Hi to all..... here's a "thank you" to everyone who has helped me in making my decisions for this trip. And "thanks" to all who wrote in the forum about their trips and share their experience. So here's mine and hope it is not too long-winded.
Had an uneventful flight from Sin to Phuket. Supposed to meet my friend at Phuket airport but it turned out to be quite a frustrating wait. The monitor did not show her plane details, as in flight arrival and time. It was as if her plane never took off from Bangkok and very very badly delayed sort. NO mention of this flight and as I couldnt speak much Thai to begin asking, decided to wait in good faith and braced myself to wait for many hours before i see her.... Her plane was supposed to land at 0835 but no sign of this in the screen from 0750 (I landed at 0730). At 0905, my mobile rang and thank God she has landed safely.... the people manning the comp seemed to miss this one out and had me guessing and worrying for more than an hour :(
Next thing that happened was the hotel transport never came. It was requested when i did internet booking but somehow they missed it. It was very easy catching a cab and with my good friend around (who is a Thai and speaks Thai), negotiation and navigation was a breeze :)
We headed to Andaman BangTao beach resort where we stayed at a beach front bungalow. The place is simply lovely, exotic and altogether charming. As both of us did not sleep much the night before, decided to take a short nap before taking lunch.
At about 3pm, we went snorkelling at a nearby island. Beautiful corals and fishes...fed them with bread and the guide caught a starfish and i held it in my hand. Thot it looked like a 5 legged boomerang and so tempted to throw it out into the sea... haha.... It was an amazing purple coloured starfish. Was trying to look underneath for the eyes or something but found none.. anyone with knowledge of starfish can tell me??? Anyhow, i got scratched by something while in the sea and so had scratch lines on my arm. Everyone (including strangers) asked me about these scratches... i couldnt tell how i got it though :( Perhaps it was due to the heavy rain approaching and the sea got very rough... i was actually swept by the waves to underneath the boat.... my first time snorkelling so totally inexperienced and silly also. Anyhow, it was a minor injury and i wasnt even aware of it till the night when i felt pain on my arm.
On our way back to shore, it started to rain heavily. We were already soaking wet with sea water and now with the rain and the cold and the wind. We didnt have any towels and so we bravely sat on the long tail boat enduring the cold. But it was really fun as i didnt have to worry about getting wet coz i was already wet!!! haha!!! Hmmm... perhaps i brought the Singapore rain to Phuket or perhaps not. Heard that Singapore did not rain the whole of last week while i was away... :(
Had an italian dinner that first night at one of the restaurants along the road (forgot the name already). Erh... i must say the pizza was really not tasty at all and i had to add salt to eat it. But the fried squid was very delicious.
Need to mention about the shower in this Andaman resort. It was truly therapeutic and you just cant get enough of it under the running tap... water is scarce in Singapore (mind you).
The next day, had a well-prepared breakfast and left the quiet beach. Took a ride to Patong (the owner volunteered to bring us to Patong and showed us few places prior to reaching our destination). There we checked into the Banthai Beach hotel and visited Hillfiger Tailor shop with a gift material from Myanmar. Got it tailored to a dress and it was great and fitting.
We then rented a new pickup and drove to town. It started to rain again. We reached Robinson and parked our pickup. Guess what we had for lunch????? Macdonald!!!! Haha... as if i dont have enough of this in Singapore.... anyhow, tasted the Samurai burger and it wasnt too bad. Rain stopped and I went to internet cafe to read my email and stuff and later joined my friend to shop at the Central festival (I think... i am very bad with names and so please pardon me). Bought a few nice tops and skirts. It was really cheap. But to my friend from Chiang rai, it wasnt that cheap as she could get them back home at better rates. We then drove to Promthep Cape to view the scenery.
