Thailand 2009: Day 5 (Part 2) – One night in Phuket

Date: Dec 17th, 2009

Phuket airport
Taken on the Nokia E72

I landed in Phuket International Airport by around 3pm, collected my bags, got some dollars exchanged and took the airport taxi (an A/C van) heading to Patong (150 baht/Rs. 200). As per my original plan, after I picked up my camera in Bangkok, I wanted to come straight to South Thailand. But that changed after the weather forecast indicated rain showers for the coming days.

I was hoping after spending three days in North Thailand, the rains down south would have subsided.

Nope.

Phuket rain
Taken from inside the van

It rained quite heavily for a few minutes after I boarded the van. I was upset thinking this is how the weather would be like for the next few days. Fortunately, by the time I got to Patong, the rain stopped.

I checked in to my hotel room, which I got for 800 baht (Rs. 1000)  from an agent the van taxi stopped at. She said it would be very hard to find cheaper rooms in Patong at this time of the year. But as I found out later that evening, there were decent rooms available for less than 800 baht. Oh well.

Not that mine was bad or anything. It was a twin-bed A/C room with the standard amenities but I wouldn’t really recommend the room I got (it barely had any ventilation). You could probably find better on the road I was on (which was parallel to the Patong Beach road).

First thing I did was freshen up and soon after, I headed straight for Patong beach.

Patong beach panorama
Patong beach: A merged photo from 8 or so shots

The place was fairly crowded (the photo may not imply the same) but that was expected given how popular Phuket is. Since all I had was the cold ‘lunch’ on the flight, and since I hadn’t eaten a proper beef burger in ages*, I walked into the Burger King on Thaweewong Road (popularly called Beach Road).

Burger King, Patong beach*[In India, the international fast food joints are too chicken (pun intended) to serve beef burgers because of politics and religious sentiments]

Plus, it felt good not to pay for mayonnaise at a fast food joint! (The international chains in India do that. It’s a crime.)

After my evening ‘snack’ (which except for the burger, I couldn’t finish) I walked down Beach road…

Patong beach road
Left: Superbikes for rent; Right: Muay Thai matches being publicized
Patong, Phuket
Thaweewong Road, Patong, Phuket

… checked out the food stalls set up on Patong Beach…

Patong beach, PhuketStreet food Patong, PhuketStreet food Patong, PhuketStreet food Patong, Phuket… watched the sun set…

Chairs stacked up on Patong beach, Phuket
It was raining far away in the distance

… took a turn at Bangla road…

Bangla road, Phuket… and then finally went to JungCeylon mall to see if I could find a decent tripod.

JungCeylon is Phuket’s largest shopping mall (I believe South Thailand too). It houses a Carrefour, a Bayshore hotel (its not by the ‘bay’ or the ‘shore’ — trust me) and several other brands. It had two camera equipment stores too. After picking up some supllies on the cheap at Carrefour and looking around the mall, I bought a lightweight (though, better quality) tripod — a Slik F630 — for 1500 baht/Rs. 2000 (it was 1590 but I bargained) from .

Jungceylon Mall, Phuket
They had a lot of sporting goods on sale there
JungCeylon gaming arcade Phuket
The ‘arcade’ at JungCeylon, Phuket

On the way out, I watched a bit of the fountain show JungCeylon puts on every night before closing time.

JungCeylon fountain showJungCeylon fountain showJungCeylon fountain showIt’s no Bellagio but it’s still pretty good.

Patong street
Rat-U-Thit Road: Where Jungceylon is on and the area my hotel was located

I walked back to my room, read up on the new tripod, re-packed and set out with my gear in the hope of shooting some videos. I headed back to Patong Beach to check out the Phuket Carnival 2009 — and to savour the deep-fried sea food I had seen earlier.

Patong beach batter fried seafood
My ‘more-batter-than-prawns’ mini-dinner

As I had dinner, I could hear the sounds of thumping basslines in the distance and figured there was some open house party going on. I walked towards it as it grew louder and then walked faster as Daft Punk’s “One More Time” came on.

