It has been quite a while since our last stayaction. 11 months to be precise. That was when mum had recuperate for a month after her operation so I thought it will be good to bring her out of the house but she had developed high fever the very same night that we have checked into Orchard Hotel and that has made me feel bad till now.
Anyway, the reason I say stayaction is because apart from a wasted trip to Phuket Town which my hubby had followed the other tourists and alighted at the closed market, we have basically had hang around our resort and its nearby vicinity, particularly the stretch of Patong Beach and on the streets.
Phuket, here I come!
Upon touching down, I was amused by the immigration officer who tried to impressed me by saying “I LOVE YOU” in Chinese when he saw my EAT, PRAY, LOVE passport cover. The touting taxi service outside the arrival hall was a little overwhelming but what has irked me a little was how one operator followed us and tried to convince my hubby that the Airport bus to Phuket Town does not operate on Sundays! Then as we wait for the bus, I witnessed how a tour operator harshly told two Indian tourists off because they have
delayed the group. At that instance, the image of Thais being warm, gentle, polite and friendly vanished into that hot, smoky air of Phuket. However, when I realized that I have left my LEVI’S LADY sunglasses at the checkpoint counter and dashed back into the arrival hall, the security at the gatehelped to stop the human traffic and allowed me raced against the flow to retrieve my sunnies! At that point, the good impression of Thais came back and I though, hmm..the people here aren’t bad after all!
While hanging around waiting for the bus, I approached the information and was told about the mini-bus service to Patong Beach. It sets to go with 10pax in a vehicle and costs 180 baht per person. It seemed reasonable as opposed to what the taxi operators asking of 800 baht but the catch, that we soon realized on the vehicle, was that it stopped halfway at its tour agency and the agency staff would sat us down and tried to sell us their tour packages individually. Not quite ethical if you asked me but the rest of the journey was a smooth ride. The passing streets from the mini-bus’s window somehow reminded me of Bali and my hubby couldn’t agree more on that.
Located at about 15km from the Phuket town, Patong Beach is the most developed beach in Phuket. It is an interesting sight to see hotels after hotels, new and old resorts, little tour booths dotted all over the place, make-shift massage tents by the beach, rows and rows of tuk tuk, motor cycles and other vehicles lining on the street touting for passengers and Ang Mohs peppered everywhere. A lot of them were Aussies and French as well and you could find them lying on the hotel loungers, sun worshipping at the beach, walking on the streets, riding a rented motorcycle and particularly everywhere, all looking uniformly blushed and having a good time.
Look at the clear blue sky and the white sandy beach!
a neat row of tuk tuk along the beach
A leg for rent, anyone?
Massage, Manicure, Hair Braiding and more!
The sky was blue, the sand was glittering, the water was clear but then the heat was killing! Being a sweat baby, I was perpetually drenched in my own sweat the moment I stepped out of our hotel and while I admired those lobster red folks having their time under the sun, I, on the other hand, would be miserably wriggling around to get whatever shelter that I could find but the consolation is that Patong is much more than just the sun, the sand and the sea.
Sure, the daytime activities with the water-sports and all are primarily centered on this 3km beach, the streets however, would magically come to life when the night curtain falls. More people of different colors are flooding in by now convincing me that I am not the only one who’s afraid of the sun after all. Seafood fresh from the ocean are piling high on ice awaiting to be served for dinner/supper, the night market is up and Patong’s liveliest party zone, Soi Bangla is closed to traffic and ready for action! By then many of those beach goers would be chilling over ice-cold beers at the pubs and the bars would be completing for business with jamming music, exotic performances and way-over-the-top ladyboys shows and the party goes on…
A Russian dancer showcasing her move on the second floor of the bar
Hot babe or ladyboy? You decide..
While on a bumpy ride to town with the bus trembling at snail speed and warm air ruffled my hair, my mind somehow channeled back to the tsunami in 2004 and the thought of the tragedy destroying the town and causing many deaths and homeless sent a shiver down my spine. When the news broke out, my heart went all out to the ill-fated town but initiating a donation drive within the office was the only thing I could do at that point of time and I regretted for not doing more for the survivors. People don’t talk about it anymore and it is good to see that the strenuous recovery has left no trace of the tragedy and the town is bustling with more activities and even vibrant nightlife than ever.
The Phuket – Patong bus
The driver had alighted us at the main road and with directions to our
resort which was a short distance away from the beach. In any case, most of the hotels and resorts are within the vicinity of the beach.
Our welcome drink at the resort
A view of the resort from our balcony
A cozy corner of the restaurant
Another cozy corner – at the poolside bar
Also at the pool side bar
The resort consists of three levels and the fortunate guests on the ground level suites would get the privilege of accessing the two outdoor swimming pools and sun loungers directly from their terrace! How nice is that! But I am not complaining though, because I am just as contented with our spacious room on the 3rd floor. Besides the regular facilities and the huge King size bed, I was delighted to find a large daybed at our balcony that overlooks the swimming pool and my hubby must have had a great eye candy feast with the view of nearly bared bodies lazing on the sun loungers everyday. The mirror-tile decorated bathroom is really cool, it is well-spaced, bright and I really appreciate the bathtub for a good soak after a hot day out under the sun.
I love the bed, so big and comfy!
The day bed – hubby’s favorite corner
Bathtub – I get to soak and watch TV through the blinds..
Apart from the faulty kettle in our room, almost everything else was perfect and it was very thoughtful of the hotel to grant us 2 wifi access so we didn’t have to wrestle over the internet connection.
While I couldn’t say that the hotel’s breakfast spread is sumptuous, it
does have a good variety to cater for all. As for me, I am happy to have porridge with an egg omelette everyday, as always.
Porridge – they called in rice soup with prawn
Service wise, the majority of the crews, especially those from the
housekeeping team have fared better than those handling the reception. Besides the chirpy ‘Sawadee Ka’ greetings whenever we passed by a staff, the guard at the entrance has even volunteered to help to take a picture of us without being asked! Anyway, we don’t care if the reception were friendly or not but it pissed me a little when one of the reception staff has granted us to check out at 1pm but at a quarter after 12pm, we got a call from them claiming that they have guests checking at 2pm and insisted that we have to vacant the room immediately for housekeeping.
Bye Burasari, Bye Phuket!
Since we have to check out at 12 and our flight was at 9pm, we decided to kill time (alright, it was because I have wanted to save some money too), we took the bus to Phuket town bus terminal for the airport bus. Unlike the bustling Patong Beach where the lanes are narrow but flooding with human traffics and vehicles, the roads around the bus terminal are wide but the streets were empty. The shops were closed and the terminal itself was dim and vacant.
The almost empty bus terminal
While waiting for the bus, we walked over to Royal City Hotel for a quick munch and perhaps we were both hungry, we simultaneously opted for grains. His choice was Seafood Fired Rice and mine was Beef Fried Rice but we both felt that the fried rice from this restaurant was undoubtedly the most delicious proper meal we had in Phuket. Oh, by the way, our first meal in Phuket has happened to be fried rice too and that was Pineapple Seafood Fried Rice + Seafood Tom Yam Gong + Coconut Drink.
beef fried rice
Due to the infrequency of the airport bus service, we have to take the one at 4.30pm and reached the airport before 6pm but besides a bite at Burger King, there wasn’t much left for us to do except waiting and wasting time away.
The Phuket – Airport Bus Timing
I tried to catch a little nap but my mind was flown to Kalim, the northern end of Patong Bay that I have regretted not visiting for its magnificent view of sunset.
Already dreaming of the next trip at the airport..
Well, perhaps the next time..Till then, Phuket, I gonna miss you!