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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bali and Phuket 2011 Part 2

Part 2, Chang Caves and Mr Chow

Day 8

I must have drunk the genie at the bottom of the bintang bottle last night. Cause now the little bastard is banging the inside of my head to get out ...........Oh it hurts.

We showered and packed our packs and headed out to get breakfast.

Breakfast at the Febris was massive with so much to choose from set out in a buffet style, which I'm not keen on. The food tasted ok, not as good as everywhere else we have stayed at as they cook their food fresh for you. But when I went back to get more I noticed a guy with a tennis racket type fly killer, I guess it sprayed a spray or was some kind of electronic zapper. Whatever it was it killed the fly which fell into some food, and it was left there.

We needed to check-out by 830am as Wayan will be here to drive us to the airport.

Wayan looked great today in his traditional clothes; it was wedding day in his village.We said our goodbyes to Wayan and headed into the airport.

We booked in and made our way through immigration and sat in the departure lounge waiting for our Air Asia flight to the Island of smiles, Phuket Thailand. It will be my 2nd visit to Phuket and the girls first.

My earlier trip here

We left Bali on time and the flight was great, except the few turbulences just half hour out of Phuket. We landed on time and cleared Immigration and walked out of the terminal and turned right to changed $50 AUD for Thai Baht at the money changers and then a left turn down to the fixed price taxi counter at the other end of the terminal . I was quoted 500 baht to Kata Beach. We were assigned a driver and place our back packs into the boot of the cab and off we went to Boomerang Village Resort Kata beach. The taxi driver didn't really say much until we were a few kilometres down the road and he asked what hotel we were heading to. He seemed to know two speeds flat-out and stopped at some stages we were doing 130 km. I ask him to slow down, but he just didn't listen. We went through 2 red lights, almost constant texting and chatting on the phone. I have travelled to a few Asian countries but this was the worst taxi ride I've ever been in. I felt like we would be lucky to reach our destination. I am pleased to say we did.

Upon arrival he informed me I also owe him an extra 100 baht for airport tax, so the hell ride cost me 600 baht, who needs a theme park for thrills.

The Boomerang Village Resort is beautiful there is a steep hill to get up to the resort, but the grounds are meticulously manicured, the stone paths and gardens are some of the best I have seen. And the room is to die for. This place is just perfect. The room has all amenities even a DVD player. The restaurant is fantastic and the food is just beautiful. There is a free shuttle service between the hotel and Kata beach. After we check in and checked out the room. And after a big day we decided to enjoy the pool and do a little socialising. We freshened up and had dinner at the Cafe del Sol Restaurant which has a great view over Kata . There was even a small fireworks display, just to make the moment a little more special.

More Photos of the Boomerang Village Resort Here

Boomerang Village Resort website here

Day 9

Breakfast is a smorgasbord style, which was nice. But as stated above I'm not a fan of food sitting around for too long. I opted for the fresh cooked eggs and toast; I must say the orange juice is very strong but very yummy.

We walked down the hill of our hotel and at the bottom, I yelled out "watch out" as I saw a snake. Talk about shitting yourself, on a closer inspection we found out it was squashed flat. Thank god. After a laugh we continued to walk to Kata's town centre to change some money and get some credit at 7/11 store for the Thai sim we were given free at Phuket airport , True move is the company name and is pretty cheap to text and phone home . It comes with easy to read instructions.

I showed the girls a tuk tuk and they wanted a ride in one. So we grabbed one to Patong. The girls loved the look of the beaches, shops and the elephants we passed on the way. We got out at Bangla road and payed the tuk tuk lady 400 baht. The girls decided to go beauty land. So headed along Bangla Road to Rat-U-Thit Songroi Pi Rd and turned left keep walking up the road on the left side until you see a big arch way on the left with Adaman Beach Suites turn left and walk under the arch, Beauty land is on the right. After half an hour and a few baht lighter we finally left.

Next stop Jungceylon we walked around for awhile, before we headed to Jindas shop. We bought a few things from them; I didn't find them any cheaper than anywhere else.
Next stop Otop market and after a big walk around this massive market and a lot of hard bargaining, we sat down at Monkey Bar, for a cool drink. It wasn't long before the bar games were brought out, we had a few laughs and spent a few hours there playing games and having a few cold Changs.

