Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Travelogue - Phuket (Part 1)

Day 1 and 2
For the first time in my life, I'm not in Singapore for CNY. No steamboat, no visiting, no gambling.. (Thankfully still had some ang baos and goodies to munch on)
I was in Phuket for 9 days! Also the first time I've been away for so long. Seriously, 9 days is too long.
So, here is part 1 and I will be talking abot Day 1 and 2.

Touched down safely! Now, we were supposed to be there with my family, but something cropped up at the last minute and my family had to push back the trip. So both of us went ahead first. 
Total lost. We had no itinerary (my brother planned it initially), so we just took one step at a time and did some minimal planning when we were there.
My brother had arranged airport transfer, so we just had to wait for the driver to pick us up.
In Phuket, there are no metered taxis. All the prices are fixed and depending on which location you're heading, you will pay that exact price. Ranges btwn 400-900 Baht if i'm not wrong... Very pricey!

Super comfortable and spacious minibus. 
As I mentioned earlier, my family was supposed to be with us. So the vehicle that picked us up was a minibus but it was just the 2 of us. It's better to arrange transport. Now, in Phuket, there are territories which not all drivers can enter as they are owned by the triads. I was staying in Rawai, so  

We chose Rawai beach as it might be more peaceful, quiet and away from the more touristy areas like Patong. That said, there are foreigners every where in Phuket.
We stayed in Coconut Paradise Villas at Rawai. It's ratings were very good on TripAdvisor, so we had quite high expectation, but were abit disappointed. Although I feel ok with that place, my family felt uncomfortable. There mosquitoes everywhere (we had to keep windows closed all times and sprayed insecticide everywhere). The area is very quiet so not advisable to return back late at night. It is about 10mins walk from the main road into Soi Cokmakham. The main road has many restaurants, cafes and convenient stalls though! It is also about 10-15 min walk to Rawai beach. The boss was really friendly, he welcomed us and showed us around. After that, we seldom see him, but we can call him easily. The place is pretty much a you-have-you-own-peace-and-we-won't-disturb-you, but when you need help, you can call them easily. 
This is probably good for young couples, but definitely not for kids looking at the insects all around. 

Banana, Sweet Potato, Yam Fritters

Our villa was surrounded by kampungs. Just 1 min walk, we reach this place that sells noodles, rice etc.. Anything that you wanna order, how to you want it to be cooked, as long as she has the ingredients, the friendly aunty will cook it for you. The first time there, we had kway teow soup (40Baht). Outside her stall, another aunty sells Banana, Sweet Potato, Yam Fritters. Really cheap. 

Transport in Phuket is very very expensive so many foreigners travel around via a motorbike. As my brother initially arranged a driver for the whole family, I called him up and use his service for the day if I'm travelling to other parts of Phuket. We had several drivers, Manop, Bow, Nicky.. all of them we got through Manop. He was great really helpful. Nicky and Bow's english wasn't good. In the next post, I will talk more about the drivers.
So for day 1, we wanted to just explore around the area, so we walked all the way to Nai Harn village, very close to Nai Harn beach, to look for the bicycle shop that we saw when the villa's boss drove us around to take a look. We rented 2 bicycles for 3-4 days to cycle out to main road to buy things in case we needed. We did not dare to ride a motorbike so I guess bicycle was the safest choice.

Cycled to Nai Harn beach further cos wanted to have some street food, but there wasn't any. Only restaurants and some zi char stuff, which was pretty expensive. So on the way back to our villa, at Nai Harn village, we stopped to eat at this random Thai Lagoon Restaurant, located just opposite Nai Harn villa, along Wiset Road

Khao Phad Muu. Pork Fried Rice

Phad Thai

Thai Prawn Cake.

There were a number of diners over there and we were surprised that the good was awesome!
For such a random restaurant, they deserve a shoutout. Price was pretty reasonable for a restaurant in Phuket.

Day Two

We cycled out to the main road for breakfast. This place is along the shops that are opposite Two Sisters Bar & Restaurant, away from the direction of Nai Harn. There's a blue canopy outside the shop, as you can see from the picture below. Just a few minutes walk! It sells the usual thai food, similar to what we ate at right outside our villa.

Char Siew Noodle Soup

Beef Kway Teow Soup

Roast Pork (more like Deep Fried Pork)


This is like any other average thai eateries, very basic food you can order, nothing spectacular, but it is very affordable (:

Headed back to villa and...
Went for a dip in our private pool!

Spot the mosquito coil

Washed up, get ready, called for driver who came slightly before noon to pick us up. Driver of the day was Nicky. His english wasn't very good, and loved to bring us to funny places, which we resisted.

First stop, Chalong Temple. We were really lucky to be there during CNY cos there's this annual festival that is like a market in the temple. Sells many many things, like a pasar malam, but smaller than Chatuchak.

This looks like layers of fried bee hoon, with the extremely thin strands of wafer (not sure how to describe), tasting piled and rolled together. Okay, it is really difficult to describe it unless there's a video to show how it is made. It tastes a little like egg rolls! Quite expensive, but I love it and bought many packets of it back.

Lok Lok!

This crispy coconut pancake needs no introduction. It is pretty common in BKK as well!

Now as was saying, Nicky is pretty sly. We wanted to have lunch at Rimtang restaurant. We know roughly where is it, but we are not sure the exact place. He say doesn't know (not sure real or not), and he stopped at some restaurant and told us to eat here cos it's good. We rejected and told him to just drive, and showed him on the map to go to Thung Kha road. So he drove us to somewhere and said this is Thung Kha road. We tried to look out for road signs but there wasn't any, so nvm.. Kept driving straight but we can't find the restaurant. So, we told him to send us to Central Festival, we alighted, asked the information counter, and got specific directions. Finally, made our way there! N was desperate to come here cos there have been reviews that the Mango Sticky Rice is the best.. 

Dry Noodles, with shallots and some vegetables. Looks very pitiful. 

Thai Iced Tea that was too milky. I'd rather drink at the kampung store's.
This place was a disappointment. Many locals were there, but the food was just... Awful. We didn't like it at all. Maybe we ordered the wrong food.

In the late evening, we went to Super Cheap. It is a super market that sells EVERYTHING. Alright, I wouldn't say it's a super market. More like a hypermart that is in a warehouse setting.

The place is ridiculously huge and we were so overwhelmed by it. Bought lots of stuff back since we had a vehicle and it was good to utilise it

5 litres of water x 2

Put our things down, went to Patong at night. 

Just behind Jungceylon, outside the Banzaan Fresh Market (which operates during the day, turns into a Night Market. Many food stalls were set up, selling a hugeeeee variety of food.

Grilled chicken heart

Phad Thai and Oyster Omelette 

To be continued....

For other parts of my Phuket Travelogue:
Phuket 2013 - Part 2
Phuket 2013 - Part 3

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