Thursday, August 3, 2017

[Phuket, Thailand 2017] How I Spent 4 Days 3 Nights In Phuket




Photo By: Elin Chow

My husband and I have been wanting to visit Phuket for the longest time, and it finally happened last month. Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, located in the Andaman sea off southern Thailand. The island is one of the most popular tourist spot in Thailand, famous for its beautiful beaches, luxury spas and raucous nightlife.  

Getting Around In Phuket

Public transport is very limited on the island, so we have to rely heavily on taxis and Tuk Tuks to get around, which can adds up to a huge cost. Both taxis and tuk tuk are notoriously more expensive in Phuket than the rest of Thailand. In fact, Phuket is known to have the most expensive transport system in the whole country.

Expensive? How expensive? To say the least, a 10 minutes taxi ride can sometimes cost you as much as 400 Baht in Phuket. But it is the most fastest, convenient and comfortable way to get around compared to buses, motorbike taxis and Tuk Tuks.

For people who do not know, Tuk Tuks are modified four-wheeled mini truck, usually painted in bright red or yellow, not the typical three-wheelers that you will see in Bangkok. Surprisingly, Tuk Tuks are ridiculously expensive in Phuket too, charging almost the same price as Taxis. In Patong, fares usually starts at a minimum 200 Baht, even for extremely short distances, and they can be uncomfortable for longer journeys.

There are licensed and unlicensed taxis in Phuket. But most of the taxis on the island are usually unlicensed and have no meters. Licensed taxis, on the other hand, are usually metered, but they are very difficult to find. Even if you managed to find one, most of them would usually refuse to use their meters, preferring to charge a flat rate, just like unmetered taxis. This means that you will have agree a price before getting into the car. Fares are usually set and non-negotiable.

Most taxi drivers can communicate in fluent English and have no problems finding their way to most of the major attractions and resorts.Taxis and Tuk Tuks are plentiful around the main tourist areas, beaches and shopping centres but are scarce elsewhere on the island.

The cheapest way to get around will be to rent a motorbike. Price generally range from 200 to 300 Baht a day and 1,200 to 2,000 Baht per week. We will definitely consider renting a motorbike if we were to visit Phuket again.

Cape Sienna Hotel & Villas





Official Website: Cape Sienna Hotel & Villas

During our 4 days in Phuket, we stayed at Cape Sienna Hotel & Villas. Cape Sienna is located about 45 minutes drive away from the airport, at the beginning of Millionaire Mile of Phuket, along the southern part of Kamala Bay. While most people flock to Patong, we have chosen to stay in Kamala because we read that it is less touristy and crowded than Patong.


Our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket was delayed and we arrived at Phuket International Airport 30 minutes later than the initial expected time. Weeks before our trip, I have already made arrangement for an airport pickup with the hotel, which was complimentary with a minimum 3 nights stay. Upon arrival at the airport, we were warmly greeted by a driver from the hotel, He led us to the car, offered us cold towels and water before driving us to the hotel.




Check in was fast and efficient and we were surprised to receive a free room upgrade! We have our Sea View Jacuzzi Deluxe Room upgraded to a Sea View Honeymoon Jacuzzi Suite. The Honeymoon Jacuzzi Suite features separate living and sleeping areas, and comes with an oversized balcony offering a unobstructed panoramic view of the Andaman sea and Kamala Bay.

Away from the hustle and bustle from the busy nightlife of Phuket, Cape Sienna is a true oasis to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. I would recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a romantic and peaceful holiday.

Lunch at Poolside Restaurant & Bar


It was almost 3 pm when we arrived at the hotel, and we were starving. After refreshing ourselves, we decided to visit the Poolside Restaurant at the hotel to grab a very late lunch. Just as its name suggests, the restaurant is situated by the pool, overlooking the turquoise blue sea.


The restaurant was empty when we arrived on that afternoon, and we enjoyed having the whole place to ourselves.


My husband ordered Seafood Fried Noodles while I ordered Pork Fried Rice. The food was delicious and serving size was decent, though prices are not really cheap.

Jacuzzi


After a delicious lunch, we went back to our room to rest for a few hours. Other than the stunning panoramic view of the sea, our oversized balcony also features a large jacuzzi tub with jets. The Jacuzzi tub is large enough to accommodate two persons comfortably.


We enjoyed a relaxing soak in the rays in the Jacuzzi tub while listening to the sound of crashing waves.



After taking a soak in the jacuzzi, we sat on the balcony while waiting for the sun to set. But unfortunately, the sunset was unspectacular because it was a fairly cloudy day.

Phuket Fantasea
Official Website: Phuket Fantasea 

After the sun disappear behind the clouds above the horizon, we decided to head out to grab dinner. Our original plan was to visit the Fantasea Night Market but somehow, we ended up at Phuket Fantasea, a cultural theme park located about 15 minutes drive away from our hotel.

