Of sun,sea,sand and finding a hero.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Enjoy Tuscany with a glass of wine

Finding Felicity in El Nido

Pink painted skies in El Nido,Philippines

Quaint Girona

Off the beaten path in Girona

Good Morning,Vietnam

Cruise the emerald water of Hanoi

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Phuket: Island Hopping

6:30 – 7:30 AM : Early day today for our island hopping tour.  Had our complimentary breakfast buffet from the hotel to energized us for a whole day of fun.

7:45 AM: Our tour pickup  is right on time and we are off for a one hour ride to the port. Time to catch some sleep while on the way to the port

8:45 AM: Reached the port and there is a complimentary coffee for some java jolt and some bread and jam. You can buy here a loaf bread for 40Baht for feed fishing and rent a fin/flipper for 100Baht.

9:30 AM: Time to board the speedboat. Best place to be will be in the bow of the boat for a clear view of the emerald sea and vertical cliffs but this best position is not without a trade off as our tour guide puts it – “Sit in the back — like Thai Massage, Sit in front — like Thai Boxing”. It’s about 1 hour speedboat ride before our first stop which is snorkelling at one of the side of Phi Phi Island.

10:30 AM: Time to suit up and grab the mask,snorkel and life vest to go snorkelling. We were docked a few metres from the beach and there were several speedboats tour as well in the area so it’s a bit crowded. We were given 20 minutes to snorkel and we opted to just stay near the speedboat so will be ready once they call us. We brought some bread slices to feed the fish.

11:00 AM: After snorkelling, we passed by Monkey beach but we didn’t  docked in the beach since the tide is high. After passing by Monkey beach we headed to Maya beach which is the location of the Hollywood movie ‘The Beach.’ Upon entering Maya beach you will notice two vertical cliffs that serves like a gate going into the turqouise water and white sand of this paradise like beach. Since there are also several tours visiting the same islands – expect throngs of sunseekers in the beach.

12:00 noon: Just in time for our lunch – since I can feel the start of hunger pangs. We went to the island’s Tourist Center where there is a large mess hall. There is buffet lunch, fruits and drinking water. There is also a souvenir store where you can get some small trinkets to take back home.
1:30 PM: We headed to another island for a longer beach time.

2:15 PM: It’s another 45 minutes speedboat ride to the island. Upon reaching,we rented a beach chair which is 150 Baht for a pair and munched on roasted corn cobs. We were also offered fruits and cups of soda which is inclusive in the tour package. After lounging and relaxing for 30 minutes, we headed to the beach and enjoyed the cool water.

3:30 PM: Time to head back to Phuket after a beach-filled day.

4:00 PM: Arrived at the Port and we are headed back to our hotel.

Phuket: Sunkissed at Patong Beach

The plane tickets have been booked 5 months ago during a promo fare. We were all given 5 months to prepare but just coming from the festive season of December in Manila – the extra rice , the rich sauce of the kare-kare and additional lechon skin are still very much evident in our shapes as we don our suits. Nevertheless we are out to have fun in the sun, sand and sea in Phuket,Thailand.

Phuket International Airport was a sea of multi colored board shorts, cotton shirts and tank tops, dark sunglasses and flip flops which sets you right in the mood of a tropical vacation. All thoughts of work-related emails, deadlines to meet and reports to finish are replaced by images of lounging in the shore, fresh coconut juice and the smell of sunblock on the skin. It was a one hour ride from the airport to the infamous Patong Beach and as the minibus made its way in the city streets of Phuket, the scenes that unfolds from the bus window is very similar to the Philippines – cars and public transports plying the streets, billboards that dotted the skyline and gated houses and commercial spaces.

t was only11:30 am when we reached the hotel, so we registered first and left our bags as we head on our way in search of our first authentic Thai food for lunch. Navigating through the streets of Patong beach is very similar to Manila – the pedestrian lanes doesn’t mean anything, the cars won’t stop no matter how long you stand there, you have to find that opening in the sea of moving machineries and cross the street. There seems to be this relaxed busyness as we meet hordes of tourist walking along, riding the motorbikes, haggling with vendors, chatting in a restaurant or coffeeshop.People are in constant motion but not in a harried way, it’s like they wanted to get the most out of their vacation.

After our delightful lunch (details will be on a another blog entry), we scouted around for a reasonably priced island hopping tour for tomorrow. In almost every street, you will notice this small cubicle like stalls that offer tours and adventure packages. Since we are in Thailand – haggle..haggle..haggle.In the end, we are able to get the PhiPhi Is, Maya Beach and another island (that I forgot the name) tour via speedboat (Incl. of Lunch, fruits and refreshments) for 1,100 Baht for each person which was originally priced at 2,800 Baht.

After taking an hour of a rest after we checked in at 3pm, we headed out into the cluster of beach loungers and bronzed bodies in the beach just in time for us to also snap some sunset photos. At around this time it was already a crowded in the beach as the sun seekers have come out in full force to catch the final rays of the sun. Since we are waiting for the sunset to take pictures – we occupied ourselves by people watching while sipping our ice cold fruit shakes. Indeed, life’s a beach!