Phuketi JBR 01-04-10 to 10-4-10
New to JBR’s, sorry if i ramble on a bit.
Our family of 4 includes 49yo Mum, 45yo dad, 19yo daughter & a 17yo son.
We flew Singapore airlines Melb-Sing then Silkair to Phuket & Bangkok airways to Koh Samui. We spent 6 Nights in Koh Samui & the KS JBR can be found on Koh Samui Forum. Everything went well, Handy tip for anyone who has a few hrs at Phuket. when we got to Phuket we had 2 hours until we could book in to our Koh Samui flight so we went to the 3rd floor Thai airways Restaraunt which was a great idea & had a bit of lunch & a few cold drinks until we could book in. The food was pretty good & cheap & got us away from the madness which is Phuket airport. They are also still giving away free sim cards on arrival which our 2 kids snapped up, & easy to top up at any 7/11 store in Thailand.
Early flight from KS & we landed at around 9:00am at Phuket. Arranged for Mr Sam to be our driver & he was a little late due to traffic. But no problem. He gave us a little look around on our way to Gracelands, we got to Gracelands around 11:00am, checked in, but our rooms weren’t ready yet, so we left our bags there & got a Tuk Tuk up to Juncyelon for a few hours & came back around 2pm to get our rooms.
Our stay was at Phuket Gracelands, alot has been said about this resort, we all thought it was great. We were shown to our rooms which were interconnecting 2341 & 2343, top floor Building 3 with a Garden view overlooking the big grassed area. The rooms were spacious, lovely balcony to sit out on for a drink in the afternoons listening to the guitarist/singer who played Mon-Fri at the bottom pool between 4-6pm. Coming from KS, where the rooms were pretty small & dated these rooms were like a suite to us. We always stocked the minibar from Eden Minimart out the back gate. The resort is huge, with 2 swimming pools. We were there during a busy time so both pools were always busy but you could always get a chair if you wanted it, we tended just go to to the beach across the road when we had no trips on. Buffet breakfast was fine, plenty of choices even though it was busy never any problems getting a seat. They had the pancakes & waffles as well as the egg station. We did not have a drink nor eat at any of the bars/restaraunt at the resort because there was so much better & cheaper close by. The resort is located at the north end of Beach Rd & is undoubtedly the best part of Patong Beach. There alot of Restaraunts/bars & minimarts close by. The Deli out the back gate & across Rath-u-it Rd was great for anything you wanted. Got a bottle of Jim Beam there for 660b. Plenty of money exchanges as well. The best part you could leave the resort & walk to minimarts/bars etc without being hassled as you would in central Patong. Beers around 37-45b, Ciggies 43b, Red bulls 15b at Minimarts. We went bowling one day 440b for 1 game, it was good fun, even if i did overstep the line once & ended flat on my back with my head smashing on the floor, but it was a strike & gave everyone a laugh. Internet was a tad expensive at 150b an hour, 500b for 6 hrs & definitely the best value 1000b for 7 days unlimited. The signal was strong in our rooms so no problems for Ipods & laptops, or just use their computers. There are plenty of internet cafes around for 1b P/M.
Shopping: Coming from Koh samui, everything was cheaper, loved the shopping at OTOP as there was a bar every 10 metres, just don’t ring the bell at the tiger bar as it cost me a fortune lol. We had one great night at OTOP & gave the kids & wife some money & said see you in 3 hours. I went straight to my DVD shop bought another 10 DVD’s then went straight to the Tiger bar. They eventually found me playing that jackpot game with the bar girls. (Great game) I’d spent a grand total of 1200b they on the other hand had spent everything, but everyone was happy, me more so. Any way, singlets 140-160b, t-shirts 180-200b, DVD’s 60b at OTOP & other areas were about the same. I bought a ladies Chanel Wallet for 500b, my daughter bought a couple of bags for 1300b. Loved the backrooms, we were also told by someone that if you bought something & was given a black bag that meant you are an easy target to get high prices, we never got one except when i bought DVD’s so hoping that was meant that i wanted DVD’s. Loved going shopping in the morning when they were keen for a sale. The cheapest place we found was actually on our daytrip with Mr Sam at Promthep Cape, i was wearing white shorts & by the time we got to Promthep cape i needed a new pair, please don’t ask why, anyway at the stalls there i wandered in & looked at singlets because i am a big fella they usually don’t have shorts my size, the girl straight away said singlets 200b, i said 100, she said 120b huh? How easy was that. So bought 2 & she then showed me some shorts with elastic, perfect fit & good bathers as well. Bought 2 of them all up540b. Great value. For bigger guys the XXL singlets & shirts are fine & will always find them. Not much bigger than that though. Juncyelon is nice to walk around witha good range of shops but electronics are the same price as OZ. Mr Sam took us to the night markets on Sat night, although it was a cultural experience we just didn’t enjoy it, to many people in to small area, it was night time but was so hot in there. Mr Sam dropped us off at the food court haha so much to choose from, had the fried beetles, yuk. We ended up having dinner at a little restaraunt near the market which was fine. We wouldn’t do the market again. I think OTOP has as much & better to walk around. Loved bartering, love drinking more. Only need another 22 singlets in the end & i’d have one for every day of the year.
