I went on the Immigration website on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. For some obscure reasons, my visa extension was still refused. Well don’t worry, we’ll go for a trip in a neighbouring country. However this time , I would not be going into a concrete jungle, I guessed the beach would be a much relaxing choice.
I came across Tiger Airways website; a budget carrier based in Singapore. It specializes in South-east Asia and Australia destinations. Phuket and Koh Phi Phi in Thailand caught my attention – a roundtrip from Singapore for $ 10 sing dollars : $ 10 to go sunbathing at nicest beaches. Well, when you include the taxes , airport fees and insurance, it all added up to $ 140 dollar Singapore which is about USD $100. It was relatively cheap. We can barely afford the bus fare to the next city in many countries around the world for that price. Sometimes, well often,I love the fact that I live in this small dot on the map called Singapore.
No time for elaborate planning, the flight was the next afternoon. It was a one hour and half flight to Phuket; the largest island in Thailand. I went on the Hostelworld website to find a room at discounted rates. I had to set my trip quickly and cheaply. I decided to go with Phuket Backpacker Hostel which is about 250 baht (approximately 8.50 U.S). a night to have my bed in an air conditioning dorm.
Reservations made on Hostelworld are really affordable only 10% of the total invoice is charge to our credit card and 2 $ for service fee. Their site is really well made. You can visit the hotels of the city chosen and find pictures of the place, the specifications of the facility and more.. It also allows us to see the percentage of satisfaction of previous customers and their comments to validate our choices. Long live Hostelworld , I’m going in Thailand!
The 2 hours flight on Tiger Airways seemed like an eternity to me. I ordered vodka orange juice to celebrate my quick holiday. “What? $ 9 with a crap quality orange juice?” Now we understood where does all the financing come from . There is always an option for anything :online check-in – $ 6, insurance- $ 15 , seat near the front- $ 20 … they are so close to offer the choice of the colour of the life jacket .
On arrival we flew over the industrial area of Phuket and it looked nothing like what we usually see in a postcard. Fish farms and industries of all kinds on barren soil. The walk from the aircraft to customs was stifling and it made us dream of white sandy beaches of Thailand that were awaiting. I was looking for a ride to my hotel that matched my poor financial situation. The cheapest possible would be appreciated; you must be patient when you do not want to pay, especially in an airport. The typical taxi ride cost about $ 20 US not too pricey, but for Thailand it is considered expensive. I found the bus stop recommended by the hostel. 85 baht or less than $ 3 US
We had to wait an hour for the next bus so I practiced my rusty Thai a little with local workers. I boarded the bus, to my surprise, it’s fully pack. I was standing very close to the exit and I squeezed myself in the middle every time someone wanted to alight. My super “Crocs” were caught in the door and threatened to split my poor toes, I pulled a good shot and presto! It was more fear than hurt … the bus was filled to the brim, but the driver insisted on entering for a Guinness record. It stopped at every street corner to pick up more people. Welcome to Thailand “Mai pen rai” no problem , welcome aboard, squeeze in!.
1 hour later I arrived at Phuket Town, the main city of the island where you pay less for everything and hotels. It may be better to pay slightly more and stay in front of a beach and away from traffic. The city seems a good size with its shopping facilities and infrastructures that are comparable to any modern cities of Thailand. It is a small Bangkok in the middle of a paradise island. The architecture of old Phuket town contains the remains of the colonial empires that navigated this important exchange point in the middle of India and china business road .
The Phuket Backpackers Hostel welcomed me nicely, first I visit the facility, a courtyard with tables and little greenery, a lounge with cable TV and 3 sofas several Internet-connected computers available for free, clean showers and air-conditioned dormitory from 18:30 to early morning. Everything was ok, there’s a free guided tour of the nigh market organized by the hostel. Why not, I’ll be able to know people and not get lost in the city. We were a small group of about 10 people; we quietly went to the market located about 15 minutes walk from our hotel.
The streets were busy and alive, we walked along illuminated temples, restaurants, several small shops and a donation post to help people who have suffered from natural disasters such as the Tsunami of 2004. Thais are really supportive when they have a cause dear to their hearts as we saw with the tragic events linked to the red shirt action in Bangkok.