After the bar we headed off for some dinner, only to be caught up watching the bikini and foam party at the Hard Rock Cafe. A little later I took the girls to Bangla road this place is hedonistic fun for adults, the girl’s eyes were as large as dinner plates with the sights of the bars and guys asking them to go the ping pong shows. Halfway along we spotted the aids parade led by a few lady boys. We managed to get our way to the front and get a few happy snaps with the lady boys.
We walk along the beach road for a while checking out the sights and a few shops, before catching a batman tuk tuk back to the hotel. He cranked the duf duf music till my ears bled, but the girls loved it. I think they are starting to love Phuket.

Day 10

That alarm is going off again, 6 am!

Our transport will be here soon. It was cool and a slight breeze and overcast this morning. The bus arrived and we climbed aboard to said our hellos to a couple from the US and set off to Karon beach to pick up another couple from Australia. Next stop Royal Phuket Marina , were we met Jenny from Simba Sea Trips and Harry the tour guide who looked like Mr Chow from the hangover movies , a few jokes were made and we all enjoyed a laugh . We also met the other half of the group 3 couples from the UK.

Our destination today was Phang-Nga Bay.

I had been on the Bay once before back in 2007, and thought the girls would love the day out as well. But when I did it the tour it was crowded with thousands of tourists everywhere we went and even though I enjoyed the day, the crowds did spoil it.

Simba Sea Trips was recommended to me by a person I know and after reading the reviews on Trip Advisor I was sold. They said they try avoiding the crowds and they did.

We left the marina and onto the bay. Jenny introduced herself and Harry (Mr Chow) and the other staff and a brief description of the day and what we will be doing. It was cold first off on the boat, but soon warmed up as the sun got higher in the sky.

As we powered across the emerald green watered bay and admired the picturesque sea views of these almost vertical limestone tree covered Islands jutting out of the water just amazed us as we looked in ore at the beauty of this bay.

The speed boat slowed next to one of the Island and Jenny started telling us a few interesting facts about the flora and fauna as well as how the giant stalactites are formed. While two sea hawks glided over head and a monitor lizard swam past the boat, this place is amazing. We turned the corner of the Island and landed on a small beach. We were all given flashlights and climbed down the small ladder onto the beach. A great photo opportunity and Harry was always ready to volunteer to take photos for you, Jenny also helped out.

We entered a small cave off to one side of the small beach, as we entered Harry spotted a small bat clung to the rocks above us "keep your mouths shut" said Harry. As we ventured in the cave more there were a few great stalactites and stalagmites after about 50 - 60 odd meters we could see light at the end of the tunnel. And stepped into the hong (Jenny said it's Thai for room) WOW, talk about feeling like you had stepped back in time these was unreal, the mangrove looked great. We all walked around exploring, and found some mudskippers and small fish and after a few photos we left the hong , only leaving our footprints behind .

Back on board we were welcomed with a choice of water of soda/fizzy drinks and a great platter of fruit and bananas cake. I tried the dragon fruit, so yummy also some small round fruit which Harry called dragons eyes both were delicious.

Next stop James Bond Island made famous by the 1974's "The Man with the Golden Gun.”. We took a few photos of the Island before boarding the boat and heading off again.

As the boat sped past the magnificent lush green mangrove forests and vertical Islands, it was great taking in the view of the truly unique place. We stopped for some info on the mangroves and have the local people harvest shrimp.

The boat came to a stop next to one of sheer limestone cliffs close to the Koh Panyi Village. And perched up high, was a small cave. Jenny and Harry pointed out some cave paintings.

Before stopping at Koh Panyi Village, the entire village is built on stilts or floats. We had a tour around the village to see how village life went about. Before heading to the restaurant for a lunch which was an array of local food all great food, even the spicy fish head soup. Harry collected some chicken bones and asked if we wanted to watch him feed some of the fish the local’s farm here. The grouper and cobia are massive and soon made short work of the left over bones.

Back on boat and our next stop was sea canoeing. The girls went in one canoe with a Thai guide and I was alone in another and off we set, around the Island through a large cave and a few smaller caves. It is a truly amazing spot.

More photos of Simba Sea Trips Phang Nga Bay Here

Simba Sea Trips website here

Our last stop of the day was a small Island for a swim the beach was lovely lined with beach chairs to relax in and a small bar to buy a drink from.

Back at the hotel and we relaxed for a while, before heading in Kata to change some money. We grabbed a tuk tuk and heading to Kata Beach for dinner next to the Ska Bar, after a tasty meal of Thai food. We went over to the bar for a few afternoon drinks and to relax to the reggae music, what a top place. We had a great night, though the South Africa girl running around in a G string / thong was a bit much to take.

Day 11

Finally a lazy morning we all slept in till 10am, my god it was great. We wandered down for breakfast, which was great except there were no forks for awhile, other than that all was fantastic.

After breaky we just chilled for a while and uploaded a few photos to facebook and Google+, just to let everybody know what we have been up to.

We walked down to Kata to drop some clothes off at the laundry, which is 50 baht a kilo and pick up tomorrow afternoon.

I spoke to a guy near the money changer and bargained a price for some transport. We jumped into his flash Toyota 4wd and off we set. First stop was the big Buddha; it was a great drive up the mountain. We passed elephants, rubber plantations and quite a few ATV’s.

Entry to the Big Buddha is free. However girls must have the legs and shoulders covered up, so the Miss C had to have a sarong around her shoulders as well as one covering her legs as well as Miss G's legs. But there is a donation box there.
We walk along to take a few photos of the Buddha and the fantastic view. Off to one side you can write your name on a tile for another donation, we choose the small tile and payed a 100baht each.

At the other end of the hall sat two monks. I removed my thongs/flip-flops and went first and knelt down in front of the monk. The monk tied on a wrist band and blessed me while splashing me with holy water. I thanked the monk and donated him a few baht. Up next was Miss C and then Miss G had her turn.

We walked up the stairs to the top and view the Buddha and the fantastic view around Phuket. It’s well worth the visit just for the view alone.

Next stop was support to be the Kok Chang Safari, but the driver I had found didn't seem to know where it was. We visited four different elephant parks before we finally got there.

We did finally arrive at Kok Chang Safari with a cheer from the girls and me.

I hate elephant rides, but my youngest loves them. I am still working on her to look at them and not ride them.

The elephants are chained up by one foot and the elephants looked anything but happy, some just rocked back and to. I felt sorry for these animals and wished we hadn't purchased a ticket to ride the elephants.

Anyway we set off , Miss C and Miss G shared an elephant , which left me to ride an elephant by myself except for the Mahout we set off up a hill for our 20 minute ride and all was fine , except all I can think of each time I ride an elephant . What the hell happens if the elephant goes rogue and runs off into the jungle, with me hanging on for dear life.

About halfway up the hill the elephant I was on stopped, the Mahout start saying something in Thai to it, but the elephant didn't move. The Mahout reaches towards the seat and pulled out his ankus (a wooden stick with a metal hook on one end) and hit the elephant on the head hard, and once again hit it hard. Still the elephant wouldn't move, I was shocked and felt sick in my gut for the poor elephant. Then, came a huge wack with the metal hook, which got the elephant moving and I and the girls were shocked. I asked could we go back. But the Mahout just kept going. I will think twice before doing that again.

Miss G said she didn't feel too well, so we headed back to the hotel and she lay down for an afternoon nap. After a couple of hours she said she felt better.

So we had a small bite to eat before we grabbed a Tuk Tuk and headed to Phuket Town, night markets. I have been here on my last visit in 2007.

It started raining on the way and stayed wet most of the night. I like the shopping here was great and cheap. We started off and got some bargains.

And I had to try the grasshoppers , the guy told me to rip its head of and pull the back legs off and enjoy , it was great at first kind of a soy taste but after that omg , let's just say I'll be starving to death before I eat another .

Miss G started to get stomach pains and a sore throat. So we run off to the car park where the poor girl was ill. We jumped into a taxi, and off we went to the Bangkok Hospital in Phuket Town.

About 15 to 20 minutes later we were at the hospital and Miss G was admitted. And moved to a ward. There is a lounge in the room that is large enough to sleep on which Miss C slept on. I sat in a hard wooden chair all night watching Miss G and worrying.

Day 12

I had gone 12 hours with only an hour sleep on the hospital floor, and that was bloody cold.
Miss C woke up and she was ill, So I got her down stairs to the outpatients and checked out by a Doctor, she was admitted and moved to a ward.
Both girls were on different floors I spent the next few days and night spending a few hours between each girl.

I had to leave the hospital and go get our insurance papers and passports for the hospital.

I left the hotel and walked down to the main road to try grab a cab, it was raining not enough to get soaked but enough to piss you off. I was nearly hit by two bikes which just missed me and hit each other, thank god.

I grabbed the next tuk tuk back to the hospital.

Day 13

We were supposed to leave Phuket today aboard an Air Asia plane to return to Bali, but as both girls were unfit to travel we had to phone the airline and state our case. And Air Asia just asked to bring medical certificates and we could re-arrange our tickets with an additional fee.

