A Travellerspoint blog

Dancing Queens in Phuket

B: Let's get out of here- next round's mine.
(walk across the street and order a few Tiger's)
Ging: Hmm. Look at that, it's 10 to 4.
B: 10 to 4?! We're taking these to go.

This city, does not sleep. As a confidant of B once said- this place is like Vegas on acid with ladyboys. Agreed.

Thursday was our last day in Thailand, so we knocked a few things off the list- morning sun session at the beach. You can rent chairs and umbrellas for THB100 each. A steal of a deal, mainly for the umbrella, as the day goes on the sun can be a killer. I also (finally!) got to practice my newly formed frisbee skills as taught to me by Ming in Hawaii over Christmas. There was a lot of flailing and some near misses on frisbee casualties- but we made it work.

We took a team time out in the afternoon, as the Ging and B wanted to get massages and I went out for a shop. Upon reuniting, the girls reminded me of how you get "tossed around a little" during Thai massage. B said to me "the girl started getting a little rough and I thought- I bet Ging has no idea this is supposed to be happening." Too funny.

We made reservations at White Box for dinner. The restaurant is a THB500 taxi ride from the Patong Area, at Kalim Beach. The restaurant is quite literally a white box on the beach, with a deco-mod rooftop patio, where we were able to enjoy the sunset before dinner. White Box is hands down the best meal we have had on our travels thus far. To start I enjoyed the proscuitto wrapped mango and mozzarella, while Ging had the duo of spicy salads and B enjoyed the pan fried rock lobster- all were fantastic. For mains, the girls had red tuna while I enjoyed a spicy green seafood curry. The sound of the ocean in the background, we reminisced about the weeks prior over great food and good wine- exactly the way we wanted to.

The next event was the Simon Cabaret (THB900). I am not sure how to categorize this, other than Ashlee Simpson dressed as Big Bird on SNL- lots of feathers and terrible lip syncing. But it was an absolute treat to try and guess which were "she's" and which were "he's", and the costumes were beautiful (much nicer than Big Bird). I would recommend this as an excursion- even for you skeptic conservative boyfriends/husbands/brothers/fathers. You are sure to get a laugh out of it... But grab a cocktail first.

The night was rounded out at Seductions on Bang La (after a weak pit stop at Tai Pan). Seductions has no cover for ladies, and a mostly foreigner crowd and three different dance floors. We threw it down with some rowdy travelers until... Well you read how it ended. This city never sleeps- and sitting in the airport waiting to head back to Singapore- we wish we could have had a few more hours in bed...

Danced Out,
The Trio

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Posted by ellie nicole 00:21 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Posing for Posers at Phang Nga

It's hot. The Ging has been praying for it since Chitwan, and finally- we get to wear shorts. The 30 degree temperature combined with the humidity is killing us. By the end of our two block saunter down to the beach, we look like we've already gone for a swim in the ocean.

After a day of shopping and wandering in the heat yesterday, we capped off our day with a 5pm trip to the beach (which is apparently the perfect beach time for my fair skinned travel companions!!). Without the crowds and the sun beating down on you- it was actually perfect! We enjoyed a couple Singa In the sand (little ladies are selling them cold, and 3x the price of what you'd pay at 7-11...but oh well) and then went for a quick dusk swim before heading to Bang La to Tiger Bar to people watch...

At this point, we were hit with a clear message I had forgotten about Phuket. Sex tourism. Most of the crowd which is strolling up and down Bang La and the joining roads is middle aged (late 30's to I would guess 60's) and Caucasian. There are beautiful Thai wo(men) everywhere- dancing on bars, pouring drinks, adorned in feather costumes, handing out flyers for ping pong shows... I am not in a position to comment much more on the topic as most of what I have to say is pure unconfirmed opinion. However let it be known that the twenty-something Caucasian woman is an endangered species that no one is trying to save on Bang La Road.

Today we went on a tour to Phang Nga Bay (THB1400, including transfers and lunch, booked through any agent in Phuket). Bright and early we set out to catch our boat for a day in the sun and some kayaking (well- we were hoping for some kayaking!!). After a beautiful trip to Phang Nga on a boat of roughly 50 people, we were set on our own for about 45 minutes. A tiny island in the Bay, the limestone outcrops are a geologists dream. The islands in this archipelago have been host to many movie sets, most famously- James Bond. Interestingly enough- the female visitors to this island had no problem posing for their own personal paparazzi. I have never seen a more blatant display of picture posing- ever. This is platinum Facebook hall of shame material. From the casual sexy lean on a random rock, to the playful "it's so windy I need to hold on to my sunglasses and wink", there was no shortage of laughter from the trio. This actually continued onto our boat, where some scantily clad Russians posed unintentionally for the camera. Oh the joy this provided the three of us for hours.