Nothing better to bite into a new place that the public market. If we dare to venture, there’s surprising discoveries. The market was crowded on this Sunday evening. All around the place there were hundreds of motorbikes parked. Our guide made us discover and taste exotic products accompanied by dynamic relevant, funny fact and explanation. Sticky rice mango, tropical fruits, BBQ of all kinds, fishballs, pig organ soup, our senses were really busy at their maximum. A circus of colour, light, sweet and bizarre. We must get out of our usual comfort zone and volunteer to taste grilled silkworms. I was eating worms like potato chips until I began to feel sick. Hurry , a cold beer quickly to get everything back to normal. Aside from a gastronomic orgy you can go shopping at hundreds of stalls offering shoes, t-shirt, crafts, jewels and teddy bear. It’s up to you to lose your head or stay within your budget.
Arriving at the hostel, I asked my new Japanese friend if I could accompany her on a one day “speedboat” cruise in the Phuket archipelago to the Kho Phi Phi island. For this perfect day, the reception of the hostel took care of everything for us. We paid about 1,500 baht all inclusive( about $ 40 US).
They picked us up around 7:30 am at our hostel; we picked other customers before going to the marina for departure at 8:30am. Guides speaking funny but functional English briefed us about the day. We chose our snorkelling equipment and we went aboard a comfortable yacht that could be called a luxury sea bus. The sun was shining; in early October Phuket was not in his warm season.
The breeze from the sea, the views of the turquoise waters and old rock formations provided an instant large smile to thirty people on board. We sailed for about 45 minutes to cross the 50 kilometers to Koh Phi Phi, the boat behaved very well. No serious reason to be seasick.
We arrived at our first virgin island, a real postcard, a bay surrounded by rock bathed in emerald green water. Unfortunately, the crowd brought in by the dozen tour boats filled the entire beach and ruined the perfect landscape we had dreamed before leaving. This island was used for filming some part of the movie The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio. We totally understand why. The island has a small path through the jungle. You can walk to explore the Viking Cave, a place where some native collect bird nests to make the delicate gourmet soup. It’s still weird soup. .. not! ..
You can rent tents and spend the night if you want fulfill the adventure. We stop a little on the edge of the Monkey Beach (Monkey Bay on Koh Phi Phi Donpour) we observed the monkeys, which are real little devils. Perched in their tree they tried to take everything they could, one girl from our boat came forward to try to feed them, but a monkey up in the tree decided to go to the WC at the same time. That was close a golden shower.
Finally, “Phi Phi Island” Island: the second largest after Phuket, a small paradise island that unfortunately suffered from a massive influx of visitors by boats like the one I came on. God forgive me, the first small alley on clay in front of the beach is full of small shops for tourists,Souvenir shops, surf shops, diving shops, tattoo parlours, and snake charmers offering tourist to take a picture with his snake for a few dollars. We were invited to a buffet, the dishes were very common and not too for tourists in tiny swimsuit “speedo”. We had no time to visit the island, there seemed to be lots of beautiful wild places on this island and the surrounding archipelago. If you have time, take a small hotel for a day or two to explore this lonely corner of paradise. Our guide was shouting loud in his loudspeaker, it’s time to leave. He’s lucky to be in Thailand, elsewhere in my opinion it would eventually swallow it before the end of the tour.
We stopped 30-45 minutes at the famous Hin Klang Reef for snorkelling, I put on the mask and snorkel, it was a little uncomfortable in their cheap equipment. I jumped with joy into the turquoise water, it was salty. and hot. I started to swim, I see thousands of colourful fishes in the crystal clear water. The Japanese jumped without a life jacket began to panic. The crew from the boat launched a lifejacket to her from the boat. I had to play the role of a lifeguard for a minute, helping her to put on the life jacket at full speed, everything was under control. We explored the reef for another half an hour.
Aboard the boat to sail one last time to Khai Nai Island a tiny island that offers superb deck chairs, umbrellas and refreshments. Well it’s time to relax and quietly enjoy a little tequila sunrise.The workers here are not too stressful they have large smiles on their faces and chilling in their hammocks.
It’s now 5:00 p.m. time to go back to Phuket. With tears in our eyes we bade goodbye to this dream place. A final 45 minute boat ride and we’re back at the hotel. Beautiful day, which passed by really quickly.
I woke up with a coffee in hand as the hotel guide announced anearly tour of the morning market just 2 minutes from our hostel. – “Why not? we will find another market and live the daily life of residents. you can find prepared meal as night market, but with many more fresh products and ingredients for cooking. Fresh fruit, chicken and pork cut into quarters still smouldering beneath your eyes, spices and seasoning of any kind. I have lot of respect for these people who spends the whole day with their hands in the chicken or fish . How can you smell good after all day work? It takes fuel base perfume. We continued tasting all sorts of weird food like this pink egg with a chick fetus inside. Hum stew! Some guys makes me even taste this Thai beer call Leo. Not bad, no stop guys I still have some beer from yesterday evening in my blood. The concrete floor was wet, my cheap rubber sandals “crocs” bought in laos made me slide and fall on my bum when I stepped on a puddle on the floor. I let myself drop easily to avoid damaging the camera that was hung around my neck. I stood up within a half second out of pride, my fingers are hurt, but I assured everybody that I was fine … !
