Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vacation Part 1: Helloooo Phuket!

Oh hello there... I am back! Been away across the seas and here I am jet-lagging the holiday mood away. That's what happened when you let your mind rusticate. Excuses. How have you all been doing? I received two reminders over the weekend to not let the spiders take over and nest and multiply. Some sweet readers I have. Haha.

To sum it up: THAT was one of the longest and most relaxing holidays I've ever had. No emails to respond to (read and proceeded to ignore), no calls to pick up (official ones anyway), no pending tasks to worry over (all disseminated and re-assigned) and no one to answer to.

Anyway, the opening in brief:
Wishlist 1: Take a maiden trip overseas. - CHECKED!
Wishlist 2: Visit Phuket and its acclaimed beaches. - CHECKED!
Wishlist 3: Visit Bali and its acclaimed beaches. - CHECKED!
Wishlist 4: Country hopping! - CHECKED!
Wishlist 5: Bungee jumping - Put On Hold due to technical reasons. (Theirs, not mine)

It started with this fancy feeling of going holidaying away from the country because Cuti-Cuti Malaysia is getting overrated. Don't get me wrong, I love my country, but I have been to most places in my backyard for the past many years and while there are some still yet to be discovered, I think it was high time to fly further away from the nest. [Some of you may already have been everywhere else and this post is like 'nah... been there done that', well lovelies, this is just a sharing post and it just happens to be my biggest adventure yet. In other words, I don't really care what you think].

Then it started with this plan to go to Phuket because it's one of the nearest resort city. If you remembered, we started this Phuket Fund back in January. And it was all made possible by cheap promo airfares and awesome hotel deals, thanks to someone's grueling effort on checking the airline's website every waking hour. Such a rewarding endeavor considering flying cheap gives you extra budget to spend more when you get there.

Half full Phuket fund...

While we were all geared up on the subject of Phuket, a few weeks later, that same person suggested, why not divide that long days planned for Phuket to go to Bali too, since the flight tickets were also cheap? And that's how we found ourselves not just island hopping, but literally country hopping! RM600 per pax on a return deal, is a really good bargain if you asked me.

Le threesome...

So before I bore you... MORE ON THE TRIP

We stayed in this beautiful resort hotel I found in TripAdvisor and booked via Booking.com - Sea Sun Sand Resort and Spa. Actually there were like hundreds of other nice hotels but gut instinct told me this one sounds just nice with complimenting reviews from past guests. Just 5 minutes walk to Patong Beach, and about 10 minutes walk to Jungceylon Mall (the biggest mall in Phuket), and about extra 4 minutes from that mall to Bangla Road (where the life of the city is).

The seaview deluxe room...

Probably the best thing I simply love about this hotel is its outdoor pool and its nearby Infinity pool. If you read Phuket hotel reviews, most offers Inifinity Pool. Yes it's the current obsession of most five star hotels and resorts everywhere else in the world. 

Totally the non-swimming mermaid...

The thing about hotels in Phuket is that most of the entrance to the hotel looks small and crowded, in fact we were quite taken aback with the abundance of electrical wires/phone cables hanging low and messed up the overall first impression. But once you get in, you'll realize it's actually bigger and grow towards the end and uphill giving it a massive perspective view. That's how I felt anyway...

Leaving our typical standard prints...

Patong Beach in Phuket is reportedly the most famous and tourist-crowded beach in the whole resort city. There are other smaller and more private beach but they're a bit far from where all the action is. Everyone (mostly the ladies) wear bikinis and the men were practically shirtless on the beach. Everyone is also a tourist of some kind, so don't worry about being insecure of your body, you have friends everywhere there who don't care about what you wear or if your tummy bulge or if you're short or if you have scars or if you have uneven tan or if you can't swim. Nobody cares... not even the locals. 'Be who you are' seems to be the invisible motto all around. So don't judge my chubby short feet ...

Sun lounging ...

Tip: Beware of locals offering you a massage on the beach though, it might not be worth your money. Better to get them from a local massage parlours or spa abound in Phuket. We got tricked into getting one... but well... now I live to tell you not to. Hey.

300baht for an hour's feet massage ... it was ok...

One thing very distinctive about Phuket is that they served pork mostly everywhere... hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars. I had my first shock at the breakfast buffet in the morning, and experience or more like Malaysia-oriented mentality made me gasp at the menu served. Pork sausage! THEN... I realised, hey, I'm not in Malaysia where most hotels need to adhere to the Halal policy. This is Phuket - a majority Buddhist community, of course there's no rules about what a hotel can or cannot serve. Haha. First shock subsided...

Pork sausage left pork ham right ...

