Nov 9, 2012

Backpacking to the Pearl of Andaman Sea, Phuket

The day before we leave.... we printed out our detailed plan of our journey, tickets and hotel vouchers. I usually have a Before you go List  and Packing List when traveling abroad and it might help you a bit  in planning on your future travels.

Before you go List
Find out where the nearest embassy will be – check their website to find out what services they offer and their opening time.
Make a note of your passport number and consider taking a photocopy with you and/or storing it online using a secure data storage site. 
Make sure you have enough money to cover emergencies and any unexpected delays.  
Consider taking more than one means of payment with you (cash, debit card, credit card).
If you’re going to be driving abroad, make sure your licence is current and valid and be aware of the driving laws in the country you are visiting.
Don’t travel without insurance – make sure it covers you for any activities you are likely to undertake including extreme or water sports.
Tell family and friends where you are going and leave them your contact details, insurance policy details and your itinerary and/or store them online using a secure data storage site.
Packing List
  • Credit cards, Debit and Money
  •  Passport and Photocopy | Travel Insurance Policy 
  • Airline tickets, hotel vouchers and Photocopy
  •  Medicines and Insect Repellent
  • Travel pillow and sea to summit travelling light micro towel
  • Clothes, Beach wear and etc.
  • Pocket notebook and pen
  • Sunscreen and lotion
  • Yoobao Power Bank for Ipads, Iphones and Cameras
  • Camera, charger and spare batteries
  • Flip flops or sandals
Last November 2012 we took a short haul domestic flight from Davao City to Clark . We exited the terminal and boarded an Air condition  Jeepney going to Dau and SM City Clark for only  Php 50.00. You can read my post on How to Get to Dau terminal from Clark International Airport. From Dau bus terminal, we hailed a tricycle to Sunmoon Hotel located in Balibago. Besides its ideal location, it also features spacious rooms, comfy beds and clean bathrooms. Not bad for Php 1,200 per night with free breakfast.

Tuklasera Tripid Tips
Book your hotel online to get discounts.
Book your Airline tickets in advance for cheaper rates.
There is a FREE bus going to Marquee Mall in Angeles for AirAsia Passengers only. Just present your printed itinerary. Read my post here.
Taxi's are way too expensive than air- condition Jeepneys.
Don't hesitate to ask for discounts. Why spend more when you can spend less. 
Read reviews first and before paying tour services and travel agents. Know if the travel agency or tour operator is legitimate.
The following day, we boarded a Dau / Mabalacat Jeepney from Sm City Clark Jeepney terminal to Clark main gate for Php 8.00 per person. From Clark main gate we walked for 15 minutes to reach the terminal building. Read my post here for additional information.Just use this option if you have plenty of time in your hands and not carrying a lot of luggage. To avoid long queues we usually used the self service machines provided mainly by AirAsia and Cebu Pacific Air. Here are few steps on how to use them.

How to use the Airline Self Service Machines
Print your e-ticket before leaving for the airport. The e-ticket has essential flight and personal information for obtaining a boarding pass.
Enter your e-ticket confirmation number and the machine will retrieve your ticket information.
Check the names of the passengers or guest then follow the next step.
Once completed, the self service machine will print your boarding pass.
Check in a bag with the airline representative or ticket counter. You might need to present your boarding pass and photo ID.
Then we proceed to the travel tax booth and payed Php 1,620 and Php 450.00 terminal fee .Throughout the Philippines you have to pay the famous "Terminal Fee" when you depart either from an air or a sea terminal. The plane departed on time and arrived in Kuala Lumpur at 2:45 pm. There were lots of people waiting in the immigration lines. Fortunately, they opened other lines so the wait wasn't too long.

We exited the LCCT building and ride a shuttle bus to Tune Hotel which is 7 min away from the terminal building. The room is quite small but affordable and clean.We had our early dinner at a nearby cafe and bought some snacks to bring back to the hotel room. We're  quite exhausted from the long day, so off to bed early. 

The next day we took a short flight to Phuket. Chinese, Russia and Australia took the highest spot for the highest passenger arrival according to Phuketwan. See the Infographics below.

Just remember that the moment you land on Phuket be prepared to be ripped off. Read the article here from Phuketwan. We exited the terminal and we were swarm by taxi touts stalking near the exit of the arrival area. We just ignore them and walk a few meters to the bus stop. See the fare comparison below.

Regular Taxi fare (Phuket Airport to Phuket town or Patong) : 600 baht
Limousine : 700 baht (Kata Karon)
Minibus fare (Phuket Airport to Phuket town or Patong) : 300 baht / person
Local Bus fare (Phuket Airport to Phuket town only) : 90 baht / person
From Phuket town to Patong, Kata or Karon : 600 baht (tuktuk)

In our case, we need to catch a ferry to Ko Phi Phi at Radassa pier located east of Phuket. Unfortunately after an hour of waiting, the bus didn't arrive. There were 15 people including us waiting at the bus stop. Mostly Thai's, European and American couples. A thai guy near the bus stop offered us 200 baht / per person minivan to Rassada Pier, Phuket town and Patong. We're quite reluctant but we don't have a choice and besides it's 100 baht cheaper than the normal minibus ride . We payed the fare collector first before getting to the minibus. 

Along the way, we stop at a travel agency . The driver and his cohort ask everyone to get out ( you don't have to) and then they'll ask you where you're staying, and they'll try to sell you a hotel.You're not obligated to use the hotels they push. Just say you already booked a hotel, and tell them the name. We knew this time wasting scam (Read my post Thailand Scams and how to avoid it) before we got here and we're a little bit curious about it :-). We got off and went inside. A lady approach us and ask if we have confirm reservation for a hotel. I showed her the hotel voucher and photocopy. I think they were able to sell some to the European and American couples.  After 20 minutes, we are on our way again. We arrived at Rassada pier an hour ahead of the schedule. We bought our discounted Phi Phi Ferry tickets with free transfers (Phuket town and Patong only) at The normal asking price for the round trip ferry tickets is 600-750 baht one way. We just paid 2,000 baht  for 2 persons round trip.

I recommend  especially to Panya Kanaman and Pojira for giving us a discount. He sent us the ferry tickets in advance even though we haven't paid it yet. After a day I sent my payment to his Paypal account. 


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