Saturday, January 28, 2012

Phuket, Thailand Days 1 to 3

I'm in Phuket right now, arrived on Thursday 26th of January.  The last time I was here was pre-tsunami days, so it's been a while.  I flew from Norway to Singapore for Chinese New Year and now I'm in Thailand.

This post is an entry in progress, so I'll be updating it later with photos and what not.  Meanwhile, I'm just writing whatever's coming to my mind, and whatever I can remember. :)

Day 1

An early morning flight from Singapore to Bangkok was 2 hours followed by another 2 hour stopover.  The flight to Phuket was delayed by an hour or so, and so I didn't get here till closer to 3pm.  The ride to the hotel was about another hour by mini bus, and that cost 150 baht, about 6 Singapore Dollars.  There were a lot of people on the plane, at least a lot more than I remembered the last time I came here.  Checked in at about 4pm close to 5pm.  Had a shower after checking in Dinner at Patong Seafood (about 900 baht for 4 dishes and 2 servings of rice, about 26 Singapore Dollars) and Haagen Daaz ice cream (250 baht for 2 scoops of ice cream, about 10 Singapore Dollars, but you have to include the service charge of 10% and 7% charge for GST, it's exactly like Singapore).  After dinner I bought water at the supermarket close to the hotel.  Water from the tap here is not drinkable.  Last night I saw brown water coming out of my tap.  Not good.



View from the hotel with swimming pool and palm trees




Dinner


Haagen Daaz along Thanon Taweewpmg, Patong

Day 2

I set my alarm for 8:30 and woke up at that time.  Except I had forgotten to adjust the timezone to local time so really I woke up at 7:30.  Haha!  But that was good.  After buffet breakfast, I walked to the open market located close to hotel, literally across the road, and shopped and haggled over prices of clothes.  You have to bargain here when you shop.  If you're European that's not something you're used to.  But if you don't do it, you will get ripped off.  You have to cut the prices quoted to you by 50% at least.  And then work your way up from there.  If the seller doesn't want to budge, just walk away and if you provide something reasonable usually they'll ask you to come back, if not well then you probably quoted too little.  There's no way they would sell to you if you're not making a buck anyway.  So either way they will make some money even though they say they give you a "special price" or "their boss will kill them".  What I can't stand in these markets are the endless endless store sellers telling you to come into their stores to buy stuff, i.e. the constant patronising (Although I can appreciate when someone says my hair is sexy, but calling me a friend come on...).  Lunch was at the nearby shopping centre, I had some noodles that cost me 100 baht (4 Singapore dollars).  I was there to scout prices in order to find out what a "fair price" was at the open market.  Prices in the shopping centre are more or less the same in Singapore, make sense since all of it is retail.  Walking to the shopping centre from the hotel you get to see the life that make up Phuket.  Namely, tattoo parlours, restaurants, massage parlours, day trips around Phuket, beggars, taxi drivers, the smells, scenes of undisposed garbage, buildings, trees, greenery, numerous signs in English, Chinese, Thai and Russian (Oh yeah there's many Russians and Chinese here.  And Norwegians too, but I suppose the language isn't as widely spoken as the others.) and the signs about watching Thai boxing.  The hotel has a pool for its guests, so I utilized that in the afternoon after going back to the open market after lunch.  Just before dinner I took a walk at the beach.  Looking at the beach just made me wonder what it was like when the tsunami waves first appeared.  They have designed tsunami evacuation routes now and you can see those signs along the beach now.  Dinner followed after the walk, which was at the hotel as well, it was Asian buffet night.  Oh the hotel bar has happy hour here where the drinks are half price from 5pm to 8pm.  Walked back to the shopping centre after that because I wanted a foot massage but it was full so instead I booked a package for an elephant trek the next day that included a snake and a monkey show.  Watched 500 days of summer after that which was a DVD rental at the hotel.  The last time I came here they only provided video tapes. :)  But the DVDs in the hotel are all pirated copies, i.e. duplicates, not recordings off the cinema but still.  I guess original stuff here is hard to come by.  But you can buy a apartment for 20000 euros!



Patong Beach


Dinner

Day 3

Early start at 730 again.  Buffet breakfast was followed by mini van pick up to the place where the elephants were.  That took about half an hour.  There was a Chinese couple with their child and a Malaysian man.  I eavesdropped on their conversation, well it was more like I could not help it since they were talking pretty much next to me.  The Malaysian man had arrived the night before and travelled alone and the Chinese couple were at Krabi before they arrived in Phuket.  They were pretty much just talking about cost of living in China vs Thailand and saying how it was about the same.  The Malaysian guy says it's a bit cheaper living here  compared to Malaysia.  Things like that. :)

I'll post photos of the trek here soon. You shouted "pai" if you wanted the elephant to move forward. And there was a word for stop but I could not remember for now. :)

And photos of the snake and monkey show. They had different snakes including the king cobra. There was a little circular area which acted as a stage and you could go down and well, touch or provoke the snakes if you wanted to. Or dared to. :) The snake handler is in the same area in case something bad happens.

The monkey show had a monkey named petey that rode on a bike and performed things like picking numbers from a pile of tiles numbered 0 to 9, sit ups and push ups and he could also put his hands together to say thank you. Hmm wonder how much he was tortured in order to learn the things he knows.

Lunch was at the same shopping centre as yesterday, in the same food court. After that I had a fish spa and a foot back and shoulder massage. Then walked to another part of the shopping centre and went to a shooting gallery using rifles. That was fun. It was like shooting a bulls eye with concentric circles. I scored a bullseye out of 15 shots, which is a 10. Had another swim at the hotel after that, then it was non alcoholic drinks at the bar and seafood buffet dinner at one of the hotel restaurants.

Will update this post later with photos.


On the way to the elephant trek



Russian writing, many Russians visit Phuket


There's our ride right there


Living quarters of the staff working there?



The snake show



That's a cobra



That's a king cobra, if you get bitten, you have 15 minutes before you're RIP



Me carrying a non venomous snake


Me and my distant relative


The monkey praying to Google to set him free


Doing push ups


Asking for donations, it's hard work being a monkey in Phuket

Updated with photos (9th Feb 2012)

2 comments:

  1. You should donate some bananas to the monkey for making you LOL. :)

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