What to do now, I will join the beach which is the primary purpose of visiting Phuket for a weekend. I took a motorcycle taxi at the station in front of the hostel. $ 7 US or 200 baht, twenty minutes to Patong Beach. A beautiful commercial beach in front of a little city populated by medium-scale and luxury hotels to the convenience of travellers. A real good place to be lost with gogo bar as a bonus, go karts, ATVs, paintball, called an activity for men in testosterone crisis is there …
I focused on the Patong beach and its extensive coastline. I started with a walk enjoying the view over the greenish sea. There were dozens of small bamboo establishments offering drink, food, umbrellas, surf kit, massage and lots of goodies at affordable prices. I stopped at a small restaurant with surfboards for rent and many other services including rooms- www.andamanseasurf.com. The owner is a nice rasta surf Thai married to a Swiss girl. I made conversation with a Portuguese who was here for weeks to surf before returning to his country. The waves were good. I do not surf at all so I just surfed the waves barefoot. Wow I love the waves. Why not Thai oil massage, oh the best one hour massage for $ 10 US in my life. My back was new and I was about to fall asleep in the sea breeze under the palm tree. Life is hard sometimes
2 hours driving the eyes wideshut to reach the other side of the island. The island had no river wide enough for the water sport. We arrived at the starting point, we put our things in a locker to avoid the getting them wet, chose a helmet, life vest and we got a small rafting. course The adventure scared me a little. The river is so small. It’s not even a spring in Canada. The guide said, “We must wait until they open the dam at 11 o’clock.” We heard the sound of the rising water and a dozen boats down the river at lightning speed. Quick, we want to go! We jumped into the action, it rocked just enough to be entertaining, the only problem was that there were nearly 50 boats together in a small river and it was congested. The 5 km of rafting went passed in a second, throughout our journey some guides from the adventure company was perched on the bridges along the way. They took pictures of us and offered to sell us the printed copies at our return to base camp. Thai’s really know how to rule the business. A typical tasteless buffet was served. They projected a video of our descent in the background.
People continued their afternoon with another activity like cycling, mountain biking or elephant trekking. I followed the group for an elephant ride. They are huge, but for me, they are delicate like babies, I think that these elephants are pitiful, I prefer to look. A girl who was with me during rafting had the chance to ride alone on the elephant’s neck supervised by the mahout who walked on one side. It’s more enjoyable to sit and enjoy the landscape. I sipped a Chang beer quietly, one of the elephants became agitated and looked at me straight in the eye. What’s going on? He likes beer too, ha gentleman is frustrated. He wants beer, no really! imagine an elephant drunk how much damage can he do. It’s time to go back to Phuket town. We made a stop to go watch the falls which were not at their best. The lack of rain, made the water level very low. I’ve seen much better natural beauty. I’m much more amazed by a 10 year old boy who already has a back covered with hair. Where is the father, there probably is a bear not far away ..!
Our last stop was at the monkeys temple. There was a strong smell around me, I looked at my sandals, the sole measured 3 inches thick of monkey shit. A chance that I realized it before boarding the minibus. Two hours drive with a smell of shit, I’d made no new friends.It was already dark, the traffic was dense, we forgot we’re on an island, it’s like being in the city, many endless traffic lights. The rafting was fun, but this entire road made me completely nuts … Rafting is good when you already near the jungle not on an island. Stick to activities near the sea especially if you’re like me compressed by time.
the taxi arrived to pick me up 7:50 500 baht or $ 15 for an hour ride to the airport. It’s raining, it’s dark and I am green, it’s about time to go home. Beautiful weekend, a bit too quick, but i’m not disappointed of my trip on this heavenly island, Thailand Is Up To You!
Localisation: Phuket Thailand
Phuket is the largest island of Thailand that is 48 km long and 21 km wide, located at 862 kilometers from the south of Bangkok and just before Malaysia. This island is on the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. It’s size is approximately the same as Singapore. Phuket formerly know for its tin mines and rubber production. It has been a major exchange point on the trade route between India and China. Today, the economy of this region relies heavily on tourism. Its quality international airport and his connecting bridge to the province of Phang Nga make an easy access for travellers from around the globe.