Before i get to this, i must say it was pretty frustrating driving in Phuket town as there arent any road names at junctions and the map i had did not indicate one or two way. We had to make an unknown turn last minute due to no entry sign. My friend had motion sickness and so tried to read the map in between. We probably circled the whole town before we were able to get out to the south. Btw, the road outside town has no names... they are all numbered as in 4021, 4022, etc. Anyhow, i had already made up my mind not to have my spirits dampened by any setbacks or unforseen circumstances.. so we took it quite well, enjoyed and laughed over all of it.
As it was about to rain, there wasnt a nice sunset you could view but the scenery was breathtaking. We took some shots before the sky turned dark and started to rain heavily. We drove back to Patong beach to have our Thai seafood dinner. It was a deliciously cooked steamed fish Thai style but the fish was just too big for us to finish. We also ordered Fried Pork Leg which turned out to be so huge.... at the end, we packet that pork leg thinking of feeding some stray dogs near our hotel.
After dinner, we booked a day trip to PhangNga bay and took a stroll at the Bang-la Road. We ended the night watching Thai Kick Boxing!!! Actually we could have gone in free coz my friend is a Thai. They said Thai go in free. She was discussing this with them and i didnt know. Then i spoke in English asking how much.. should have just kept my big mouth shut... sigh. In the end, they asked us to pay 100 baht each. The fight was quite alright.. my first time....it was exciting though the boxing was fake. There were ladies boxing too. Then Aussie boxer and American. We watched for about 40 mins and went back at 12midnight to rest early for next day trip.
I am very impressed with the room in Banthai... definitely a value for money and centrally located in Patong, yet no noise when you sleep. It is very clean and properly maintained. The breakfast was not bad with quite a spread. We had no time to try the pools though but did see a few balls in the pool.
Our 3rd day took us to Phang Nga Bay & islands near it. It was really a smashing time. Though it rained and soaking wet, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We came down from our big ferry into a long tail boat and it took us to the island. Took some pictures and visited another island. This time... we took individual canoe... two person to one canoe and there is a crew to paddle for us, so we didnt have to sweat it out. He paddled the canoe into the caves, near to the rocks and stones.. we had to lean back flat to see the rocks above us... it was exciting. Next, we went on foot to explore the dark dark caves. No lights and there were bats sleeping. At some level, the water was waist deep. So fun. One crew member tried to scare me by touching my leg in the dark.... he got the wrong person.... i am not afraid of the dark....lol. I just looked down and smiled at him... Another crew did the same thing to my friend and she too did not scream.
After the visit to the caves, we paddled to another island, known as Rawai. There was a particular canoe with 2 caucasian kids. They raced us to shore... our canoe paddler cheated on us... he jumped off the canoe to swim just before we reached the shore... so we lost the race. Though we didnt have the oars, we used our hands to sweep and pushed our boat forward. It was crazy but enjoyable. We spent the next 40 mins on that island, relaxing, swimming for some and just soaking in the water is sheer fun. A few of the crew came to speak with us. They thought i was a Thai who pretended not to speak Thai and spoke English. It was very funny. I spoke to a nice aussie lady and her companion or husband (i didnt ask). They were very friendly and nice couple. I lazed around in water and didnt swim coz my eyes were painful due to the high content of lime in the water. When the time was up, we paddled back to the big ferry and headed to Phuket island. The crew then performed an entertaining dancing show for us.
Almost immediately after we arrived at our hotel, we hopped onto a van to bring us to Chalong pier to get over to Coral island where we would be staying for 2 nights at a beach-front room. I couldnt manage to book any hotel or resort on other islands and since Coral responded to me, decided to give it a try. It was a lovely island with nothing much to do except to relax. Had a simple dinner and turned in for the night. Was really tired out.
