Review: Phuket City.
Puket Travel Blog› entry 11 of 15 › view all entries
Phuket city is located across the island from patong and Karron beachs.
should cost you about 400 bhat one way in a tuk tuk.
Eva and I went there after shabbos. So nice!
the area has been inhabited for hundreds of years, most notiably by the Portugeese and Thai 100 years ago. As such, the archetecture is unique and has a bit of souther Euro flair.
There are also very few tourists. This is where all the Thai go when they want to get out. There are no girly bars, no go go dancers waiting outside. No 40 dudes with `18 year old thai girls. Just a lot of fahsionable young thai people, great live music and fantastic local art galleries.
if you have ever been to Santiago, DR or PR, this place will remind you of those Carribian cities in terms of thier buidlings, historic landmarks, and over all vibe.We hung out at two resturants. Cool live music, great crowd (we were the only westerners on the whole block). Very chilled.
TOTALLy different vibe than Patong. (ew ew ew).
If you are going to Phuket, spare half a day and early evening to this city. You wont regret it!
Eva and I are staying at a lovely little resort calld the Phuket Country house.
Its 5 min. walking from Kata beach and very sweet. Little bungalows with thai style interiors. Dark teak wood, marble, tile floors.
there is also a lovely lotus pond right across from our room.
When we first moved in, i figured the pond was a result of me fighting for a better room (long story short: we booked a nicer room and when we showed up were put in this crappy little place with no windows. I had to FIGHT to get the room we paid for and was totally pissed off by the time we dropped our luggage off). By the time shabbos was over, I realized that that sweet little pond was the front desks way of having the last laugh.
A little Thai way of saying "screw you, westerners!:)"
you see, that sweet innocent little lotus pond was filled to rim with FROGS.
now, frogs are not something one would immediatly associate with hell and damnation (unless you were a biblical egyptian i suppose). Frogs are cute, warty, and if you kiss one, you might get a patric dempsy look alike to massage your feet. What could be bad?
hehehehe. Ask eva.
These little suckers are totally mum during the day. at NIGHT however, they get all talkative and decide 1am is the perfect time to flirt with the cute frogget sitting on the next lilly pad. you can NOT imagine the amount of noise one little frog can make when he's lonely.
This must have been the UWS or WH of Lotus Ponds because there were SCORES of frogs all rasing thier voices into the wee hours of the morning. One would start...and then another would chime in...and then teh whole lot of them would start talking at once.
I would not have believed this except for two reasons:
a. eva woke up totally bleary eyed on shabbos morning and mumbled something about not being able to sleep becuase there was a ton of noice outside our building ( I can sleep though just about anything so I didnt hear a sound).
b. I witnessed this froggy social scene for myself on staturday night.
Saturday night Eva and i had a great time. we went to Phuket city (highly recommeded as a place to break away from the tourists and see some neat archetecture and fun bars) and came back right around 12:30am. It was a beautiful night. Stars out...all was quiet. we get to the pond outside our room and decide to sit down on the stone edging of the pond to chill.
Thats when it started.
we heard a lout PLOP as one frog jumped into the water. three Min. later the air was FILLED with frogs chirping and ribbeting.
it was amazing. they were SO loud. There were frogs EVERYWHERE. ahahahahahah!
we took videos and tried to get them to shut UP. it was hysterically funny. (and no, we were not drunk:).
Eva kept saying "you see, you see???!!" SHUT UP, DAMN YOU SHUT UP!!!
FYI, frogs dont speak english so it didnt help one iota.
Front desk one, backpacking westerners, Zilch.
Get out at intended spot, proceed to desitnation.
It has taken me several weeks to learn that is NOT how one travels around south east asia.
Take my recent trip from Krabi to Phuket.
First, we made a quick stop at the Tourisim office (there are many in each destination that you are likely to travel to in Thailand). We wanted get back to Phuket in time for shabbos (read: in time to stop off at the Chabad house to get food and then move to our new hotel).;We were told
the best way to go was via minivan from Ao Nang to Phuket. Ultimatly, this would require a simple longtail boat ride from Krabi to Ao Nang (about 10 min) and a minivan pick up and transfer to Phuket three hours away.
seems straight forward enough, right?
:)but its not that way. and you know its not going to be that way or I wouldnt be blogging about it.:)
So heres the scoop
9:30am we are waiting for our boat to dock on Krabi beach.
9:45 where is our boat
9:50 oh, there's our boat...waaaay out in the water. Grab your stuff and wade out.
9:51 step in a deep muddy pile of what LOOKS like tar or black goo. Almost lose my only flip flop.
9:52 consider leaving it there as it served cinderella well.9:53 screw that. i need my flip flop...and who are we kidding, aint no frum material around here anyway (though the rock climbers are SUPER hot and the kids would bed jewish anyway..hmmmm).
Get onto boat. Water very choppy. Motor stalls twice before the fisherman can get going. took 20 min not 10:)
Get to Peir. nothing around. In fact, we are the only ones on the peir.
sThis is what happens in Thailand. You know you will eventually get from point a to point b, but you have no idea exactly how thats going to happen...
so we're waiting on the peir...figuring someone will remember that we paid for passage all the way to Phuket.
Sound the trumpets!Our boat driver pulls up out of nowhere on a tuk tuk (this was a side car model- i love how tuk tuks in every city look different!)
"Hop in" he motions. In we go, piling our backpacks on the floor. We get driven to the end of the peir. Dropped off and then the driver drives off....with all our bags!
Do we panic? Do we scream?
hell no. we know better.
basically your train of thought (after traveling in Asia for a few weeks) starts to go like this: I-dont-know-where-that-dude-just -went-but he'll- probably- be- back- with- our- stuff - so- no worries....and if he doesnt, FINE. My stuff smells likes a water buffalo and was a pain in the ass to carry around anyway. Needless to say, Boatman came back with all of our gear in tact. He picks us up and drives us a few more yards down the road to a pick up truck with a umbrella over it. On we go. Apparently the boat was to take us to this pick up truck that will take us to the van. Oh my. no one told us this before.
Get to minivan station via truck. Pick up two more americans who are just trying to get back to Phuket (two american doctors of the male persuasion. how nice! our two favorite things...male AND english speaking. woot woot!)
Hang out at mini van station.
hang out at mini van station
hang out at minivan station
um, heloooo! we need to get to phuket! what happend ot all that on-time thainess?
Aparently the southern thai are not as concerned about time as their northern bretheren are.
Finially, we get to pile into the van. we are ready to go...and thats when it start to rain.
Nay, it starts to POUR.
we wait until it passes. (Mind you, they PACK the mini vans so you are sitting in your neighbors lap. Luckily, I knew my neighbor...we had already bumped into each other in Koh Phi phi and Krabi).
yay! the van is moving.....into a gass station down the block.
Seriously??? dude. Pick up gas BEFORE you pick us up!
Moving again... we stop two more times.
once for the bathroom. the second time was more bizzar. we were made to get out of the van and go inside a tourist office. We had to let the office know where we were going in Phuket (we already did this at the minivan station) and then get back on the van. aggggH!
get to phuket. The driver gets to the middle of twon and then tells everyone to get off.
what about our hotels?? what about our drop off points.NOPE. he refuses. POints to a paper and seems to say he was only meant to drop off in town.the others start to protest. Eva and I dont know what to do. We are already two hours late and need NEED to get to chabad so that we can buy food for shabbos. We were also starving, having gone three days with out a meal, and were in NO mood for dealing with weirdo van drivers.
We turned on our fellow westerners and got out of the van. Flagged down a tuk tuk and sped off to the chabad house.
Get to chabad house. I hop out right in front of the building to pay for the ride and thats when the tuk tuk driver drives off...
no way! not again!
