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gardkarlsen Phuket - A travel report by Gard
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Phuket,  Thailand - flag Thailand -  Phuket
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gardkarlsen's travel reports

A week in Phuket

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Phuket travelogue picture
In September 1998 I went to Thailand together with my wife. We started in Bangkok, flew down to Phuket, flew to Koh Samui and then we went back to Bangkok.

Favourite spots:
Phuket travelogue picture
Phuket is a real tourist machine and you can find Norwegian and German bars. But we did enjoy our stay there and there is lots of stuff to do.

What's really great:
Phuket travelogue picture
We went snorklling at Phi Phi and that was a pretty nice experience. ANd even if we went there in the wet season we still had pretty good weather.

Sights:
Phuket travelogue picture
Simon Cabaret, Phi Phi islands, Patong Horror show

Accommodations:
Phuket travelogue picture
We stayed at Patong Bay Garden Hotel and it is located as the name indicates on Patong beach. And when I say on Patong beach I mean on the beach. When I stepped out of the room I had 5 meters to the swimming pool and about the same to get to the beach. The room itself was pretty boring and there was a lack of windows. There should have been a view to the beach.

Other recommendations:
Phuket travelogue picture
We flew with Thai airways to Phuket in the south of Thailand. There are lots of flights to this island each day so getting a ticket was no problem. I had booked and bought my tickets back home ion Norway being afraid that there was a space problem. But it was a big airplane that took us down south. In Phuket I had booked a hotel using asiatravels again. When I first booked it they demanded that I should “hand in” my VISA number and I said no. They confirmed by saying that I could come anyway. But when I arrived there was a bit of confusion cause they were not expecting me. But when I showed them a print out of the mails I got a room and I got it for the same rate that was stated on the asia travel pages. The hotel was Patong Bay Garden Hotel and it is located as the name indicates on Patong beach. And when I say on Patong beach I mean on the beach. When I stepped out of the room I had 5 meters to the swimming pool and about the same to get to the beach. The room itself was pretty boring and there was a lack of windows. There should have been a view to the beach. But most of the time is not spent inside the room when you are on vacation anyway. The price for this junior suite was 1500 baht per night including breakfast. The location of the hotel was also great in relation to the nightlife in Phuket. When we stepped out of the door at the hotel we were in the middle of the noisy and flashing main beachroad. I would describe Phuket, or let me rephrase that, I would describe Patong beach on Phuket as a mans dream. Or maybe a place that brings out the boy in a man. During the day there are lots of activities. You can rent a water jet (for about 600-800 baht) for half an hour and go wild in the waves. Or you can rent a bog motorcycle (even if you don’t have a license) and drive around the island. Or you can rent a big 4 by 4 and go around the island. There was also parasailing on Patong beach, possibility to rent small bikes or just walk around looking at all the locals selling t-shirts, small lasers and so on. At night Patong beach turns into a heaven of lights. The stores and street vendors don’t close even if it gets dark and the clock is past 9-10 at night. There are lots of different restaurants to choose from both Thai food and European food. There was quite a lot of European restaurant, there was even a Norwegian pub/restaurant called the Viking Garden. According to my guidebook the best Thai food can be found in Phuket town but we didn’t check out that. We stayed in Phuket from the 6th to the 12th. While we were there we got to do the following:

Simon Cabaret: it is basically a dragqueen show and it was pretty good. Tickets can be bought more or less everywhere (from hotels to streetvendors). The show has got both funny acts and more traditional miming. The setting were great by the way. After the show the “actors” came out in the street so that that the audience could take photos of them. But I felt kinda “odd” when they started crawling all over me asking for change. I guess I’m just not used to that from back home.

