Beyond The Sea (Kevin Spacey)

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It was a nice feeling to finally be able to submerge myself in my favourite environment … the sea. The emerald green Andaman sea of Phuket to be exact. And to think that the trip didn’t get off to such a smooth start due to one company’s botched up travel arrangement. Thank God for some individuals’ quick thinking and assistance.

I made the necessary bookings with Air Asia and their partner Go Holidays more than a week in advance for our flight and accommodation arrangements and thought everything was in order when the confirmation slip was printed out. On arrival at Changi Airport Terminal 1, our flight to Phuket was suddenly re-timed an hour later. I’ve heard of the company’s rather slack timings so took it in my stride. However, the killer blow was when we arrived at Club Andaman Beach Resort and was told by their manager that they had informed Go Holidays of the hotel’s over-bookings due to the high season and that there wasn’t any room available, but that important information was never relayed to us by the Malaysian travel agency. It was kind of disappointing that we didn’t get to stay in Club Andaman because it’s conveniently located in Patong yet far enough from the area’s chaotic night life. Besides, their 10 acres of tropical greenery surroundings and facilities are children-friendly.

Without a room and feeling rather tired and hungry, I asked for Adul’s assistance, our private driver whom I had booked through the husband and wife team of Nuch & Mai Travel Service before our trip; a very reliable outfit that does away with the hassle of dealing with the tuk-tuk mafia and shady airport limousine taxis. Adul happens to be Mai’s brother. Within an hour, we sought comfort within the modest yet friendly environment of Patong Village Suites, with relief coming from hearing the prayer call from a nearby mosque. It rained that night so we just stayed indoors watching television and had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant where lo and behold … Ooyah had her first kiss. The cheeky girl was playing with the owner’s son and it went all quiet for a while until Fadelinah turned around and saw both of them pecking each other behind her chair.

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Upon checking out the next day, we confirmed a 2 nights stay at South Sea Karon Resort before touring the whole Phuket island with Adul in his car. We went to some great view points around Karon before having lunch at a local Muslim stall in Chalong, manned by the friendly Arabian-looking owner. The food though simple-looking, was really delicious and we managed to get our fix of mango salad. This was followed by trips to some local attractions in Kinaree, like Kinaree House; a Thai handicraft shopping centre and Kinaree Elephant Camp, where Ooyah had fun watching a baby elephant entertain the crowd with her tricks, though she simply refused to touch the animal. After feeling the elephant’s skin, I understood why.

We also embarked on some shopping at Sri Bhurapa Orchid, where a variety of cashew nut products were being sold. There’s even an actual cashew nut tree in front of the place. It’s amazing how much work goes into taking the little nut out from its shell. Our next stop was a local shopping haunt in Phuket Town. We were rather drained by early evening and managed one last stop at Phuket’s latest and largest shopping centre, Jungceylon. Although Adul tried to help us get the best deals out of the local attractions and shopping areas, I still think a big shopping centre like Jungceylon is where most Singaporeans would get their kicks, albeit paying more.

The third day was set aside for just relaxing by the beach, including swimming in both the sea and swimming pool. Ooyah thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the sand and playing with her sandcastle building set, at times even singing to an unrecognisable tune. 🙂

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Perhaps the glitch on the first day was a blessing in disguise as we would have been stuck at the rather murky Patong beach if we had stayed in Club Andaman, instead of enjoying the clear waters of Karon beach. Quite a few female Westerners were clearly enjoying the sun a bit too much; deciding to go alfresco without their tops. Not that I’m complaining … though the older ones did freak me out.

Like most holiday trips, the night before leaving is always a drag. The Filipino band at Movenpick Resort & Spa’s Wildfire restaurant provided some form of entertainment while we had our dinner. We also bought our last ‘pancakes’ of the trip from a mobile stall; basically roti prata with fillings of sliced bananas with milk and chocolate syrup. A must-buy whenever one lands in any part of Thailand. Somehow it tastes different from similar ones sold in Singapore. At 30 Baht a piece, you can’t go wrong.

It wouldn’t be fair to leave Phuket without at least a single souvenir for Ooyah, so off we went into a hair-braiding shop where 3 female staff took 45 minutes to turn Ooyah’s crop of hair into 1 funky hairdo. 🙂

Truth be told, this Phuket trip was one trip that took me a while to decide upon, given the tsunami incident a few years ago. 2 earthquakes that took place a few days apart before we left made things even more doubtful. There are still warning signs along the beaches of Phuket that remind one of the disaster that claimed thousands of lives. We did not really experience any supernatural stuff, contrary to rumours of ghosts roaming the beaches of Phuket.

Is it worth visiting Phuket again? I would respond with a resounding yes. The beaches are cleaner now more than ever. Though some hotel staff still favour the Westerners above Asians even when they’re one themselves, eventually it’s your money that pays for their salaries. So just screw those that practice double standards and remember that warm Thai hospitality still exists in most parts of Phuket.

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~ by blackcadillac73 on March 1, 2008.

6 Responses to “Beyond The Sea (Kevin Spacey)”

  1. Well, you know what they say, sometimes trips off the beaten tracks is the most memorable. Indeed the accommodation arrangement hiccup proved to be God-sent. 🙂

  2. Screw Go Holidays. Totally unreliable and I’m still waiting for my refund.

    It’s going to be direct arrangements with airlines and hotels from now on. No third party involvement. I’ll willingly pay more to get assurance for a holiday trip.

    The Phuket trip was fun nonetheless. 🙂

  3. Your trip sounds like it was awesome…and I must say that the 2 women on the trip look babelicious in their swimming outfits – pass the msg to Fada 🙂

  4. How about the chunk hunk escorting those 2 babes? Hehehe …

  5. I think the rates are similar for direct bookings, no? Unless it’s for big groups, then possibly cheaper… but yea, I usually do direct just so I have a peace of mind.

    Just looking at the pix, I can tell you guys had a great time 🙂 Nice beach!!! And the food sound inviting. It’s all about sun, sand, sea and food!! 😀

    BTW, you mentioned “…We did not really experience any supernatural stuff…” Ok, that part ‘did not really’, does that mean, you still did experience something? Need to verify before I set off for a return to Phuket 😀

  6. It was my first and defnitely last time dealing with a budget airline and its affiliates. The worst travel company you can ever deal with is Air Asia’s Go Holidays.

    Having said that, it was a great trip after we made our own arrangements.

    OK … maybe justtt 1 incident that could be a bit supernatural. On our last night at Wildfire, Ooyah shrieked and pointed to the top of a coconut tree nearby. Only God knows what was up there.

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