We walked out of the hotel, and went in search of taxi or tuk tuk to take us there. Since the hotel is located in a fairly inconvenient location, it is not easy to find a taxi along the street. Luckily, there is a small taxi stand located about 10 minutes walk away from the hotel.

The taxi driver quoted us 200 Baht to Phuket Fantasea, and we gladly accepted because we knew this would be the lowest price we could get.




Phuket Fantasea is one of the biggest tourist attraction in Phuket, attracting millions of visitors every year. The theme park opens everyday, except Thursday from 5.30 pm to 11.30 pm. However, it will be opened on Thursday if that day falls on a public holiday.



There are two types of tickets available. Both types include park admission fee and applicable tax.

Admission Fee
Ticket Type
Adult (Baht)
Child (4 – 12 Years) (Baht)
Show + Buffet Dinner (at Golden Kinnaree Restaurant)
2,200.00
2,000.00
Show
1,800.00
1,800.00





We bought the Show + Buffet Dinner package because we thought it was more value for money. It costs 2,200 Baht per adult.


Spectacular, extravagant and incredibly impressive! Phuket Fantasea is an award winning night time cultural theme park that is designed to keep you entertained for hours!


Every building you see in the theme park is magnificent and made to impress, offering endless photo opportunities. However, we arrived too late (7.30 pm because we did not plan to visit at the first place) and were left with too little time to explore and take photos.



Buffet dinner is served at the Golden Kinnaree Buffet Restaurant, which is housed in an impressive golden temple like building.


The Golden Kinnaree Buffet Restaurant hosts one of the biggest buffet in Asia with a capacity to accommodate 4,000 seats or 10,000 standing guests and does so effortlessly. Every table has a number and despite being almost full house, we were very surprised by how well-organized the place was.



The inside of the building is as impressive as the exterior, with golden sculptures of mystical angels and intricate golden curved pillars. Wow! It felt as though we were dining in a palace. 

The buffet offers a spectacular feast of Thai and international cuisines to suit everyone's palate. Vegetarian and Halal food are available as well in a private dining area. The food was not particularly good, but service was excellent. The staffs were friendly and very efficient at clearing the plates and replenishing the food to keep up the demand.


The highlight of the theme park is the "Fantasy of a Kingdom" show. It is the biggest show on the island, performed once a day at the Palace of the Elephants theater at 9.00 pm. The theater is housed in an majestic centuries old palace with intriguing elephant statues.


Please note that all visitors are not allowed to bring any camera devices inside the theater, including mobile phones. Passing through the entrance of the Palace of the Elephants, you will find several queues leading to a security counter where you can deposit your camera and phone for safekeeping. I have no choice but have to leave my DSLR and Note 4 at the counter.

The performing hall is immense with an ability to accommodate 3,000 seats. The "Fantasy of a Kingdom" show is about 70 minutes long and has a performing cast of hundreds, dozens of elephants and several other animals (goats, chickens and pigeons).

There are 9 key elements of the show:
1. Thai culture
2. Magic illusion 
3. Acrobatics (which was also my favorite part of the show) 
4. Animal performance
5. Pyrotechnics 
6. Stunt 
7. Aerial Performance
8. Dimensional Effects
9. Special effects  

The show was amazing and inspiringly beautiful! There are tons of great scene I would like to share, but sadly, cameras are not allowed in the theater. For anyone visiting Phuket, this is definitely an experience not to be missed!

After the show, we walked to the taxi stand and approached a taxi driver. He quoted us 400 Baht to our hotel. We shook our head and approached another taxi driver, who also quoted us the same price. But the funny thing was we did not even try to negotiate for a lower price, because we knew that no matter how hard we try, they were not going to reduce the price. Apparently all the taxi drivers were trying to rip us off.

However, we were certainly not going to pay 400 Baht for a 15 minutes trip, which we feel was an extraordinary high price for an extraordinary short journey. So I took out my phone and decided to try out GrabCar. To be honest, I really did not expect that I would need to use Grab in Phuket, due to all the taxis and Tuk Tuks available. I managed to book a ride back to our hotel for 300 Baht. It was still overpriced, but at least, we managed to save a 100 Baht.


It was almost 11.00 pm when we arrived back at our hotel. After a relaxing shower, I put a face mask on and relax. The rest few hours was spent watching TV before we turn in for the night at 1.00 pm.

Siladon Spa
Official Website: Siladon Spa Phuket

No trip to Phuket is complete without a visit to a relaxing spa treatment. We decided to book a spa treatment at Siladon Spa due to the great experience I had at their Bangkok branch last year. Siladon Spa has 3 branches in Thailand - one in Phuket, one in Pattaya and one in Bangkok.


