Saturday, December 16, 2006

Holidaying in Patong and Karon of Phuket

Phuket Airport: After flying thousands of kilometers over Andaman Sea, the Airbus 320 aeroplane of Air Asia touch-down at Phuket airport which is situated by the Mai Khao Beach, at the North-West of Phuket Island. Judging by the almost full "bus" load of passengers, Phuket is a popular holiday destination.

The course for the coming event Phuket International Marathon on 17 June 2007 is near this beach. I will provide more information later.

The flight takes only 1 hour 10 minutes. Not counting all the waiting time at airport, a departure at 10:00 a.m. Malaysia time will reach Phuket at about 10:00 a.m. Thailand time with time difference of one hour behind Malaysia time.

This photo was taken through three layers of tinted glass.
Promthep Cape: This is located at the southern part of Phuket Island. It is famous for viewing of sunset. Not only it attracts the tourists, this is the only place where locals outnumbered tourists. The tour guide took us there half hour too early and hence, could not see the setting sun.

Can you count the number of passengers in this pick-up truck? As the tour guide explained, these workers are non-Thai; they could be from the poorer neighbouring country who come here to work.

Scenic Patong Beach: This photo is taken from the 25th floor (top most) of Royal Paradise Hotel.

The Royal Paradise Hotel: Only a few high rise building in Patong Beach Area. We stayed at Level 21 that offered a good paranomic view of the Patong Beach area.

The back entrance to the famous Bang-la Street: Look at the number of electrical wiring – definitely an eyesore, but we do not see these unsightly cables in Malaysia.

The Tiger Pub along Bang-la Street: Deserted of people at day time. But it is a different world at night where restaurants serve exquisite seafood, interesting nightlife with pubs, go-go bars are flourishing here. The mat sallehs like to come here to unwind, drink beer or hard liquor and have fun after a whole day of sunbathing or water activities. While passing by one evening, I could hear that the patrons were having good times together and happily singing along with the song "Living Next Door to Alice".

This is one of the pubs along this street. Simple setting but crowded with mat sallehs at night.

The clean and beautiful Patong Beach: A stretch of white sandy beach perfect for sunbathing. This is a world-class beach with all the necessary infrastructure and facilities in placed. Sea, Sand, Sun and Singha (Thai beer) that attract lots of tourists here.

Good Luck: Yeah, whoever is playing the water sports need the extra luck to be safe as the beach is crowded with people.

Beachfront massage: Very popular with the mat sallehs and business is good.

Tsunami Evacuation Route: Also a reminder to all that the beach front of Patong Beach was also hit by tsunami on 26 December 2004. About 300 meters away, there is a hill slope.

Carefree Sunday morning: The locals and mat sallehs are relaxing by the beach. The locals are friendly, polite and gentle with tourists.

Yes, I spotted one runner with a different type of attire. Over here, walking in bikini and swimming trunk are common, though it is not encouraged by the official pamphlets. The mat sallehs even ride motorcycle without wearing shirts -- different way of sunbathing.

Simon Cabaret show performed by a-kua (guys). They beauty surpasses the normal girls. This show is of high standard with big and comfortable hall, good sound system, elaborated stage setting and costume, and "like-real" singing expression. One a-kua impersonated Tina Turner in the song "Simply the Best" that drew much cheers and applause from the audience.

The Kata View Point is a strategic location where the three world-class beaches are visible: nearest is Kata Beach, in the middle is Karon beach; furthest is the Patong Beach.

Yours truly (KC)

At Karon Beach: The sand here is so fine and powdery that when one walks on it, it squeaks and gave a unique sound created when compressing the sand further by the weight of body. The beach is very long so it never feels overcrowded but most beach chairs were occupied.

I love the crystal clear water here. However, the rip current is dangerous and strong, especially during monsoon season (May to October). When the water re-circulating back into the sea, a swimmer can feel the pulling effect. While I was standing in water, my legs can feel the sand moves.

The neatly arranged beach umbrellas: Rental for each umbrella with two beach chairs is 200 B per day and business is good. I overheard the fat lady owner who said to her prospects in English: “…got chairs but no more UMBELA”.

I was sitting behind the third roll of the beach umbrellas under the shade of a coconut tree. What a simple way to enjoy a quiet holiday retreat: drinking ice cold refreshing coconut juice while admiring the scenery and listening the wave hitting the shore. I saw one mat salleh was pointing his camcorder at me. I presume it must be funny to him that while they wear minimally for sunbathing, the Asian did the opposite.
I later asked the vendor to cut the coconut and I requested for a spoon to scoop the coconut flesh, she could not find one. Instead, she took a metal spoon from her tiffin-carrier containing her lunch pack. I presume only Asian drinks coconut juice and eat the flesh.

Phuket Fanta Sea: I was puzzle over why the show charges RM 110 equivalent per person. It is in fact a modern cultural show with hundreds of performers aided by hi-tech audio and video equipment. Yes, they were elephants, buffalos, chickens, birds, goats as part of the casts. That must be the biggest indoor hall and stage that I have ever seen. The path to the theatre was something like Disneyland in Los Angeles with lots of pomp and fanfare, but of lesser extend.


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