Jamie's Phuket Blog

Jamie's Phuket 2008 - The Best Bits

Time is money, so they say, but I disagree. Time is life, time is love, time is all you need. And there is never enough. Not enough time to do all you want, not enough time to spend with loved ones, not enough time to spend with friends, and not enough time to update blogs! Thus, on the last day of January I will make a review of 2008.

What appears on Jamie's Phuket depends on what we do, where we go and how much of that precious time I have. I would love to blog full time and write something new and exciting every couple of days, but family comes first, and work takes up most of the week, so do bear with me. I hope that over the last 2 ½ years this blog has been of some help, the original aim, and still the aim - to show the real Phuket, not only the beaches and tourist hangouts. 2008 was a good year, and 2009 promises much. So let's look back at what was blogged last year...

In January, my favourite Phad Thai shop was blogged.. and this little roadside local shop has now made the Lonely Planet! Thai food is great, but I admit to being English, and sometimes need some English Food too...

My favourite Phad Thai shop, on the back road, Karon beach

I have a vague aim to blog all Phuket Temples... 2 were added in January - Kata Temple (on the back road near Kata Beach) and Wat Naka (near Phuket Town).

February - a rare treat at a very nice restaurant called The Ninth Floor in Patong, not our normal kind of place, it was a company dinner. Great food... Next up - a visit to Chalong Temple Fair (which has also been on for the last 10 days).

The floating restaurant at Bang Rong on the east coast of Phuket was blogged - one of our favourite quite places... as is Buddha Mountain, where the Big Buddha is slowly nearing completion. We wrote our names on a piece of marble which I assume is now part of the statue...

Writing our family names on a marble tile to be used in the building of the Big Buddha in Phuket

March - we visited the Weekend Market which is near the aforementioned Naka Temple on the edge of Phuket Town. We also visited the Phuket Food Festival held at Sapan Hin in the south of town.

Satay sticks for sale at the Phuket Food festival in March 2008

There was a little piece about Phuket Weather, although for much more information on the weather, then my Phuket Weather Blog is the place to look.

I was making a point to blog different parts of Phuket Town during 2008. In April I headed to Sapan Hin for a look around...

Bang Yai canal at Sapan Hin, the south side of Phuket Town

And then... highlight of April has to be Songkran! I have learned over the years that you have to be in a Songkran mood to enjoy the day. So we enjoyed it!

Songkran 2008 in Phuket

Phuket has more bloggers you know! In April there was an honorable mention for the Phuket Bloggers - if there are more, do let me know!

May - we left Phuket for a while - holidays! My wifes family is in Chumphon, on the east coast about 400km from Phuket. Further up the coast is the very nice little town of Prachuap Khiri Khan, which I enjoyed visiting. Must blog Chumphon one day too!

Back in Phuket we enjoyed the views from Rang Hill... and found a great restaurant on the north side of Phuket Town - Pak Nam Seafood.

Enjoying the views from Rang Hill, Phuket Town

June - meant to be low season but of course the weather is mostly nice. A couple of places to mingle and exercise with the locals - Bang Wad Reservoir and Suan Luang Park.

Joggers at Bang Wad Reservoir in Phuket

Phuket is trying to head more up market. Yes, it's got a lot of package tourists, but the luxury market is expanding... Nothing left for the budget traveler? Wrong! I wrote a little something about Phuket for Backpackers.

July - we started with another little local temple - Wat Thepnimit (which is just outside town), and later in the month I blogged Wat Sawang Arom, which is close to Rawai Beach.

At Wat Sawang Arom near Rawai Beach, Phuket

Also at Rawai Beach... Nikitas Bar is a Phuket legend. On the beach, small and friendly, good prices. We like!

In July, using TripAdvisor as a guide, I wrote about the Top 10 Hotels in Phuket - this page has become one of the most visited on the blog.

August. At the end of August, Phuket Airport was closed for a day and a half by the PAD. We did not think at the time that the same idiots would do the same in Bangkok. It was a very confusing few days at the end of the month. I tried to do a kind of "live blog" with updates for a few days.

Earlier in the month, the Big Chicken restaurant was blogged - and we have just been there this very evening!

I also took some time to look around Kata Noi Beach.

Kata Noi beach, Phuket

Oh, back in January I mentioned the Phad Thai shop being in the Lonely Planet - in August I did a little review of the Lonely Planet Phuket Encounter Guide... and was glad to note they mentioned this blog :)

Our kids love the Phuket Butterfly Garden - we've been a few times. It's on the edge of Phuket Town.

Phuket Butterfly Garden

September 2008. The year seems almost done... Now and then I add a recommendation for a Phuket Hotel. So in September I added Burasari and Katathani.

I finally blogged something about the Similan Islands, which really was the reason I stayed in Phuket. Great diving.

And then... my absolute favourite Phuket festival started at the end of September. This is something unmissable, something totally unique. The Phuket Vegetarian Festival. Every year I try to see something new, I started with the food...

Vegetarian style Yen Ta Fo soup

And into October... the Vegetarian Festival is awesome. If you can be in Phuket at the right time, BE HERE! You cannot see anything like this anywhere. I was in blog overdrive for a week...

Kathu Shrine
Jui Tui Shrine
Vegetarian Festival in Kathu Village - including face piercing

Phuket vegetarian festival - extreme piercing!