Dining & Bars: Plethora of options for eating & drinking, can’t remember a bad meal but thats because i did my home work.
Ate at Nicki’s Handlebar 3 times, every meal was exceptional & reasonably priced, & if you mention Cathy & Gary they will certainly look after you. Seriously though Kai is a lovely man & showed us around the new rooms & pool area, & the Harleys & Ferraris, Nicki is also a great host & made us feel so welcome. We met Sue (Gismo) & her husband Colin who gave us alot of tips & we had fun. Hi Sue.!. Our last night we ate here & it was the start of Phuket bike week so Bikers from all round world was motoring in. The wife had steak twice, & Phuket Lobster here & said they were great, my daughter Fried rice & pasta dishes, My son had the Penang Curry pizza & curries, I had the Penang curry pizza & Red & Green curry Colin ordered me a spicy beef salad as well on our last night & was delicious & BLOODY hot., all meals were exceptional. The Penang curry pizza the highlight. Nickis is on Rat-u-thit Rd, out the back rd of Gracelands & turn right down Rat-u-thit Rd & its 100mts down on the left.
No 9 Restaraunt: Located on Pri Birani Rd (Spell)? Between Rat-U-Thit rd & Beach Rd Ate here once & was excellent. Well worth a visit if staying at Gracelands go out the front & turn right & turn right again up Pri Birani Rd & its 50mts up on the right. Its worth a visit from Central Patong as well. Had the best red Curry here with Prawns, wife had a fish dish, daughter pasta & son had a prawn dish. All meals were excellent & cheap. I’ll say it again, best Red Curry. Alot of expats & locals eat here & was always busy.
Seahag: Sabai Sabi is closed til May, so we booked a table here, the highlight of the meal was the Prawns deep fried in Glass noodles, delicious. I had of course the Red Curry & a little disappointed my son’s Green curry was hotter, my wife & daughter had the fried rice. The meals were good great service.
The Beach restaraunt: We made a mistake & got a taxi from the foyer of Gracelands Mr Ken was his name we were looking for Seahag & he says he didn’t know where that was but took us to this place & said everyone eats here & its good. It wasn’t that bad but it was the worse meal we had. Its located down the end of a little Soi halfway between gracelands & Bangla Rd you sit on the beach. Also spoilt by a little thai girl who wondered thru the restararaunt & put a lei around my daughters neck then would not let go until she was given money. I was at the toilet so they didn’t have any money & was pretty scary for my daughter. A man at the next table gave her 50b to let go. She did it other people as well & was not discouraged by the staff who just stood there.I had garlic & pepper prawns was just ok.
Bars: Legends bar out the back gate of Gracelands is a great bar for a quick snack or a drink watching the footy, Rugby or IPL, staff friendly & great. Added bonus Pancake cart across the road so nothing better than coming home at night sending the family back to the room whilst i have a couple of nightcaps & a Banana, coconut & chocolate pancake deliver to my stool. If my wife was lucky one might have made it home. They have a pie warmer so was great watching the footy eating a pie, not sure what pies they are sort of like 4/20 but were great. We also had some satays here & they were great for a quick lunch, my son loved the egg & bacon rolls here & would wander up at lunchtime to get one. I also had Tom Yum Goong here one day & was excellent. 60b for a beer til 6:00pm. Good spot.
Beers: I have always loved Tiger beer so drank that mostly but the Singhas & Heinekens were good to. Must admit i became partial to Leo beer & would more often request that & was always the cheapest. Changi was ok as well, is it obvious i didn’t mind what beer?.
Massage: Had 2 at amazing massage next to Gracelands, they were ok friendly girls. 300b
Laundry: Got my laundry done here as well 50b unironed, 80b ironed
Tours: Did a day tour with Mr Sam, Mr Sam is a nice man & let us set the itinerary i had emailed him my preffered itinerary but i forgot what it was but he took us to all the nice beaches, Rubber plantation, view points etc etc. Thru Rawai beach & Gypsy village, had lunch on the way to Big Buddha at Sea View point, lovely lunch of fresh seafood about 1500b for 5 people. Mr Sam has a great sense of humour & it was a great day. Would probably split the tour over 2 days next timeas it was exhausting.
The highlight of whole trip was the 2 tours we did with Simba. The 1st was to Phang Nga bay. When i told the kids & my wife that we had to be out the front at 7:15am for the pick they gave me that look that said are you kidding? But what a day, everything that is said about samba is so true, from the morning tea of freshly baked Banana cake & fresh fruit , the smorgasboard of lunch at Sea Gypsie village, to the home made cookies at afternoon tea. The abundance of drinks on board, the professionalism of the boat crew, the amazing & funny Lek & the knowledge & passion of Geoff for the area. The trip & sights were just amazing, sea canoeing thru hongs, caves how Simba beat all the other boats so we got to see the sights before the mass tourists came in their boats. There is not enough superlatives to describe the day. We only had 14 on the boat including Tanya & Gerry from Alice springs, & John & Clare from England. Both couples were also Trip advisors. We discovered that we were also doing the Phi Phi Islands tour together. Poor John, jumped off the plane from England, got his bathers on & sunbaked, he was glowing red. So sore, we all had a good laugh at him. But he is great bloke but can’t dance .
I didn’t think the Phang Nga bay tour could be beaten but Simba did it again 2 days later on the Phi Phi Islands tour. This time with Jenny. She has a passion for Phi Phi & the snorkelling. We had never snorkelled before & were just amazing doing it. Again the whole day was just perfect from doing bombs in a secluded lagoon to snorkelling on reefs in beautiful, warm & clear waters. Beautiful home baked lunch of Quiches, salads, banana breads & fruits on a secluded beach. To the final stop where we could enjoy a beer. It was 39deg this day. I cannot recommend these 2 trips highly enough by Simba, don’t be sucked in by the cheapness of the ones on Beach Rd or your motels, we seen these boats coming into the beaches as we were leaving, with probably 35-40 people jammed in like sardines. Do yourselves a favour, do the research.
Beach: We spent most of our spare time at the beach in front of Gracelands, the best part of Patong beach. 100b a chair & there was 4 of us so it does add up, but we only did it 3 days. The chair boys look after you as well, great fruit shakes cold beers etc etc. Loved the parade of sellers. Fell in love with the fried chicken 50b for 2 pieces, fed the whole family for 200b what a bargain. Had the prawns another day they were good to.
Weather: It was hot, high 30’s most days 39deg & 40 deg. A storm come in at night a few times to cool things off but generally hot. It was even hot for the locals.
Getting around: If we went thru the foyer of Gracelands they would always get you a taxi that would take you to Junceylon, or OTOP for 200b, they would also try selling you day trips. Just go out the front of Gracelands across Beach Rd & get Tuk Tuk there, they will only charge 100b-150b
Bangla Rd: Our last night after a great meal at Nickis, we finally decided to take the walk, it was great fun. As we were passing the Aussie bar bumped into our Simba friends Tanya & Gerry, John & Clare & Tanya’s dad Craig who were having a drink at the Sunset bar so we settled in for a big night. We had a ball watching the parade of people walking by, Lady Boys. It was a great night & they are great people & we will keep in touch. So much fun. Of course i had a pancake & a night cap on the way home haha.
I hope I haven’t bored anyone; I have got so much information from this forum I hope I can contribute back.
I will say that i thought the pancakes were better in Koh samui, probably get shot for that.
Thanks for reading