Now that I’m back in BKK I have access to some reliable internet connectivity so I can upload photos from the last few days.
The other day I went on a little eco tour in Phuket. It was a little touristy but we got to see an elephant show, ride some elephants through the jungle, watch a monkey show, see a Muay Thai kickboxing exhibition, learn about how rubber is made, see rice farmers demonstrate their craft, and take a short rafting tour down a mangrove forest.
I spent the last night in Phuket over at Star Bar. It always feels comfortable there because I know the owners and most of the staff so you can sort of chill out. After beating the owner’s wife 3-1 in the dice game and 2-1 in backgammon she asked if we wanted to go over to dClub which is at the end of Soi Crocodile and is a quasi disco.
The owner’s wife bought a bottle of Jack Daniels for the table and we watched the gals/guys were doing their show. The normal show was cut short as the owner of dClub was brought out on stage to celebrate his birthday. Several Thai pop and television stars came out and did a few numbers in his honor. Don’t ask me who they are but all the Thai people definitely knew them.
Literally, we partied until I thought I was going to drop from exhaustion.
Saturday I woke up at the crack of noon to pack my stuff and wait around for my flight back to BKK.
More about BKK in the next post.
Now, some folks down in Phuket asked me about my website so I told them I would give them a little pimpage here.
Up 2 U Bar: Located on Soi Eric the Up 2 U is a nice little bar with friendly staff. It’s the kind of place where once they get to know you get the VIP treatment. My friend and I only stopped in there a few times on my last trip to Phuket but the second I walked in everybody there greeted me like I was a long lost friend. Do yourself a favour, check it out and tell them I sent you.
Yorkshire Inn: As I said previously, the Yorkshire isn’t exactly an extravagant hotel but if you’re looking for a nice, clean, place to stay that’s close enough to shopping and the nightlife yet far enough away so as not to keep you up all night, Yorkshire fits the bill. Located on Soi San Sabai at the top of Soi Bangla it’s less than a 3 minute walk to either the Jungceylon shopping center or Soi Bangla. It couldn’t get any more central.
The thing I dig about the place is that it’s so friendly. In fact, when we popped in there for a drink last trip we took a brochure exactly for that reason.
The gals who work the bar and restaurant are friendly and efficient. The receptionist is a lovely lady who always has a smile. The on-site travel agent is a really sweet girl who helped me book the eco trip. But most of all, what makes it work is Paul and Ian. Paul is the owner and Ian is the marketing guy. Paul is always on-site. He’s constantly looking after the smallest of details. Always says hello, asks how things are going, and if you need anything is there to accommodate.
One of the other things that impressed me is that a lot of local expats come in there for drinks and to grab a meal. They’ve obviously done something right if locals are always in there.
Star Bar: I’ve written about Star Bar from my last Phuket trip. While Dave is no longer the manager there (he’s moved on to a bar right at the entrance to Soi Tiger – but for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the place) the other Dave and his wife are still the owners and still offer a great place to have a few drinks and relax.
Star Bar my personal favourite in Phuket. You just sort of gravitate to places that make you feel welcome and this is one of them. When I first walked into the bar on this trip there were a lot of new faces amongst the staff but enough of the old faces welcomed me so warmly that the new faces just joined right in.
Again, if you’re on Bangla and want to find a nice place to chill out, this is the place to do it. Just head down Soi Crocodile and it’ll be on your right.
Okay, now for some unrequested pimpage:
Mike’s Mexican: I have not had a decent Mexican meal since I’ve moved to Europe. I was walking down Rat-U-Thit road on my way to go buy a new dive watch/computer and I noticed this little Mexican place on Soi La Diva. I bought my dive equipment and strolled back over to check it out.
Now, given that what they consider nachos in Europe is Doritos with melted cheese and crappy store-bought salsa I was thinking that this was going to be a pretty interesting experience. I ordered some chips and salsa along with a taco and burrito combo.
I was encouraged when the girl brought out the chips and salsa and both had been made from scratch. The tortilla chips were still hot from being cooked up as I had waited and the salsa was pure homemade goodness.
When the taco and burrito came I thought I had died and gone to heaven. One bite into the taco and I knew this was going to be the best taco I had eaten in over a year and a half. Yes, Mike’s uses real shredded beef unlike the usual fare in Europe which is chilli con carne poured into a store-bought shell. No, not Mike’s. This shell had been freshly made and the meat was seasoned perfectly. I’m still drooling thinking about it.
By the time I got to the burrito I was so full I could only eat half. I made a mental note to return which I did a few nights later where I had the tortilla soup (again excellent) and a two taco combo as I couldn’t get the thought of those tacos out of my head. Viva la Mike’s.
Indian Auto Rickshaw Challenge: One of my best pals and former roommate, Giampiero, has entered himself into some crazy race going from Chennai, India to Kanniyakumari, India over 9 days. That’s about 1000 kilometers in total distance.
Just thought I would wish him some luck and give him a little linkage love.
I wasn’t really happy with the Air Asia flight I caught from BKK to Phuket and I was even less impressed with the service on my return. On the way there we had a 1.5 hour delay and on the way back we had over a 3 hour delay. It just seems like these guys can’t get a flight off on time. And the worst part is that when I picked my flights I paid extra for specific departure times. The 7am flight is relatively cheap but I have no desire to get up that early so I went for something in the afternoon and paid considerably more for that choice. If they’re going to end up jerking you over for 1.5 – 3 hours on every flight I might as well book the earlier flight and just show up when I want.
I really had some hope for these guys. Yeah, I don’t expect much from a low fare airline but I didn’t want much more than leaving sometime within the general time of my scheduled departure. If there’s one thing that a discount airline should be is efficient and timely. That’s how they make their money.
Finally, some more pics from Phuket: