Quick Stop at Phuket

Like all islands in any part of the world, the beach is the main attraction in Phuket. Small islands are circling the area, and this includes pile of rocks and unstructured cliffs which formed by natural phenomena. I quick stopped at Phuket International Airport at 8PM local time. The immigration process went smoothly without any complicated procedure. As I was about to leave the airport, someone approached me and offered tour packages to various places around Phuket. After a long debate with myself, I decided to purchase a package tour to Phang-Nga province for 1650 baht.

Almost an hour without traffic had drove me to a quiet area away from the crowd. I handed over 550 baht to the taxi driver and let myself in to the resort. The Baan Panwa Resort & Spa was a hotel which I had previously booked through Agoda. Located on Cape Panwa, the hotel was quite amazing, considering I paid less than a hundred dollars for 4 nights stay. It was worth every dime. Surrounded by a garden view and right on the nameless coast, the resort provides Air Conditioned rooms complete with TV cable, free Wi-Fi, tour packages, cars and motorcycles rental, sauna & spa, massage center, bath and terrace in the room, free coffee and tea, swimming pool, and tons of viewpoints. I could imagine living like a king for the next 4 days.

At the first day, I intended to see the famous Promthep Cape. I asked the hotel to book a taximeter. Unfortunately, taxi only operated from the airport to the hotel and vice versa. The taxis are not allowed to operate on the highway to pick up passengers. It was quite a disappointment realizing I stayed in the middle of nowhere where no transportation is available. Even Tuk-tuk, the traditional Thai transportation, was nowhere to be found. Thus, because there was no other choice, I had to use the hotel taxi service of 400 baht for one way drive to Rawai Pier.

It took me about half an hour to reach at my first destination. The view was just okay, just a port with a background of small islands, nothing interesting. So, I decided to move one to Promthep Cape. I intended to walk because based on the guide map the location wasn’t that far. But just a half hour walked, someone offered me a lift on his motorbike. I spent 200 baht to pay him.

I guess it’s true what people say, the view at Promthep cape was very beautiful. I couldn’t imagine if the day was clear at the time. Surely, it would be more beautiful. Satisfied with a splash of sunset, I returned to the hotel. This time I hired a motorcycle taxi for 300 baht because I didn’t have any money left in the pocket. I planned to rent a bike for the rest of my holiday.

My second day was an adventure to Phang-Nga, which I purchased this tour at the airport. A driver picked me up at 8.30AM, and drove me straight away to Phang-Nga Bay along with other tourists. When I arrived there, hundreds of other tourists gathered in a vast land, waiting for their turn to visit the surrounding islands. We were divided into 3 ferries to depart. On the boat, I was provided with free snacks, beverages and lunch. During the trip, the tour guide explained the agenda of the next 8 hours.

Our first stop was the island of Khao Kian. We got off the boat to paddle the canoe around the area. We entered the caves with stalagmites and stalactite formations, which was truly fascinating. I was companied by a tour guide on the canoe. The second stop was the island of Khao Ta Pu, or known as the famous James Bond Island. This is the symbol of the well-known Phang-Nga province. There was a nail-shaped island as the background, where we can take pictures with unique styles.

The third stop was at Hong Island. Here, we were once again down to paddle into the caves in the floating hills. But when the high tide, we cannot go into any caves. Or we could also enter it with the body lay in the canoe while watching the beautiful stalagmites and stalactites to reach the lagoon inside. The last stop, after lunch, was a free time in no man’s land. The event organizer gave us two hours to have fun. Some of us were swimming, took photos of the coast of no man’s land, canoeing around the island alone, or just sun Bathing in the ferry. Finally, around 5PM, we’re back to Phang-Nga Bay, which then the driver drove me back to the hotel.

Taking experience from the day one, I decided to rent a motorbike from the hotel for the following 2 days with total price 600 baht. So, the next day I started adventuring. Hard rain did not stop me to go out. I visited Wat Chalong, which is the largest and most important temple in Phuket. Although the architecture is similar with any other temple in Thailand, this temple has a long history that makes it sacred.

Not far from there, 10 miles up into the mountains, there was the Big Buddha temple which is still under construction. From there we can see the views of Chalong Bay on one side and the Andaman Sea and Kata beach on the other. This 45 meters tall giant statue will become a symbol of Phuket. On the way back to the hotel, I took a quick stop at the local market which only operates at weekends.

Last Day in Phuket, I visited the Phuket Aquarium and Kao Khad view tower which is located at Cape Panwa. For tourists, the price of admission to the Phuket Aquarium is 100 baht, While Kao Khad view tower are free. I went back to the airport by taxi from the hotel for 700 baht. The valuable lesson I got from this travel is to rent car or motorcycle from the airport so that can be much more frugal.

Author: John Grotti

Email: johngrotti@yahoo.com

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