I went to Phuket for a 4 days 3 nights trip with Pakcik last week. Since September is the low season in Phuket, we actually saved quite a bit on airfare and hotel room. We went via Jetstar airway and paid only $152 per pax for a return ticket. Unfortunately, it happened to be school holidays in Singapore last week so that plane was filled with hyperactive kids and can’t-be-bothered-parents. Luckily the flight was only 1 hour 50 mins, otherwise my head would explode from the noise the kids made.
This trip was supposed to be planned by Pakcik, but as expected, he didn’t. Other than booking the hotel room, everything else was impromptu.
Upon arriving at the Phuket airport, we got a cab from the counter outside the airport. It costs 800 baht for a cab to Patong area. We paid the money to the staff at the counter and a driver was assigned to us. The driver drove us to a tour agency where he excused himself and claimed that he had to sign some documents before proceeding to drive us to Patong. While he was away, a lady from the travel agency entered the cab and started introducing travel/activities packages to us. When we rejected her offer, she went on to offer an airport transfer at 800 baht for our departure day.
Obviously the driver had some connections with this travel agency and could probably earn some commission if we agree to their offers. We didn’t like the idea and rejected the lady. The driver then returned to the cab and drove us to Patong. Thankfully, we got this cab from the counter instead of any roadside cab. At least the driver is licensed and we didn’t have to risk any kind of extortion other than just some friendly offers. I am not suggesting that it’s dangerous to take cab in Phuket. It’s just better to play safe when we are in a foreign country, be it a well-developed or developing country. Even in Singapore, we still have cabs overcharging passengers when it is illegal to do so.
Anyway, other than taking a cab, you can opt for a mini van at 150 baht per pax to Patong.
The ride to Patong was about an hour and we were too early for hotel check-in. Leaving our luggage at the hotel, we headed to the Black Canyon cafe next door for lunch.
Black Canyon is one of my favourite cafés in Thailand. The Black Canyon Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea are my favourites. I shared the iced coffee with Pakcik while we waited for our food to be served.
The Tom Yum Goong is another must try item on the menu. The one I had in Bangkok had bigger prawns and the soup is less oily.
Similarly, the Phad Thai I had in this branch is too soggy and not as good as Bangkok’s.
The fried fish fillet with katsu fried rice is pretty good. The rice is very fragrant and I love the crispy fried fish.
It’s not expensive to dine in Black Canyon. The total bill for our lunch was only around 480 baht.
After lunch, the hotel staff informed that our room is ready and allowed us to check-in 2 hours earlier than the usual time. I guess that’s the advantage when we travel during off peak season. Centra Ashlee Patong hotel seems quite popular among tourists, even the China flight attendants stayed in this hotel. I guess 1750 baht per night with breakfast included is quite a competitive price. Also, it’s only 5 mins walk to the beach and 15 mins walk to Jungceylon shopping mall and Bangla street.
Our room is at level 6 and the 42 sqm room is clean and comfy.
I like the idea of providing both soft and firm pillows because I like soft pillows while Pakcik prefers firm ones.
The bathroom is very spacious and the clear glass allows you to watch TV (TV can be tilted to face the bathroom) while soaking the the bathtub.
Apart from the bathtub, there is a separate shower area and wardrobe is accessible from both the toilet and room.
The little balcony comes with chairs and tables for us to sit, have a drink and enjoy the view of the streets. For the 3 nights, there were fireworks and I could watch it from the balcony.
For the first day, we spent most of the time exploring the streets in Patong and shop in Jungceylon mall. We had late dinner at a seafood place named “You & Me” located just 1 block away from our hotel.
We had the omelette with minced pork and mixed veggies in it. There is a choice of chicken, beef, pork or seafood for the filling of the omelette. The seafood place is quite flexible with the menu, so the we can order the dish and specify the way to cook or the ingredients in it.
I was expecting sambal kangkong but it ended up being stir fried kangkong with mushroom and oyster sauce. I must say the cook is pro in cooking veggies. The wok hei is awesome and the veggie is nicely cooked but still retains its crunchiness. Anyway, they called it morning glory instead of kangkong.
I must say this is the best pineapple rice I have ever eaten. The rice is so fragrant and the cook added a bit of curry powder to enhance its flavor. The seafood in it is very fresh and the pineapple is so sweet. Love it lots!
There are plenty of seafood, including lobster, available at this stall. You can choose the seafood, weigh them and then decide the way to cook it. Although it is not the cheapest place to dine, but I would consider it very affordable at Patong area. Our dinner including a large bottle of beer only cost us 680 baht.
Breakfast buffet is served at the cafe beside the hotel lobby. The buffet selection is quite limited but the quality is pretty good. They have salads, bread, cereals, fruits, pastries, bacon, sausage, pancakes, cooked items, and eggs. I am happy as long as there is an egg station for breakfast. Being greedy, I actually ate scrambled eggs and a sunny side up~
After breakfast, we took a stroll along the beach. I find Patong beach a bit too commercialised and the water isn’t that clear compared to other beaches.
I played the parasailing (1300 baht) and its pretty cool to see Patong from the sky. The approximately 8 mins ride was very stable and enjoyable although kinda pricey.
Next, we hired a driver (600 baht) to bring us to the shooting range.
We paid 890 baht for Caliber .22 rifle with 10 bullets.
It was my first time firing a real rife. Pretty cool, I must say. Having learnt some tricks from archery lesson during my school days, I ended up with quite good shots.
The instructor calculated and I scored 82% for the 10 bullets. =)
Isn’t it great for a first-timer?
Pakcik who served 2.5 years of national service and entered the officer cadet school only scored 65%. LOL~
I think he is pretty embarrassed and kept blaming the rifle. Oh well… I showed him what’s girl power~
Next, we went to play go-kart (990 baht for 10 mins). All the facilities are in that area so we didn’t have to travel around.
