Phuket holiday by Singapore PRs
So my wife and I got back from a holiday in Phuket. My rating is 2/5 stars. Here's why:
Taxi cartel. Grab kind of works from the Airport, but many (tourist) areas are cut off and protected by a gang which basically charges 500THB (~15USD) for a 2km journey. This is a complete rip off and severely limits your tour of the Island. Unless you hire a car + driver for the entire day which I didn't fancy.
Btw Thai roads / traffic / driving is shockingly bad. It makes Iran look civilised. People drive too fast and drink driving is very common. Poor road design and poor lighting at night doesn't help. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate
Tourist places are tourist traps. Bangtao beach for example is nice, but every eatery in the area just feels unauthentic. Coming from Singapore we are used to good quality authentic local food.
So when you do buy overpriced tourist food, it's generally way more expensive than Singapore and the quality is poor. Poor enough to give you food poisoning which seriously isn't nice.
Thai beer. Perhaps it's just me, but I find Chang beer a very poor beer. In fact any beer brewed in Thailand seems to give me a headache. Could be the sun.
Accommodation. The choice is either a good quality resort which is bloody expensive or a local Thai run home stay which usually falls well below Western expectations.
Thai service. Land of the smiles, but unlike say Malaysia and even Indonesia to some extent, in my experience service staff have English language skills that are very poor. Our first experience at the Airport as we arrived was pretty shocking. We walked over to tourist information desk, all smiles. Asked if there was anything for kids to do on Phuket? She replied "No" apologetically. WTF?
Internet. The 4G and wifi is extremely bad in Phuket wherever we went. Lucky to get a quality 1Mbps connection. Forget about uploading to Youtube.
Nightlife. I don't mind going out for a drink, but the bars were pretty creepy for couples (hookers abound) and unsocial considering how many Russians were in the area. There are honestly better tourist bars in Langkawi.
Whilst walking around in the morning ~8AM we luckily discovered a guy selling food to locals from a motorbike. We investigated and the food was a fraction of the cost in the nearby restaurants and pretty good!
The spicy chicken was my favourite:
And I loved their fish cakes "Tod Mun Pla":
The guy whisked around every morning at approximately the same time, so we ate breakfast from this guy every day and that saved our holiday.
The other good news is the weather was perfect and the Bangtao beach was rather fantastic. Lots of other couples with small kids which was nice. Still waves and very easy to swim in. The Andaman sea is my favourite.
We also discovered by chance possibly the best deal when it came to deck chairs. 500THB a deck chair at LUX beach (part of the Arinana resort) and you get to spend the same value on food and drink. The service was a little slow and it was difficult to know if you were in budget since they didn't tell you, but it was far better than renting a deck chair for 200THB from a local. You're also in a little Italian style guarded area so locals can't easily ply you whilst you're trying to relax.
I hope Thailand gets better. It has fantastic potential. Phuket airport is actually quite convenient.