Back in February, we made arrangements to spend our Raya holiday week in Phuket. In our previous trip to Bali, we stayed in Sanur, away from tourist packed town – Kuta. So this time, we choose Patong area which is densely populated with tourist (especially westerners) and everything is within walking distance. We called a local tour company (the same company which arranged our Bali trip last year) and asked for their promotion package for Phuket. With their promotion brochure at hand, I started Googling each available option. I started with the hotel review via http://www.tripadvisor.com and strike out hotels with bad reviews. One particular hotel which caught my attention was the cheapest package but got stern warnings from many trip advisors of staffs stealing money from the guest’s safe box! Finally we choose to stay at a deluxe room in Baumanburi Hotel which was within our budget and its location is only 800meters (about 30 minutes walking distance) from the popular shopping mall – Jungceylon.
The package we took was a 4 Days 3 Nights tour with an extension of 2 Nights. So on Monday 21st September, we took the afternoon flight from Penang to Phuket via Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines (MAS). While on board, the flight attendant made an announcement that the local time in Thailand is an hour earlier than Malaysia, so while in flight, I had my watch switch back and hour but maintain my cell phone to Malaysian time zone (just incase). By the time we arrive was night time so we went straight to our hotel and called it a day.
Tuesday, 22nd September 2009
Our first excursion for the day was half a round trip on the island. From our hotel in Patong, we were driven south bound to its’ south most tip – Promthep Cape. Along the way we get a glimpse of the posh luxurious hotels that line their beautiful sandy beaches. However there wasn’t much activity as it was the raining season and there were red flags everywhere. Red flag is a warning for beach goers that the waves are dangerous and no swimming is allowed.
After Promthep Cape, it was to the temple. According to local tale, it is a must for all tourists to visit this temple – the largest on the island. It is said that foreigners who set foot on the temple will be blessed with good luck and prosperity. Our tour guide did mentioned that it is an option for people to pray. In fact, most Malaysians who pay homage to lord Buddha will always pray here if ever possible.
From the temple, we head to Phuket town. This is where most of the locals stay – so prices for everything here is relatively cheaper than Patong. Most of the hotel’s busses and vans would stop a designated spot to pick up staffs for their shift and send them back to the same spot at then end of their shifts. According to our tour guide, many can’t afford to rent rooms in Patong area because the rentals are very expensive for their standards of living. In fact I even saw an advertisement on a shop lot for sale (opposite Tesco Lotus) at the price of 7.5 Million Baht (about MYR750, 000.00) and posh apartments and lofts exceeding 10Million Baht (about MYR 1Million) – in short Patong ain’t cheap!
While in town, I saw CIMB Thai. But I wonder if CIMB (Malaysia) account holders get any special benefits when using CIMB Thai??
Lunch was at another tourist restaurant. But this restaurant was better than the floating restaurant during the James Bond Island (in later Part 2 post). Thailand is famous for its fragrant rice and it really truly lived up to its name. I was greedy to fill my plate with rice and ended up eating only 1 serving.
1: Coconut milk rice (nasi lemak) 2: Fried rice 3: White rice 4: Japanese style fried rice 5: Briyani Rice with sweet sour cucumber and stewed pork knuckle and white bun.
After the town tour and lunch (which was only 3pm then), we asked our tour guide to drop us at Jungceylon instead of sending us back to our hotel. There I began my crazy shopping spree and end the day with a basic facial and body massage for only 350Baht (about MYR35)