After lunch (mix veg with lots of cabbage, calamari and mixed seafood, fried rice and whole fish) we set off to Hong Island where we had a lovely guide paddle us around the island as we lazed about in the canoe, in awe of the contrast of the blue water to the green cliffs poking from the sea. As we were floating by, a random man fully clothed in the water with a camera was under a ledge snapping pics... The paparazzi are everywhere around here.

We finished our tour with a stop to swim in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea. The three of us jumped from the side of the boat with a bit of reckless abandon and paddled through the laughter at the odd people we encounter while traveling- from the Russians with their Nikon DSLR wrapped in a garbage bag while they sit in a canoe smoking copious amounts of cigarettes, or the Jersey Shore swim team who brought their own goggles and clearly their game face while they breaststroked into the cove.

On the menu for dinner this evening was 3 Spices (Impiana Phuket Cabana Resort) on the main road, north of Bang La. It is the closest we have come to authentic Thai- the service was excellent and the restaurant is on a quieter part of this intensely busy street, providing for better ambience than Savoey. The fish was very fresh- the papaya salad was delightful and the bananas and coconut ice cream- amazing!! After hearing the announcement from the patrolling Muay Thai truck for the fights "tomorrow night- tomorrow night- Bang La Stadium" for what seemed to be the hundredth time, we called it quits. We'll see you tomorrow night (tomorrow night) Bang La.

A little burnt,
L, B & the Ginger Cat

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Posted by ellie nicole 23:51 Comments (0)

Thai Me Up

Oh Phuket- how you have changed in all the ways I thought you would. This is my third time to this Thai tourist haven, the first in 2004, the day the tsunami hit. The second in 2008 with little brother Ming, and now in 2012 with the Tender Trio.

From Singapore, getting to Phuket is cheap and easy. You no longer require a visa to enter Thailand either, so the process is very seamless. It is, however, teaming with people ready to rip you off and take advantage of many peoples first visit to the country.

From the airport, a taxi should be about THB700, or you can take a shuttle which is about THB450 per person. The drive is about 45 minutes to Patong, depending on the traffic.

We are staying at the Bel Aire Resort (THB2500/night, including breakfast). It is two blocks from the insanity of Bang La, and two blocks from Patong Beach. It's clean, has air conditioning and we get clean towels every day. Deluxe in our books, but again- its all relative!

With 3 full days in Patong, we have planned to do an excursion to Pha Nga and Hong Island, spend a day on the beach and another exploring.

After traveling for what seemed to be days, we opted to have dinner and pack it in. We chose Savoey for dinner- their fresh seafood on display was just too tempting, and was enough for us to overlook the steep price tag. The Tom Yum was delish, the seafood cocktail was catch of the day fresh, and the papaya salad was a welcome addition to the table as we are all so excited to be able to eat raw veg again!!

After hearing "maaaahhhsssage" or "yes shopping, cheap price" several dozen times on our three block walk back to the hotel- we are ready to sleep until we wake up. Finally- we'll be in one place for longer than two nights.

Tired in Thailand,
TT

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Posted by ellie nicole 17:31 Archived in Thailand Tagged air tiger phuket airways fare savoey Comments (0)

A little piece of Paradise

Gili Trawangan is the location, a short boat ride from Sengigi in Lombok (INR10,000 from Bangsal). We arrived yesterday on a local boat filled with people, produce and sunburnt tourists, with our long boat listing severely to the right. The island itself is only about 1km across, and boasts some of the best diving and snorkeling in Indonesia. In addition to that- there's lots of places to stay, a few to have a few drinks, and apparently a few pretty great restaurants too. All things we are looking for on a little island stop over.

Although I am a few posts behind (they're coming... Thailand and Lombok), the Tender Trio has been reduced to the Dazzling Duo, as the little Ging Cat left us for snowy horizons last week after Thailand. B decided to extend her stay and joined Maj and I in Lombok for a few days of R&R, and then we decided to extend the stay in Indo and come to Gili T, as we've been hearing so much about it. After finding out on Wednesday that there is a Balinese holiday on March 23 (Day of Silence), meaning that many young tourists and Balinese alike will be flocking to the Gili's for some fun. We made sure to book a hotel before we got here...