It was an open beach party as part of the Phuket Carnival 2009. I took a lot of HD videos — but since I haven’t figured out how to edit videos properly yet, please make do with a few screen grabs from those videos.

Phuket Carnival 2009
There were two DJs on set; the white dude played better tracks; the Thai dude’s mixing wasn’t all that great

Phuket Carnival 2009Phuket Carnival 2009Phuket Carnival 2009Phuket Carnival 2009Phuket Carnival 2009One moment I regret not capturing was when a young chubby flower girl came to me asking me if I wanted to buy a rose from her. Our interaction went exactly like this:

Flower girl: Hello! You want rose?

Me: How much?

Flower girl: 100 baht!

Me: 100 baht!? That’s too much. I’ll give you 20! (I wasn’t angry… it’s just that the music was loud & we had to shout)

Flower girl: OK! (with a big smile on her face)

Me: (hands over the money)

Flower girl: (gives me one rose)

Me: (gives back the rose and lets her know she can keep it)

Flower girl: (points to herself as if to say “For me?”) … smiles and says “Kob Khun Ka” (‘Thank you”) in the traditional Thai way (hands folded), says bye and hops away (she actually did hop)

Patong beach rose girl
All that I could capture of the girl selling roses as she hopped away

She was really adorable and I just felt like giving her some money. I really wished I had captured more of her because she running all over the place with a huge smile on her face trying to sell flowers. She seemed happy despite her plight.

Someone whose night turned from happy to sour a bit later was none other than mine. A few minutes after my interaction with the young girl, I noticed one of the knobs/screws used to adjust the tripod was missing. (“Oh crap” moment #6). I had moved from one spot to another in the 2 hours or so that I was at the beach party. I figured it would have fallen off when I carried the tripod around to take videos from different angles. I re-traced my steps and tried looking for it in the sand but in vain. It was hard trying to look for something so small at night with ever-changing stage lights and hundreds of feet reshaping the sand every second.

Disappointed and upset over yet another screw-up, I decided to call it a night and headed back to my room.

Patong beach at night
Lanterns on Thaweewong road
Patong beach sign
Patong beach pavement

I really wasn’t happy (with my bad luck) and now I pondered about what to do next. I wanted to leave for Ao Nang the next morning itself. But now I had to waste precious time (again) to go back to the store & see if I could get just that piece of the tripod.

I knew that wasn’t going to be easy.


Other posts in this series:

Getting ready for my trip

The day I left for Thailand

Day 1 – Suvarnabhumi, Pantip Plaza, Fotofile & MBK

Day 2 – Bridge over the River Kwai and Tiger Temple (Wat Pa Luangta Bua) in Kanchanaburi

Taking the bus to Chiang Mai from Bangkok

Day 3 – Maesa elephant camp, ‘long-neck’ tribe village near Chiang Mai

Day 3 (Part 2) – Chiang Mai Night Market

Day 4 – Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai… and back in town

Day 5 – Leaving Chiang Mai for Phuket

Day 6 – Leaving Phuket for Ao Nang by bus (via Phang Nga)

Day 7 – Touring Koh Phi Phi (Maya Bay, Monkey Island & Bamboo Island)

Day 7 (Part 2) – Exploring Railay, Krabi

Day 8 – Flying from Phuket to Bangkok

Day 8 (Part 2) – Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

Day 9 – MBK, Siam Paragon… and ‘little Arabia’?

Day 10 – Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha

Day 10 – Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and finally leaving Thailand

Figures, lessons learned, and things I couldn’t do

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3 Comments

  • Vikram

    19/01/2010

    Hey once again a nice post with some good realistic pictures. Dude E72’s camera takes some brilliant pictures in good sunlight. I am very happy with mine.

    [Reply]

  • MithunD

    21/01/2010

    Yeah, in good lighting conditions especially natural sunlight, it’s a good camera.

    [Reply]

  • Steb

    06/06/2013

    Never pay those flower girls. There father is watching her at all times and he keeps everything for his alcohol, drugs or gambling addiction!!

    [Reply]

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