Jamie's Phuket - Best of the Blog 2011 (Part 1)
Happy New Year! Yes it's 2012 or, as we say in Thailand, 2555. Both calendars are used here, with the Buddhist date being used for a lot of official business. By the end of 2012, I will have been in Thailand for 13 years, and in April this blog will be 6 years old. I am happy to say that even after doing this Phuket weblog for so long, there were plenty of new experiences in 2011. I just want to repeat - this blog is not the usual tourist website talking about the golden sands, the swaying palms, the exotic seafood, the naughty nightlife ... the blog is still very much personal and based on things that I do with the family or alone. I very much enjoyed 2011, and rather hope that Mayan forecasts are incorrect. I'd like to enjoy all of 2012 too and plenty more of the 21st century!
2011 started with January. We don't normally do too much in January - it's peak season, I am working a lot and the kids are in school. I wrote a Top 10 Phuket Hotels page which will need updating soon. We tried a new restaurant called Peang Prai, near Bang Pae Waterfall, and I also wrote about Kathu Waterfall which is only a few miles from our house and the excellent Phuket Mining Museum.
February is another busy month for Phuket, and the kids are still at school - days out are limited, no holidays ... but the school arranged a special trip to Phuket Fantasea which we very much enjoyed. Sure its the biggest tourist attraction in Phuket, and I had been avoiding it for that reason. Now converted - it's actually very good! The great weather in February was good for views. I got some nice photos at the Karon Viewpoint and we had a nice family walk up Monkey Hill in Phuket Town.
I realised in March that I should write something about my actual full-time job, as manager of a dive center! So here it is : Diving Phuket with Sunrise Divers! It was a month for putting some order into the blog too, so I wrote 3 pages about hotels - Kata Beach Hotels, Karon Beach Hotels and Patong Beach Hotels. Was a month of work and not much else. Kids finished school in mid March and they went with my wife to stay with her family in Chumphon.
In April, another first! Well, I had been to Phromthep Cape plenty of times but somehow had never hiked down the path to the very end of Phuket. Now done - Phromthep Cape - The End of Phuket!
My dear wife came back from Chumphon and we changed plans a bit. I had always been in Phuket for the Songkran festival, but in 2011 we drove from Phuket to Chumphon on the night of 12th April, arriving after midnight, ready for the celebrations on the 13th! It was very nice to share Songkran with the family - see here : Songkran 2011 in Chumphon. We all came back to Phuket and had one of the best family days out of the year, taking a ferry over to Koh Yao Noi island and hiring a couple of scooters. Will do it again sometime for sure.
(above) Songkran in Chumphon
(above) Koh Yao Noi by Moped!
In early May we had a long weekend away to Khao Sok National Park, and on the way back we "discovered" Sri Phang Nga National Park, forests and waterfalls, another place which is now on our "Go Back To" list!
Food and drink in May ... I finally blogged the After Beach Bar which is like a Phuket legend, built on the hillside just south of Kata beach, great seaviews, great sunsets, guaranteed Bob Marley sounds... Also "reblogged" a restaurant called Bang Pae Seafood, which is on the Northeast coast of Phuket a million miles from the main tourist beaches. It was one of the first restaurants I had blogged in 2006 and needed an update, as do quite a few of the older posts on the Phuket weblog...
(above) The After Beach Bar
We reach June, halfway through 2011 .. and at this point I realise that the "Best of 2011" will need 2 parts! In June I wrote a blog page about my wife's home town, Chumphon, where we had celebrated Songkran. Might be our home one day too! Back in Phuket ... June is low season and there's more time to relax. We enjoyed a Walk in Old Phuket Town (actually I enjoy walking there any time!), and I found time to actually stop at the Heroines Monument which is seen by most visitors to Phuket - I had never actually stopped there before.
(above) Thalang Road - old buildings with new cars
(above) The Heroines of Phuket - the statue is in the middle of a traffic circle on the main road south from the airport.
And then.. also in June, some more fun for the kids! We had a day out to the Splash Jungle Waterpark located north of the airport. Kids loved it (so did Mum and Dad actually) and despite the high price I guess we'll go again sometime. Some days we do things "for dad" or "for the blog", and some days it's for the kids, and sometimes they match!
(above) The Super Bowl at Splash Jungle Waterpark
Continued at ..... Best of the Phuket Blog 2011 Part II (July - December)