Jamie's Phuket Blog

Jamie's Phuket Blog - Discover The Real Phuket!

2 February 2016 

Trickeye Museum - 3D Art Gallery

Now for something fun! The Trickeye Museum opened in Phuket Town a couple of years ago, but this was my first visit. My wife and kids had been before and we all visited one of these 3D art gallery places in Hua Hin last year, which we enjoyed. What is the Trickeye Museum? Well, it's a big building full of art painted so that from certain angles it looks kind of 3D, if you take a photo from the right angle. All the paintings are interactive - you put yourself in the right place in the scene and snap photos - it's something designed for the iPhone age. Take a photo, post to Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, whatever takes your fancy. There is no point coming without a camera! Certainly a bit of fun for the family. I first saw one of these places online a few years back called 'Art in Paradise' which was in Pattaya, and it looked interesting. Should have got round to visiting the Phuket Trickeye Museum ages ago! Anyway, last Saturday (January 30th) we made a plan, and headed into Phuket Town about 11:30am. It opens every day from 10am - 7pm. I was expecting some crowds, but it was very quiet - I imagine if they'd put this in Patong it would be packed. Trickeye is located at the corner of Montree and Phang Nga roads next to the Pearl Hotel.

Trickeye Museum from the Outside

(above) Trickeye from the road. It's close to the old town. Easy to visit if you stay in Phuket Town, or if doing a little exploration in old town. Maybe combine with a half day old town tour, a trip up Rang Hill, a visit to the Thai Hua history museum .. actually there's too much in Phuket Town for 1 day really! Ideal for a rainy day to escape the rain, or a hot day to escape the heat (it's all airconditioned).

Entrance fee is 500 Baht for adults or 300 Baht for kids over 130cm tall. There is a discount for Thai people and also for foreigners living in Thailand (be ready to show a Thai driving licence or work permit). You have to remove shoes and do note that the floors are quite slippery in places. Tell kids not to run if wearing socks! Right inside the entrance is the first piece of art - old Phuket Town with added volcanic activity.

Phuket Town Volcano!

We had a girl called Ya walking around with us - very helpful staff here - they help to show you how to take the photos from the right place (sometimes it's not obvious) and will take photos for you, like the one below - a lovely couple on a starry, starry night.

Starry Starry Night

Inside, Trickeye is bigger than I thought it would be, with 2 floors and paintings on every wall. From the entrance you head upstairs and there's a view of a big painting below that we'll see again later. Quite impressive.

Trickeye Museum Panorama

Meantime the iPhone equipped Monk family found plenty of places to take silly photos :)

Big Wave coming!

Water leaking from a giant phone!

Giant Foot

Upskirt!

It does help to visit the Trickeye Museum if you are feeling a bit silly and are the kind of person who takes lots of photos, although this is not a place for serious photographers! We spent over an hour here, but could have been longer, we rushed a bit because our son had arranged to meet some friends at 1pm. Down on the ground floor is the scene from the photo above showing a waterfall, river, broken bridge and helicopter with a rope ladder. From the right angle, it makes for some cool photos ...

Waterfall rescue

Broken Bridge!

We took more photos than can be shown here - there are some more on Flickr. We certainly enjoyed our visit. If you are in Phuket Town, it's worth a look if you're a fun, slightly silly photo snapping kind of person! Best for families, something fun for the kids after a walk around the streets of old town!

Family at the Trickeye Museum


Trickeye Museum - Location Map






13 January 2016 

Khao Kai Nui Viewpoint in Phang Nga

Something new to start 2016! On the first weekend of the new year we did one of our regular "take a drive and see what happens" trips. We aimed for Phang Nga province, over the bridge from Phuket. I was hoping to find Khao Khai Nui (เขาไข่นุ้ย), a viewpoint that features on a lot of Thai websites. We already knew it was to be found behind the village of Thung Maphrao, which is south of Khao Lak, but we'd driven that way a few times in the last year and I'd not seen any obvious roads or big signs saying "This way to the view!". But this time we had a mission, we'd find this viewpoint. All the photos we had seen of Khao Kai Nui were taken early morning, with a beautiful view over misty hills. They call this mist 'Talay Mok', the sea mist. The sea is about 7km away to the west. This would be an afternoon visit, really just to find the place, and we thought - if we like it we'll go again for the early morning view.