Recently, Phuket has received serious damage following the tsunami on the Indian Ocean in 2004, but little evidence of this event remains visible. Phuket is hot and humid all year long. The hot season is concentrated from March to early May. The raining season extends from May to October. Morning and afternoon are usually sunny and clear. The rain is more concentrated in the evening. The rain is heavy, but for short period of time. But on the bright side, it means there are less tourists and the prices are great.
Phuket is a mixture of Buddhist, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies. Most of the rural population is Muslim. It speaks a southern dialect. It is even difficult to understand for a Thai, the rest of the island uses a basic English and the same Thai’s as Bangkok. like in the most country of Asia, people do not like losing face. Become mad or angry will be useless. Stay calm and take deep breaths when needed. Smile life is beautiful on Phuket island.
Only a few Phuket Town has no beach access
– Phuket Town – are the administrative center of the province and the most densely populated of the island. Its residents are Muslim in majority. You find the most affordable price of the island, but no beach.
– Chalong Bay – on the east coast, is the home of the marina and the Marine door to enter the phuket archipelago
– Bang Thao (Laguna Beach) – Long, very quiet beach
– Cape Panwa – home of Phuket Aquarium
– Kalim Beach – a series of small beaches at the north of Patong
– Kamala Beach – a quieter beach north of Patong
– Karon Noi and Karon Beaches – the 2nd most developed beaches after Patong
– Kata Yai Beach – busy tourist, clean and good place for surfing
– Laem Sing – small bay with stunning views
– Mai Khao (Sai Kaeo) – near the airport, very quiet (except for airplanes)
– Nai Thon and Nai Yang – 2 quiet beaches in the Sirinat “National Park”
– Patong Beach - The location of the main resorts, best known for his nightlife a little wild (a small Pattaya).
– Rawai, Mittraphap and Laem Ka – starting point for the surrounding islands, popular among the people to come eat seafood on the beach. There are dozens of small islands (koh) between Phuk
– Ko Bon – 10 minutes from Rawai, this island is perfect for a day of snorkeling and resting
– Ko Hae (Coral Island)15 minutes of “speedboat” from Chalong Bay
– Ko Lon – quiet island with very few Muslim bungalows and no pig (pork)
– Ko Mai Thon – beautiful island with only one expensive place to stay
– Ko Racha (Raya Ko) – 2 islands (Noi and Yai), popular for diving and snorkeling
– Ko Sire (The Ko Si) – Sea Gypsy colony, Connected to the mainland by a bridge
Scuba diving, snorkeling, Snuba, yachting, jet-skiing, surfing and parasailing are the most popular sports on the island. Most dive sites are locatedaround the small islands nearby. There are a multitude of dive shops and boat at your disposal along Chalong pier. Look for more local information on safety tips and rates of various expeditions possible. It is also possible to swim, rent a surfboard, to the deep sea fishing and kayaking. Plenty of activities awaiting you the choice is unlimited. your only obstacles are time and money
– Phuket Aquarium is located Cape Panwa , this tropical aquarium offers a wide variety of fish and corals.
– The Crocodile Farm: Watch workers feed his ferocious carnivores that are Crocodiles and alligators
– FantaSea: Often compared to the Disneyland of Southeast Asia. Is the ultimate family entertainment.
– The Butterfly Farm: home of 40 species of butterfly native of Thailand.
– Chalong Temple: Visit the ancient temple of Phuket which housed the monks who helped people during the Chinese rebellion.
-Waterfalls: Explore the largest waterfalls in Thailand, especially astounding during the rainy season. The largest measures 10 meters.
Do not miss its activities:
Rapidly gaining in popularity around the world, this show is something to behold. Visit Saphan Hin Stadium in Phuket City to see programs of professional fights.
for over 18 years old who did not faint of heart, show up in color. Lots of disco, gogo-bar ladyboy crazy keep the smile …! hello … your welcome
A small island on the east side of Phuket, connected by a bridge to the big island. 1 km after the bridge you will see the place where the Thais are going to feed the monkeys, beware
Watch your bags monkey are really evil.
Can be drawn with different guns, watching the spectacle of a snake and play paintball game with friends.
If you like it Phuket has some quality golf courses.
Thrill-seeker jump over a river in a colorful decor[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT3xuctANvk[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESldStIKh6Q&feature=related[/youtube]
This post is also available in: French