April 12th 2010-
April 12th 2010-
I finally got a visit to Phuket after so many trips in Thailand. Me and my wife’s business partner Chris traveled there to connect with the people that operate the Absolute Resort properties. Absolute has 2 resort locations in Patong alone. We stayed at the Villa Resort location. This is a popular destination where she
sends many Chinese tourists. Frank, the GM there and Chris are friends that go way back in the resort vacation business.Patong Beach is the big tourist area on Phuket. Much like Waikiki, only Thai style. It is full of go-go bars and restaurants, with hundreds of little shops selling the typical tourist things.
Everyday was very hot and the ocean beautiful with clear green water. Patong is a nonstop entertainment venue and without a doubt, the most expensive place in Thailand. Day 2, our host Frank, takes us out on his Absolute Resort speed boat for a tour of the islands. We spent the day swimming and cruising around the beautiful islands. Some 15 or so girls from Absolute, me, Chris, and Frank, spent the day seeing the sights. All in all it was good fun. We were well taken care of and I finally got a good look around the Phuket area.
I could not see any signs of the terrible devastation from the tsunami just 2 years before. I included a pic of the Absolute’s lobby after the tsunami hit. The only evidence I could see now was the Tsunami warning sirens all over the island and emergency evacuation route signs on the streets.
Phuket is a place you should visit when touring Thailand. But as with any major tourist destination, be very careful of petty crime. There is plenty about this area. The best way to get around is to rent a motorcycle and explore the many features of Phuket. This can also be dangerous and you should always pay attention to everything around you while driving. Many people are hurt on bikes everyday. The roads can be sandy, and traffic is on the crazy side. Also don’t forget you drive on the left side of the road here. But if you are up for one, it will cost you about $4.50 a day rental. It is about the best bargin you will find here.
All in all, I found Koh Samui more to my liking as it is not quite so developed as Phuket. And hey, Absolute even has properties there as well! If you go, check out the Absolute property. You can even invest in your own private suite and really live well for a whole lot less. Then you have a good excuse to come to beautiful Thailand every year! Tell Frank Jack sent ya!
I just arrived in Bangkok after about a 2 hour flight from China. I stepped off the plane and… BAM! 95 degrees of hot air in yer face. I left 70 degrees back in China.
Going through Thai immigration was quick and no hassle.
I arrived to my hotel in Bangkok about an hour later and settled in. Everything here still looks about the same. Lots of cars, noise and general mayhem everywhere. My plan is to stay here 4 days and then go to Koh Samui island for a week. Then I will return to Bangkok for 3 days before returning to China. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it!
There are some noticeable changes to Thailand that I discovered. The biggest of which is the language issue. The Thais have mastered English to the extreme. Before I found workers in the service business were pretty good with English. This includes about 50% of the restaurants, hotels, bars and major shopping centers. Now this has all changed. It is difficult to find a Thai that does not speak English! Everybody can understand you now. Even street venders! I cannot believe it. What pills are they taking? Also all the signs are also English. Here is no language barrier here now. Of course there is a downside to this as well. Western influence is everywhere. The Thai culture is eroding away and leaving a Western flavor behind. Women wearing the latest fashions as well as shorts and mini skirts. Something very rare only a few years ago. Happily you still feel immersed in another very different culture, but there are big changes here.
Koh Samui is changing so quickly. Many new resorts are being built. Condos and villas are all over the island now. The little towns have grown to small towns now. I expect in another 5 years this little paradise will evolve into another major tourist destination. Still, it is a beautiful place with perfect beaches at reasonable prices. I suspect much of this development is due to the tsunami destruction to Phuket. Although Phuket is back in business, many tourists want another location more protected from this trouble. At any rate, Samui has really changed, but still worth a visit.
Check out the pics. The girl with the scorpions holds the Guinness World record for living in a small box with several hundred of these buggers for 2 weeks. The pic of me on the rooftop of the Banyan Tree Hotel in Bangkok at sunset affords a great view of Bangkok. You can dine outside up here, or just relax at the bar. The panorama shot is 3 pics stitched together and shows about a 120-degree view of Bangkok.
I also had a great time in Bangkok. Did some shopping and a lot of eating. Can’t get enough of that Thai food! All in all I can only say…. “Amazing Thailand”.
Next week I am taking a few days to drive about 4 hours from Kunming to Yuan Yang, to see the farming fields. China uses terraced fields to farm up the sides of the mountains. It is truly amazing how they do this. Right now these fields are flooded with water for planting which reflects the sunlight like a thousand mirrors on these mountains. I am anxious to photograph these mountains. Stay posted…………..