26 Jun - 30 Jun 2009 Phuket

Kingdom of Thailand aka The Land of Conditional Smiles
Phuket Island
On On Hotel +6676211154
Basic but adequate double room with fan for THB 180.- or US$ 5.30 per night.
Fully uninsured scooter available for THB 150.- per day.

Click below for an interactive road map of the On On Hotel in Phuket and for directions:
N 07° 53.03' E 098° 23.30'

Exploring Phuket Town, meandering down Thalang, Dibuk, Yaowarat, Phang-Nga and Krabi streets and admiring their historic Sino-Portuguese architecture, characterized by ornate two-storey Chinese shophouses fronted by Romanesque arched porticoes and old wooden doors with Chinese fretwork carving that were a 19th-century CE tradition in Macau, Malaysia and Singapore, recognising again the distinctive features of the Chinese/Taoist temples in SE Asia, (i) a chimney-like incinerator made of bricks which is used for burning joss paper or hell money to the gods, ancestors or spirits, (ii) numbered/coded bamboo sticks in a cup used for divination, (iii) a drum, whether in a formal tower near the main gate, hanging in a small stand or standing on the floor inside the main hall or hanging from a beam inside or outside of the main hall, (iv) tiger and dragon as yin-yang symbols at the main gate, (v) two door gods or sentinels painted onto the main doors: Qin Shubao with pale skin and carrying swords and Yuchi Jingde with dark skin and carrying batons, at both the Jui Tui Temple and the Shrine of the Serene Light and later replacing our lost calories at the mouth-watering foodstalls of the lively, sexy and genuine weekend/night market on Bangkok Road, W of Phuket Town, together with the local crowds.

Touring the southern part of Phuket Island with its jagged coastal terrain, rocky peninsulas, sandy bays, tropical vegetation and limestone cliffs in a counter-clockwise circuit by a hired 80 cc Honda scooter (THB 150.- or US$ 4.40 for a 24-hour rental from the On On Hotel) thus visiting the glitzy Patong beach, the calmer Naiharn beach, the viewpoint at Phromthep Cape (the southern tip of Phuket Island) with the Golden Jubilee Light House, the Rawai beach with its innumerable number of seafood restaurants, Chalong Bay (Ao Chalong - our first anchorage with SY “Kamu II” in Thailand in 2008, after we had crossed the Bay of Bengal) with the touristy but beautiful Wat Chalong nearby (dedicated to two monks, Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, who with their knowledge of herbal medicine helped the injured of a tin miners rebellion in 1876 CE) and Sirey Island with its traditional fishing community.

Flying with Air Asia (“Now Everyone Can Fly”) +6625159999 in an Airbus A 320 from Phuket (International Airport, airport bus from Phuket Town: THB 85.- per person) back to Kuala Lumpur (LCCT Sepang) for all inclusive THB 1,624.- or US$ 46.-  (one way) per person and being issued with another 90-day visit pass for a “social visit” to West Malaysia and Sabah on arrival (free of charge), killing some waiting time at the airport with downloading Air Asia’s daring latest newsletter (“It's time for spring cleaning again! Tell us about yourself cause we'd love to get to know you better. In order to ensure you receive promotional information that is relevant to your interest, we like to offer you the opportunity to update your profile and preferences. Be the first to update your profile before 30th June 2009 and you'll be in the running for FREE flights! Hurry, you might be one of the lucky winners!”) whilst for the first time reading the interesting small print on Air Asia’s Terms and Conditions of Carriage (“You hereby acknowledge and agree that your personal data has been given to us for the purposes of making bookings for carriage and providing you with confirmation of that booking, providing and developing ancillary services and facilities, facilitating immigration and entry procedures, accounting, billing and auditing, checking credit or other payment cards, security, administrative and legal purposes, credit card issuance, systems testing, maintenance and development, statistical analysis, and helping us in any future dealings with you. For these purposes, by entering into a contract of carriage with us you authorize us to retain and use your personal data and to transmit it to our own offices, authorized agents and third party business associates, government agencies, other carriers or the providers of the services mentioned above.”) and nevertheless flying again with Air Asia (“Now Everyone Can Fly”) in an Airbus A 320 from Kuala Lumpur (LCCT Sepang) to Kuching’s International Airport (hourly shuttle van from the airport to the Tune Hotel +60379625888 for MYR 8.- per person) for all inclusive MYR 112.50 or US$ 32.- (one way) per person and being issued with a 90-day visit pass for a “social visit” to the (semiautonomous) Malaysian state of Sarawak on arrival (free of charge); laa kàwn, Thailand and selamat pagi, unknown Borneo, the third largest island in the world with the South China Sea to the N and NW, the Sulu Sea to the NE, the Java Sea and Karimata Strait to the S and the Makassar Strait and Celebes Sea to the E.

Click below for more blog entries about Phuket

Click here for a summary of this year's travels

Click below and see more Konni & Matt Pictures

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