Monday, October 22, 2018

Day Three in Phuket - Touring with A Private Driver Guide #phuket #privatedriverguide #phukettour




I thought i had a great start on day three after waking up feeling well rested! Following a relaxing shower, i took my own sweet time to slowly sip my cup of Old Town 3-in-1 classic white coffee (specially 'imported' from Singapore) before stepping out 30 minutes ahead of our meet up with the private driver we engaged for the day.


Alas, the good time was interrupted when a car sped down the road outside Swissotel Resort (Patong Beach) and splashed the water in the pothole over my tee, my cap and my backpack!

It would have been no big deal if the water was just rain water but it wasn't as the foul odor reminded me of sewage! A mad rush back to the resort so that i can change my t-shirt, wash / soak the smelly cap / tee and try my very best to wash away the pungent aroma from my backpack; no joke really.

Arrival of Mr Daj; the private driver we hired for the day to bring us to tour around Phuket! He spoke decent English, was friendly and accommodating and if you are keen to engage his service; i will share his contact details later at the end of this post.

Let's go!

We would be exploring the central and southern parts of Phuket which appeared to be on the itinerary of many people who have engaged private driver / guide in Phuket. Since i am travelling with my dad, i believed it's better to follow what others have done before instead of coming out with my own agenda.

The "playground" at Karon Beach; the third longest in Phuket and said to be less touristy compared to Patong Beach yet popular with beachgoers. Shall pencil this area for a potential stay the next i visit!

A lighthouse?

Our first stop was supposed to be Kata Beach (next to Karon Beach) but it appeared to be close to traffic due to some event. No go then but as we didn't prepare extra clothing; it's honestly no loss to us.

Checking out the breathtaking view at Karon View Point; at the back were the three crescents bordering Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon beaches!

You may even take pictures with the white-bellied sea eagle; at a cost of course. It's Thailand and such activities usually require a charge. For more details, click here.

On the road again.

Elephants by the roadside! I didn't plan a visit to the elephant sanctuaries as i am not quite sure if i would be contributing towards animal abuse. p.s. plus the admission tickets are usually too exorbitant for me to stomach.

Appearance of the wind turbines means we were getting closer to our next destination.

Windmill Viewpoint - overlooking Nai Harn and Yanui Beaches; i was most interested in Yanui Beach as snorkeling appeared fantastic with clear water and rocky terrain!

Laem Phrom Thep - housing Promthep CapePhuket's Southernmost Point and the place where people would come for the apparently amazing sunset! 

Click here for more photos.

Frankly, we thought the nearby brahma shrine, surrounded by elephant statues of all shapes, sizes and colours, was more unusual.

Like Bali, many tourists preferred to rent motorbikes which would be cheaper than renting a car. However, many disregard safety by not wearing helmets. I can't blame them as i think i would have hated putting on a helmet although i have heard enough stories of motorbike accidents in Phuket.

Random photo of a vendor trying his best to squeeze his money-making products to the rack. You should respect them for being able to put in so many products and balance all of them.

Tall trees lining Rawai Beach.

According to the website hereRawai Beach was the first tourist beach in Phuket but as time goes on, it lost its lustre and has now relegated to be the start point for tourists taking the boats to surrounding islands like Ko Bon in the above photo.

Roads were being expanded which mean i might want to rent and drive a car the next time i drop by Phuket; cheaper and definitely more convenient.

Our next destination can be seen a few kilometers away on the road!

Much closer now; presenting to you Big Buddha, the icon of Phuket! At 45 meters tall, 25 meters wide and laid with white Burmese jade marble, it was a sight to behold even from far away!

A commercial entity banking on the Big Buddha popularity; in Singapore, this will likely result in a lawsuit for infringement of trademark.

Phuket bird paradise show and a snake show? Quite morbid in my opinion. Anyway, we didn't attempt to check both out since we had too much to do on our itinerary already!

Another elephant sanctuary; i actually caught sights of a lot of elephants when i was in Phuket and it was indeed tempting to want to visit the sanctuaries just to be closer to the world's largest land animal.

ATV on the road - not exactly good news for me if i intend to rent a car for ease of travelling in Phuket as non-driver might get overly hyped up when navigating the ATV and that can be dangerous! p.s. i did note that in this instance; there's a local (and likely experience guide) in front of the visitor.


Aside from my main post on the Big Buddha, i have also posted three sub-postings on Sala of Faiths, the unfinished area underneath the Big Buddha and the many ways you can donate there. Feel free to check out the hyperlinks!

Going down Mount Nagakerd and saw this little restaurant that overlooked the Andaman Sea! I bet the sunset would be beautiful here and if you are keen, i found the name of the eatery on Google Map; Suan Nakka Rach Restaurant that had a rating of 4.5 with 43 reviews at the moment.

Numerous other restaurants by the hillside.

Another elephant sanctuary / camp right ahead.

Back at the foot of Mount Nagakerd.

Feeling sorry for this baby elephant which had one of its feet chained up. On one hand, i understand it could be for safety / security reasons. On the other hand, i sympathise with the elephant as it would merely be a money-generating tool for the operator. I can only hope it's treated well. 