Siladon Spa offers a wide variety of different spa treatments and couple packages to suit different needs and budgets. Just like their Bangkok branch, their Phuket branch also offers a "Buy 1 free 1" promotion on all spa packages.

I have booked a 4 hours Siladon Voyage Couple Spa Package through their website months before our arrival. The package costs 5,800 Baht for 2 persons, which includes foot massage, body scrub, herbal ball compress and aroma oil massage. The promotion is valid for direct booking only. Anyone who are interested can book your desired spa package either via its website or email.

Getting to Siladon Spa is easy. All guests will receive a complimentary pick up from their hotel to spa for any spa treatment booked. If you want, you can arrange a return journey, or to anywhere else for an additional fee.


Siladon Spa is housed in a beautiful resort style villa, nestled away, high up in the hills of Patong Bay and surrounded by silence of the lush tropical jungle. Its hillside location offers a sweeping view of Patong Bay and the environment is very tranquil and comfortable.


The staffs greeted us warmly with smiles upon our arrival. We were ushered to a resting area and we were asked to take a seat at the reception. After confirming our booking, we were asked to choose the aroma oil we prefer, the strength of the massage and whether there is any particular areas we would like the therapists to concentrate on.


Complimentary tea and wet towels were served while the therapists prepare the room for our treatment.


Siladon Spa has 5 treatment rooms, each feature separate toilet and bathroom. The treatment rooms are spacious with oversized windows that allows plenty of natural lighting into the room, and the beds were very cozy and clean.

On the bed, there are bathrobes and disposable underwear for us to change into. The treatment starts with a warm foot scrub, followed by a foot massage and a full body scrub. After the body scrub, we were asked to take a shower. There was also a new set of disposable underwear in the bathroom.


After the shower, the therapists gave us some tea and biscuits and left us in the room to relax, only to return 10 minutes later to continue with our massage. 


At the end of our treatment, the therapists left the room once again to let us dress in private. It was drizzling lightly, and we were glad to find the therapists waiting for us outside the room with an umbrella.

Mango sticky rice and tea were served after the spa treatment. The mango sticky rice may look simple but it was really tasty. We were in love with it!

Overall, we have a great spa experience at Siladon Spa. The therapists were very professional, well-skilled and polite. After the 4 hours spa treatment, we felt incredibly relaxed and rejuvenated. Definitely well-worth the price!

Right before the treatment, I have asked the reception lady to help us arrange a taxi to Banzaan Fresh Market located on Sai Kor Road in Patong after the massage. It costs us 250 Baht.

Our decision to visit Banzaan Fresh Market gave us a chance to see Patong. The town is exactly like what I have thought it will be. The town is overrun with chain restaurants, crowds of people and noisy pubs and bars. But people seem to love Patong and I am not really sure why.

All I know is Patong is the heart of Phuket nightlife. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, clubs and a fantastic beach for you to enjoy throughout your stay. So if you looking for a lively place with a buzz in Phuket, Patong will make for the perfect holiday destination for you. But if you are looking for a relaxing and peaceful holiday, then Kamala will be just the place for you.

Banzaan Fresh Market


Banzaan Fresh Market is large covered wet market located opposite the road from Megamall Jungceylon. Inside the two storey market, you will find a large selection of vegetables, fruits, meat and poultry products on the ground floor and a food court on the second floor. The market is open from 7 am while the stalls in the food court are open from 11 am to 7 pm daily.

Unlike most of the other traditional fresh market in Phuket, the Banzaan Fresh Market is very clean and well-organized with dry floors and does not smell fishy at all.


The livest part of the market is the seafood section, which is mainly dominated by tourists. "Lobsters. Cheap lobsters!" the vendors would call out, each trying to attract the attention of visitors to their stalls.

The seafood section offers a large array of mouth-watering fresh seafood such as lobsters, clams, fish, prawns, scallops, squids and crabs. You can buy fresh and live seafood and proceed to the food court upstairs to have it cooked and prepared in your favorite styles.

The interesting selection of seafood offer here will be disappoint, and freshness can be guaranteed. It is simply a haven for seafood lovers!


We visited the market to enjoy a seafood feast. The seafood sold here are reasonably priced but not cheap, so be prepared to haggle and negotiate. Do not worry about language barriers because most of the vendors in the market can speak basic English and Mandarin. The vendor will type an amount in the calculator for you and once you agree with the price, they will pack the seafood into one big plastic bag for you.


We randomly approached one of the stalls and were offered 3,500 Baht for a 600 g lobster, 2 large sized Mantis Prawns, 2 scallops, 2 Tiger Prawns and a Tiger Grouper. But we feel that the price was way too expensive for the amount of seafood we were getting.

