Phuket Day 1: Arriving Phuket

13-7-09 Monday

11:15 Took firefly from Penang to Phuket. Practiced thai language on the flight.


In Pa Tong or main tourist points, most of them could speak English. However, when I was in Phuket town and other remote areas, some basic thai language did really help.

Basic Thai Language:
Hello. Sawat-dee-khrab(for male)/Sawat-dee-kaa(for female)
How much is this? Ra ka thao rai?
It’s expensive. Paeng bai
Can you make it cheaper? Lot noi dai mai?
Delicous. Ah roi.
Thank you. khob-kun-khrab(for male)/khob-kun-kaa(for female)

After you asked ra ka thao rai(how much is this), you must be able to understand their answer. For that, you need to know thai numbers. It was quite fun when you found yourself being able to communicate in thai language.

Thai numbers:
1-10 nueng, song, sam, si, har, hok, jed, bad, gao, sib
11-20 sib et, sib song, sib sam, …… sib bad, sib gao, yee sib
21-30 yee sib et, yee sib song, ….. sam sib
100-900 neung roi, song roi, sam roi, …….bad roi, gao roi
1000-9000 neung pun, song pun, sam pun, …. Bad pun, gao pun
10000 neung muen

12:00 Arrived Phuket. Paid 550B for airport teksi to Pa Tong.

Airport transport:
Option1: Airport teksi, counter inside airport building. Listed price was 650B, we managed to negotiate to 550B. It was a Camry.
Option2: Private car, outside airport building. 450-550B.
Option3: Mini Van to Pa Tong, 150B per person, but have to wait for full car.
Option4: Car rental

True enough, the teksi driver stopped at one of the travel agent and the lady there tried to sell tour packages to us. After I told her that we had booked our packages earlier, she just let us go.

12:50 Checked in PopPa Palace Hotel, Pa Tong(N 07 53.755’ E 098 17.889’).

The hotel prices differ a lot for peak season(Nov-Apr) and off peak season(May-Oct). I managed to get a very good price from atsiam. PopPa Palace deluxe room was rated 1800B in their website, but atsiam price was only 1000B. Speaking of it, I would also like to give credit to atsiam. Due to certain reason, I had to postpone my trip from Apr to July. They were willing to change the date with no charge. On top of that, their email replies were always fast and efficient.

PopPa Palace website said they are small but luxurious hotel. That was not true. It was actually a 5-storey hotel(scare not, they have lift) with a very big lobby and a swimming pool. For 1000B, I got an air-conditioned double room with balcony. The room had a 1-door refrigerator(not mini bar), safety box and all the basic requirements. Balcony was good to have as you can hang your wet clothes after coming back from the beach or island.


welcome drink when we checked in


Swimming pool was small, but I had no chance of using it.

Hotel and hotel lobby


Internet access was available in the lobby at 50B for 50mins.


Clockwise from top left: bathroom basin; corner of the room; beach towels were provided; queen bed

Glad that the bathroom was big enough with wet area partition


balcony

13:20 Walked to Jungceylon Mall(N 07 53.683’ E 098 17.959’) which was 200m from our hotel. Had lunch at Fuji Japanese Restaurant.

Fuji Japanese Restaurant was a famous chain restaurant with 50 over branches in Thailand. It was famous for a fast, cheap and good Japanese meal. However, I found that only the set meal was cheap, the ala-carte dish was not. At the end, we ordered 2 different special set and one matcha milk shake. Luckily the food was good and our first lunch bill came to a total of 539B.


Fuji restaurant had nice food display outside their restaurant

extensive menu

We ordered the top left item in these two pages, beef steak lunch set(150B) and Fuji bento shashimi set with chawan mushi(220B).


For drink, we ordered matcha milk shake. It was rather expensive, almost the price of a value set.

Did the food look exactly the same as in the menu?

Left: If you like matcha ice-cream, then you would like this matcha milk shake too.
Right: We did not know that drink was included in the set. Options were coffee, tea or lemon tea.


Complimentary fruit served when we asked for bill.

14:45 Walked around Pa Tong. Bought a pair of beach sandal and booked tour packages.

I was paying 3900B for the below packages to Phuket Coconut Travel(62, Bang La Road). Well, I know I did not get the lowest price. However, it was quite time consuming to bargain from one travel agent to another. So, I gave in after a few attempts.

Tour #1: Fantasea with returned transportation
Tour #2: Khai island full day by speed boat
Tour #3: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond island canoe full day

Few things to note when choosing island packages:
1. Destination
Similan, Phi Phi island, Phang Nga Bay & James Bond island, Khai island are the top tour packages in phuket. Note that Similan is closed from May 15th to Nov 1st every year. For Phi Phi island tour, you could choose only Phi Phi island or Phi Phi island plus Khai Nok island.

2. Transportation
There are normally two, speed boat or cruise. Speed boat is faster, but not recommended for tourists with motion sickness.

3. Maximum number for tour group
This is some how related to #2. The bigger the group, the cheaper the package, and vise versa.

4. Free time
Free time here referred to time given in different visiting points. During this time, you could swim, snorkeling, sunbath or relax on the beach. I was quite particular about this as I wanted a real holiday, and not just a photo taking trip.

5. Package inclusive
Check if round trip transfer from hotel, insurance, buffet lunch, snack between lunch, life jacket, mask and snorkel were covered in the package.


Left: one of the patong shop; Phuket Coconut Travel

Updated 22/7/09:
I noticed that most of the download activities from my blog are menu photos. I guess many of you out there, just like me would normally judge a restaurant by looking at their menu, or would like to have some preview of the meal. ;) The fuji menu that I had uploaded earlier can not be enlarged. Therefore, I am going to upload them again. And there are more to come for this Phuket trip. However, it would be great if you could drop me some messages or comments when you find anything useful in my blog. That is going to be a great motivation.

Fuji menus










3 comments:

Edwin

Walauyeah, why do you keep showing the menu instead of the food?

soo sean

cos I do not have a big stomach to order more. :p

Jamie in Phuket

Oh yes, Fuji rocks! We love it, those steak lunch sets are great value.