The firecrackers when the procession left Kathu village were earbursting. This is an experience...

Phuket Vegetarian Festival - carrying the gods through the firecrackers

And I took more photos of the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket Town. I love it! I also posted some videos of the festival...

Phuket Vegetarian Festival - procession in Phuket Town

As if October could not get any better.... we flew to Phi Phi. Yes, flew to Phi Phi. There are seaplane flights with a company called Destination Air, and I was asked to write something for them. No payment but at the last minute I was able to get the whole family along for the ride. A great afternoon.

Flying over Phi Phi Islands

November - into the high season for us divers... I took some videos at Phuket Aquarium, praised the abundance of Fruit Stalls, and we celebrated Loy Krathong...

Lantern (KomFai) on Loy Krathong Day

I took my daughter to school - well, an old school which has been turned into a museum in Phuket Town - Thai Hua Museum... and on the edge of town, not far from our house, we found a great new noodle shop specialising in Kuay Jap style noodles.

Kuay Jap noodles in Phuket Town

I have learned something - there are always new adventures to be had, new places to explore close to your own doorstep. It's too easy to turn on the TV, easy to eat at your favourite restaurant, and I am guilty of this too. I thank this blog for making me get off my sofa. Phuket is a great place, but is often rather misunderstood. I love it here, and have no plans to leave.

December - I admit to being far too busy to write much save for some stuff about high season weather in Phuket and a review of the very nice Amari Coral Beach Resort.

The end of December marked a turning point. It has now been more than 4 years since the tsunami... What did I write? Fear not for the future, weep not for the past. Bring on 2009. It has already been brought. Hope January has been good for you. Hope the next 11 months are good too. Keep reading Jamie's Phuket!

 Jamie's Phuket 2008 - The Best Bits  |  Jamie's Phuket Blog

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  Please do add your comment!

Blogger vicki :

hi jamie, from perth/ australia,have just discovered your site & found it both informative & refreshing !i have visited thailand a few times so was looking for places to eat & visit that are not so touristy ....thanks to you i have heaps of great ideas as my husband & some fiends intend to holiday in phuket once again in august this year staying at the novotel. cant wait... i love thailand & its friendly people !
thanks & keep up the great blogs !!

February 02, 2009  

Anonymous jayjay :

Thank you for your fascinating blog. I've been reading it for a couple of years now and love following up some of your suggestions. Karon Beach is now our winter escape from the Gold Coast, Australia and we are looking forward to 3 months in Karon come June - bliss. Hope the Year of the Ox brings you the gift of time.

February 03, 2009  

Blogger Jamie Monk in Phuket :

Thanks for your supportive comments - the gift of time would be most welcome.

By the way - anyone reading this - if there is anything in particular you'd like to read about, anything you'd like to see pictures of in or around Phuket, do leave a comment or email jjjjmonk AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk. Someone elses idea of what is interesting is no doubt different to mine - any ideas welcome!


February 03, 2009  

Anonymous Jon :

Those photographs of the two guys piercing themselves with swords your spears are really scary. You have to wonder how many people have to turn away while watching them.

February 05, 2009  

Blogger Jamie Monk in Phuket :

It may turn a few heads and may turn a few stomachs, but the processions in the Phuket Vegetarian Festival are one of the highlights of the year for me!

February 06, 2009  

Blogger christine :

Jamie I love reading you blog, My husband and I visited Karon beach hotel last March we fell in love with Thailand. We are planning to return May 4th as prices so good. Can you advice us on weather we dont want to be dissapointed.
If any other bloggers have been that time of the year I would appreciate some info.

February 21, 2009  

Blogger Jamie Monk in Phuket :

Thanks for your comment, Christine.

Early May certainly has advantages in terms of low prices and uncrowded beaches but you have to accept that it MIGHT rain! In fact, last May we had a lot of rain just around the 4th as we caught the tail of cyclone Nargis which hit Burma.

Normally, early May is pretty good. I think my parents are arriving around the 4th this year - maybe you'll meeet at the airport!

My weather blog archives might help - check out:

Phuket Weather - May 2008

Phuket Weather - May 2007

February 21, 2009  

Anonymous christine :

Hello Jamie
not long now 3 weeks before we arrive in Karon. Can you recommend any eating places with real thai food reasonably priced near Karon beach hotel. My son always goes to the North of the island and tells me he eats real cheap good thai food. When we were in Karon last year we didnt find enough places it was a bit touristy. However we still love Karon but this time we want to try none touristy places.
Christine & Brian

April 02, 2009  

Anonymous Anonymous :

Hello Jamie,

I am planning on visiting Thailand for our honeymoon this December, and am looking for staying in Phuket for 4-5 days.
I read people saying worse things about Phuket and its sleazy image.However I also heard there are some "hidden gems" out there..Somehow I feel it is a place worth visiting..But I am unable to decide where exactly should we be staying..We need a quiet and serene place to spend some quality time together. Any advise would be helpful here :)


July 22, 2009  

Anonymous Jamie Monk in Phuket :

Hi Sandeep,

Phuket has many quiet places, which is what this blog is all about really. For a honeymoon, suggest you look at some of the best hotels, many of which are in quiet locations:

Phuket Hotels Top 10

July 26, 2009