Next morning, we woke up to laze by the beach, rented a speed boat to take us round the island and did snorkelling. This time, i saw another starfish and many awesome corals and fishes. We did the banana boat ride and it was splendid. Forgot to wear my goggles before the ride and eyes were really painful with the water kept splashing onto my face. Played volleyball and frisbee on the beach. We had the company of 2 italian guys and an american to play with us. Soon, these day trippers had to return to Phuket island. We went back into the sea to laze around and tried to snorkel with my goggles. I was having much pain in my eyes so i decided to just lie on the water and float around. Guess what bit me??? FISHES.... hungry fishes!!!! They bit my fingers and toes, so naughty of them . I had to retreat and move to very shallow water. It is all so strange... my friend got bitten by jelly fish while snorkelling and fishes bit me. I was probably food to them as most of the people had already left the island and so no supply of bread and food stuff :(
It was about 4-5pm and we started playing guitar and singing till sun down. Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. One China group thought we were the live band performing that night at the island and were practising....haha... :)
The next morning, we rented the boat again to take us to fish for squid. It was supposed to be much easier than fishing for fish. I threw the line in but failed to catch any except for two things... coconut husks as floats around the lagoon and corals below. You see, my bait got stuck under a coral and we could not pull it up. Had to get a Thai guy snorkelling nearby to dive in to release my line. Rather embarassing... there was another boat near us also fishing for squid... and they caught a few. I guess i really have no skills to fish plus no patience too :(
We then checked out and took the speed boat to Phuket island, of which i drove for 15 mins from shore to shore. It was very easy to manage and I nearly wanted to do the drift thingy you see on TV with chasing scenes... but that would risk our luggages and guitar being thrown into the water and get wet... haha... Got a cab to drive us to our last hotel stay at Naithorn beach. The resort and beach is fantastic and i wished i had few more nights to spend in Phuket. The sand really squeaked under our feet and it was so so different from all the other beaches i had been to past few days. The sea waves were humogous... treacherous and exhilarating to play with. I allowed myself to be thrown all over by the waves and rolled everywhere. So silly of me but who cares... :) My friend chose to jump over the waves. Tanning wasnt in our itinerary so we got out after 30 mins. We needed time to get ready for our last night event.... the dinner and show at Fantasea. We had an international buffet and quite a sumptuous spread of food. At one corner, there was this roast duck dish where you could pick up. It was the first time in my 5 days in Phuket that someone spoke to me in Chinese... i.e. knowing i am a Chinese. She greeted me with "Ni Hao" (how are you?) and "Xie Xie" (thank You). Guess only Chinese eat roast duck... hahah.. For the past 5 days, everyone thot i was a Thai, a Philippino, Malaysian, Laos, Cambodian, Burmese,... never Singaporean or Chinese. One aussie even thought i was from Japan.
We didnt eat much at this buffet coz we are small eaters. Another waste of money and food (i guess). We walked round the place to shop for souvenirs and dresses before going in to watch the show. It was a big event in Phuket and it turned out to be spectacular. It was magnificiently done and very well choreographed. I especially like the acrobats doing their stuff... dangling from the air and bouncing like a ball. So fun.... something like Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider show where she swang on the rope before intruders came into her house. My night ended with some bites either from mosquitoes or sand flies. So huge are my bite wounds and so itchy.. even till now. We went back to hotel close to 12 midnight and dead tired. Less than one hour into sleeping, i woke up with so much itch and more bites. Perhaps bed bugs this time or mosquitoes trapped underneath the blanket. I had to literally lie above my blanket to avoid more bites. Didnt think i needed to put repellent before i sleep. Itch was almost unbearable, popped an antihistamine pill and tried to sleep, well at least for 3 hours. Thank God.
We had an early flight to catch... me back to Singapore and my friend to BKK and then to Chiang rai. Uneventful flight but once again, mistaken as a Thai in the airport. A caucasian couple wished me a happy trip and stay while we were at the luggage belt in the budget terminal in Singapore. I wanted to say "I'm home!" but thought otherwise. They meant well and yes... i am finally home but i miss Phuket tremendously. Will go again, if possible, in December.
Till then, to the rest of you who are going, enjoy yourselves and dont let the rain get into you.