Phi Phi islands: we took a one day trip to Phi Phi islands. The folder had a detailed programs (operating with 30 minutes schedules) but that turned out to be just a con show. But I still think that the trip was worth the 550 baht per person that we paid. We got picked up from the hotel at about 7 am in the morning. We were taken to the pier near Phuket town. The boat was really crowded with people going out to the islands. We came to the island (Phi Phi ley) at about 10. There we had “free time” till about 11.30 when we were given lunch on a local restaurant. Then we had free time again until about 1 pm when we were taken by a smaller boat to a snorkeling place near by. The snorkeling was OK (I’m not used to much), snorkeling gear was included on this trip. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed staying on Phi Phi. There seemed to be a lack of things to do (at least for me) and the main beach and the area seemed to be quite ugly. I’m sure that there are very nice and quite deserted beaches around on the island. We returned to Phuket at about 2.30 and we were taken back to the hotel.

Patong Horror show: They have turned a big house into a horror show and my girlfriend likes horror movies so we decided to go and take a look. And it turned out to be a great success (at least for my girlfriend :-) WE were taken into a dark room and a person came in and told us the basic rules for the rest of the “trip” the rules included no running, walking in line and so on. Inside we walked from room to room, all very dark with live actors in them. We were sent into scenes from The exorcist, Psycho, Frankenstein and so on. And they all seemed to escape their cages when we had gotten into the room. My girlfriend got pretty shook up about the whole thing so when we came to the finale we had to ask one of the “clerks” to let us out the back door. I guess the whole thing depends on your ability to live into this horror show.

Rent a car: we rented a car for about 6 hours and we drove of to take a look at the island. We drove past Karon beach, Kata beach going south and then towards the east coast of the island. We drove to the Phuket aquarium and it was barely worth the 20 baht the we had to pay to get into see the few fish that were in there. We also managed to get a bit lost driving around in Phuket town but we managed to get on the right path again. We only had a tourist map but we managed pretty good just using that. We stopped by one of the national parks and we walked a few minute to get to a waterfall. Remember that they drive on the left hand side of the road in Thailand and that the cars have the steering wheel on the “wrong” side of the car. It is not difficult to drive this way, it only takes a few minutes to get used to it. Look out for the locals that drive like “crazy” on their small bikes, you never know if they pass you on the left hand side or the right hand side.

Go-kart: my girlfriend and myself like to have stuff to do when we are on vacation so we tried the local go-kart track as well. We were the only two driving so I guess business was kinda slow. I think the price was about 300 baht for about 10 minutes.

Minigolf: There is a great minigolf course on Patong beach. Look for the adds in the maps that you can find in your hotel. I think there were 36 holes, some of them were fairly easy.

The rest of the time was just spent having a good time. We walked around during the day and looked at the street vendors, we went swimming in the ocean and in the swimming pool. The weather varied a lot from splashing rain to blue skies. But the temperature was pretty stable around 30 degrees. We ate out every night and we had all from Pizza at the restaurant called Pizzadelic (also has a internet cafe) to Old Siam on Karon beach which serves good Thai food in lovely surroundings. Food is pretty cheap in Thailand compared what I’m used to back home in Norway. The main dishes was between 200-300 baht. And drinking alcohol was also very cheap compared to what I’m used to. A beer brewed in Thailand (Singha or Carlsberg) was about 80 baht and imported beer like Corona was about 120-140 baht.

I think Phuket was great. The beach and the night life so close to each other. Yes there are lots of red light bars around here but you can also find “straight” bars. The street vendors can be a bit of a nucense but I just smiled at most of them and said no to the in a very polite way. But they try very hard to sell you stuff if you show a bit of interest. A street vendor “attack” my girlfriend one night and tried very hard to sell her a sarong. She didn’t want any so she kept saying no and tried to walk away. The price started on 650 baht but by the time we walked off he was down to 150 so I guess you can say that there is room for bargaining. There are lots of tuk-tuks around on the beach just waiting to take you around. They charged about 20 baht per person to drive us around on Patong beach.

On the 12th we went to Phuket airport to go to Koh Samui.

Published on Monday January 6th, 2003


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