Krabi/Phuket 2010 (Part 1)

August 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Krabi/Phuket 2010 (Part 1)

Posted By : J2Kfm.

Krabi  Bus Station is situated at a most rural of location, not too obvious from the main roads, and reminded me of those bus stopovers in smaller towns, like Gopeng in Perak, for example. The two-way flight from Kuala Lumpur-Krabi-Kuala Lumpur cost RM140 / USD40 per person, courtesy of Air Asia. Yeah, book early for such promotions, and erm… as cliche as this may sound; Everyone REALLY Can Fly. For your information, a bus/minivan from Penang to Krabi which takes about 9 hours will cost you about RM70 / USD20 for ONE-way. And our flight took us a mere ONE hour. Go do the Maths, then come back.

They were stuffing that bike INTO the lower compartment of a bus. Yeah, salute the Thais.

Arriving at Krabi’s International Airport, we embarked on a bus ride to Krabi bus station. For 60baht / RM6 / USD2.50 per person. If you’re planning to take the cab, you’ll have to pay roughly 500baht / RM50 / USD14.30 per person. The ride took us about 20 minutes at most, to Krabi Bus Station, where we alighted from the double-decker bus, and proceeded to buy our bus tickets to Phuket. Actually, it was somewhat a mistake on our parts, for we should’ve bought flight tickets to either Krabi/Phuket, and then coming back from the other destination, to reduce travelling time and cost. The bus from Krabi to Phuket cost 145 baht / RM14.50 / USD4 per person, and the ride took us about three and a half hours, for the bus stopped at various spots along the way. (Do take note that if you’re taking the van instead, the journey is considerably faster, at about 2.5 hours, and cost only 120 baht / RM12 / USD3.40 per person! We took this option on the way back to Krabi in another two days)

Comfortable accommodation @ Loveli Boutique Guesthouse @ Soi Banzhan, Nanai Road, Patong Beach, Phuket.

Arriving at Phuket Bus Station, we chartered a van to reach Patong Beach, where we stayed for two nights. The horrendously WILD ride cost us 100 baht / RM10 / USD 2.90 per person. Why wild? That ‘samseng’ of a driver (hooligan/thug/baddie) was driving at breakneck speed and overtaking vehicles while going up a slope. And the rickety condition of the van was not helping much either. We booked our rooms before we departed from Malaysia, at Loveli Boutique Guesthouse. The Double Room for 800baht / RM80 / USD23 per night, and the Triple Room for 1250 baht / RM125 / USD35.70 per night. Notice that we went during the peak season, hence the slightly more expensive rates. But still, reasonable enough as the rooms were well-equipped, the location rather strategic (very near to Bangla Road – the Patpong of Phuket, and Jungceylon Shopping Centre. But rather far from the beach, about 15 minutes walk) and the staff very accommodating.

We had absolutely no problems staying at Loveli Guesthouse, for the stay was most comforting, away from the hustle and bustle of the night life of Phuket (the lane which the guesthouse is situated on – Soi Banzhan, was almost quiet at night), and the rooms were clean. Though no elevator whatsoever, hence prepare to climb flight of stairs before reaching your rooms if you’re placed on the higher floors. Small qualms, no less.

If you’re not feeling peckish after seeing all these stalls lining the streets …. you’re inhuman. Really.

But what’s BEST was the accessibility of hawker stalls lining the street, about a stone’s throw away from our guesthouse, en route to Jungceylon Shopping Centre. So be prepared to binge on pork satay, Muslim pancakes (on the opposite side of the street, no worries), Thai style Pork trotter rice, assortment of curries, etc. You can literally stuff yourself silly by stall-hopping, without even breaking a hole in your wallet! But sadly, my hunt for Thai sticky rice with mangoes went up in smoke.

Beautiful Jungceylon, a most satisfying retail experience at Patong in Phuket

We spent our time walking around Jungceylon, billed as the International Shopping Destination of Patong, Phuket after the bingeing session on the streets. The rather huge shopping complex reminded me of The Curve in Mutiara Damansara, especially the sheer number of al fresco dining outlets. And they have musical fountain shows on weekend nights, at 7pm and 9pm, though we were in no luck for the fountain was closed for maintenance.

Red Lanterns hung across the al fresco dining area of Sino Phuket @Jungceylon

And the Japanese meal after a most taxing half an hour wait, jostling with the Westerners
for seats in a Japanese restaurant in Thailand. Sounds awkward huh?

Planned for a lighter dinner led us to Fuji Japanese Restaurant in Jungceylon, but the crowd was almost too overwhelming. They gave queue numbers, just like how one waits for his turn at a clinic. And we got Number 27, at a most late hour of 9.30pm. (10.30pm Malaysian time). We had the Okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza) @ 90 baht / RM9 / USD2.60, the Kuro Buta Set @ 200 baht / RM20 / USD5.70, a sushi platter, and Hiyashi Chuka Ramen (Japanese cold buckwheat noodles). The meal came to 982 baht / RM98 / USD28 for five, which was darn reasonable, though some of the items tasted somewhat off. We had better experiences at Bangkok’s Fuji sometime in the middle of last year. And that ended our first day in Phuket.

Waking up refreshed after a whole day’s worth of travelling, we took our sweet time waking up and proceeded to the beach. But not before we stopped over at Banzhan Market opposite of Jungceylon, a spick and span wet market that also sells cooked food items and such, and a restaurant-cafe named Hemingway.

And I doubt they need to organize Catch-A-Mice for RM 1 Eacg campaign …..

And the party animals don’t wake until early afternoon. Stumped ? Don’t be. Even the beach was empty at about 10-11 am.

In search of breakfast in Patong in Phuket … definitely NOT an easy task. Lest you settle for the Subways, Mcd’s, and cafes.

The walk to the beach took almost 15-20 minutes, and tonnes of our energy. Should have stopped over at any 7-11 Convenience Stores for some flavoured milk, hot dogs, or even some Lays potato chips. ;) The hunt for cheap and authentic Thai breakfast was almost futile. Everywhere we turned, we bumped into pizzerias, Indian restaurants, cafes and bistros, fast food outlets, but none of those noodle stalls that serve piping hot noodle soup with a side of fish sauce, chili flakes, sugar and peanuts. You know …. that sumptuous ensemble commonly found on the streets in Bangkok.

Thankfully we pushed our luck and strolled into a small lane, named Soi Dong Taan, a short distance away from the Tourist Police booth and directly opposite of La Salsa Restaurant on the main road parallel to Patong Beach. Opens from 11am – 9.30pm, the stall named Tonsai Thai Food serves the classic Thai dishes, such as Fried Rice, Pad Thai (Thai fried noodles), Tom Yum Gung, and Noodle Soup. The Pad Thai (60 baht / RM6 / USD1.70) was not as delicious as say … Thipsamai’s version in Bangkok, but still held its ground with generous ingredients such as prawns and squids thrown in. The other items were okay, nothing spectacular, but miles better than having our breakfasts in some dodgy cafes that serves ‘authentic’ Thai food alongside pizzas and burgers.

Patong Beach – Where the Sun, the Sea and the Sand met, seamlessly.

And that ended the first part of this saga. Wait, I did not succeed in reducing the words huh? Too bad, OLD HABITS DIE HARD. ;) Wait for the second installment, people. And HAPPY WEEKEND from Motormouth !!!

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