Taken while on the car - bird and poultry seller. I ever haboured thoughts of keeping a parakeet or lory as they were said to be smart yet small enough to manage. Gave up the thought as my mom didn't want another pet at home!

The sky was turning dark and shortly after, the rain started pelting although it was still relatively light and i can still walk without having to pull out a brolly.


View of the Big Buddha from the Bell Tower @ Wat Chalong.

Apart from the bell tower, what else did we do at Wat Chalong? We also checked out the wax figures at the Model House of Luang Por Cham (a former abbot who was said to have magical, healing powers) and climbed the grand pagoda (Phra Mahathat Chedi) that housed the sacred Buddha relic.

A dog seated calmly on a moving motorbike!

The rain got heavier at this area and thankfully, it had already stopped. Heavy rain can really dampen the mood when one is overseas!

Advertising panel showcasing the beaches in Phuket; i seriously think it's time to update the photos as they clearly didn't do the beaches any justice and looked like they were taken in the 1990s.

A Chinese temple honouring Mazu; a sea goddess popular in Southeast Asia as many Chinese immigrants travelled by boat to places like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore back in the time when aeroplanes weren't an option.

From the buildings' architecture, i guess we were at the old district of Phuket!

Mural in memory of the late Thai king; King Bhumibol Adulyadej who passed away in 2017 after reigning for over seven decades. His passing greatly affected the Thai as for many of them; he was the only king they ever knew in their life.

Cafe 66 which referred to not only the cafe as there's a hostel by the same name in the building. Reviews of the hostel on google map didn't seem too good.

Mr Daj dropped us at a place where we can finally have our lunch! My fault as we spent way too much time at Big Buddha and Wat Chalong and i was pretty insistent on having my meal at this specific restaurant recommended by a friend.

The unforgettably good Raya Restaurant with its delicious crab meat with curry and coconut milk, steamed fish with lemon, omelette with crab meat! As i mentioned many times, Raya Restaurant was where i had my best meal in Phuket!

A cute Pomeranian in one of the restaurants!

Prefer cats? There's a B Cafe Cafe near Cafe 66. Pity Andy didn't join us on this trip as we would have walked in and played with the felines! Dad, unfortunately, isn't much of a fan for pets.

Now's time to explore a restored street in Phuket Town; Thalang road!

That's not all - on Sundays, the street came to life with the night market (Phuket Walking Street) and there were so many food stalls to choose from; i am not kidding when i said i wished i have a few stomachs!

Sadly, the truth hurts (no way i can have so many stomachs) and i have to be satisfied with the desserts i had at Torry's Ice Cream Boutique Shop which was located at Soi Rommanee - The Short Street of Happiness

Arranged for Mr Daj to pick us up from the Shell Petrol station! It was already 5.00 pm and since our engagement was for 9 hours, i think we wouldn't have enough time to add in another item to our itinerary as we would take about an hour to reach Swissotel Resort (Patong Beach)

Random photos on the roads we were on! 

Setting sun - i don't think i have the patience to sit out a sunset unless i do it over dinner at a place that has a clear view of the sun in the sky. 

A mosque! Mr Daj is actually Muslim and he will be able to recommend good Halal restaurants for Muslim friends who have the intention to travel to Phuket

On familiar grounds.

The appearance of Hooters means we would be arriving at Swissotel Resort (Patong Beach) since the bar was located right next to the resort! Even hard rock cafe was just a stone's throw away. 

In case you need a picture to recognise Mr Daj; here's him with my dad! I liaised with a number o private drivers via email before my trip and Mr Daj is the most responsive (ded.chatha@gmail.com); hence my decision to eventually engage him for our day tour! 

Back at At Akarin Tour where we decided on our tour the next day; it didn't come cheap but we figured it would be worth it as we would be travelling to Similan Islands! More of it in day four. :) 

Went back to Swissotel Resort (Patong Beach) to take a shower and check if the cap and tee shirt earlier this morning still had that foul stench! Took an hour rest before we stepped out again! 

Photo of tour counters again as i continued to be amazed by the proliferation of tour counters in Phuket! The good thing is that competition is stiff and you can bargain for a cheaper deal. 

Like the tour counters, there were also so many stalls offering Thai-style pancakes which were more like crepes in Phuket! You can check out the photos here

Surprisingly, i only had Thai massage once in the five days i was in Phuket. That's rare as i love Thai massages given how effective they are in relieving my stress and the aches on my back. 

Tuk Tuks in Phuket are different from the ones in Bangkok! We eventually took it on our last night as my dad wasn't feeling too well and the walk to the restaurant we had in mind was too far. 

More random photos; we also cut through the Soi Bangla as dad had not seen the infamous street at night! We ended up at Patong OTOP Shopping Paradise where i finally bought the Thai herbal toothpaste to try out. 

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Private Driver / Guide Arrangement 
If you are interested to engage Mr Daj for your day trip, you may WhatsApp him at +66 86 274 9195 or email him at ded.chatha@gmail.com.

Detailed Postings for the Day




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