Bangkok and Phuket

1st Aug 2018
Day 1

Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Visa on arrival is a waste of time and energy. Most flights from Kolkata arrive at early hours of the morning and there is only one counter open. Better to take it beforehand, as it costs less and makes the transit through immigration faster. Note, that you get to collect your luggage only after passing immigration. The area outside the carousels contains a row of SIM shops. Take an unlimited data SIM for 7 days. The different rates are mentioned on the counter.

There are stores at the airport that sell Nestle bottled water. Do not buy the more expensive varieties. For cheap food, buy some bread and cheese available at the stores and eat your fill. The Flights to Phuket are very cheap but what they don't tell you is that they allow only hand baggage. Luggage has to be purchased separately. The rates are 743 bahts but you can get a discount if you buy it both ways. Use only if the return flight is of same airline. It costs 986 Bahts then, which is steep.

There are shared vans which cost 200 Bahts to drop you to your hotel. I was staying in LUB D PHUKET. A nice quiet hostel where dorms could be booked for INR 650 through the hostel world app.

Day 2

The morning breakfast at the hostel is pricey. However, they do offer hot water, so buy instant noodles or sandwiches from the nearest 7-11(they range from 13-40 bahts). I even took coffee sachets and ready to eat meal packets of MTR and ITC. Helps a lot in minimising expenses. Rent a scooter, but after scouting the place and getting an idea about rates. The highest rate I was told was 400 Bahts and I eventually got one for 200 Bahts. Always take pictures of the bike before taking it and inspect it thoroughly for previous damages and dents. Buy petrol from pumps and not from dealers as they are overpriced. Always hire scooters one day at a time. The big buddha takes you through some amazing seaside highways and into the hills. The lookout point was fantastic. Best to catch a sunset here. While here try the homemade coconut ice cream. That stuff is delicious. The route takes you also to temple that opens in the evening near Patong Beach road. A small ceremony happens during the evening. Shouldn't miss it. There is also a Phuket bird park. Its best to buy the tickets through the Klook app. Available at a heavy discount if booked in advance. The birdshow is impressive for someone who is seeing that for the first time. Tickets at 628/- through Klook. 

Day 3

The island tours are also nice. However the rates quoted are outrageous. They started quoting 1300 Bahts. Best way is to ask rates on the main beach road. Finally got a good one for 700 Bahts. The tour starts with a pick up at 7:30 am(note that they are very particular about timings) Make sure you carry a towel and sunscreen. Take a spare tee along with other stuff. The tour guys arrange the food. Don't forget to hydrate yourself. Its very sunny and a good sunblock needs to be applied every now and then. The tour ends at 5:15 pm or so and its tiring. I opted for an oil massage after haggling for rates and it set me back by 150 Bahts. 

Nightlife is vibrant in Phuket and Bangla street is an experience not to miss. The sights will shock you, surprise you, enthral you, bewitch you but rest assured it will give you a never before sensation. The clubs advertise fixed beer rates. Check before you go inside. If you ask me, not worth it. Better to check a Muay Thai match at the bangla stadium. Matches are held almost every 3-4 days and the people at the hostel can tell you more about the upcoming matches.

Day 4

Today it was my last day in Phuket. Book a mini bus well in advance by scouting the shops for competitive rates. 200 Bahts is the minimum I found. Since the minibus picks up several people its best to book a bus that picks you up 3.5 hours before the flight. Spent the day in Jung Ceylon Mall. Its one of the biggest malls in Thailand. Worth a visit. The thing about this mall is, despite being a mall, you can still bargain when it comes to items in shops and sold by vendors on aisles. Its really big by the way and easy to get lost into. 

The flight departed from Phuket at around 7:00 and reached Bangkok at around 8:30. Do not hire cabs or whatever. The metro is well connected. You can book hostels. One of the highest rated hostels in Bangkok is Bed Station in Rathachewi and is good for a reason. Its very well managed and has an industrial vibe to it. I chose an 8 bed dorm and it was available on hostelworld app for only 550 INR a night, which by the way also includes a small complimentary breakfast of bread, butter, jam, some fruits and coffee. The coffee is a lifesaver. They also have a fridge which you can use to store your food. They offer maps to the city which are pretty detailed in their description. 

Day 5

The ferry service is a major lifesaver when it comes to economising expenses. The ferry from Hua Chang Pier's last stop is to Golden mountain. Get off and start walking by covering the grand palace first. The places around here have a writ about not allowing visitors in shorts. So take tracks else you have to buy a pair over there and they charge exorbitantly for a rag of cloth(300 Bahts). The entry fees to the golden palace is pretty steep at 500 Bahts. Be careful, the places are filled with a huge crowd of tourists. Ungodly number of people come to visit the places. A water bottle is a must. The sun gets pretty strong here and keeping hydrated is a necessity. Next in line was Wat Pho, which contains some remarkably colourful temples and a huge reclining Buddha. Opposite to Wat Pho is Wat Arun. There is a boat from Tha Tien pier, its a straight crossing across the river and takes about 4 bahts. The entrance is 100 Bahts. The design is very different than conventional temples and looks really grand. I suggest you make it a must see either at dawn or dusk. Next in line is the golden mountain, which is about a 20-25 minute walk from Wat Pho. This one is located on a hillock and you have to climb stairs to the top but the views from the top are worth the climb. This is also best viewed towards the dusk. Take the ferry again back to the hostel. 

Day 6

Last day in Bangkok. Met a crowd staying at the same hostel and decided to hit the malls. Sephora Bangkok in Siam was a the nearest. The malls are pretty glitzy and big in Thailand and a dazzling array of things can be found here. Its a shoppers paradise. The food courts however offer foods which can be let downers, in the real sense of the term. So proceed carefully if you wish to try some exotic Thai dish. Alcohol consumption is allowed within reason at these malls. Beers can be bought from the off shops or departmental stores and can be consumed in the food courts. Drink responsibly though. Stepped out at 6:00 in the evening to see khao san road. Supposed to be the Mecca of backpackers. It is for good reason. The road is lined with clubs pulsating with strobe lights and DJs busting out remix after remix with people on the dance floor. If thats not your thing, try your hand at shopping for dirt cheap clothing or some of the wares you can buy out there for example keepsakes, embroidered clothes, wood carvings etc. 

The end to the trip. Flight was at 1:20 am so had to leave for the airport by 10:30 pm. Till next time.