We took the long way around, having lunch near Phang Nga Town, and then taking the really nice scenic road from Phang Nga Town to Thung Maphrao passing the road up to Tone Pariwat waterfall where we'd been white water rafting last year. We passed through Thung Maphrao and saw no signs to the viewpoint. Hitting the main Phuket - Khao Lak road we found a sign pointing north, but after driving a few km, we decided this was not correct, as I could see the hill on Google Earth just behind the village. So we u-turned and called a phone number written on that sign. The guy who answered said we should find the market and turn left. He also said we'd maybe struggle in our 2WD pick up truck. We thought "yeh yeh, trying to get some money to drive us up there". Back in Thung Maphrao and driving very slow we saw a tiny sign (in Thai) next to a tiny side road and headed up the hill...

The road .. a few photos ... Started concrete, but narrow, soon became a dirt road. Our truck was not really having a problem. Weather was dry, the dirt road was not slippery, a bit rocky and dusty in places. For sure if there had been some rain, a 4WD vehicle would have been better!

Road to Khao Kai Nui

Near the top of Khao Kai Nui

(above) The worst section was right near the top. In the photo above, where you see white railings, it's a concrete road, but very steep and with plenty of very fine, dry dirt on the surface. We had a little traction issue, some wheelspin and burnt rubber, but just about made the top.

Road to Khao Kai Nui

(above) The last section of road, concrete, steep, dusty. Does not look so bad in the photo! Anyway, we got to the top of the hill, plenty of space to park.

Parking at Khao Kai Nui

(above) Our super truck (it's a Toyota Hilux Vigo Prerunner) at the top of Khao Kai Nui. Coming up on 8 years old, this truck and looking good :)

And what a great view, even in the afternoon with none of that sea mist. There are views all around. The hill is not really high, just over 200m above sea level, but yes, we thought "wow" from the moment we arrived.

Khao Kai Nui View

(above) Our kids enjoy the view

Looking West from Khao Kai Nui

(above) Looking west to the sea from Khao Kai Nui.

From the carpark area, the dirt road carries on a little further, dropping slightly to a basic wooden construction where we found some drinks and basic food for sale and a toilet too. Lovely views here across the hills. Phang Nga is very rural, there are hardly any large towns, it's mostly green hills covering an area many times bigger than Phuket.

Top of Khao Kai Nui

And of course we could see the tents. We had imagined that if we wanted to come again and see the early morning mist, we'd have to wake up at 5am and drive from home, but .. they have tents! When I was a kid our family went camping most summer holidays. We had a large family tent big enough for 4, with a "living room" and a kitchen area too, and electric supply from the car battery! I did more camping on my travels over the years, but I think it's been over 15 years since I last had a night in a tent. But now we're planning for that! A little family adventure :)

Tents at Khao Kai Nui

We asked and found you can hire a tent for 250 Baht per night. Bring your own blanket. They do provide a basic mat and pillow. We'd carry a bunch of bedding in the car. Tents are big enough for 2 people, or maybe just one of me. Hopefully we can do this sometime soon, and this page will be updated! There are also "seaview" tents ...

Camping at Khao Kai Nui

(above) Yes, you can see the sea. It's over there between the land and the sky.

A very successful day out exploring. There's plenty to see on Phuket Island itself of course, but within an easy day trip is Phang Nga province. Khao Kai Nui is easy to reach from Phuket or Khao Lak either with your own transport, or if you do a quick web search you can find some tours that include this viewpoint. I hope to update in the very near future!

Khao Kai Nui Location Map






4 January 2016 

Jamie's Phuket Review of 2015

Another year over. A new one just begun. What have you done? John Lennon would have been 75 in 2015. My Mum would have been 71, but she passed away in 2014. The last year and a half have been very odd, knowing that Mum and Dad will not visit Phuket again. They came here many times, first in 2002 and the last visit in 2013. In 2014 I visited England twice, and in 2015 I was there again to see my Dad and do some work clearing out their house. Dad has dementia and right at the end of my visit we got him moved to a very good care home where my aunt and cousin both work. So that was a load off my mind. Until my visit in September, the blog had been rolling along nicely with lots of new posts, but since September, the only thing I blogged about was the vegetarian festival which took place in October. Towards the end of 2015 I had little time to blog due to running a busy dive shop, and have not really felt in the mood, plus I had a couple of weeks feeling ill in November, so over the last couple of months we've not done much or felt like doing much except relaxing on days off! In high season I am in the dive shop 6 days per week - come to see me at Sunrise Divers!