We shook our head and told the vendor that the amount of seafood was little for the price he offered. Upon hearing that, he quickly went on to add more prawns and scallops into the tray. Even so, we still feel that it was a little too expensive, so we started to haggle over the price.

"2,500 Baht", we offered. "No, no, 3,300 Baht" he offered another price lower than original. "No, 2,800 Baht" we rejected his offer because we feel that it was still too expensive. Eventually, we paid 3,000 Baht for 4 large sized Mantis Prawns, a 600 g lobster, 8 scallops, 4 medium sized Tiger Prawn and a Tiger Grouper, all fresh and alive. It was not incredibly cheap, but we feel that the price was fairly reasonable and thought it was a pretty good deal. So we decided to just pay and enjoy the food.

Please note that some of the seafood in the market command a premium price, especially when they are alive. Whether you want it dead or alive actually makes a huge difference in price. If you want to a live lobster, do expect to pay a premium price.



Taking the escalator up to the second floor, you will find rows and rows of stalls offering cooking services. All of the stalls here will cook and prepare the seafood for you for a minimal fee. "Hello, we cook seafood." a few of the stall vendors start to call out at the top of their voice the moment we walked in with a large bag of raw seafood.


We randomly walked to one of the stalls and passed the vendor the bag of raw seafood. We paid 900 Baht to have our seafood cooked. Please note that the price you paid for raw seafood is not inclusive of cooking fee. You actually have pay twice in order to enjoy the seafood - once to the vendors for the raw seafood and the other to the stall for cooking. In total, we spent 3,900 Baht for this meal. 

Mantis Prawns 
Lobster
Scallops
Tiger Prawns
Tiger Grouper
All the seafood were very fresh and the taste of food were very delicious. Overall, the fresh market experience was really fun and interesting. We had a very enjoyable and filling meal.  Banzaan Fresh Market is definitely a place you should not miss if you love seafood. But do remember to bring plenty of cash because credit cards are not accepted in the market.



The street in front of the market comes to live after 5pm, transforming into a bustling night market with roadside street vendors selling traditional Thai street food and cheap souvenirs and gifts.

After dinner, we decided to head back to hotel to relax. But we have problems booking a ride on Grab despite there were several available vehicles on the map. The fare shown on the app 250 Baht, which was actually pretty cheap. But probably because it is too cheap, none of the drivers shown as 'available' in the map accepted my booking.

I still managed to book a ride via Grab eventually but the driver never arrived. In the end, I was 'forced' to cancel my booking and look for a taxi instead. 500 Baht. As expected, the driver was trying to rip us off. But still, we accepted the inflated price because we were too frustrated and tired to negotiate.

Vanilla Sky Bar & Lounge 

After taking a shower, we visited Vanilla Sky Bar & Lounge, which located on the top floor of Cape Sienna, overlooking Kamala Bay.


The entire sky bar was empty at 9.30 pm, so we were free to choose wherever we wanted to sit. There are not much of a view to see after dark, but it still a good choice for late night drinks.


We used our vouchers (given to us by the hotel due to renovation) to exchange for 2 different glasses of cocktails. It was nice to sip in cocktails while listening to the sound of crashing waves.

Big C
>

The next day, we visited the Big C supermarket in Kamala, which is located about 20 minutes away walk from our hotel to stock up on our favorite cheap snacks.

Balance Spa

As we do not have any other plans for that afternoon, my husband suggested that we go for another spa session at our hotel. Since Balance Spa is having a 50% discount promotion on all regular massage, I thought why not. 


Balance Spa offers a wide selection of massages and spa packages for guests to choose from. We opted for the 90 minutes aromatherapy massage. It costs 2,850 Baht for 2 persons, thanks for the 50% discount promotion.

Complimentary dinner at Poolside Restaurant 

For dinner, we used the complimentary dinner voucher (given by the hotel due to renovation) to exchange for a Thai set dinner at Poolside Restaurant. The set dinner consists of 4 main courses and 1 dessert. Food was very delicious and more than enough for 2 persons.


After dinner, we headed back to our room and spent our last night in Phuket drinking beer and enjoying each other's company.

Well, this is basically how we spent our 4 days 3 nights in Phuket. We enjoyed ourselves very much and look forward to visit this beautiful island again. For anyone planning to visit Phuket, I recommend spending a minimum of 3 days in order to experience the best the island has to offer.

Be sure to follow me on my Facebook or Twitter to get the latest updates on my travel adventures! Also, do not forget to share my blog posts with your family and friends if you find them helpful. In the meantime, you might also want to check My Wanderlust page for some of my other travel adventures.

1 comment:

  1. Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your posts.

    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?

    Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete