My First Visit To Phuket

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 2015 was finally the time for me to visit Phuket. It was a short, introductory type of trip limited to Patong but still I got to learn a few interesting things about this very popular travel destination in Thailand. Patong is known for its night life and much of that happens on Bangla Road which is Patong's equivalent of Walking Street in Pattaya. Yet Bangla Road is not the same as Pattaya's Walking Street. For one, having fun on Bangla Road costs more money and to an extent it is more democratic when it comes to welcoming guests from different nationalities. This 'democracy' on Bangla Road could also be a seasonal phenomenon because it was September when I went there which is the worst month of Thailand's travel industry from the volume of business point of view. Now the second aspect that makes Bangla Road different from Pattaya's Walking Street is its level of maturity of the night life. Bangla Road's main draw it its huge night clubs and discotheques whereas till recently at least, Walking Street in Pattaya has depended more on its Go-Go bars. The night clubs on Bangla Road are the best - free entry and no compulsion of ordering drinks. Just get in and start having fun. Looking at all the night life options available on Bangla Road, one could say that whatever could be offered as a business here is already being offered. Bangla Road's night life has been referred to as "rowdy" and obviously a lot more happens here than what meets an untrained eye. I have written another article on Nightlife on Bangla Road but here a few more introductions need to be made first. Keep reading...

Entry To Bangla Road From the Second Road Patong

Welcome to Phuket With a Visa Scam

Thai visa/immigrations officials at the Phuket International Aiport greatly disappointed me by acting in a manner that I have never expected of government officials in Thailand before. There was an outright scam going on at the airport's Visa on Arrival section. Charge 200 THB extra from tourists of selected nationalities, do their visa / immigration in a hurry and give no receipt of payment. I say "selected nationalities" because they were clearly sparing Chinese tourists from this scam, maybe some others too. I have written an article on this Thailand Visa Scam here.

The Free SIM Card Trap

True Move Free SIM Card at Phuket Aiport

This was my first time in Thailand when I decided to pick-up and actually use a free SIM card given away by a telecom company. This was at the True Move counter in the arrival area of Phuket International Airport. I call this a trap because the staff at the counter did not tell me a major requirement of using their free SIM card. What they told me instead was a complete lie. Due to this trap, 350 THB of my own money got stuck on an unsuccessful recharge of the SIM. But later, luckily though, I got a better value for my money by using that free SIM. There are important things to know about the True Move free SIM which I have shared in this article.

Cheap and Best Travel from Phuket Aiport to Patong Beach

Direct Mini Van from Phuket Airport to Patong Beach 

This was the best part of my arrival experience at Phuket International Airport and to some extent even helped me forget about the frustration caused by the visa scam. Contrary to all the confusion created by some vested interests and the faulty indexing of relevant articles by Google on the travel options from Phuket aiport to Patong, Kata, and Karon beaches, the actual system in place outside the airport is quite tourist friendly. I got a nice air-conditioned shared van from the airport directly to my hotel in Patong for just 180 THB.

My Hotel In Patong

In my quest for a good budget accommodation in Patong, I landed in 'Casa Jip Guest House' which cost me 550 THB a day in low season without breakfast. It was not a bad experience but not very good either. For my next visit I will look for another budget hotel.

Indian Food In Patong

One can find Indian food easily on Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee Road which is a sort of a Second Road parallel to the Beach Road. I tried several of the Indian restaurants there and particularly liked Madras Cafe and Indian Curry Club.

Massage Shops

Body massage is perhaps the biggest business in Patong and I was happy to have found a good massage shop called 'Chantara Massage' near my hotel. I went to an expensive massage outlet also called De Flora Spa near Chantara but did not get the value for my money there.

Taxi / Tuk Tuk Service

There is an organized tuk tuk / taxi service that operates in Patong. Read more about it here.

More To Come

I have a lot more to add to this blog on my Phuket experience and hence this article will be updated a few more times. Thanks for reading.

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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.


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