In pure travel style- no one on this island has ever heard of Coconut Garden Resort. Coconut Dream- for sure they can get you there- but our hotel? No way. With Maj in tow (she was headed back to Singapore at 5) we were carted around by a little old man and his tired old pony on a rickety old cart in the middle of coconut groves to find this place. You would think on an island so small, we could find it? Not a chance. Of course by the time we gave up, Maj had to take the boat back to Sengigi and B and I were left wandering, defeated, looking for a bed to sleep in for the night. I will give the people on the island a lot of credit here- everyone has been extremely helpful, honest and genuinely concerned about these two poor girls wandering for a room. It's a great change from the past 10 days where we have felt taken advantage of and lied to at every turn. We finally found a room- tucked a few blocks back from the harbor- with air con and a clean bathroom. As much as we could ask for.

After a bit of a power nap, we ventured to the beach. Sparkling blue waters lapping onto white sands, shallow reefs just barely offshore. The sky is a perfect blue and Gili Meno is so close you could almost (almost) throw a stone at it. It is a little piece of paradise.

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We wandered the main road on the east side of the island looking for a dinner spot and finally settled on Scallywags, organic, seaside, with a fresh array of tuna, lobster and swordfish presented on the street side. The meal seemed promising when we looked at the menu... However it went a little sideways when I was told I couldn't order what I wanted, that I needed to order from the BBQ menu, then the mozza in my caprese had a distinct blue cheese flavor to it (we have since decided it had gone bad), and to cap it off when I asked for cutlery... I was told to go get it myself from the stand across the street. But- the tuna was lovely. So I'll give them that.

We retired to our "hotel" after witnessing the dancing prowess of Henry at Rudy's, one of the islands busier bars. Tomorrow we have lots planned... Yoga...bikes...snorkeling...and Kokomo.

In love with Indo,
Double Trouble

Posted by ellie nicole 03:05 Archived in Indonesia Tagged beach island dinner gili snorkel trawangan scallywags rudy's Comments (0)

24 Hours, 4 Countries, 3 plane rides

Every traveller has their preference. Some would prefer to get to their destination as quick as possible with the least number of connections. Others are cost-conscious, but aware that a 42 hour transit is a little unnecessary. And then there is the ultra budget traveller who will fund their adventures by cutting corners and saving on their flight costs at the sacrifice of a few days travel.

In this trip, we're a hybrid of #2 and #3. We landed great fares from Calgary to Kathmandu and returning Singapore to Calgary through edreams. The company is based in Spain, and this is the second trip I have used them for and had zero problems.

So on top of our main round trip flight- we had to get from Delhi to Kathmandu at the end of our tour to trek through Annapurna. After the trek we had to get to Phuket, Thailand, for some down time in the sun. After some creative planning (and the good fortune of having parents who live in Singapore and who have been more than helpful in the planning process) we managed to get extremely reasonable flights from Kathmandu to Phuket, flying via Kuala Lumpur and Singapore... However now after leaving Kat at 1130pm Sunday, we are now on our third airplane in less than 24 hours,countries been in 3 different countries since yesterday (and have the passport stamps to prove it), and last but not least- all that saved up sleep we had banked from Annapurna is slowly being drawn down- as we haven't had a proper sleep since Saturday night.

Airport Insights:
1. Wifi is available in most airports. For free wifi, search for a coffee shop, which usually offers free wifi to customers (The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in KL for example)
2. If you're not there long, use your credit card and save the hassle of changing currencies (side note- the only country which will exchange Nepal Rupee is India. KL and Singapore won't take it)
3. No matter where you are, airports are triple the price. In Kathmandu we rarely paid more than NPR200 for a meal- at the airport it was 220 for a coffee.
4. Don't bother buying coffee once you're through security. Airports in some Asian countries have another security point before entering the gate for your plane... And no your NPR200 coffee cannot come.
5. Ladies lines make the process faster! In Nepal and India there are separate lines for women- and when there are only 5 women on the flight from Kat to KL- this means you get to buzz right through.
6. USD is still the king of currencies. If you have it, they will take it. And usually if you need to have a visa to enter, they expect it paid for in USD.
7. Don't be afraid to venture out of an airport on a long layover. Many Asian airports are well connected to the city by train, so check your boarding time and go see something!
8. Don't discard your bag tags, departure cards or visa receipts. These things get requested at random and it can be a hassle if you don't have them.
9. Lines ups don't exist in some places. It's more of a crowd than a line. So for my fellow Canucks- drop the manners and be assertive!!!
10. Patience is key. We have been very fortunate that we have had no delays or changes to any of our flights, no lost baggage and no long line ups for immigration and customs. But waiting is part of flying, and letting it ruin your travel buzz isn't worth it. To pass the time, we suggest the spotting game (or spotting BINGO), or the "guess what this is" game (best played in small souvenir shops with local food).

Only one more flight after this one... Thailand- the Tender Trio is coming.
L, B & the Ging

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Posted by ellie nicole 04:11 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

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