Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guide to Phuket, Thailand

Raya Island

What attract everyone is Thai peoples warm smile and hospitality. Everywhere you go their smiles will light up your day. It's not without reason Thailand is The Land Of Smiles.

Another reason to visit Phuket is for the beaches and warm water where the tropical sun give you a tan all year round.

Flying down to Phuket from Bangkok take just over one hour and shortly before landing will you see many small green limestone islands rising up from the sea underneath you, a beautiful sight so different from Bangkok's concrete jungle.

Phang Nga Bay What you are seeing is Phang Nga Bay where you later will go on a boat tour between more than one hundred spectacular limestone rock formations.

Then Phuket reveal itself, the pearl of the Andaman Sea with lush green hills as far you can see. You have now arrived in paradise.

A taxi will take you to your luxurious hotel. On the way from the airport you have the chance to glance at the natural beauty. Like large billboards. Nothing is more beautiful in paradise than the sight of billboards along the highway to your hotel on the beach.

You have now arrived at a luxurious hotel on one of the many white sandy beaches along the west coast where most people prefer to have their dream vacation.
If traveling on a budget, cheap rooms can be found without problem in Patong. 10-15 minutes walk from the beach. I pay 150 baht a night for a room with air-con and hot water, minus electricity in Patong.

Since the sun in Phuket is very strong, every beach have chair with umbrella for rent. But it don't stop tourists from getting burned, as the many red body's are a living proof of. It's easy to be fooled by the sea breeze or cloudy weather into thinking I will not be burned.
Be careful, then you will have a fantastic holiday and like many people be back the next year.

Put on some sunscreen and hit the beach and relax, maybe with a cold beer bought from your friendly beach vendor that will be more then happy to bring a new one without the need to get up, just wave. There is more than enough time after sunset to shop and eat, shops don't close before midnight and you should be happy to know that water temperature hold between 27-29 degrees, if you should feel the urge to swim.

When the sun has gone down it's time to try out the world famous chili hot Thai food and as being on an island seafood is abundant from small and cheap street stalls to expensive restaurants with live music. Be careful with the chili or else your throat will burn like it never have before.

Shop till you drop, a popular evening activity in Patong Town, the tourist capital of Phuket. Arrive with empty bags, return with a bad back after carried overloaded bags to the airport, filled with cheap cloths bought at the night market or the newly opened Jungceylon shopping complex in the heart of Patong.
If Patong don't have what you are looking for, you can be sure to find it at the world class Central Festival shopping center. Central Festival is located in the area of Big C and Lotus outside of Phuket City.

Bangla Road, the heart and soul of Patong Town with a mixture of tourists, bar girls, restaurants, guesthouses, street stalls, beer bars, go-go bars, entertainment venues and transsexuals (katoeys). Gays have their own area at Paradise Complex only a short walk from Bangla Road.

It's impossible to be lonely in Patong with more then one hundred beer bars only in Bangla Road. In a beer bar there will always be someone to talk and have fun with. There are always a big chance to meet someone from your home country since Patong attract people from all over the world. If not, the girls working in the bar will be more than happy to chat, play games and dance with you. Every bar employ between five to twelve girls, and the girls will do everything to lure people inside the bar for a drink. It can be lots of fun just walking past a bar with the attention of ten girls doing almost everything to make you stop at their bar.

There are many beer bars outside of Bangla Road where families can relax in a quiet atmosphere and chat with the charismatic bar owner. The children will love to have a coke and play games with the bar girls who just adore children.

Khai Nok Island
Early up with the sun to go on a day trip. A pickup van are waiting outside the hotel to take you to the boat for excursion to beautiful small offshore islands.
A must for everyone is the trip to Phi Phi Island where The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed and Phang-Nga Bay with the limestone cliffs you saw from the plane.
Similan Islands, one of ten world top diving sites. Similans are nine paradise islands a daytrip away northwest of Phuket where the sea are fantastic clear, a truly paradise.
Racha Island to the south with beautiful corals and very clear sea, also popular for game fishing.
And several other islands with white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. So much to see, so little time on a short vacation.

Tired of the sea? Visit the rainforest at Phang-Nga. Khao Sok National Park is an eden of virgin tropical forest peppered with striking limestone formations towering up to 1000 meters.

Back from a long day with many new experiences your body will complain and ask for some attention. What is better than to try Thai body massage? After two hour your body will feel like heaven. It's easy to find a place offering massage, with shops on every street corner and on the beach.
For best massage ask for a woman over forty, younger women often don't have the same strength.

There are two famous show in the evening suited for the whole family. Phuket Fantasea at Kamala and Simon Cabaret Transvestite Show in Patong.

Quoted from their website: "From the creators of Safari World, Thailand's most popular animal and leisure park, comes a new and unique cultural theme complex-Phuket FantaSea-that promises to be the ultimate in night-time entertainment on the holiday resort island of Phuket."

Another must is Simon Cabaret, a marvelous combination of music, dance and costume performed by the famous ladyboys.

For the golf enthusiast Phuket have four 18-hole golf courses with Blue Canyon Country Club as one of the best in Asia. Banyan Tree Golf Club is another good course located at Laguna Phuket, home to several luxurious hotels.

And want-to-be divers should not miss up on the opportunity to get a international Scuba Diving Certificate while on vacation on a tropical island. Phuket is a popular diving destination.
Facts about Phuket

* Largest island in Thailand 540 km²

* Population: 270,438

* Capital: Phuket City

* Tourist capital: Patong Town

* Currency: 100 Satang = 1 Baht

* Evergreen tropical climate

* Day temperature 28-38C/82-100F

* Night temperature 20-28C/68-82F

* Tourist season November-April with peak at New Year

* 24 beaches with soft white sand on the west coast

What you can expect to pay in Phuket

* Tuk-Tuk taxi in Patong Beach
2 persons 150-200 baht

* Motorbike taxi in Patong Beach
40 baht

* Room for two in a four-star hotel
5.000 baht (high season)

* Airconditioned room in a guesthouse/bungalow
400-1.000 baht (high season)

* Beer at a liquor store
17-36 baht

* Beer at a bar
40-140 baht

* Thai Wiskey at a liquor store
200+ baht

* Motorcycle rental for a day
200-300 baht

* Papaya Salad, popular thai dish
30 baht

* Sunbed on a popular beach
100 baht

* A packet of cigarettes
35 baht

* One-hour Thai massage
200-500 baht

* Coke 1,2L
28 baht

* Hair cut
100-350 baht

* Bottle of water
10 baht

* Water 20L
10 baht

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