Sunday, August 4, 2013

Transportation in Phuket, Thailand – The Taxi and Tuk Tuk Mafia (And Some Decent Taxi Driver Recommendations)


Taxis: Phuket is notorious for them. Not only is there a seemingly inexhaustible supply of them trying to flag you down every five steps (except when you actually need a ride, then god help you, you will never find a taxi), there is an entire “Taxi Mafia” thing going on in Phuket. Prices are outrageous and unless you want to drive a car (don’t) or a motorbike (please don’t) they pretty much have a captive audience of tourists on the island since there is no appreciable mode of public transportation (though, allegedly, there will be a bus system in place at some point).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hotel Review: The Furama, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Credit Card Fraud and Poor Customer Service Skills

Hotel: The Furama
Location: Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Alleged Star Rating: 4 Stars
Decided Star Rating: 2-3 to be generous, but I'd take a hostel over this on principle
Cost: About $65 CAD per night on 55% discount through, for a ten day stay
Disabilities Access Rating: Strong
Vegetarian Suitability: Moderate
Food Quality: Leaves something to be desired
Cleanliness: Moderate--could have been worse
Location: Very close to Bukit Bintang Times Square Mall
Sleep Quality: Not much sound-proofing, but not busy enough to be a problem
Service: Don't even get me started.
Conclusions: Don't even bother.


Seven Great Things I found in Thai Convenience Stores

7) Oishi Tea

I swear I don't love this stuff JUST because it has One Piece characters on the front. It's also weirdly addictive. Don't try the Nami variety--it tastes like dirty liquorice. I bought a pack of that, and it's definitely staying with the apartment for the next poor fool who rents it.

6) Pandan cakes.

It tastes like grass. It is also delicious. No, I can't explain in words how those two statements manage to both be true. It's worth the taste, though--Pandan is weird but good. It's like a green, grassy twinkie.

5) Cooling Powder

Okay, so I grew up in Alberta, land of unpredictable winds, cows, and perpetual cool weather. The hottest day ever recorded in my hometown a) happened in 1919, and b) was the temperature of a really average day in Phuket. So my ability to survive the heat was forged in the crucible of a tropical paradise, and frankly, that's a difficult thing to survive.

My favourite discovery for beating the heat (and not looking like something the cat dragged in as soon as I stepped outside) is cooling powder! Magic dust, this stuff. Essentially talc (baby powder) mixed with something that makes your skin feel like it's being licked by a minty-fresh polar bear when it comes in contact with moisture.

So basically, you sweat, the baby power absorbs it, and you get to feel amazingly cool. Magic powder!

Thailand has a billion varieties of this stuff, all of which are sold in your friendly neighbourhood convenience store. Sure it probably exists in Canada, but it's one of those things that I definitely didn't need there!

4) Instant Noodles

Thailand has amazing noodles. All you need to make them is hot water, and they taste like...amazing.

Yeah. Tom Yum soup is freaking delicious--it's the one with the shrimps on the front. Yeah, all of them. It's a popular flavour. Fair warning, Thailand does not skimp of the spicy--it's 50-50 on whether you're going to get a hot soup or a nuclear wasteland in your mouth. I like the excitement of finding out, myself.


It's like Russian Roulette with your tongue!

3) Meiji Milk

Of all the milk I've had in my life, this is the best. It's sweet, creamy deliciousness, far better than anything I've tasted in North America. It's like cow nectar, a lactose-filled ambrosia. I don't know what kinds of cows Japan has, but Canada should seriously look into that and import some of them in, because clearly we are failing on the delicious milk front.

2) This Pancake Thing. (Dorayaki)

I have no idea what it's called, but it's delicious! It's two pancakes made into a sandwich around an almond custard-cream. It's amazing, and insanely hard to find. Buy as many as you can and sit in your room eating them in the dark--I promise that it'll be a better evening than whatever else you had planned.

We found a cookie and cream variety once! That...was a really good day. One of the best, if I'm going to be totally honest.

1) Thai Energy Drinks

So I discovered these last week, or there about. The passage of time is kind of a relative thing under the influence of these, and/or depending on the speed of the Tuk Tuk. There's TONS of varieties, and they're all basically sugar syrup laced with...caffeine? Ginseng? I don't know. Super tasty, though.
They're great! Mix them with coke and rum/vodka for a great mixed drink that'll have you climbing the walls until tomorrow morning, or drink it straight for a non-jittery alertness that might give you heart palpitations! Lol. I'm joking, probably. There's a warning label, but it's in Thai, so who's to say what it's warning us of? Maybe mutant piranhas are addicted to the stuff and you have to be prepared to defend your stash--there's no way to tell.


These retail for ten baht, or thirty-three cents, so you can have three for a dollar! I've lost count of how many I've had! Many dollars worth, though. Lucky, a sugar connoisseur of the highest order, says these are like sugar comas in a bottle. She loves them. There's a lot to love here in Thailand!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17th, 2013 - Berjaya Times Square Mall

We woke up early and hungry on this, the first official day of our trip/visa-run to Malaysia! Nothing much was open, so we wandered across to the massive Berjaya Times Square located directly north of the Furama. A more complicated endeavor than you might imagine—first, it was pouring cats and dogs outside, so we had to ask the concierge if we could borrow an umbrella. A 30 ringgit deposit (about ten bucks CAD), and we were off to the races!

Crossing the street is easier in Kuala Lumpur than it is in Thailand because 90% of the streets seem to be one-way, separated by dividers. You only have to check in one direction before crossing! Do make sure it is the right direction, though. The drivers are very much not expecting pedestrians. They park on both sides of the one-way street, leaving it all rather choked up—traffic is pretty terrible.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5th, 2013 - Thai Massages at Panwa Beach

I am a delicate flower. I know this now. Many a person has said it before due to my slight frame and quiet disposition and I scoffed and waved my hand dismissively at them, but no, really, I am a delicate flower. Few things have made this more apparent to me than getting a Thai oil massage on the beach today. Ow. Now, I don’t think these things are supposed to actually hurt, but I was in worse shape when I got off the table than I was before I got on. It is therefore my conclusion that I was doing it wrong. Hence the whole delicate flower thing.

Friday, April 26, 2013

April 26th, 2013 - Makham Bay and Dilapidated Buildings

Ever heard of Makham Bay? Neither had I. And there’s a reason for that. Geo and I took a nice little walk in that direction, only about 1.4 km, because we’ve seen the signs at the sides of the road and figured, hey, why not? It appears to be nothing more than a fishing port of some kind (or a docking port? Is that a thing? Regardless, there was a little pier and a couple of boats), sort of off to the side and a bit of a trek over roads not-frequently traveled.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8th, 2013 - Klong-Mu-Dong Views Point

After taking the shuttle bus to Panwa Beach and stopping at The Beach Bar for some of their killer papaya salads, we finally decided to take the trek up to Klong-Mu-Dong Views Point. It was not as much of a hike as we’d anticipated. Here we’d been avoiding it, thinking it was like three kilometers past the beach or something, but it turns out it isn’t far at all.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 4th, 2013 - Sunrise

Today we have another random Sunrise in Panwa picture for the blog!


Yes, you read that correctly, I was (briefly but not regrettably) awake to witness a sunrise. Wonders never cease here in Phuket.

- LuckyStar