I also phoned the hotel in Bali and Wayan, who was going to pick us up from the airport. To inform him we would be stuck in Phuket for a few more days.
Around 11 am both girls got the all clear to leave the hospital.
Four to five hours later the insurance company Covermore had received the girls medical reports and had reviewed our case and payed up for the hospital stay for both girls. They had also organised us a room at the Millennium lakeside hotel, Patong. Until our flight.

More photos of the Millennium Lakeside Here

 Millennium Hotel website here

I had to go to Air Asia with a medical report about the girls stating they were in hospital and unfit to fly. So I could rebook our flights and pay a little extra money, which. Covermore said they will cover when I submit a claim, upon our return to Australia.

That evening we went to Jungceylon to get something to eat from subway and an early night. As the girls were still not 100 % and tired.

Day 14

Breakfast at the Millennium is unbelievable, with lashing of foods. A true food lover’s delight. I went with a chicken salad straight out of the kitchens, a true delight to eat; it got all my senses working overtime with a punch of fantastic flavours. What a way to start a day.

Later we hit the streets of Patong, I needed some new sunnies as I broke mine hitting my head on the side of the taxi while getting Miss G to hospital.

Near Bangla Road I found a small shop selling sun glasses, the lady wanted 350 baht for some Ray Bans. Shit I thought, the girls bought some at Phuket Town night markets for 89 baht. So I hit her with 100 baht, NO she said. On the calculator she pressed in 300 , I pressed in 100 again , No she said , and she went to 250 , No I said 120 , she said no and pressed in 180 on the calculator , No I said and pressed in 130 baht , she agreed on the price all this time was done in silence except for both us saying no . As I paid her she made sure the people behind her didn't see what was going on or how much I had payed for the glasses. I stood there for a while watching her and the other people , she sold them 1 pair of Ray Bans and 1 Oakley glasses for 400 baht for both .

Patong reminds me of Kuta in Bali a huge tourist trap with expensive prices for everything. I much preferred our time in Kata Beach. The worst part for me it’s the Indian /Thais selling suits and DVDs trying to be Aussie, Hey buddy wanta buy sum DVD's or we have suits cheaper than K-mart. Geez what a pack of wankers. Bali gets me down with them trying on the Aussie accent as well.

We cooled down from a hot morning walking the streets of Patong, by taking a dip the hotel pool which is located on the 4th floor and beautiful.

We headed towards Otop market and had dinner at a small Thai restaurant which was so yummy and so cheap.

The girls wanted one last lap of the Otop markets .And to bid farewell to our new Thai friends at the Monkey bar.

On the way back to our hotel, we walked past Let's Relax and great spa I visited on my last visit in 2007. I suggested to the girls how about a foot reflexology. Both girls said "Yeah". So we asked if they could manage to fit us in. This place is so nice and for 400 baht for 45 mins foot reflexology it's good value. We were ushered over to get our feet washed in bowls with rose petals, already I was feeling refreshed. Then it was up the elevator to the 2nd floor and they sat us down in the big comfy recliner chairs. The cool air conditioner breeze on our hot skin was nice and to relax to the sound of the small fountain and water fall on the lower floor. Had us sinking it the big chairs and just relaxed even more. Arrhhhh this is total bliss. I love a professional spa that insists total quiet.

Time to turn in it’s an early start in the morning.

More photos and scan of business cards here 



Sharon said...

Love your blog! Good advice as I am headed that way on my way to Oz. BTW my ex's last name is Bennett, maybe he was a distant cousin?

Unknown said...

Ha Ha , If your from the UK then maybe yes. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed my blog. I hope you have a fantastic trip.

Shonagh said...

Andrew been a follower of yours for a while via BTF. But where's the rest of the trip. Really looking forward to what happens next. So what was wrong with the girls did you actually find out? Thanks for sharing

Unknown said...

Hi Shonagh .

The girls are fine they caught a flu/virus while in Phuket , a little rest in hospital had them as good as new again .

Part 3 is here

China said...

What a wonderful blog. I love reading about your experiences and can't wait until I have the funds to begin our excursions! I have to say I especially like that your daughter is a Rolling Stones fan!! You must have gone on travels to have seen them.. yes? Please tell about some of the those trips if so!! Namaste ~ Kathryn

Unknown said...

Hi Kathryn , Sorry we haven't seen the Rolling Stones in concert, I wish we had. Thanks I'm glad you enjoyed the blog. And I hope I can hear about your travels one day.

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