1st trip to Phuket

1st trip to Phuket (of countless that followed after) was in 2003 (a 2nd one followed soon after in de same year )

Right after my Bali trip, in de first week of the 2nd term of school, the government announced that school will be closed till further notice. I could not believe my ears! So what’s there to do except to TRAVEL!!!

So off I went to Phuket!  I absolutely love the place. Stayed at Holiday Inn and this became my go-to hotel whenever I am there. Just love the hotel & the service is always excellent (they should pay me for giving  them such good publicity huh?)

The highlight of the whole trip was the island-hopping (which includes Phi Phi island of course). At that time, it cost about 1300 baht (full day). I left as early as 6.30am and got back only around 5pm! So it was worth it lah. Besides Phi Phi, the trip took me to about four other islands. One of them is the Maya Bay (where de movie ‘The Beach’ – Leonardo DiCaprio – was filmed). Here, it’s totally crystal clear waters, you could see right through to your feet! Reallieeee…….beautiful white sands at the bottom….but no corals….so no colourful fishes to see. Another island called Kai Island is where you can actually feed the fishes just by going into the waters knee deep! Amazing isn’t it? Schools of fishes would actually come and nibble at your fingers especially if you have some food in your hand.

I was so taken by the islands that I returned to Phuket again in the same year….in June! And has been going there two or three times a year since.

phuket-tailboats

Longtail boats that could take you to nearby islands.

fishes-phuket

The friendly fishies at Kai Island

The best part about travelling to Thailand is the food! I JUST LOVE THAI FOOD. Prices are so cheap too! (Like about SG$6 for a full seafood meal, in 2003 so now it probably cost a little more). At that time, the island was not as touristy as it is now so the shopping is great (but over the years the locals have learnt to mark up their prices by quite a bit).

2nd trip to Phuket in de same year

As I mentioned earlier, I went back to Phuket many times after that first trip.

My 2nd trip was with a group of friends (abt 7 of us) and once again we were at Holiday Inn (oh did I tell u the breakfast buffet there is superb! Wide, wide variety). The hotel has two separate buildings..the newer one is called the Busakorn Wing. They even have a separate pool for the two but guests could use either of the pools….the one at Busakorn Wing is way bigger and better.

We spent 4 days in Phuket & 3 in Krabi. We went to our favourite makan places (Seafood No. 4) and not to be missed..our island hopping trip…..and spent hours in de huge pool (at the Busakorn Wing of the hotel) playing silly water games. We were so noisy dat the hotel staff had to ask us to quieten down due to some complaints from other guests hehe!

You can make your way to Krabi from Phuket by public transport. But we took a private mini van and thereafter a mini bus to Krabi. The journey in total was 4hrs. Krabi is much quieter then Phuket, nothing much else to do except the usual beach stuff lah…but I guess those of you who prefer a quiet and peaceful getaway would like it here.

We started to miss Phuket and actually decided to go back there for the rest of our holiday! To minimise expenses, we chose to go back by the public bus! So cheap..less den SG$5 I think……but decent condition I must say. We were so pleased to be back at Holiday Inn lobby! hahaha…..spoilt aren’t we? Anyway……was a memorable trip and de whole group had loads of fun.

 

I LOVE LOVE Phuket……will write more about my later trips……….. stay tuned!

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My 1st trip!

Jan 1995
My very first trip overseas and it was to Bali! We were lucky that a friend was an expat there….so bunked in his huge house for the 7 days we were there.

First impression of Denpasar…..hmmm…not too great…lots of cab drivers waiting to pounce on tourists……so was relieved dat P came to fetch us……went straight to his 5 bedroom semi-d……it was sooooo huge…….and guess how much it cost???? Like S$400 a month!!!!! And he had 2 maids to look after his son….cook, clean etc etc……….

My first drive to Kuta area was such an amazing experience…..there were bare-bodied Caucasian men and bikini-clad women everywhere along the streets. They were even barefooted as they paced in the sun, browsing the hundreds of shops along Kuta. Kuta at this time was definitely THE place to be, such a happening town and dirt cheap shopping! Most tourists hung out at Sari Club (yes, the one that was later bombed) to escape from the locals who would hassle them with their goods and services….(as de club only allows foreigners to enter)

A trip to Bali would not be complete without having seafood dinner at Jimbaran where a row of stalls operate by the beach….very romantic……….and dining there would leave you with a very unforgettable experience. Did quite a bit on this trip as we had a personal guide haha…so he took us to de mountains, lakes, strawberry farms etc etc…………so the seven days was well-spent….no time was wasted…………of course we ate from food peddlers along de streets, cheap & good! Like how we like it… I don’t have digital pics for dis trip to upload cos it was before digital camera came into de market! haha….only prints….lazy to scan lah. But here are some pictures  from my more recent trips there. Once is never enough. More on what you can do there later.

Bali After the Sari Club Bombing
A few months after the Sari Club bombing, I went to Bali again. This was also just before the SARS breakout during the March school holidays.

I stayed at a cosy hotel with beautiful landscaping and pool called Kuta Paradiso…very nice place to stay, better than Hard Rock Hotel & cheaper too! As soon as I walked down Kuta beach…the difference was so striking as compared to the last time I was there. There were hardly any bare-bodied ang-moh tourists around and the whole stretch of beach was so much quieter and less buzz all round. Was there for only 3 days but it was enough for me to miss the ‘old Bali’.

On this trip, I went to Nusa Dua beach for a day trip. This is where you can find the luxury hotels like Hyatt & Sheraton and a more private beach but if you ask me….I’d choose to stay in Kuta or Seminyak anytime….at least in Kuta, u have the beach and the whole stretch of restaurants and shopping etc to pass your time. At Nusa Dua there is jus the beach……period.

Dinner was at Jimabaran again but this time, there was a group of musicians serenading diners with some great live music, it was awesome.

All in all…..while Bali has not lost her charm, I experienced a more sombre and quieter Bali this time not long after the bombing.

Let’s get started

I have always loved to share my travel experiences with others…….cos I know how difficult it is sometimes to get unbiased info on certain destinations and accommodation (speaking from experience of course)

Now, after years of travelling (24 to be exact – gosh I feel old haha) & loads of encouragement from many, and not to mention my HUGE decision to leave the ever ‘iron rice bowl’, I finally have time to do this. I am excited to write and put in as much info as I can …… and yes………..with pictures from my trips………….especially on the accommodation. I know it would help you in your trip planning. Just hoping to inspire some of you to go out there and just ….. be.

Well, I have abt 20+ yrs of travelling to write on……….but my failing memory might be less effective on de older trips taken….. haha………..will try my best to recall what I can remember ok………..fellow travellers…………… here I come!keflavik