Tech Trip To Thailand 'Phucket'
A Tech Trip To Thialand 'Phucket'
So, in a couple of days, I fly off for an adventure/holiday in Thailand where I'm meeting up with a couple of friends, Willy Waddell, a Scottish guy who I've been friends with for years, who is an ex-professional football player (LUFC) and Stephen Williams , a mate from my village , who's been living and working in Thailand for the last three years and is my main reason for going, as I've not seen him since he left, apart from on Facebook and Skype and he's constantly badgered me to go and visit, and as Willy ran a bar there for a couple of years I should have enough local info to get by :)
I am flying from Manchester Airport on Tuesday morning at 9am with Etihad Airlines and it's one hell of a trip both in time and distance including a couple of stopovers and plane changes, so I expect to be something of a Zombie by the time I arrive in Phucket at 9am on the Wednesday morning, local time, not quite sure of the time differences, but it's quite a trip anyway !! I'll be staying at the Club Coconut Resort in Patong, which is owned and run by an ex-pat friend of Willy's and as a result am having to pack about 2kg of confectionary and Yorkshire Tea in my case as , apparently,there is a shortage of both locally, the things you miss from home eh?
I'm not the worlds greatest sunbather, and like to do a bit of exploring, sightseeing and shopping when on holiday, so hopefully will be able to arrange a couple of trips, was really wanting to go to Bangkok for a couple of days, but with the recent flooding there are some issues with flights back to Phucket and as I don't relish a two day bus ride to get back, I'll have to play things by ear and check things out once I arrive. I also want to get a lot of photographs with both my compact digital camera and my new Nokia N9, which brings me to the 'Tech' bit !!
Because I'm a Geek I will be taking my tech on Holiday with me and it will consist of my Lumix Camera, 3 of my Nokia phones and my Nokia Booklet 3G, having read the web site for the Hotel I should be ok for wifi connection there at least http://www.clubcoconutresort.com/facilities.htm and so am hoping to keep this Hub as a kind of 'Holiday Diary' and update it with some photo's and anything interesting that may happens, assuming something does !! Having done some research on roaming data, I think my best solution will be to get a local payg sim card which Steve said is easy and fairly cheap, which will be able to be used in my E7, N97 and Booklet if I'm out and about and just leave my N9 with my main sim in it with no internet connection so I can be contacted if needed and also because as it uses a micro sim it's less practical to use the local data, so my main use will be to take photo's and maybe send the odd txt message.
Now why would I need 3 phones ? Well basically, battery life on the N9 and the E7 are somewhat limited , and as they are both non-user replaceable, my old N97 with a couple of spare batteries will be my backup if I'm stuck without power at any point, I will also be able to use the Booklet to charge everything if necessary and to continue and update this hub when I get the chance. So with a plug adaptor , two or three chargers and a few cables I'm hoping to be fully covered throughout my trip and to do a bit of Twittering and keep up with the rest of the world who aren't on Holiday :-D
Flight & first couple of days in Phucket
So finally found a little bit of time to do an update ! The flight or flightsssss were relatively uneventful although long, boring and very very tiring. Etihad as an airline I have to say are excellent though, checkin was painless, the seats were fine with plenty of leg room, the food, for aircraft food was more than acceptable and there was a choice, I was really impressed with the in flight entertainment built into the seat having the facilities to charge your gadgets and also connect usb to the screen, which I'd never come across before so it was a pleasant surprise not having to worry about anything running out of juice, however even the E7 and N9 survive easily in flight mode and they obviously don't get a lot of use anyway ! The booklet runs forever and is still on the charge from home after four days. Changeover at Abu Dhabi was reasonably swift most of the time being used to find and use the smoking room, long haul is no fun for a smoker, but I survived :) The changeover at Bangkok, was a little rushed as I didn't have a boarding card, struggled to find a desk to get one and by the time I'd got it sorted and found the Bangkok Airlines checkin I just about had time to get to the gate and board the plane, I contacted my mate Steve by phone and he was in the Airport at the same time as me but flying on another plane with his girlfriend Dao and I actually managed to meet up with them at Phucket Airport a couple of hours later.
Connectivity wise things were a little inconvenient whilst travelling , managed to find wifi at Abu Dahbi, but not Bangkok, and as I had some credit left on a sim I got at Nokia World I used my N97 to do a couple of Tweets and catch up on things, my fear of mobile data costs were confirmed as the £9.75 left on the sim expired with a short web browse and a couple of photo uploads with pixelpipe, as a result I've been very careful with connectivity on my N9 which is on a sim only contract and bought a local sim for my E7, which after a couple of problems loading credit and not realising that data in Thailand is issued in minutes instead of megabites, is working fine, although I have to close all data connections to stop the data allowance running out, what you do in your minutes isn't limited only the time you spend doing it !!
