Travel Blog Information July 2009

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25th July 2009

Back in Jomtien - I got home about 8.30pm last night - I caught a taxi from Suvarnabhumi airport (Bangkok) as my plane was late and I missed the bus I intended to catch and the next bus was four hours later. The guy I organised the taxi through said I was "Mr. Cheap" as I haggled a good price - The normal taxi price from Suvarnabhumi airport to Pattaya is 1500 Baht but on the bottom floor where the buses leave from there are several touts trying to sell taxi rides for less - I got the guy to agree to 1000 including the tolls for the highway (hence the Mr. Cheap as anybody can get 1000 plus the tolls).

I had a good time at Phuket and will probably go again sometime in the peak season (dry season) and check out all the beaches.

I have no plans to go anywhere until September when I am going to the Philippines (Boracay and Manila). I have a lot of work to do over the next month or so updating and optimising the city directories.

 Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand Patong Beach, Phuket Patong Beach, Thailand Surfer at Patong Beach, Phuket


23rd July 2009

I am at Patong beach in Phuket. I got here two days ago. Patong is about 40 kilometres from the airport and the trip to my hotel Baan Boa Resort took almost two hours. This was due to several factors - The mini bus I caught was the shuttle for several hotels and mine was last - the traffic seems to travel slowly - the road was blocked by police at two points due to the ASEAN meetings going on.

My hotel is at the Southern end of Patong beach which is the quiet end. The hotel is on the beach front road so it is just a stroll across the road to the beach.

The beach is great, probably the best I have come across in Thailand so far. The tide was in this morning and I think it was a king tide as there was no beach at all. The water came right up to the promenade.

The only thing I do not like about Patong is the street vendors, they harass all the tourists constantly and I find that annoying after a while. They are by far the worst I have struck in Thailand and even worse than the ones in Cambodia.

Yesterday I caught the bus to the other side of the island to visit Phuket town. The town is bigger than I had expected but relatively quiet and not really touristy. I had planned to spend the afternoon at the beach but it started to rain and the rain just got heavier as the day went on. The monsoon season has started and last night there were several very loud thunder storms with lots of rain.

Today I had a lazy day I spent most of the day at the beach and then by the hotel swimming pool. Luckily it was fine for the day until about five in the evening when the rain came again.

I had planned to rent a motorbike and see what the other beaches were like but the rain changed my plans. I return to Jomtien tomorrow but I will probably visit Phuket again (maybe later in the year after the rains).


19th July 2009

The Pattaya Marathon was on this morning and so in the spirit of the day I went for a long walk (I don't run anymore but have completed four marathons and a hundred or so half marathons). I walked from South Pattaya all the way to Naklua and then back down Sukumvit Road and down North Pattaya Road back to where I started. I would have covered at least twelve Kilometres and was naturally tired at the end. Today was probably he coolest this year but still very humid as always.

I had thought that Naklua was just a hotel area at the Northern end of Pattaya beach. There are several four and five star resorts on the Northern point of Pattaya beach but Naklua is actually the Northern suburb of Pattaya and goes for several kilometres past the point. There are no beaches past the point only mud flats.

I leave for Phuket on Tuesday for four days. Phuket is a place I have always wanted to visit so I hope I am not disappointed. I imagine it will be very similar to Pattaya.


11th July 2009

Got back home to Jomtien tonight. I am not sure if I have mentioned before that Jomtien Beach is floodlit at night and tonight at 11pm there were quite a few people still swimming and fishing.


9th July 2009

Went to the Thai embassy this morning to arrange a new visa. Picked it up this afternoon but I could only get a single entry (I wanted a double entry). I think this is because they have stopped charging for the tourist visas. That means that I will have to get another visa either after two months (three months if I choose to extend t by one month in Thailand) or when I next leave the country. I am thinking of going to the Philippines in September so I will check out if I can get one there.

I also caught the bus to Batu Ferringhi to check out the beach. This is supposed to be the best beach on Penang. Well my opinion is that it is "just a beach". There were only a few people there and the water was dirty and it was not really a suitable beach for swimming. It looks as if it used to be a popular town/beach area (probably in the 60's and 70's) but now most of the buildings are being demolished to make way for resorts.


8th July 2009

Arrived in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia yesterday. I am staying at a new hotel part of a Malaysian chain Tune Hotels. They operate similar to the budget airlines ie. You get the basics and pay for extras. I got a standard single room and added air conditioning (which it turned out was not really needed as the hotel hallways are air conditioned and the room had an overhead fan), towel rental and in room Wifi internet access. My total bill for three nights was less than $20!

I am here for three days mainly to renew my Thai visa. I went to the Thai embassy this morning to discover they are closed for a holiday. I had checked their website for holidays and there were none listed for July. I will try again tomorrow.

Georgetown is part old colonial town part modern town and seems to be unsure what comes next. There are many old (very old, almost falling down) buildings within the main town area alongside multi storey shopping complexes and other high rise buildings. The downtown area became a world heritage site in the middle of last year but I am not sure why.

To me there is nothing unique (or even that interesting) here and I doubt that I will be back.

I also caught the ferry across to Butterworth on the mainland and Butterworth is even less interesting than Georgetown. Looks like a ghost town with more crows than people.


7th July

One of the local bus companies has opened a new office and pick up point directly out the front of the apartments where I live. They are operating new luxury coaches to Bangkok airport. I caught one to the airport today and they have less seats than normal and so have plenty of room to move. The fare is only 124 Baht each way - the other bus service from North Pattaya bus terminal has older buses and costs 200 Baht.

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