Thailand: Phuket & Krabi

 

Blurb

We decided that internal flights around Bangkok were faster and cheaper. I looked into getting a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, which had to be a sleeper train otherwise I would’ve probably fallen asleep on the way to the hotel. The internal flights can range from £30-80 but really worth it. If you want to experience a sleeper train experience then go for it. I’d recommend the sleeper train from Beijing to Shanghai as that was the first time I did something like it and it was a cool experience. I have to admit Phuket was really interesting, it is a common haven for people who want to party and visit go-go bars (those bars where ladies shoot ping pong balls out of their you know what). I was very game for a visit to one of these bars but after chatting to a Irishman from Australia, he said that they tend to let you in for free entry but then will force you to pay a tip or service charge. I didn’t think it was worth it.

Krabi was not as exciting as Phuket but felt more peaceful, it was from Krabi that we visited Koh Phi Phi but you can visit all the islands from here.

Rooms

Bev organised the hotels, most of the hotels are located in the same area, especially in Krabi along the sea front. The hotels were all pretty decent, if you’re looking for even cheaper accommodation then you’ll have to go down the hostel route.

Sites

  1. Patong Beach
  2. Bangla Road
  3. Fantasea
  4. Old Town Phuket
  5. Big Buddha (didn’t see)
  6. Koh Phi Phi
  7. Tiger Cave
  8. Walking street Monuments
  9. Ao Nang beach
  10. Emerald Pool
  11. Illuminorah light show

Patong Beach and Bangla Road

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Our time in Phuket and Krabi only amounted up to roughly a week altogether. So we only saw a small handful amount of sites. Bev also got food poisoning for about 3 days, so I only wandered around the area while she was resting. I did say to her that the food always has to be steaming, burn your tongue hot but she didn’t listen! She was bedridden for a few days and I had to grab an orange flavoured salt replacement drink for her, which really did the trick. Just remember kids, make sure the food is hot and you won’t have to live on the toilet for the next few days.

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Ok, so when we first arrived in Phuket, we decided to venture towards the famous Bangla road. I will never forget the neon taxis blaring out dragostea din tei with party goers in the back. The overall atmosphere is very fun and lively. The road and clubs was a 20 minute walk from the hotel and you can tell when you’re close because it starts to get really crowded. There are a lot of hawkers trying to get you to go into the clubs and telling you about special deals or ping pong girls. I’d be careful while walking down the road because you could get pickpocketed so easily.

After you walk through the illuminated street, you reach Patong beach – at night it is fairly quiet but you might bump into some people. During the day you can ride a powerboat or do some gliding, the price is quite expensive but if you wanna do it, then go for it. We actually ended up in a Jamaican style bar down one of the streets, quiet and the owners were very laid back. I won’t forget them, definitely Thai but they had dreadknots in their hair and enjoyed rolling up joints! It was here where we met an middle aged Irish man who had emigrated to Australia, he said he would come to Thailand on a regular basis and gave us some warnings about some of the bars on Bangla road, he said once you enter a bar you should be cautious as the people inside will try and force you to buy a drink or tip them otherwise you cant leave the bar. So if you do enter, make sure you enter with a group or you are happy buying a drink and then leaving – if watching naked thai women and doing special party tricks ain’t for you then don’t enter.

Fantasea

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This isn’t a special type of soft drink, it is one of the most popular shows in Phuket. There are a few shows where you can purchase a ticket and watch when you are in Thailand. There are numerous shops or stalls where you can purchase a ticket but the important thing is that you can bargain for the ticket price and also the type of ticket you want. We had heard good things about the Fantasea and heard that it was also a theme park. We went to three different shops and asked about the price and what the best discount we could get was. Every shop offered a small discount but we decided to go for dinner at a restaurant called No. 6 – recommended by the hotel staff. The queue was long! So we knew that it was going to be a decent eat. Anyways after our meal, there was a small stall with a woman advertising tickets for different shows and so we asked her what the price was for Fantasea and immediately she said that she would give us a good price and it would include transport and the buffet. It was the cheapest ticket by far! We got lucky because she said that she couldn’t tell that we weren’t Thai and she felt like she didn’t want to cheat us out of our money so went straight to a reasonable ticket price (really nice lady).

