Monday, October 8, 2012

my travel notes: phuket, thailand

i have written quite a number of posts for phuket even if my experience was only squeezed into one weekend. i just hope i don't sound like a broken record if similar thoughts came trailing in these posts. and with that, i'd like to highlight what it was in me that phuket was like a whirlwind romance, sprinkled with sweet memories that unfortunately had to end quickly.

Aerial View of Phuket
Aerial View of Phuket

Was weekend all worth it?

phuket offered a good pause from my daily routine of my city life. it reminded me that two hours away from singapore, lies a presumed carefree life in a much slower pace with the beach, the sun and a bit of adventure in between.

if i had to do it again though, i would be choosing a last flight out from singapore which means i'll reach phuket at night. why? i'd like to do an island hopping to ko phi phi don. part of the reason i entrusted my phuket plans to the winds was when i found out that we couldn't make it to an island hopping which includes ko phi phi. usually, the tour would start at 8 in the morning and would reach back to phuket early evening. i even sent an email to a guesthouse if it would be possible to go straight to the jump off port from the airport but i got a disappointing "no" since 9AM as ETA would not make it to a 10AM tour kick off. we also couldn't do it the next day because our return flight was at 8PM unless teleportation was a real thing.

Phuket in July?

july is actually a recommended month to visit phuket. there are occasional rains during this month but phuket equally experiences bright sunshiny days within this time. we were lucky that we had the sun shining down on us the entire weekend. SPF50 with PA++ was all we had to battle out the sun scare. even if the sun can be a torture especially at noon, there is no doubt that photos look much better when the sun is in its full glory.

Sugar Palm Grand Hillside Hotel Phuket
Sugar Palm Grand Hillside Hotel 

on top of everything, july is a non-peak season which means hotels, island hopping tours and even food are at discounted rates. i booked sugar palm grand hillside, a 4-star hotel perched on a hill with an overlooking view of kata beach. the hotel is highly recommended for honeymooners as we were told by the man in the travel agency that we brushed aside. we had to quickly reason out that we're just friends before something would come across his mind. true enough, most of the hotel guests were couples.

our overnight stay only cost SGD 58.68 including taxes. there was one thing that seemed to be weird though. it was when we tried to suggest that we wanted a room in one of the lower floors and the ladies at the reception looked at each other as if something was not right. they actually offered us a free upgrade for i-don't-know-what reason and we then got a room with its own not-so private pool (since we shared it with the guests next to our room). the room was complete with amenities according to our poor man's standards, a good wi-fi coverage, an apple tv no less, a safety deposit box, a huge room with a bathroom that came with a bath tub. for us being girls, we liked it more because it had big mirrors in the right places.

one sacrifice that we had to make for having such a plush accommodation was the steep climb that we had to endure to get to our room. we only had one complimentary golf cart ride  all the way up after check-in and that was it. at least, we still have strong knees to scale the uphill challenge and it is a 5-minute jog (walk if you have long strides) to the beach!

Going solo or in group?

for me, i won't go for solo because transportation in phuket is expensive and i don't know how to drive a scooter. just give me a bicycle instead and i'll be fine. phuket is a big island that going around is not a walk in the park.

Kata beach, Karon beach or Patong beach?

kata beach really suited us just fine. we wanted a relaxing weekend and we had just that. although the night life in phuket with their famous shows is also something interesting. deferred to next time. well for karon, we caught a glimpse of its beach on our way to kata and it didn't appeal to us that much.

the waves in phuket are a challenge for non-swimmers and the only exciting thing closest to safety is to let the waves wash you back to the shoreline and then running again towards the sea for the strong waves. repeat until exhaustion.

Kata Beach, Phuket
Kata Beach, Phuket

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