Tuesday, February 7, 2012


A few weekends ago we flew down to Phuket. It was a great little flight out of UTAPO (think i have that right) out of Pattaya so we didn't have to do the drive up to Bangkok.

Landed into Phuket airport and grabbed a taxi down to the hotel. Note, i must learn to have some sort of motion sickness meds for taxi rides as I got super sick just on the drive. Terrible driver.

Got to our hotel, only to find that it expanded on some truths... the balcony (i will add photos once I get Justin's phone) was to a brick wall literally. I mean no sunlight allowed through, entirely enclosed, smashed up against a brick wall. But to their credit, they did cover the wall with a beach scene. The bed/pillows could have been mistaken as cement and a cinder-block. We of course stayed on Patong Beach (cause that is what everything said to do), so guess what, so did every other tourist. Not our kinda place.

The next day we selected a tour of Phi Phi islands where The Beach was filmed and many of the famous photos you have seen have been taken. We purposely selected a tour that would have no more than 30 people and requested that it wasn't buffet. We were assured and had them call to confirm these would be the case. Only to get cattle herded with multiple groups for an hour (so you couldn't tell how many were getting on your boat or which boat was yours) got a boat that was for 50 people and crammed with 100. Yep, half the life jackets, half the seats. And, wait for it, no windows you could see out of. So we took a sight seeing boat trip, that you couldn't see out of. With so many people they would stop for 30 minutes at a location to snorkel and expect that 100 people could get their gear on and get off the one spot on the boat and back in in 30 minutes. Needless to say we didn't get to go snorkelling either. And... they stopped at a beach where they required us to take everything off the boat (at the other stops we could leave the stuff on the boat) but this one, they made us take it off because then we had to pay to have a seat on the beach which you needed to store your stuff so it didn't all get full of sand. And the toilets there (you had to use as the boat captain refused to let you use his toilets) also required a fee. The fee part i could deal with. IT was the fact that when you flushed the toilet the bowls were broke so the dirty toilet water ran out the bowl side and all over your feet. I could go on as there were many more things wrong such as the hours on the boat with no true time off of the boat, the food, etc.
Justin at Phi Phi Don (i believe). This was a miracle photo to not get the hundreds of industrial tourist boats in the pictures or hundreds of people. IT was so beautiful and wish it could have been more enjoyable to witness. 
A private boat we will be taking next time!

We complained while on our trip, and the guy said we should have complained earlier (excuses). We went and complained back to the booking agency only for them to admit the booked us on a different tour (can we say scam) and refused to do anything to correct the situation.

Needless to say, thank goodness, we had taken pictures of the boat, the number of people and have the brochure for what we were sold. We contacted American Express and they cancelled payment and refunded our money.

Bummer was, we didn't get to see or do what we intended, however, we know we will be back down their at some point and have learned some valuable lessons.

We did have a great tuktuk driver that took us down to the southern tip of Phuket to see the sunset. And there was a lighthouse (so i got a picture for my dad who loves lighthouses, but now can't find the picture). The drive was fabulous and took us to a great restaurant. The staff there were great and made me a meal that I have been craving but no one seems to make the way I like. It was perfect and cheap. We liked the driver so much we paid him to take us to the airport so I wouldn't get sick again. And with his driving us to the tip we found some cute beaches that better fit our requirements and will be staying there in the future. So Karon or Kata you can expect us sooner rather than later.

Elephant statues, thousands of them, so beautiful. 

Us at the Southern Point of Phuket - Cape Promthep

The sunset.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Million Years Stone Park & Pattaya Crocodile Farm

Still playing catch-up...

On my birthday weekend we decided (okay Justin let me pick), to get out of the house and visit the location attraction.

There are more places than I had imagined to pick from but I randomly picked The Million Years Stone Park & Pattaya Crocodile Farm. I truthfully didn't have very high expectations and was looking at it as a way to a) get out of the house b) have something to do c) figure out what we can do with family that is local d) experience our surroundings. I expected a pool or two of crocs and a stone or two. Boy was i pleasantly surprised.

Check out the size of these crocodiles. They were huge, you have to believe me. 

A quick shot of the gardens. 
Besides beautiful rock formations and gardens, and of course the crocodiles, there was like a mini zoo. Now I had always heard and seen snippets of animals out for poses and chained up, and I now know it is for real. And if the animal isn't giving a nice enough pose... poke poke with a stick till they give a nice wide growl for the cameras. We didn't participate in the photo shoot, mostly because I value my life and respect that these are wild animals.

They were beautiful. 
So all in all a great day. Highly recommend. Also note, they don't post their prices of things (admission) so you have to ask and there (unspoken) are different rates Thai, expat and Tourist. We couldn't convince them we were expats so we paid the inflated tourist rate. Oh well. Still wasn't bad as it was only 400 baht per person so $14 bucks.

Check out the facebook page for the rest of the pictures. You will note you could buy a whole chicken for like a dollar and feed the crocodiles. Too bad the people doing it could figure out that you can't yank the chicken back really hard or you may hit the rest of us up on the deck, boy were they coming close. And holy moly those crocodiles can jump.

Sorry the photo is sideways, can't seem to figure out how to rotate within blogger as it is truly a vertical photo. If anyone knows how, please do share. 

And here might be the weirdest thing of all. So we are at a crocodile park (i think preserve in my mind or safe haven). Guess what the only restaurant there served and the only item on the menu... you guessed it crocodile. And for the record, tastes like chicken.

Note we tried to go to an elephant park too, which was open for shows 7 days a week. But apparently that just means if they have enough people. Will try that one again another day. Maybe this weekend who knows.