DUDE come back with my stuff!! COME BACK with my TRAVELMATE.
oh yes. this driver did not go to mystery land with just my stuff...he stole eva away too!:)
If I wasnt so hungry and so rushed i would have laughed out loud. what the helll??
as it was, i figured he was just turning around..eva could take care of her self. She has a cane and knows how to use it:)
I went into chabad house to buy food. Eva shows up moments later.
says something about being beamed up to a UFO and has a weird look in her eyes.....
Eva says tuk tuk dude drove aroundt he blok and came back.
why? who knows.
welcome to getting from Point A to Point B in thailand.
its always an adventure.
you know how the guide books say that Patong is not worth much (unless you are a middle aged man looking to score with a young thai girl)?
They are right. Skip it and move right along. Thats what we did.
Arrived Monday night via Air Asia (flight was fine - the seating is cramped which will be a problem if you are very tall) AND the seats dont go back at all. Luckly, you are only on the plane for about an hour so it doesnt really matter.
Anyway. We arrived in Phuket and went straight to Chabad. This was lovely as we were able to eat REAL food.
I bought medication in the airport for my stomach and was able to eat dinner that night...yay!
Funny mini story. I decided to go for the most fattening thing on the menu so I ordred fried fish and chips.
I was expecting a nice non fishy flat thing fried in batter and served with yummy french fries.
the french fries (aka, chips for you europeans following along) were indeed yummy. the fish on the other hand...well, it was a FISH.
like, "Hello, I am an aquatic sea creature that was minding its own buisness this morning when YOUR kind caught me and served me up for dinner" FISH. Woah. I was NOT expecting this....but how do you tell the waiter this? They eat fish roasted on bambo spits all the time. I would lose face, as the Thai call it. No way. Not gonna happen (again:). Besides, I was too damn hungry.
Mind you, this was a full fish. Head, fins, scales everything. Deep fried. I have no idea what kind of fish it was but )(it DID had lots of teeth and was about a foot long) (i took a picture, dont you worry).
I ate it becuase A. it was 120 bhat and Im B. it smelled good.
One devoured fish later, I am no longer afraid of eating fish that still looks like fish:) ( Moroccan friends, rejoice! No more "gefilita-ashki-fish" for me!)
So that was dinner.
We took the first guest house (next door to the chabad house) we came across. only 400 bhat....it was so typical "backpacker grunge" we were squirming and laughing till we fell asleep.
Eva found mysterious stains on her sheets. We dont know what they are but it was yellow in color. No comment. When get home and start posting pics, perhaps we can have a contest...Name That Stain!
The beds were springy (in that dangerousn squeeky sort of way) and the walls paper thin. Thankfully, no one was having "too good" of a time in the next room... that would have been super akward! (someone on the floor was having a nice pot party though...so it kept the "ambiance" in check).
Speaking of super akward, here is a little tip for you:
If you are staying at a guest house that is RIGHT next to the chabad house, you must remember that (even in a half asleep state) that your balcony is NOT private nor facing the ocean (it faces more guest houses).
Here is why that piece of advice may be useful.
Lets say, theoretically, you want to check out the morning sky when you wake up. If I had not given you my nugget of travel wisdom, you may walk out onto your balcony in a skimpy tank top and short shorts.
That could be problematic becuase there is a slight possiblity that the summer program Rabbis working at chabad (who may be staying at the same hotel for the season)might decide to go for an early morning balcony stroll too.
I wont go into why this could be super akward. Just trust me on this one. Either frum up before stepping out side or just wake up and think for two seconds before setting a toe nail onto your balcony.
...Of course you can ignore all this info and have a good laugh instead. Its your journey. Im just giving you the facts.
Anyway. Patong is a bit seedy and over developed. Skip it if you can. Come for the kosher food though. Chabad rocks.
(Its not listed in Lonely Planet and I dont get why. Im going to work on that when I get home.)