I look awful in that shower cap and helmet. LOL~
Anyway, I was really lousy in go-karting. My average time per round is 1 min while Pakcik’s is 52 sec. =(
Lastly, we went for an ATV ride (990 baht for 30 mins).
As it rained in the morning, the track was mainly filled with mud and big puddles of water (plus some elephant poops). I was pretty much covered in mud after the 30 mins ride. And due to my poor vehicle maneuvering skill, I was stuck for 3 times during the journey and the guide had to stop his ATV and rescue me. LOL~
No more girl power after the rifle shooting. =P
Pakcik tried the clay pigeon shooting (1190 for 10 bullets) after the ATV ride.
It is quite hard to hit the target. Not only is the gun heavy, the target is moving fast and he had to anticipate where the target will be and shoot in advance to compensate the lag time. Pakcik hits 3 out of 10 targets and that was pretty good for a first timer.
After the games, the driver dropped us at Jungceylon mall. We had a cuppa rested in a cafe and then headed to MK restaurant for early dinner.
Having heard the MK has great roasted duck, I ordered a small serving of it to share. The duck is pretty good but certain part of the duck is a little tough.
The steamboat items are ala carte and kinda pricey. The total bill was 855 baht for these few items. Although the soup is good, I don’t really like it because of the MSG. I ended up thirsty for quite a while after dinner.
Later that night we went to Red Hot Club in Bangla Street for a drink. There is live band at night and I must say the artists are good.
I don’t think there is any restriction for bringing kids into the bar, so there was this very cute looking boy who really enjoyed the music and wanted to join them on stage with his toy guitar. Lol~
We rented a motorcycle from one of the hotels in Patong. It only cost 150 baht for 24 hours (excluding petrol) and we have to leave 1 passport at the hotel as deposit until we return the motorcycle. Buying petrol from the hotel or any stalls at the roadside is much pricier compared to the actual petrol station, but it offers convenience to the riders. Generally the petrol is kept in a glass bottle and sold at 40-50 baht (depending on the amount) each. We filled a total of 5 bottles for half the day but the petrol ran out quickly. In the end, we went to the petrol station to pump 100 baht worth of petrol and realised that it actually last us a lot longer than those sold at the roadside stalls. So my advice would be to get petrol from the petrol station.
I trusted my life in Pakcik’s hands because he said he learnt how to ride a bike before. Glad that I survived and didn’t end up in one of the cliffs or drains in Phuket. LOL~
Anyway, we took the route down the main road and found ourselves at Karon View Point after 20 mins.
It was really windy at the view point. From there, we could see the little islands and Karon beach. The scenery is just so awesome. I regretted not bringing my DSLR camera to Phuket and that’s the best I could get from my iphone camera.
It wasn’t long before it started to drizzle and we continued on our journey down Phuket. That’s when we were stopped by the police and was fined 500 baht for not carrying a driver license with us. Yep, it’s an offence to ride/drive with a valid driver license.
The rain got heavier after I settled the fine at the temporary police booth, and that’s when I saw the policemen called it a day. =___=”
If Pakcik had rode a bit slower, we wouldn’t have been caught. Sigh… guess we weren’t so lucky.
Since it was raining, we seek shelter at Art Caffe.
Pakcik ordered a Marocchino. It came in a tiny cup and with a cute heart.
I had the hot chocolate which is a comfort drink to have in rainy days.
We continued down the route and reached the Phromthep Cape viewpoint.
The view is really beautiful.
It’s so windy up there, even the dogs were sleeping soundly everywhere.
After that, we rode to Chalong area where we saw the road sign to the Big Buddha. There are 2 roads leading to the hill up to the Big Buddha. When we accidentally took the longer path which led us through the village before ascending up the hill. The road is very winding so we had to go slowly to avoid any accident. Tourists can also choose to ride an elephant or ATV up to the Big Buddha.
We donated a tile for the construction of the Big Buddha.
After visiting the Big Buddha, we headed back to our hotel. We got lost after leaving Chalong and had to depend on the GPS to guide us back to Patong. Both of us unknowingly got sunburned from the sight seeing trip.
We then went to the food court in Jungceylon mall for dinner.
The food court uses pre-paid card system, so we have to purchase a payment card from the counter and use it to pay for our food at the individual food stall. The remaining credit in the card is fully refundable on the day of card purchase.
I had tom yum goong (150 baht) again. The soup is good but slight salty. Although food prices are higher in the food court but the serving size is about 1.5x larger than usual.
I shared the stir fried pork with basil and rice (150 baht). This is my favourite Thai food and I told Pakcik that I will not leave Phuket without eating it. Lol~
We tried the mango with sticky rice (80 baht). The rice has a subtle pandan flavor and it tastes great with the sweet mango.
Post dinner dessert was ice cream at Swensen’s (128 baht).
Later that night I went for Thai massage (300 baht for 60 mins) at the basement of Jungceylon mall. Comparing the different types of massages (Balinese, Javanese, Swedish, Oil, Aromatic, etc.) I tried, I still prefer traditional Thai massage. It’s the only type that will really loosen my tensed muscles. Although it felt good to have my bones “cracked”, it’s kinda a bad idea to get a massage with the sunburn.
Since we had 3/4 tank of petrol left from day 3, we decided to go for a ride up north of Phuket. The route along the beaches is very winding but it has many stop points for photo taking.
Looking at the beautiful scenery, it is hard to imagine how much damage was done by the Tsunami in 2004.
Our flight was in the afternoon and we took a cab (800 baht) back to the airport.
Anyway, I did enjoy our stay in Phuket even though we didn’t visit the little islands. I guess my next beach holiday shall be in Boracay~