We got picked up by a van which was packed with other people, the drive to the park was maybe 20 minutes. Once you get out, you can really tell that it is designed to wow tourists, the entrance is literally an illuminated neon lions head and there was some sort of water show occurring at the entrance also. However once you enter the park, all the shops you see basically sell t shirts, souvenirs, tourist gifts – so it is heavily geared towards tourists. The buffet hall was massive and the food wasn’t bad to be fair but the highlight of the park was definitely the Fantasea show, elephants walk onto stage, there is some acrobatics and the dancing is decent. If you visit, then I would definitely recommend Fantasea just for the show.

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Old Town Phuket

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We spent one day to go see Old Town Phuket, which was quite far from our accommodation. We asked how to get there and the hotel reception recommended a local bus from Patong beach. The cost was ridiculously cheap but the bus is more like a truck and has a very low ceiling! It wasn’t an extremely comfortable ride but the experience was something else, as you drive through the town of Phuket, it takes you away from the beach/party front and shows you another side to Phuket.

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They dropped us off near this water fountain and pointed us in the direction of some of the sites. We walked into a tourist office and they will give you a free map and recommend a walking path. I think there were only 14 sites which you can visit but it will take a whole day. Old town was very interesting and had a lot of buildings which are part of Phukets history which is a big contrast to the party scene it is widely known for.

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Krabi – Tiger Cave – Walking Monuments – Ao Nang and Illuminorah

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Great chill out session after the boat ride

After our short stay in Phuket, we made our way to Krabi via flight and unfortunately booked a trip to Koh Phi Phi with a local tour office – the bus shuttle dropped us off here! Oldest trick in the book, just walk in and walk out folks, waste of time. Krabi itself was a very quiet place and there are some sites you can visit. Unfortunately Bev was unwell during our stay at Krabi and I remember it was during our stay here because we had a boat trip to Koh Phi Phi and she felt extremely nauseous on the way back.

Koh phi phi and the surrounding islands are pretty spectacular but there isn’t much to do, if you can find an activity or boat to take you out into the waters then it might be a bit more interesting, saying that you might wanna do a scuba diving course so you can scuba around the islands.

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Buddha on top of the 1237 steps!

The highlight of Krabi was Tiger Cave temple, there are a few parts to this site. One is the park/jungle where you can wade your way through the greenery and see the caves which exist on site, the name comes from legend that a giant tiger used to live in the cave and various tiger paw marks can be seen around the caves. The other part is the buddha which sits on top of the mountain at the temple, I believe it was around 1300 steps to get to the top! It was pretty tiring but the view from the top is worth it! One thing I found amazing was that there was a monk which casually overtook us and continued walking up the steps without breaking a sweat!

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One other site I really wanted to visit was the emerald pool which is a pool found in a forest where you can swim in, unfortunately as Bev was bedridden, we decided to stay in but a site for next time!

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I also wanted to mention the monuments you can see in Krabi town – these are bronze statues which are dotted around the town centre – there isn’t much to see around but worth a visit. Another mention is the Iluminorah show which we were expecting to be like Fantasea but is a much smaller scale show – it is basically like a pantomime but with alot of lighting effects – still a great experience.

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Food

The food, unbelievably good! The price, ridiculous value for money! So this meal was a chicken soy dish and some morning glory – Bev loves morning glory and it was so cheap in Thiland. As morning glory has a hollow portion, it soaks up all the sauce.

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We also tried pork neck which was delicious, super tender and the sauce was slightly sweet and sour.

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Another pad thai, probably my favourite thai dish.

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We also tried fried river prawns, fried rice in a pineapple and some more morning glory.

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Top tips

  1. Pre-book a trip around the islands – I believe Koh Samui is the one where you can go for the full moon party
  2. If you are visiting the islands, get a good itinerary for when you are doing activities around the Islands and consider spending a few days there just to chill out
  3. There aren’t many sites around Krabi, so consider a tour company to take you around rather than doing it by yourself
  4. Definitely go to Fantasea

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