Let us begin at the beginning. All the way back in January 2015. A very nice month with visitors from the UK so did quite a few trips out and about including visiting the Big Buddha, the Sunday street market in Phuket Town, the After Beach Bar and a trip I did with my aunt and uncle around the south of Phuket including Rawai Beach, the Karon viewpoint, Phromthep Cape and Ya Nui beach.

The "Wind Turbine" Viewpoint

(above) Ya Nui beach and view from the viewpoint near Nai Harn Beach, January 11th 2015

Later in January we did one of our days when we just "go for a drive" with only some vague ideas, and we found our way to Tone Pariwat Waterfall, and then enjoyed the Sunday market in old Takua Pa Town - about 100km north of Phuket, an easy enough day trip.

Spicy fishcakes for sale

(above) At Old Takua Pa, January 25th 2015

During the early part of 2015, I wanted to blog a few new restaurants, and so we did plenty of eating out :) We found some good places to eat around Phuket Town - check out Krua Suan Cha which isnear the football stadium, Zaab Kafe and Eleven Two & Company which are both in/near the old town.

Fried Laab

(above) Spicy fried Laab, at Zaab Kafe

And I also revisited Rimlay at Rawai Beach in March, I had been for the first time in January with my aunt and uncle and liked it. Right by the sea, great spot for a cold beer :)

Rimlay Restaurant

(above) At Rimlay, Rawai Beach

In February we did a very nice day out in Phang Nga with my cousin and his wife and their young son, plus my wife's cousin's son. We have done trips in Phang Nga Bay many times, this time we got perfect weather for an afternoon trip including Panyee Village (the fishing village on stilts) and James Bond Island. I think this is my favourite day out from Phuket. Read more - Phang Nga Bay Tour.

At James Bond Island

(above) At James Bond Island, February 7th 2015

Koh Panyee - The Floating Football Pitch

(above) Floating football pitch at Koh Panyee, February 7th 2015

Not every trip gets blogged. Sometimes I like to just head out with no direction in mind and take a few photos like one day in March at the Phuket Boat Lagoon, when I found you can climb up the lighthouse and get a great birds eye view - see below ...

Phuket Boat Lagoon Marina

In April, we all went scuba diving as a family for the first time! We had a lovely day at Racha Yai island with 2 shallow dives. Hoping my kids don't grow up and want to be dive instructors like Dad! Please, go earn some proper money :)

Ready for a Dive

(above) Kids in the water, wife ready to go! April 30th 2015

During May and June, there was more food - I blogged Lucky 13 Sandwich near Rawai Beach and re-blogged the well known Phad Thai Shop on the back road of Karon Beach.

Best Phad Thai in Phuket!

(above) Best Phad Thai in Phuket?

Also had a very nice afternoon with my son in May, he came with his Dad on a temple tour in the Thalang area of Phuket .. We did 3 temples in 1 afternoon :)

Photography Boy

(above) My boy at Wat Phra Nang Sang, May 23rd 2015

In June, another excellent Monk family day out .. we went off exploring a big area of Phang Nga province just over the bridge from Phuket, a part of Phang Nga we'd never seen before and it was beautiful - see Exploring Klong Kian, Phang Nga. We found some great views like those below ...

Mangrove canal and view of Koh Daeng

Longtail and view over the water to Phuket

(above) Exploring in Phang Nga province, June 21st 2015

And in June we were in Phang Nga again visiting Bang Pat fishing village. Was a bit of a grey day, so I'd like to go again with some sunshine, but the grey skies did not dim the smiles.

All smiles at Bang Pat

(above) Smiles at Bang Pat, 19th July 2015

At this point, I'd like to say .. I wish I was on holiday here and had many more days out! But of course I am living a kind of "normal" life here with a family, kids, bills to pay and a full time job. Sometimes when I am not working we have days out and sometimes we just do what the kids want. 2015 their favourite thing was wakeboarding, so I have updated the Phuket Wake Park page on the blog (it still needs more updates).

