Saturday, September 11, 2010

Phuket Town

We had too much of Thailand's southern islands and beaches that we weren't interested to see Phuket beach anymore. Besides, we've read (and fellow Pinoy Couchsurfer Poch told us) that accommodation is overpriced, and food is crappy (not that we're really choosy).

So we stayed in Phuket town instead, a charming Sino-Portuguese city that was once a bustling stop on the India-China trade route.

Old shophouses along Thalang Road.

We checked in Thalang Guesthouse. I wanted to try On On Hotel where 'The Beach' was filmed (oh yeah, I'm shallow like that) but we were too tired to walk around and look for it. We paid 370 THB for a spacious room with private bath, inclusive of breakfast (toast, fruit, coffee).

At that time, we were already kinda tired of backpacking. I was actually missing home. So we didn't make any itineraries from then on but to apply for visa extension and meet Ari, Shervin's friend from Australia who'll be coming to Bangkok.

We only needed two extra days. Thailand stamps thirty days for tourists who arrive via plane, and only fifteen for those who cross the borders overland. This is a new rule implemented only last November 2008.

On our third day in town, we went to Phuket's Immigration satellite office near the Marine Police Station along Phuket Road and found out that visa renewal is indeed 1,900 THB (as stated on the website). No wonder backpackers prefer visa runs.

Frustrated, we walked to the long distance bus station and bought tickets for Ranong so we could do our visa run via Myanmar. The travel agent gave Shervin a motorcycle ride to our guesthouse and back (we haven't packed yet) so we can make it to the 10:00 AM bus, but missed it.

We missed the bus at 12 noon as well because we looked for a bank where we can change our baht to a crisp 10 dollar note (to pay for visa in Myanmar) and were held up when we saw the Persian guy we met in Koh Phi Phi Don, who chatted with us until the rain poured.

And then, we almost missed the bus at 2:00 PM when we got to the station on time but left our memory card and reader at the travel agent's office. Whew! Now off to Ranong.

[This blog is part of the South East Asia in Six Weeks series which took place May-June 2009. Price of goods, transportation and so forth may already be different.]


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