Posts Tagged ‘phuket thailand’

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The street across Patong Beach is lined with establishments – bars, stores, hotels and restaurants. There are different types of bars around, from the usual backpacker’s watering hole to the eccentric A Go-Go Bars. As expected, a good number of lady-boys are walking around offering massages or whatever. Hehe.

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On our second night in Phuket, we decided to walk the strip along Patong Beach. I was actually hoping to get a light buzz from one of the bars but my friends weren’t really up for it.

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During our long walk, we came across a pink mobile bar. It was our first time to see one so you can just imagine our excitement, haha. It’s painted a very bold pink, decked with blazing lights and blaring out some Thai hip-hop music. It just demands attention. Weirdly enough, no one was around. Not even a single costumer.

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Since it was decided that we will no longer drink, we resorted to taking part of Patong’s street food. From grilled meat and seafood, fresh fruits and utterly delicious (and cheap!) crepes – basically anything a night owl would crave for.

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I feel like the huge amount of restaurants overwhelmed our hungry tummies because we actually ended up having our dinner at Subway. LOL. It’s quite comical, actually.

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After filling our tummies with sandwich and street food, we walked back to our hotel to retire for the night. I hope to get back to Phuket someday and take part of the infamous Patong nightlife. For real, this time.

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Phuket’s Big Buddha is a must-visit destination. It is one of the island’s most important and revered landmarks. Both tourists and devout Buddhists flock this local landmark everyday. There are two major Buddha images up the hill – the bigger one is 45 meters high and 25 meters across the base.

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This place also serves as a museum narrating the history of the Big Buddha. Upon entering, we immediately saw a lot of Buddha images everywhere.

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Despite the huge number of visitors around, the complex is rather peaceful and the only noises you could hear are the tinkling of small bells in the wind and a soft background Dharma music. You could actually buy a bell and get your name engraved on it.

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Also scattered all over the place are numerous donation boxes – most of them are placed near the base of statues. It could be off-putting for some visitors but the construction of the Big Buddha monument relies solely on public donations.

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On the right is the second major Buddha image, it is 12 meters high and is made of 22 tons of brass. It looks quite regal but dwarfed by the white marble Buddha.

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The top of the hill offers a sweeping 360-degree view of the island. I could just imagine how serene it would be at the top during sunset.

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Before leaving, we offered some prayers (though we’re not practicing Buddhism). As per tradition in most temples, we got a string bracelet blessed by monks for luck and fortune.

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For our last meal in Phuket, our driver brought us to Phongphang Seafood Restaurant. This restaurant gives off a Dampa vibe with all the tanks that contain live seafood scattered all over the place. You can make a selection from the live seafood and have them cooked to your liking. Or if you’re really not in the mood for that, you can order from their ~normal~ menu, which is exactly what we did.

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Green Chicken Curry – Super strong curry taste. And you see those grape-like bunch of green thingamajigs? They tasted funny. Curiosity got the better of me and I popped one into my mouth. REGRETS.

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Crispy Fried Shrimp w/ Garlic – Juicy shrimps with a light and crispy batter topped with crispy garlic bits. YUM!

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Sauteed Vegetables – The Ilocana in me always wants vegetables. They look and taste like chopsuey.

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Seafood Tomyum – Deliciously sour and spicy broth with lots of seafood goodness in it. Especially loved the fish meat.

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Seafood Fried Rice – Of course we gotta have rice. I loved how generous they were with the seafood. Lots of shrimp and squid bits.

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Watermelon Shake & Fresh Coconut Juice – fresh and not overly sweet. Perfect way to cool down on a very hot day.

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Phongphang Seafood Restaurant is quite a long drive from Patong Beach but it is definitely worth a try. Wish I could go back someday for the live seafood!

Phuthai Souvenir Markets and Handicrafts is the biggest souvenir store in Phuket. I read somewhere that the tour drivers may receive petrol coupons when they bring tourists to the store. This might just be true because there were a lot of tourists there when we dropped by.

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They have lots of novelty items for sale that are good as take home souvenirs or gifts to friends and family back home. Honestly, majority of the items are quite expensive so we mostly just browsed around, looking for cheap deals.

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For some reason, the store contained a lot of bags that are designed to look like owls. Maybe the Thais have a fascination for owls? LOL, I dunno…market3

I also did not get the toy snakes and the can opener. Are these signature Thai items? The photo album in the middle is actually pretty nice but very expensive so I did not buy it.market4These pens were far more affordable and actually made more sense than most of the random items all around. I walked out of the store with packs of pens that I gave away to office mates and friends when I got back from my vacation.

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If I had the extra money (and a beautiful house to hang them up on), I would have taken home one of these wood carvings. Maybe next time…

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As mentioned, most of the items in the store are expensive so it’s actually better to wait til you get to Bangkok for your pasalubong shopping. That is if you’re heading to Bangkok after which is exactly what we did. That being said, Phuthai Souvenir Markets is still worth the visit.

 

 

Chalong Temple or Wat Chalong is the largest and most visited Buddhist temple in Phuket.

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No one knows exactly when the Wat Chalong was first established, but the most recent building in its ground is a 60 meters tall ‘Chedi’ that houses a fragment of bone from the Lord Buddha. The tower has three levels with the first two filled with statues of the Buddha.

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At the very top of the tower is a glass enclosure that houses the bone splinter. It also has a large viewing deck which provides a view of the whole temple grounds.

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In addition to the Chedi, there are several other buildings including the main temple with statues of the revered monks where people can pray, light incense and candles, and even apply gold leaf to the statues.

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I just had to include this photo as it was my first time to see monks in person.

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As mentioned, Wat Chalong is the most revered temple in Phuket and a certain level of respect is expected. Shoes are never allowed in a temple and women are required to cover their shoulders and legs. I was wearing shorts and I was lucky enough to chance upon a very pretty skirt in a pile of cover-ups provided near the entrance.

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Continuing with our Phuket tour, we were driven up to Karon View Point. It only took us a few minutes coming from Kata Beach.

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Phuket is full of hills and has lots of viewpoints, some with names, some without. Karon View Point is the best known and most visited of them all. The little road that passes the viewpoint is not very busy, so you’ll notice the peace and quiet.

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There’s really only one view from the Karon View Point. Just look North and you can see Kata Noi, Kata and Karon beaches, along with Koh Pu (the little island just off Kata). Then find your spot and look at the view to your heart’s content.

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After taking multiple repetitive shots of the same view and some of a cute little kid, we decided that we’ve had our fill and move on to our next destination.

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On our last day in Phuket, we made it a point to squeeze in some more touring before we head to Bangkok for the second leg of our Thailand trip. One of the very friendly hotel staff helped us book a half day tour complete with a private car and our own personal driver. She also helped us score bus tickets to Bangkok that included free pickup from our hotel. Super convenient! But before that, we had to get moving because the rest of Phuket eagerly awaits us.

The first destination of the day: Kata Beach. Kata Beach is one of the most popular beach in Phuket next to Patong. It is much less crowded than Patong so it is a great family destination.

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It is safe to swim in Kata Beach because it does not have any drop offs. It is very friendly to children and non-swimmers. Because of the waves, it also is popular among surfers and even hosts a surf competition once a year. While we were there, we saw a couple of surfers in the water.

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Much like Patong Beach, benches shaded by parasols are lined up along its one-kilometer shore. I could imagine myself lying down in one of them, staring off into the scenic clear water flanked by hills, sipping on an ice-cold drink. Alas, I didn’t have the luxury of time for that so I went back to our car and took a final parting shot instead. Maybe next time…

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