Wakeboard Park in Phuket

(above) My daughter at Phuket Wake Park

In August we had probably the best weekend of the year. Amazing weather, middle of low season, and we went white water rafting in Phang Nga, followed by a night in Khao Lak by the beach. I've done rafting in the past in Africa, Chile and the UK, but it was a first for the family .. a lot of fun - see White Water Rafting.

White water rafting in Phang Nga

(above) Rafting in Phang Nga, August 15th 2015

Khao Lak - Nangthong Beach

(above) My boy and his buddies chillin' at the beach in Khao Lak, August 16th 2015. We stayed at The Leaf By The Sands hotel, very nice - see One Night in Khao Lak.

Later in August, we had the Por Tor Festival in Phuket Town, also called the Hungry Ghost Festival. I'd not seen any of this festival for a few years. It's a real slice of culture.

Red Turtle Cake

(above) Giant red turtle cake offering at the Por Tor Festival

After this festival, well, I was off to England for a couple of weeks, returning for a week in the dive shop and then we had a family holiday in Chumphon, Hua Hin and Kanchanaburi. One of these days, I may start a "Jamie's Thailand" blog! We've been to Hua Hin multiple times, we have a house in Chumphon, but this was a first time in Kanchanaburi and we'll be back there in 2016! Back from holiday, the vegetarian festival had already started and I went to the Kathu shrine on October 20th very early in the morning, saw some slightly crazy stuff and watched the street procession head to Phuket Town - see Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2015.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2015 at Kathu Shrine

(above) in Kathu Chinese shrine, before 6am, 20th October

And on the last night of the festival I was in Phuket Town. The last night is nuts. I only attended for the first time in 2014, and will be there again in 2016! See - Last Night of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.

Last Night of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival

(above) Old Phuket Town, 21st October 2015

So actually, since this I have not posted anything new. But there is new stuff coming! We just found a new viewpoint a couple of days ago, and I feel my slight malaise has lifted with the new year. During the year there are many things that don't get blogged. We have trips out and I take a few photos or we eat at regular places that are already blogged. Often I post new photos on social media - please do follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

An example below of something that was not blogged, a couple of weeks ago .... in a galaxy far, far away. We went to see the new Star Wars. May the force be with you!



See you in Phuket! Happy New Year!





13 December 2015 

Phuket Webcam at Patong Beach

The Phuket Blog has been online since 2006. In the same year I started a Phuket Weather Blog, which was born when I realised that a lot of people search online for weather information. People are obsessed by the weather. Is it raining? What will the weather be like in mid-September? If it rains, does it rain all day or just showers? When is the best weather in Phuket? Well, the weather blog aims to show what the weather was really doing rather than relying on averages, useless forecasts and seasonal generalisations. It still gets updated now and then with weather news, photos and some Phuket info. But the best way to check what the weather is doing right now? A webcam! And below is a live webcam at Patong Beach. If you want more regular Phuket weather updates and more Phuket related stuff, please do follow me on Twitter!

Live Webcam at Patong Beach, Phuket


The original webcam is on the TAT website here. That same website has webcams from all over the country.

More Phuket Webcams

Karon Beach
Old Phuket Town
Kata Beach

Patong Beach Hotel Information

Here on the Phuket blog you can find some Patong hotel suggestions :

Jamie's Recommended Patong Beach Hotels
Amari Phuket Resort
The Kee Resort
Patong Hotel Booking @ Agoda.com





10 December 2015 

The Big Buddhas of Phuket

Big Buddhas? Surely there's only one "Big Buddha" in Phuket? The big white one on the hill? Yes, that's the one known as THE Big Buddha, and it certainly is impressive. We've been driving up that hill for over 10 years since before construction began. It's not just the 45m high statue, but we love the great views over much of southern Phuket. Thailand is of course mostly Buddhist, so there are lots of Buddhist temples here, though Phuket also has large a Muslim minority and many Thai-Chinese families. You'll find mosques and Chinese shrines all over the island too, and even a Catholic church, a Hindu temple and Sikh gurdwara! And there's certainly more than one big Buddha here ...

"The" Big Buddha of Phuket

The biggest Buddha in Phuket is the big white marble covered statue on top of the Nakkerd hills in the south of the island near Chalong. It's been under construction for many years. The main statue is fairly well complete, but there's still work in progress around the edges. When it was being built we'd come up the hill for the views and some peace. Now it's part of many tour itineraries, so can be crowded, unless you visit early morning or late afternoon. The statue can be seen from much of the south of the island, and the views from the hill, more than 400m above the sea, are great.

The Big Buddha of Phuket
Hiking to the Big Buddha

Phuket Big Buddha


Reclining Buddha at Sri Sunthorn Temple

Built on the roof of one of the temple buildings at Sri Sunthorn temple, just south of Thalang in the centre of Phuket island is a 25m reclining Buddha. This is not a busy temple, we've been numerous times and hardly ever seen more than a few visitors. It's right by the main road through Phuket from town to the airport, but it's behind some trees and hard to spot from the road. The temple is named after one of the Heroines of Phuket who fought off the Burmese way back in 1785. Oh yes, we got history too!

Sri Sunthorn Temple

Sri Sunthorn Temple Buddha


Seated Buddha at Rang Hill Temple

Up a tiny, hard to find side road next to the Vachira hospital in Phuket Town, is a little secret. Somehow, I did not see this until January 2012, even though the blog had been going nearly 6 years and I love temples. My wife just casually said one day "did you ever see the temple up this road?" ... Wat Khao Rang is at the foot of Rang Hill, on the north side of Phuket Town, well known for views and the popular Tunk Ka Cafe. The golden seated Buddha is very nice indeed and I really should go back one day for some early morning photos in better light. Phuket is full of surprises, even for a long term resident!

Khao Rang Temple

The "Other" Phuket Big Buddha


Buddha in a cave at Wat Suwan Kuha

OK, this one is not on Phuket island .. Wat Suwan Kuha, also called Wat Tham ("cave temple") is over the bridge in Phang Nga province, but is visited by many tours from Phuket. We've been quite a few times. The Buddha is quite impressive, the whole thing was built about 150 years ago by the Na Takuathung family who still live in Phuket. A visit here can be combined with a Phang Nga Bay tour. Outside the cave there are lots of monkeys. There's a 20 Baht entry fee to the cave.

Wat Suwan Kuha

Reclining Buddha at Wat Suwan Kuha


Reclining Buddha at Koh Sirey Temple

Every time we visit the temple on a hill at Sirey Island (just east of Phuket Town) we feel sorry for the place. With some funding it could be gorgeous. Please do visit and leave a donation! Sirey Island (rather like Phuket) is hardly an island, you can drive there over a small bridge from Phuket Town. The temple is up a small hill, about 200 feet above sea level - views are pretty good actually! Inside the temple is a large reclining Buddha about 20m from head to toe. We like driving around Sirey for the views and there are some small restaurants dotted around the place, plus a sea gypsy village not far from the temple.

Koh Sirey Temple

Reclining Buddha at Koh Sirey Temple


Golden Buddha at Koh Kaew Yai Island

Not such an enormous Buddha, but an important one ... Koh Kaew Yai is a small island about 1km off the south tip of Phuket, you can see it from Phromthep Cape. Local legend says that Buddha set foot on the island before arriving in Phuket. Some monks live on the island. There is a large "footprint of Buddha" on the south side of the island, and facing north towards Phuket is a Buddha statue about 6 or 7m high. Not enormous, but an interesting place to visit - you can go by longtail boat from Rawai beach.

Boat trip to Koh Kaew Yai

Big Buddha's hand, Koh Kaew Yai


Wat Bang Riang

A very impressive temple in the hills north of Phang Nga Town near the small town of Thap Put ... quite a drive from Phuket actually, but a day trip including this temple can also include Wat Suwan Kuha and maybe a nice lunch at Tha Sai Seafood. The temple covers a huge area, with a main building on a hill and then a big Buddha and a big standing figure of the goddess Guan Yin. And quite a few steps to climb! Certainly worth a visit if you are in an exploring mood (which we often are!).

Wat Bang Riang

Wat Bang Riang, Phang Nga


Related Blog Posts

Phuket Temples and Shrines
Wat Chalong - Phuket's Biggest Buddhist Temple
Sikh Gurdwara in Phuket Town
Shrine of the Serene Light in Phuket Town

Google Map of Phuket Temples


View Phuket Temples in a larger map