Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Back from Phuket

Just came back from a short trip to Phuket, Thailand which I could just summarise with 3 words, beach, food, and water sports in that order. :)

Phuket is the place to go if you're into the beach, the sea and of course water sports. As my trip was quite short, I did not explore much on the other aspects of Phuket such as the nature trails, elephant trekking, etc but so far from what I observe, those 3 words summarises Phuket quite nicely.

Traveling to Phuket is now a breeze, mainly because there are flights that bring you direct and there is no need to transit via Bangkok. Visa is not required if you're Singaporean. I did not see any ASEAN members requiring visas but I might be wrong.

Immigration will not be so time consuming if you know which queue to follow. Each queue will branch out to 2 counters if both counters are manned. Therefore, choose the queue where you can see both counters are being manned. The queue will be much faster. Believe me... I chose the wrong queue. :(

Going out of immigration will bring you direct to the baggage claim area. There are digital signages around telling you which belt you're to go to claim your baggage. Take note of the belt number early because it will disappear after a while.

After getting out of the baggage claim area, you will see a counter where you can get taxi service. If the place you're staying is not in the main city centre or well-known, I suggest that you take the taxi service within the Phuket airport. Even though my resort is facing the beach, the taxi driver was not familiar with the location.

Do note that there are 2 kinds of taxi service, one is the mini-van which is ideal if you have groups of up to 8 people, or a limousine taxi service (I was in a Toyota Camry). Obviously the limousine taxi service is cheaper. The people there directed me to the limousine taxi service when the initial price that quoted was too expensive. The cost is about 750 THB to go to Kamala Dreams, taking the limousine taxi service. For some reason, the trip from Central Festival Phuket only costs 600 THB even though the timing is similar. It may be because I was traveling on the "main road" instead of the winding road near the coastal area.

If you take a limousine taxi, I believe it will stop at a location near the airport for them to"process" your ride and a "friendly" guy will ask you if you're interested in a package tour whereby your taxi ride will be "free". Just politely decline and he will not ask further. If you're interested in getting a return taxi ride from the same taxi driver, you can arrange there if you wish.

One thing to note about Phuket is that so far, I did not really see anything that looks like an expressway. Therefore, the average speed of the car is actually quite slow. Do not trust Google's estimates because there is always perpetually a mini jam, especially so if you're going to the beach area. The roads there are small and winding. For example, it took me about 40mins - 60mins to reach Kamala beach.

Do note that if you do not have time to get souvenirs, there are plenty of souvenir shops at the airport near the departure area. I counted at least 3 souvenir shops at terminal 1, and many food shops such as Burger King, Subway, Chester's grill and Bill Bentley pub so that you can grab a bite before taking your flight. There is only a small souvenir shop at terminal 2 and since terminal 2 is not that far from terminal 1, it's better for you to do all your shopping before checking-in and going through immigration, which is located at terminal 1.

Stay tuned for more posts on my short adventure at Phuket. :)

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