Intros are the hardest to write, well, for me at least. You know, like you need to get the person hooked but you don’t want to divulge everything and then you’re going to have to make a full circle to your ending? No? It’s just me? K, fine, let’s just pretend that I wrote something awesome here that hooked you into reading further. 😉
I can’t remember if I already said that the reason why I decided to leave the country for a while was because I am broken hearted, career-wise, and I wanted to clear my head and think about things. Wow, soshal, mag-iisip lang sa ibang bansa pa, sabi nila. Anyway, I think I already did here I Am A Wander Woman you can read it if you want, but this three-part post is going to be about the travel itinerary. Naks, three-part!
Writing the Thailand part of the itinerary is going to be a bit hard because I was not the usual tourist who saw everything all at once, like do everything for four to five days the way other tourists do, which was the same way I did last year. I spent eight days at Phuket and 11 at Bangkok where I stayed with my mom (HKT) and my uncle (BKK). This is the reason why I have been putting off writing this travel blog despite the many questions I get about how I did the trip. Honestly, I’m not the best person to do this because I’ve met people who have been traveling for months and maybe they’re the right persons to ask. But I’m the only one who writes about it, so pagtiyagaan niyo na lang. Haha! This is because unlike other people, I took my sweet time when I got there. And I know most of you only have five days, seven if you’re lucky. So to make it easier, I realized I’ll just make a list of the top destinations you have to see in both tourist spots and maybe make an itinerary for a five day trip to each destination. You fine with that? If you are, let’s get it on!
What To Do in Phuket
Do the Phi Phi Island Tour. If you’re going to Phuket and you’re not going to see Koh Phi Phi, Maya Bay (powdery white sand where they shot Leonardo di Caprio’s movie, The Beach) and Koh Kai Nai (you can go and feed the fish here), then why are you even there? I will no longer say anything more because this is going to be a lengthy post, and just let the photos speak for itself. Note: As a common sense, do not go during the rainy season, you will not enjoy it. Some people even said that they were praying all throughout the boat ride because the waves were just mad! I first went in March and it was the best time! July the second time and the weather wasn’t good. This trip starts at around 7am and ends at 3 or 4pm.
Price: 1,200 baht (2014) got this with discount because my uncle has a tour agent friend. Tourist price is at 3,500 baht (2014). You can get discounts if you’re booking for a lot of people. Tour includes hotel pickup, boat ride, snacks and lunch. You get to visit 3 islands, snorkel and feed the monkeys, if you’re seating at the front part of the boat. Bring towels and bathing suits!
Try the James Bond Island Tour. Apart from the Phi Phi Island tour, this is the other popular tour people do when they visit Phuket. The island got famous when it was featured in the 1973 James Bond movie. The island was so-so, it’s hard to get a decent picture without everybody photobombing the other person, but to be honest, who could complain? It’s a tourist spot for goodness’ sake. Unless it’s Cumberbatch cumber-bombing you, huhu. Go to a secluded island if you want it all for yourself. The good thing though was I walked to another side of the island and saw a spot where there are no people to photobomb you. The highlight in this day trip was canoeing in Phang Nga Bay. Amazing! There are really low caves that you literally have to lie on your back so your head won’t hit the rocks. It was so good! This trip includes hotel transfers, snack, lunch, a quick trip to a reclining Buddha inside a cave that stinks, I swear to God, feeding monkeys, then to James Bond island then canoeing. There are sellers in the canoe trip that sells from their boats!
James Bond Island!
Price: I don’t know what the regular price is for tourists because my mom also knows a tour agent hahaha! I think she paid more or less 1000 baht. You don’t need to wear bathing suit, you don’t get to swim, unless you fall off the canoe. Haha!
Climb the Big Buddha and get yourself blessed by a monk. Situated atop a mountain, this important landmark can be seen from far away. No entrance fee, but if you want to be blessed by a monk, have the decency to make a donation. Climb the stairs with bells to see the Big Buddha up close. You can also find a viewing deck at one of the areas where you can see a picturesque view of the emerald green sea, where you can scream your “ayoko naaaaa!” a la Mace in Tadhana. No, I’m kidding, you cannot scream at the top of your lungs there. Make sure to wear decent clothes, as a rule in visiting temples, otherwise, pay for the sarong that you’re going to borrow from the entrance to enter. But actual entrance is free of charge, if I remember it right. Open from 8am-5pm.
Do a “temple run” in Wat Chalong. Being one of the most important symbols of Thailand, visiting a temple is a must if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture. There are lots of other temples you can visit in Thailand, but Wat Chalong is one of the most beautiful and well-maintained that I’ve seen. It has several temples inside the compound that you can check out. Inside the temples, you can find Buddha in varied poses and sizes and prepare to be awed by the intricate designs. You can also observe the Thais since they come in here and pray. In one of the temples, you can find wax models of their priests, I think. I didn’t Google. Like in most Buddhist temples, take off your shoes when entering so make sure to wear slip ons for easy access, wear decent clothes and keep quiet. Entrance is free and it’s open from 8am-5pm.
Rent a motorcycle and go beach hopping! In my second trip, my mom and I traveled in Patong and Rawai and nearby towns using only my uncle’s motorbike. It was awesome. At one point, my mom and I went beach hopping around the area. I think we visited around 4 beaches, it was just the weather wasn’t cooperating that day that my water baby self felt so bad. 😦 Go to Karon, Patong and other nearby beaches. If you know how to ride a motorcycle, rent one, I just don’t know how much it costs per day, around 250 baht per day, I think. It’s cost-effective, because getting rides in Phuket will drain your budget. It’s crazy. Riding a motorcycle is cheaper and you’re living the local life with it as well.
Patong Beach! Coudn’t find the other photos from this year, or I think I didn’t took any, just videos… Hmmm.
Party in Bangla Road! You’ve never seen the Phuket nightlife if you’ve never been to Bangla Road. In the morning, it’s your usual street, but it transforms as the sun starts to set. The night lights, the stench of smoke, the smell of freshly opened beer, the smorgasbord of different genres of music blending together, aaah, you’re in nightlife heaven! It’s like a one big party thrown by Mr. Gatsby, I shit you not. You want rock music? Go to Rock City, and listen to my uncle, James, rock out to ACDC, Led Zep, Metallica, Nirvana. You want to dance the night away? Visit Monsoon! Want to listen to a variety of music? There’s Red Hot. ‘Mkay, must stop plugging my uncle’s and his friends’ workplaces hahaha! Even if you’re not the life of the party or you feel like you’ve been there, done that, Bangla will make you dance and sing and party like it’s the end of the world. Lol. I mean seriously, if you’re spending three days in Phuket, you absolutely NEED to experience Bangla. SO. MUCH. FUN. That’s saying a lot from a girl who loathes loud music.
Shop ‘til you drop or window shop in their night markets. From clothes to watches, leather bags, shoes, house/bathroom deodorizer to street foods, you’ll find it here! If you don’t want the excess baggage, then put on the excess weight! Do me a favor and do not go home without trying their bami! So yummy!
The guy who cooks the most amazing bami I’ve eaten!
Take in the nature’s beauty in Karon Viewpoint. If Philippines has Mines View Park in Baguio, Phuket has Karon Viewpoint. You have a 180 degree view of how awesome Mother Nature is. The best thing about this is that you can see the Big Buddha from here! This is one of the underrated tourist spots in Phuket, but you have got to see this, the view is just spectacular. I’d run out of words to describing it so just go visit the place?
Spot the Big Buddha in this photo!
Meet with the elephants! This is one of the highlights of my 2014 trip. It was absolutely fun to have a one on one with Yaya the baby elephant! Pay 100 baht to feed her with bananas and you get a free hug and a kiss!
Watch a muay thai event. Haven’t been to this one so I don’t know how much it costs and how fun it is, but if you’re up for it, why not? I had a friend though who said that he had so much fun when he watched a muay thai event, so if you’re the UFC kind of guy, see one in person!
Possible itinerary for a 4 day-3 night trip:
I think Cebu Pac only has night flights bound for Phuket coming from Manila, so you’d be arriving around 11pm or 12 midnight in HKT International Airport. Taxi costs 600-1000 baht depending on where you’re staying, it’s better if your hotel has free ride, you’d save up on that!
Day 1: Phi Phi Island Tour in the morning ‘til afternoon. Rest. Go to Bangla at night.
Day 2: James Bond Island Tour in the morning, rest, then go to the night market.
Day 3: Visit Big Buddha, Karon Viewpoint, Wat Chalong, binge on Thai food (a must!) then go beach hopping! You can squeeze in a night show like Simon Cabaret (my uncle do not like it, but I guess it’s okay) or you can go do the Thailand Fantasea or the muay thai thing. I heard it’s amazing, but I’m against animal cruelty so I skipped on it. How else can you teach elephants to do tricks if you’re not going to train them like hell?
Day 4: Do your souvenir shopping if you’re big on that, or stroll in the streets like a local. They have pretty good malls that you can visit, or there’s this building that serves seafood, like almost every stall serves seafood and it was amazing.
In all honesty, 4 days is such a short time to see everything in this magnificent place. Love Thailand! Writing this makes me want to go back to Phuket, ugh. Figured a 15-20k pesos budget is more than enough for this trip!
Here are the links to my first Phuket trip, though, if you want to read it:
Some touristy observations: http://carminamones.com/2014/03/25/tourist-y-observations/
Also, check out my sister’s travel blog where she wrote about her Phuket trip as well. She makes the best itineraries with all the planning and budget that I don’t. I’m the YOLO kind of traveler, I know, I suck.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions, I’d gladly answer them!