Thursday, 19 February 2015

Phuket Day 1: Alfresco Phuket Hotel, Patong

This year we thought it would be fun to celebrate Chinese New Year in a foreign country since there was a long weekend. As our departure was on the first day of Chinese New Year, we knew it would not be easy to flag 2 cabs (and we were right) so we had considered taking the MRT. However after calculating the time needed, we realised we might run the risk of being late and missing our flight!

After much consideration, we decided to book a 7-seater taxi for $70/trip to the airport (2 cabs would have cost us about $50 anyway). It was the best money we ever spent as we could enjoy a leisurely journey to the airport and arrived with more than enough time to spare.

At Changi Airport, the best airport in the world in my opinion (and I have been to a lot of airports)
Japanese Mickey & Minnie in transit
Had plenty of time to pose and take pictures
Group selfie with the hubby's selfie stick

We chose to fly by Silkair because our family are fans of Singapore Airlines. It cost us approximately $340 due to peak Public Holiday period.

Kids playing together just before the flight
Selfies on the plane!

The flight duration was approximately 1 hour 50 minutes, barely enough time for the cabin crew to serve the food and collect them back. We arrived punctually at Phuket International Airport (HKT) at 9.30am, Phuket time (Phuket is 1 hour behind Singapore).

After crossing customs, which was unexpectedly fast, we looked out for our driver who was supposed to pick us up. However, no matter how we looked we couldn't find him. At last we went to the Phuket International Airport Information counter and borrowed their phone to call the hotel, who said that he had already arrived and was waiting for us. I told them to tell him to look for me at the Information counter inside the airport (it's too hard to locate him outside because of the crowd of people).

Told the driver to meet me at this Phuket International Airport Information counter

Finally, after waiting for more than an hour, I spotted our driver holding a card with the hubby's name on it! We headed to the 14-seater minivan, which we had booked from the hotel at 1500 baht.

In our very comfortable airport transfer

We arrived at our first accommodation for the trip, Alfresco Phuket Hotel, after travelling for about 45 minutes. We wanted to splurge on an expensive hotel for the last 3 days of our trip and therefore decided to settle with a cheaper hotel for the first 2 days. Turned out to be a big mistake as we would soon find out.

Alfresco Phuket Hotel
(Address: 162/48-50, 162/58-59 Phung Muang Sai Kor Rd., Phuket, Thailand)
Free shuttle bus from the hotel to Jungceylon & Patong Beach at the above timings
(Do try to take the free shuttle as much as possible as a tuk tuk or cab usually costs 200 baht per trip,
which is too expensive in my opinion)

We had booked the Alfresco Suite (the best room in the hotel) at $69 per room per night but were so disappointed to find out that we were given the ordinary deluxe room! And they didn't even tell us until we went to the room!

Deluxe room

When we went to complain at the reception, they explained that the air conditioning in our suite is spoilt or something. They told us that we had to stay in the smaller room temporarily for one night while they fixed it. I asked for a refund but they were only able to give us a hamper of fruits as compensation! I refused to accept that and insisted that we get compensated with something more useful. I suggested massages and after much deliberation, they finally agreed to pay for foot massages for 4 adults (which we later changed to 2 foot, 1 oil and 1 child because my mum-in-law didn't want to get massages).

Even though we were compensated with massages, it was still a terrible start to our trip. This hotel was immediately blacklisted in my books! =(

By the time we were done with all the hoo-ha, we were famished! We took a long 15-minute walk to Jungceylon, the biggest shopping mall in the area.

Lunch at Black Canyon Coffee cafe

As usual, we stocked up on groceries at the supermarket before heading back to our hotel for our complimentary massages (the massage place is located just across the road).

Hubby, brother-in-law and girl got foot massages while I got an oil massage
(I'm behind the drawn curtains in the background)
It was my girl's first massage and she enjoyed it so much that she fell asleep!

They all said the foot massages were good but I personally found the oil massage to be too soft. After that, we went for a swim in the hotel's pool, which is the hotel's only redeeming quality in my opinion (most of the budget hotels in the area do not have a pool).

Located on the roof of the hotel
(the pool is not wheelchair friendly as the lift stops at the 5th floor and we had to walk up the stairs to the roof)
Decent size pool with poolside lounge chairs
Nice view of the hills in the background
Mum-in-law and my girl
Baby Boy enjoying his swim

My family really enjoys swimming in the pool so it's a must for all of our accommodations to have pools! *laughs*

We were hungry again (as usual) after swimming so we walked down the road to The Walk Patong (similar to a Pasar Malam in Singapore) for dinner.

The Walk Patong
Tents selling food and other products

We got stopped by a Thai boy who spoke Chinese and was so convincing about his food that we decided to give it a try.

Since the sellers could speak Chinese, we managed to bargain quite a bit on the seafood;
Although live lobsters were only 800 baht per lobster, we decided to get the frozen ones because it was cheaper
Clockwise from top left: Fried glass noodles with prawns;
Pineapple rice in a pineapple; BBQ squid; 
Steamed fish with soya sauce
BBQ lobsters! Very tasty! =)

The food was surprisingly good! My favourite was the lobsters! =)

Family photo

We ended the night fixing up a 3D plane puzzle that we got from Silkair. Really fun! =)

My girl was very excited to fix it up!
Almost done..
We love it =)

We were hoping for a better day tomorrow but unfortunately, it was not to be as we would soon find out... *sigh*

In any case, this might be a bit late but..

 Happy Chinese New Year! 

Continue to >> Phuket Day 2: Elephant Riding & Bamboo Rafting Day Tour


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Phuket, Thailand 
as well as other travel itineraries!

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