The land of pretty islands and night life!
View at dusk from Patong beach
This post has been delayed for quite long. Infact I wanted to note down in Nov 2015 right after our trip so that we can refer back in future. We chose Phuket as our next holiday destination due to 3 main reasons, it is very near to Singapore, it has pristine beaches and our love for Thai food. Thai is our favorite cuisine after Indian of course. Thai Baht was at the lowest during that time. Tip: convert your currency in Singapore, Arcade mall at Raffles gives good rates]
After deciding on the location the next step is to book the flights. Air Asia announced a sale during the same time so we were able to grab tickets for 2 with luggage and meals for $300. Not bad!! Next step is to book the hotel. Patong has a happening nightlife and is always crowded. We knew we wanted to stay away from the hustles of Patong but not too far either. We have been following Expedia, Agoda and TripAdvisor for deals and to our luck Best Western Patong was listed on Groupon. We booked a 5D4N stay for $180 (price after shop back and credit card discount). Follow the link here to get $5 cashback and 10% savings on travel websites.
Phuket is far more than its beaches and food. Infact there are quite a number of places to visit in Phuket. We read from many blogs that taxis and tuk tuks can be expensive and hard to find if you wanted to go from one place to another, so we decided to hire a private driver. We found Phuket SRC travel through Tripadvisor. We decided on them because 1) Their online prices seemed cheaper than others. 2) They were prompt in replying to emails. 3) They had whatsapp which made communication easier. Chai, the owner is a very friendly guy. His charges to pick and drop at Patong from Airport was 1200 Baht(to and fro) which is a good price as even the airport taxis quote the same. We booked him over an email and didn’t pay any advance. Another cheap alternative is to book the mini van from the airport but they take longer as they drop passengers on the way.
Our flight bound to Phuket was at 11 am and return was at 9 am. We flew by Air Asia, my first time with this carrier. It was a short flight of 2 hrs and the experience was good. We landed in Phuket at 1 pm. Immigration was brisk because we had a completed immigration form with us. It costed us around 1200 Baht each for a 1 month tourist visa. After collecting our luggage we found a free sim card counter by True Mobile. It already came with a value of 20 Baht which is sufficient for local calls and data access for a 5 day trip. There are many currency exchange centers in the Airport though the rate was not good compared to Singapore. Our taxi arrived in a short while.
Now Phuket is one destination where you don’t need much planning to do. We didn’t have any itinerary as such. It is flocked with tourists all through the year, one lazy walk through the streets of Patong will gain you enough information about the things to do and sights to see in Phuket. This being our first trip we had made plans to visit Maya bay, Phi Phi islands, Big Buddha, Fantasea show, Promthepcape and Tiger Kingdom.
We arrived at our hotel Best Western at Patong in a short while. It was close to check in time so staff readily brought us to our room. We stayed in the 7 th floor closest to the pool.
Best Western Patong is a fairly new hotel we could smell the fresh paint and is conveniently located. It roughly takes around 5-7 min walk to the beach and is away from the bustling streets. It is less crowded, there is a gym and a pool on the roof which was pretty nice to relax. A lot of good restaurants are at walkable distance. Since we had our lunch in the flight we thought of going for an early dinner. Tripadvisor gave us enough options to try around Patong and all were excellent. We walked towards Patong beach with the help of google map and it was pretty easy to find our way without asking anyone. After hanging out for a while in the beach we went to Euro Thai Restaurant. We found quite a few empty seats and guessed we landed at the wrong place. But the crowd started coming in a while later and by the time we finished our dinner there was an entire beeline outside the restaurant. Pretty good service from a small restaurant. After dinner we walked to Jungceylon, the biggest shopping mall in Phuket. But by 9 most of the shops were closed. It is at a 10 min walk from our hotel.