So on arrival at Phucket I met up with Steve and Dao, who had already found the driver the hotel had sent us and after a 45 minute drive we arrived at the hotel and checked in. It's hardly 5 Star, but doesn't claim to be, facilities are fine, there is an eating area in reception, a pool and the rooms are clean,with a basic bathroom with a shower,I've got a fridge A/C and free wifi so I'm happy :-D After unpacking we all met up with Willy, who was already there and then went out for something to eat, bought my local sim and then went for a drink, however by about six in the evening I was virtually comatose so went for a lay down which ended about 3AM (bodyclock is just about in sync now, but this jetset lark does knock you out a bit)
Trip to Phi Phi Island
On my second or third day depending on how you calculate things jet lag included we did a bit of a touristy thing and took a boat trip to Phi Phi Island, it had to be done, and as Steve and Dao hadn't visited it either we all went, the boat took about 60 passengers and it was a bit of a rough trip, in fact a couple of families with very small children stopped the boat and made them return to the port to be let off after about 15 minutes into the journey and probably half the remaining passengers required sick bags before the first leg of the journey was over, luckily I'm quite a good sailor and was fine, although the view from inside the boat wasn't very good as you weren't allowed to stand and there was a considerable amount of spray coming in as we hit the waves and the captain had to constantly alter the engine speed to ride them.
Anyway it took about an hour to finally get to the island, which really is quite spectacular, and we stopped at Monkey cove first for about half an hour, where we were given the chance to do a bit of snorkling and wander about a bit and the victims of seasickness had a chance to be stable for a while. Next stop was at Maya Bay which is where the film The Beach was shot, and as a result was packed with bloody tourists (pot calling the kettle !!) but it was an impressive site, the bay is surrounded by shear cliffs and the sand is white and the sea warm, we had about an hour to do our own thing and then went on to have lunch and finished up on another beach for some sunbathing before making our way back to port, fortunately with a slightly smoother sea so no one else became ill !!
Two Nights In Bangkok
Latest update , which it's taken a few days to get around to is my trip to Bangkok for a couple of days with Steve and Dao, we had issues booking flights online and so decided to go to the airport and just pay for them there , which was surprisingly simple and we manages to get seats on an Air Asia flught that the website said was unavailable, so we were only waiting about an hour at the departure lounge before the internal flight, and were in BKK before 4pm. Steve had booked us into the Bedrooms Hotel on Sukhumvit Road BKK as he'd used it before, it was very modern and quite handy, so once settled in Steve and I set off to hit a few bars, and his girlfriend , Dao went to book an onward flight to Singapore for Steve for the Sunday afternoon and a return flight for me to get back to Phuket on Monday tea time. I won't be able to remember most of the bars or areas I visited as Steve wanted me to see as many of his watering holes and meet as many of the friends he'd made in the last 3yrs in one night, which meant things became a little 'blurred' by the end of the evening, however we did have a great night, including a ride in a Puk Puk , which I would recommend as a one off, rather than a regular mode of transport !!
Shopping and Long Tail Boat Ride
On the Sunday after Steve left for Singapore, Dao and I went for a ride on a long tailed boat and and a walk round a couple of shopping malls, typical tourist stuff really, so here are some holiday snaps, hate to bore you, but at least there are only a few, dow had my camera and there are well over 100 I won't bore you with !! The flooding in BKK means there are still hundreds of sandbags everywhere and as you go down the swollen waterways there are pumps pouring water back in from the banks back into the river and canals 11
shots from the boat trip and bits of BKK Shops
Last day and a look around the palace
So the monday morning we set off in a Taxi to visit the Royal Palace in BKK and due to traffic it took an age to get there, so the day was somewhat rushed as I needed to set off for the airport for 3.30 and it was almost eleven when we got there ! So internet allowing, as it's been problematic today and has taken an age to update this hub, the next few pics are from the tour, assuming they will upload !!
Well the photo upload ain't working so guess I'll try again tomorrow !
Success !!! The Thai internet appears to be on again so here come the palace visit photos, there is a lot of gold there :)
Various shots of the Royal Palace in BKK
Final Update, Visit to The Big Buddha At Phuket And Wat Chalong Temple
So promising to keep this update short and sweet, as I know how boring peoples 'holiday snaps' can be, here are a few shots from my day out on Monday. Keith who owns the hotel I'm staying at, took Willy and I for a day out in his Isuzu pickup, to see the Big Buddha that is being built high above Phucket town, and it is , well, BIG and will still take several years to complete with public donations, it's a pretty hairy ride up to it too, as at times you are going round 180 degree bends on a 1/2 slope, with taxis and mopeds trying to overtake you !! However we got there safely, had a good look around, saw some spectacular views and then went onto the Wat Chalong temples outside Phuket where again I got a lot of Gold and Red pictures, also it was the King of Thailand's Birthday and there were several hundred fire crackers set off .. After the temples, Keith took us to the Portugese/Chinese area of Phuket, but to be honest the only real difference I could see was that the wires and cables at the side of the streets were clipped back instead of hanging loose and being a health and safety issue !! We finished the day with a meal on the beach at Patong, and it made a pleasant final 'touristy' day for me , as the rest of the week has been spent just chilaxing ( if that's possible in 90 degree temperatures ?) and doing a bit of shopping.
So as my holiday comes to an end, I'm just going to post these last few photos before I pack up my bags and arrange for a taxi to pick me up tomorrow for the long flight home. Whether I would ever visit Thailand again, I'm not sure, but whatever it's certainly an experience I'll ever forget, and it's something people should try maybe at least once :)