If you're a fan of tom yam kung, or tom yam in general... if you're anywhere in Thailand, it's a must try because this is where the food originates from. So for 3 nights in a row we had tom yam dish. Couldn't get enough of that. My partner in crime even went to all the trouble of checking out all the reviews on the best place/cheap/worth-your-bahts to have tomyam. Paid off, I tell you.

Thailand's original tom yam kung taste ...

Lobster is relatively cheap in Phuket. Most of the seafood restaurants we passed by offer fresh lobsters, so somehow I talked my companions to have a get-go since none of us ever tried lobster. Why not, right? After all I'm with the right company, right mood, right place, right time. After that first taste, we somewhat agreed that tiger prawn is still way way better... and we probably won't order lobster again in perhaps what, 10 years?

 Lobster in garlic sauce ... 1400baht perkilo. This guy was 1kg

Fast forward... to the night life! It is one unforgettable experience which you mustn't miss if you ever come to Phuket. Bangla Road is where all the hype is. From our hotel, we took a standard-priced 200baht tuk-tuk to get there (better to get there with your makeup and heels intake than to sweat the 10mins walk). The whole stretch of road was totally alive at night, with some bars open until way past 3am.

Oh, if anybody offered you (and I believe there will be scores of free lance promoters aggressively approaching you) to watch the Ping Pong Show, I suggest you think twice and if you're traveling with kids, do not go at all. We got sort of deceived into believing it was the world famous Tiger Show, and with cutthroat cost of drinks offered in there, it was an experience you should go through only once. That show is nothing but a strip show (literally) with half of us wondering whether that's a girl or a transformed girl up there on the stage. Actually I closed my eyes or looked everywhere else when the girls on stage started gyrating poorly like they know no other dance move. The so-called ''ping pong'' stunts they performed left us with a terrible after-taste. I shall not elaborate. No picture taken because they banned cameras or phones in there.

As for Live bands performance in Phuket, one word: Awesome! There's this Red Hot Club, famous for its live bands, didn't disappoint. We tried one other live band the night before, and it was equally fun and lively (I forgot the name of the place).

Red Hot Club ... vocalists were really talented

We should've spent all that money on the real Tiger Show instead, the famous Moulin Rose or Simon's Cabaret. But we didn't find out more until on our last day there when the beautiful 'ladies' were doing promotion for their upcoming show outside on the streets. So that's how the picture below came along ... Those did not come free though, there's tip money to be paid (although I don't know why they called it tips, more like fees to me).

Too bad we didn't get to watch the real show by this lovely ladyboy...

Hey, I've been dispensing tips as we go along! Did you pick any? Don't get bored on me now! Haha

You know, you never run out of activities in Phuket. Whether you just plan to hang out at the beach sun lounging, or walk about town sightseeing, or buying souvenirs to take home (remember to bargain, better yet, learn to bargain, and don't waver), or stay indoor enjoying the pool or the comfort of your hotel room, or visit tourist attractions ... there is always fun to be had.

We had one day free and we dedicated that for Island Hopping - buying a tour from a tour agent just outside our hotel. There will be many promoters as you go along, offering you these same packages, but it's always safer to let the one stationed at your hotel arrange it. And off we went visiting 3 islands including the Hollywood famous Maya Bay from Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach. The trip took a whole day via speed boat, lunch provided, and snorkeling gears offered with a minimal fee. The sea is not even blue here man... it's an unbelievably rich warm turquoise!

 
Mermaiding in sea of turquiose at Maya Bay...

Island tour tips for you, because I care:
1. When in the boat, sit in the front area where you get to navigate. It's rougher up there in front and you'll also be exposed to sunshine and rain, but it diffuses any feeling of seasickness, and trust me, even the strongest of us went down. And it's a mood killer, I tell you. No it wasn't me (although almost). Sitting at the back area of the boat will expose you to engine fume and this could induce motion sickness.
2. Take as much chewing gum as you can. The tour agents will also dispense motion sickness pills. Take those in your bag for that hour of need. Look out during the ride, watch the horizons, and stand up if your butt feel numb. It's a 45 minutes boat ride to the first island... that's not short when you're already seasick.
3. When snorkeling, do not swallow any sea water. If you remember, Phuket was struck by tsunami years ago, remnants of toxic and whatnots is still there, although slowly decreasing. I swallowed two gulps by accident and for 3 days I had abnormal tummy upset. Helped only by easy access to a Pharmacy.
4. Wear sunblock. You might think you don't need it ever, but it's different here.

(up) The tour boat which can fit roughly 30 pax at one time...
(bottom) Rainsoaked ride & loving it! Showing our cheap friendship bands...

Hey look at that! That was a loooong one. I have so much more to write about and even this took 3 weeks to finally focus on. Hope I didn't bore you.

By the way, if you must know, Thai Baht has lower value than RM so you might feel a little 'rich' for a while, but when it comes down to it, some of the branded stuffs actually cost about the same. I only brought RM500 for my own pocket money and it was enough. The rest we collected RM200 each on food, fun, logistics and entertainment and it was nearly enough too. So great deal right?

