Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Travel-Mates | Phuket, Thailand October 25 - 28 '13

(I am damn pissed it's the 2nd time I'm typing this. Typed this out on my iPhone originally and it had to crash as I was about to be done GODAMNIT)

So. Hi! I guess it's the first time I've updated so promptly, having just gotten off the plane yesterday.
To be honest, this trip was everything I didn't think it would. But more on that later.
Just wondering, have you ever wondered how a person is determined as a good travel-mate, or not? 
I've had my fair share of travelling with various groups of people: From friends, to lovers, to family, to distant relatives.
I've travelled with the 'Zero-idea-of-where-to-go' type, the 'Anywhere-also-can-but-in-the-end-cannot' type, 'Easy-going-Easy-breezy' type, and more, and to be honest I hate the kind that throw the itinerary at me, those who tell me their favourite locations are 'they-don't-know". Seriously?

Chong and Greg were the more easy-going kind, and I'm glad it was with 'em I went to Phuket with.
Me and them, we've known each other for coming 10 years now, and this is the first time we 3 have gone overseas together.
Going overseas with them is a very easy thing: having known each other for so long, there's no need for pretenses, no need for false words, it's just a whole lotta fun.
It's almost like hanging out with your siblings. They're the brothers I never had - the ones I would talk my heart out to, the ones that would endure my endless picture takings, the ones that shine light on pathways when it gets dark, the ones who I can talk countless crap with, and the ones that would be worried that I would be too tired on days we slept little.
Also, maturity has come along with their age: they had me cared for so well, that sometimes I forget they're no longer the boys I knew 10 years back.
I guess however old we grow, they'll still always be my favourite boys. I just love them a whole lot.
Thanks, my boys, for this wonderful trip.

Pictures are from the iPhone, so pardon the quality.

 We started off from Changi Airport Terminal 1 for our Thai AirAsia flight to Phuket. Flight time from Singapore to Phuket is 1 hour and 45 minutes approximate.

We spent $266.67 per pax for 4D3N Hotel Stay (At Secret Cliff Resort & Restaurant | Secret Cliff Villa) and the flight, including taxes. My friends are amazed at how I can always find such deals, heh. I booked the hotel and flight on Expedia, by the way. It's always cheaper to book the hotel and flights together.

Secret Cliff Resort & Restaurant - Phuket
707 Patak Rd.,Karon Cliff, Phuket 83100 Thailand
Tel :66 76 286750 - 3 Fax : 66 76 286701 E-mail:

[Did you know there's a Cactus Garden at Terminal 1? Neither did we - we had some time to kill so decided to take a brisk walk: wrong decision, weather was scorching, and it was a Smoking Corner too. But there were a good variety of Cactus though, so I guess if you like Cactus it would be a good walk for you.]

We decided to just take it easy when we reached our hotel so we hailed a Tuk-tuk (200 baht, 1-way for 3 people) to Patong Beach. The area was a very bustling place, eateries at every corner, and tourists everywhere. Massage places and similar souvenir stores were abundant, with different pricings and "services". We settled for this outdoor bazaar place which sold Phuket's specialties, and had fire-breathing performances. Also managed to catch fireworks set off by the locals, so I guess it was a good spot.

Ended the first night simple with a few wine coolers & Running Man. (I'm glad they love Running Man as much as I do heh)

We booked a Phi Phi Island Tour at the Airport for the 2nd day. (Upon exiting Immigration, it's the shop counter opposite Phuket FantaSEA, right before the exit to the terminal.) It cost us 1950 baht per pax, and included tours to 3 islands at Phi Phi, Lunch, 3 Snorkeling Trips, and Transfer (To Hotel from Airport, from Hotel to/from Phi Phi). 

Phi Phi Islands is a must-go for every trip to Phuket. It's full of postcard sceneries, with each beach more beautiful than the last. I almost couldn't believe what I saw was real, because it was that beautiful. The first Snorkel, though: 3 of us really really struggled, having no prior experience to snorkeling before. Once you get the gist, though, It was really amazing to watch all the fishes and corals below your feet. Just gotta be careful of the sea urchins, heard from the guide that if you got pricked, it's 2 or 3 weeks of medical leave for ya. (You could rent Swimming Fins, but what I thought was just wear a life jacket: with one your feet barely touches the sea floor, plus you get to see amazing underwater views without the fear of drowning.)

It rained initially, but the skies cleared up as we reached the first island. Monkey Island or something? Didn't quite hear the guide correctly. 

Sorry, just had to include this in. This is Chong's FHM Men's pose. HAHAHA
(Actually he was just scratching his back.)

Retreated back to our hotel, to find this view at our balcony awaiting us.

 The hotel we stayed in was Secret Clff Resort & Restaurant. It was right smack on a cliff, with good views of the ocean from almost every villa. Almost. It's right smack in the middle of Karon Beach & Patong Beach, but it is not walking distance from either of them. If you want to eat something else other than the hotel's food, the only way is a Tuk-tuk to either beach, which will cost you 200 - 300 baht per trip.

Side-tracking a bit: Though the rooms are not too shabby, this is not a hotel for the careless or elderly. As it is located on a cliff literally, it is a hilly area and sometimes the steps to our room were wet and slippery (Monsoon season), and even us almost slipped a few times. It was really too dark and not enough light shined the steps, especially at night. We had to switch on our phone's lights to shine the way, and walk very, very carefully. The staff's attitude also leaves much to be desired sometimes, with very bo-chap attitudes. One incident was when we returned to our hotel at night, and it was raining so heavily we decided to borrow an umbrella from the reception. (Amost all Villas/rooms are seperated and there is no walkway from one to another.) The staff just gave us a very annoyed expression and asked us to wait, while they chatted, no less. I got so annoyed I just told the boys we should just dash through the rain, who knows if we had to wait till midnight for an umbrella? 

Second incident was during Check-out. (Yes, there was a second.) Requested for the receptionist to call for a cab for us to the Airport, and without trying he told us there was none available. I just feel that it's very unprofessional as a hotel staff to say no to your customers when you haven't even tried. I would have left the matter as it were if you tried, but plain rejection without trying is just. Well, not professional at all.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the small pool on our second day. Had a great view, a jacuzzi, but a whole lotta trees blocking the beautiful view, which was a bit of a waste.

On our last night, we booked a package with the hotel reception to Phuket FantaSEA. It was termed as one of the shows you cannot miss while in Phuket, and it turned out pretty amazing. It was like a huge theme park with shopping, restaurants, little bars, and animals. Remember to go in earlier than your show start so you can finish exploring everything! Too bad the show was pretty strict in regards to photography and all camera phones & cameras had to be deposited at the security counters, so I didn't manage any pictures. But: the show is so amazing that you will be marveling at. every. angle, trust me on that. Live animals, elephants, illusions, all in front of your eyes - pretty much a must-watch. (We paid 1650 baht per pax for Transfer to/from and for the show itself.)

And that's about it. I need to head to bed, it's 12.30am now /shock