Since there were no cheaper long haul air fare compared to last year (2017), we took a short Free & Lazy vacation to Phuket. We’ve been to Phuket when our kids were toddlers and then again when they were teenagers. This time around, it’s just me & wife.
Flight time from Kuala Lumpur is less than 90 minutes and you’ll be required to submit a Thai immigration card at passport control upon arrival. You can get this card at your departing airport, inside your flight or at Phuket airport itself. We’ve no itinerary coming to Phuket as we’ve covered most major attractions before thus, it’s just a lazy walk around town and the shopping malls.
Rarely do we require a local SIM card as we rely mostly on off-line maps for directions. However we’ve read reviews of some hotels in Phuket having bad wifi connections. This could present a problem if we couldn’t connect to WhatsApp, Facetime or e-mail. Since the cost of a 8 day unlimited data package (+THB100 air time) cost less than a fifth of what you’ll incur in London, it’s no brainer getting one.
You can book online here and collect it at the arrival exit of Phuket airport. Just look-out for a card displaying your name with the provider logo, you don’t have to look for a counter or an outlet. So convenient. We chose ‘Happy Tourist’ SIM card from the provider, ‘dtac TriNet’. Although I’ve problem activating the line, once the phone was switched-off and on again, you know everything works as a flurry of sms comes in from the provider.
Transport to/from Patong/airport
In Phuket, we stayed in Patong, an area well-known for its beach. There are various transport options getting into Patong and back to the airport. There are airport buses, shared mini vans, metered taxis and airport shuttle to suit varying budgets. Not wanting the hassle of public transport, we opted for an airport transfer. You can book online here, here, or here. Similar to picking up your SIM card, look-out for a card displaying your name and the provider logo as you exit arrival hall. In our case, the guy in-charge of our SIM card is also the guy handling our transportation, albeit from two different provider.
Pimnara Boutique Hotel, Patong
Hotel arrangements has been made through hotels.com and we’ve booked Pimnara Boutique Hotel as it’s situated right in Jungceylon, a shopping mall … true to our aim of Free & Lazy. It’s situated in an adjoining two-block building flanked by restaurants, fast food outlets, food kiosks and eateries. Opposite is another adjoining building, housing Robinson’s Department Store, Big C supermarket and more shops. The Jungceylon complex is large enough to keep you busy a couple of days. We’ll review Pimnara Boutique Hotel in the next posting.
Muslim visitors will easily find halal eateries around Patong area. Plentiful compared to our previous visits. You’ll find local, western as well as arabic halal food for your choosing. They are scattered all over Patong notably at Soi (road) Sansabai and closeby Holiday Inn Resort fronting Soi Thanon Ratuthit Songroipi. If you are staying at Pimnara Hotel, there is a halal Shawarma Express stall nearby as well as 3 more stalls in Jungceylon food court. We’ll list the halal stalls/restaurants in later posting.