During our last night in Bangkok, I was contemplating what to do the next day. We still had a full day to spend in Thailand before we fly back to Manila. I heard that the floating market had already become too touristy so I decided not to go there anymore. Moreover, since we had just returned from Laos, my sister already felt ‘temple overload’ and told me that she doesn’t want to visit any temples anymore. So to give my mom and my sister a different and memorable adventure on our last day Continue reading
Ever since I was young, it has been my ultimate dream to visit Thailand, formerly named Siam. The country is called “The Land of the Free” because it’s the only country in southeast Asia that was never colonized by the West. Thus, its preserved and unique culture is one of the reasons why tourists from all around the world flock in this country. My own interest in Thailand started after watching, one of my favorite films of all time, Anna and the King. Seriously, I think I watched this movie Continue reading
Getting to Laos by train is quite easy. And now, it’s relatively easier after the construction of the new international rail terminal at Thanaleng in Laos in 2009. Thanaleng train station is located 13 km from central Vientiane (Laos’ capital). You can now take the sleeper train from Bangkok-Nong Khai; then, upon arrival at Nong Khai train station, you will transfer to another train that will bring you to Continue reading
We are now on our third day aboard the cruise ship Legend of the Seas. And among all our ship destinations, let me say that this was my favorite. We were off to none other than Phuket, Thailand! I guess for all beach lovers out there, Phuket is one of the must-see destinations. This was also my first time to visit Thailand so I was so excited to have a glimpse of this beautiful country. For Day 1 and 2 of our Asian Cruise please also check out Legend of the Seas Asian Cruise Day 1: Singapore and Legend of the Seas Asian Cruise Day 2: Penang, Malaysia
Our ship arrived in Phuket at 10am and it would stay in the island until 9pm. We had one day to roam around the island. I just couldn’t hold my excitement when I finally saw the island of Phuket. I just couldn’t wait to get off the ship . This time unlike in Penang, our ship was tendered in the sea. It means we needed to take small boats that would take us to the shore because the ship is too big to dock near the beach. Upon arrival, we saw another cruise ship, the Costa Romantica, also tendered in the sea. It also looks so big and beautiful.
We took one of the organized tours of the ship again. This time we chose the Panoramic Tour that would take us around the city. We left the ship at around 11am and took a small boat that would take us to the shore. The ship will provide the boats for the guests.
I watched the view as the boat took us farther and farther away from the ship and closer to the shore. After a few minutes, our boat already arrived near the shore. I was so glad to finally set foot in the island of Phuket. Upon arrival to the beach, we already saw a lot of people from tourists to vendors and tuktuk drivers. Though expected, I was still surprised to see the island highly commercialized. There were bunch of tourists everywhere mostly from western countries. There was a long line of tall hotel buildings at the beach front. You could see many tourists on their bikinis and trunks sun bathing in the beach. Actually, the beach was almost jampacked with tourists. I realized then, “Wow, Phuket is really a tourists’ magnet.” How I wish our beautiful beaches in the Philippines could also attract as much tourists. Phuket became more popular after the island was used in Leonardo Di Caprio’s movie The Beach. And now, Bali, Indonesia is also becoming more popular after Julia Roberts’ Eat Pray Love. How I wish one Hollywood film would also feature one of our beaches in Philippines someday.
Phuket, which is almost the size of Singapore, is Thailand’s largest island. It takes only one hour by plane from Bangkok to Phuket but it takes 12-14 hours if you wanna travel by bus. The region gets much of its income from tourism. We stayed at Patong Beach which is the main tourist resort in Phuket. It is also the center of the nightlife in Phuket. You can see lots of restaurants and disco bars especially along the main road. There are also lots of hawkers on the street where you can buy cheap and delicious Thai foods.
Since we joined one of the organized tours of the ship, we were immediately fetched by our tour guide. We hopped on the bus to start our panoramic tour around the city. The ship has different kinds of organized tours such as island hopping (this tour will bring you to James Bond Island) and snorkeling. But we just chose the panoramic tour because it’s the most reasonable. We first went to a local shop to buy some pasalubongs then, we visited Chalong temple which is a popular Buddhist temple in Phuket. It is a beautiful temple so I’m going to write a separate entry for it.
We went back to Patong Beach after visiting Chalong Temple. It was a 30-minute ride from the temple to Patong so some tourists including my mom dozed off in the bus. And I, still trying to make the most out of every second of my trip, watched the view of the city from the bus window. I also tried to listen to our tour guide who seemed to have already memorized every words he said. I wonder how it feels to become a tour guide and repeat your words every now and then We were so hungry when we arrived back in Patong beach. I was looking forward to try real Thai foods so we stopped by at a local restaurant near the beach.
One of the Filipino crew in the ship, suggested to us to try Thai massage in Phuket. According to him, it is very relaxing so my mom couldn’t wait to try it too. There were many Thais who offered Thai massage along the beach so we easily found one. My mom had a one-hour body massage for 300 baht (P439) while I strolled around to hunt for some Thai street foods . I heard that most delicious Thai foods can be found along the street.
After my mom’s Thai massage, it’s time for us to get back to the ship. We didn’t want to miss our dinner at Romeo and Juliet Restaurant . We took a small boat to bring us back to the ship. This tender boat was provided by the ship.
When we arrived back to our cabin, our room attendant surprised us again with this baby elephant he made from our bathroom towels. I was reluctant to take a shower again because of this. hehe I didn’t want to destroy the arrangement.
After taking a rest and changing our clothes, we went to Romeo and Juliet Restaurant to have our dinner.
After our dinner, we had our usual midnight snack at the solarium. While eating there I saw our Turkish waiter from Romeo and Juliet Restaurant. He was very friendly and he approached me. We had a long conversation about Turkey and about working in a cruise ship. And of course, I asked him one of the first things that come on my mind every time I hear the word Turkey. I said, “Do you know Yilmaz Bektas?” Then, he laughed and laughed. He said every Filipino guest asks him the same question and he’s really wondering why. I told him about Ruffa and all the stuff. Due to big media publicity before, I thought Yilmaz Bektas was popular, very rich and a member of some royal family in Turkey. However, he said that he doesn’t know him. He said he even asked his family back in Turkey but they really don’t know him. Hehe Anyway, I really enjoyed chatting with him. He’s one of the crews in the ship who has been very friendly to us.
Well, this was our last night in Phuket and tomorrow the ship will cruise back to Singapore. How I wish this cruise would never end! Everyday on the ship is so much fun. You’ll never run out of activities to do. And even though, I stayed only a day in Phuket. I could say that this beautiful island is really worth visiting. I’m definitely coming back for more of Thailand. Hopefully, it will be Bangkok next time. I wanna explore every part of this beautiful country