. By then I was already sweating profusely, fearing that the worst might just happen – that I will miss my flight! With the heavy downpour out there, I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it will be for a cab to pick up my booking.

At last, lady luck started to be on my side.

My booking was picked up in mere seconds. Later on I found out that the cab driver was just dropping off his passenger at the block opposite mine. And he stays in AMK, so he knows the area very well.

And then I fretted about the traffic condition. What if it is literally bumper-to-bumper on the expressway?

The cab driver took an executive decision to take SLE instead of PIE. 20 minutes later, I am at Changi Airport, a mere 5 minutes behind schedule.

My relief was palpable. Adrenaline was running through my vein, so much so that I didn’t really manage to calm down to enjoy my time in Changi Airport like I used to.

Bought a bottle of perfume for myself, and ciggies for . Then something to eat from Toast Box, before I found this terminal for me to blog my journey.

Will this trip surpass the last one? I will know in a few days time :)

Adios, my friends! Here are some photos from the airport:

Departure, departure

Another customary photo at Changi Airport

Christmas in the air

Changi is dressing up for the festive season

The Toast Box

Peanut butter toast, half-boiled eggs, coffee…. yum

The Big Foot

Relaxing my aching feet at the airport… I can’t wait to get to my foot massage sessions in Phuket