That's all for now folks. Enjoy the pictures!

From Phuket, we hopped directly to BALI, but that's another upcoming post. WAIT FOR IT!

24 comments:

  1. Wooots!! coffeee girl!! nice phuket trip with cyril nei! beautiful~ pls post bali sooN! hehe! korek some info of wad to buy. am going soon!

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  2. Nice!!! Wish I could go there too. Wah! Phuket to Bali? Sure was a roundabout trip.

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  3. P.S. Aiyor!!! You missed the pondan show? Saw that in Pattaya... VERY nice! Good clean entertainment... Can see videos of such shows on youtube.

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  4. good company, good mood.... what else can u ask for kan? so... next trip mana? maybe we go in a bigger group...hehehe?

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  5. Wow, you really are enjoying ur stay at Phuket! Jeles la nangga...haha all the best sis

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  6. Nice, ada gambar boat ke Island hoping ya sik?

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  7. Welcome back!

    I would love to visit Phuket someday, it's so nice there right?

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  8. Simply the better post here.. hehehe.. not a post competition, but this post surely made some wanting to go alone.. hahaha

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  9. thanks for the tips! will be going to Phuket next month :)

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  10. YienYien: Thanks, it was an awesome holiday indeed! ok ok will do in a bit... thanks for dropping by! :)

    suituapui: Yes 2-in-1, maximizing every cuti day. :p. No we didnt get to see the Pondan show :'( last day then they started promoting that one. However we did take pics with the lovely ones, they're so feminine! Maybe next time soon...

    Willie: can go back for ur 2nd honeymoon. wait for cheap deals...

    Tia: lovely company, sporting bunch, satu palak, senang jalan. ehh it rhymes! hahaha. sure cannnnn... next time bigger group sure. plan jak ney tauk dpt ekot

    Adi Herman: yes indeed! I did! hehe gik belalak ko

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  11. Ez Vina: Ada... dah ku add dlm post, khas utk mu. It looks smaller in the pic sebab angle camera, but it's much longer than that. Blkg with roof, front without roof. If hujan, habis la di depan nun, tapi seronok gila lah kenak hujan, hilang rasa mual. we screamed in excitement all the way!

    Hayley: Thanks! yes it's nice, if ur holiday bound. very relaxing

    Cyrildason: two to compare from for additional info, not to compete with. :p We totally should return here someday

    Cynthia J: no problem babe. :p Good luck on ur trip! remember to enjoy urself and treat it as a holiday adventure. have fun!

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  12. Thanks a lot for writing this! Might consider Phuket as a getaway in the future...Can't wait for your next post on Bali!:)

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  13. Looks like you had enjoyed yourself, my youngest sister also went Phuket recently in May.

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  14. Ok, thanks. Best la boat ya, yg penting bukan aircon boat, mun aircon mesti ku pengsan dlm ya.

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  15. RM600 for a round trip of cross countries???? *faint* Seriously? *faint again*

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  16. Fiona: You're welcome. Just sharing. :) Coming next!

    Libby: I did! =) very much! Hope ur sister had fun too!

    Ez Vina: haha bukan. Open jak. Tapi sebab gelombang, bilanya stationary, nya akan beralun. yalah molah byk org rasa loya

    Garner Wyne: Yes seriously. Hahaha Time and lotsa effort hunting down the deals

    Mohd Shafid: Ya memang nice. Nanti share Bali post :). Hey thanks for visiting!

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  17. Wooaaahh.. finally updated.. supposed to come here earlier but busy till now then i've time to bloghop O.o Sorry bout that. I read your insta telling me you've updated >.<

    I've been to Phuket twice. The first time was a month before tsunami *Praise the Lord*

    another was two years ago. I wonder where were my pictures.. Maybe one day when I found the pictures I shall blog bout mine too.

    Can't wait for your Bali post.. >.<

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  18. Incredible quest there. What happened after? Good luck!


    Feel free to surf to my website; boutique hotels phuket

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  19. ahlost: it's okey :p. Wah u went twice? Amen! so planning to go again? yes u shd totally blog about it, i might miss something.

    Anonymous: Thanks for visiting. :)

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  20. I love Phuket very much. The tiffany show you missed there is world class and the best, shown nightly at Simon's cabaret.

    Next time you ever visit, you might also want to see my relative's ancestral home - http://twilightzone518.blogspot.com/2009/09/no98-krabi-road-phuket.html

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  21. Twilight Man: I know right? :( missed that show. I would like to return someday. Thanks for the tips! lovely place kan?

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  22. This is a topic which is near to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact details though?


    Feel free to visit my webpage Tips Puaskan Suami

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