Discovering Phuket: The Famous Phuket Bangla Road

Just one part of the crowd in Bangla Road

Adding Patong Beach in our itinerary, we look for a budget hostel to stay near the area. We do not know that this will also bring us to this famous Bangla Road. With a very little idea on how wild this place could be, I did not expect that it is really that apparent, straightforward, feral, busy and crazy this place could be. Patong beach is famous for its nightlife. The nightlife is centered in two main areas which is the Bangla Road and the “Paradise Complex”. It’s a 360 degrees of bars, nightclub, party, street dance, sexy girls and lady boys dancing (almost stripping) calling attention of every tourist in the area.

Very welcoming!

Photo is a bit dark but doesn't hide the crowd. 

As it stereotypes what you can see in some movies, they say that there’s a lot of drugs, alcohol, scams, prostitutes in the area, well although alcohol and drunk tourists can be found everywhere, I cannot attest the other because we simply ignore those that we feel is a potential risk and just go on our own.

Just a quick tip: Be mindful and read some common scams you may encounter in every country that you’ll visit.

I saw this act already in a TV show

We saw more lady boys than a live Elephant in Thailand. Really. As you walk along the busy street, some will solicit you for a sexy show, showing you the list of different shows you can choose from. It was like “Divisoria” (market) of prostitutes. It was loud and wild. I am in awe and was like, really?! But then it feels good to see the totally different culture here. Yes, our group is a bit conservative and we are not really that wild.

Busy street 

But of course, for us to atleast feel that we are in Bangla road, we did ordered some beers but some of us were okay walking on the street exploring, some stayed in the hostel porch and some explore on a quite less aggressive bar (just very near our hostel) with pure entertainment show only.  (Not the topless girls :p )

After the busy night, we woke up and go outside and it was like nothing happens last night. We actually spotted garbage collectors roaming and some street vendors selling morning street food that we didn’t miss trying.

Amazed :) 

Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu
Chang Wat Phuket 83150
Bars operates mostly around 9PM to 2AM

Discovering Phuket: Patong Beach

Such a wonderful welcome Patong Beach!
I am very excited to see the beach area in the morning. Since we arrived already late noon, we scheduled our next day to walk along the shore of Patong beach in the morning. It was a very quick walk from our hostel. It was the first time we saw the place in a calmer state. That’s the time we’re able to appreciate and see the view of the beach.

Do not forget to get fit!
A view in the morning, calmer than night. 
We saw several tourists jogging in the shoreline. We saw some empty bottles abandoned in the area. Well, it was a good view, but of course, comparing to the beaches in the Philippines, it’s really evident that the Philippines has the best beaches in the world. It was good to see that it was crowded with visitors but I am a bit sad because although I am seeing tourists in our country especially in the well known Boracay, its not like this kind of crowd, it was like as if this is the only and the best White beach in the world.

Just some of the trash and empty bottles we saw that morning
Cyclist getting ready for the tourist rush
Well, maybe because of the image of a non-safe destination, lack of promotion and other more various reasons making us very unpopular tourist destination. Hal and I actually had a chat with a guy from Canada that was also staying in our hostel and he doesn’t really know much about the Philippines. I was like, “Do you know Boracay and El Nido? You must include Philippines in your list and the beaches there are way much prettier.” That guy was actually already found the Patong beach very beautiful already. In my mind, how much more if you visit the beaches of Palawan, Bohol and Cebu.

And the crowd was ready to get sunburn
More of the crowd on the other side
They are all very busy, we are the only group trying to hide from the sun
Patong is much like Boracay because it was surrounded by stores and restaurants. The only difference is that the beach water is very salty and a bit itchy. Anyway, as we return in the beach with the group around late afternoon, there are more and more people everywhere, sunbathing, playing, swimming and just simply relaxing on the shore. 

Sun bathing, relaxing, not a fan of sun burn. 
Such a busy beach
Colorful umbrellas everywhere
And more on this side
Hal and I at Patong Beach
Patong Beach will still be a very popular beach spot for tourist, no doubt because it is accessible and it’s still beautiful on its own way. I’ll still promote Palawan and Cebu though. Of Course.

As the sunset goes, it was the moment that I realized that we are still sharing the same magnificent view of sunset in just other perspective. It was calm, soothing and just let me thank God again for experiencing the beach outside my homeland.

Such a very wonderful view to end your day

Discover Phuket: Wat Chalong

Thailand is also known for their detailed temples and rich cultures

Wat Chalong is another must see and a very popular place in Phuket. This place will tell you more of the Buddhist culture. Travelers come here to learn and be fascinated of the structures and the locals come here to pray.

Just few of the crowd on a sunny afternoon
Though it was often too crowded, Wats are very sacred especially for the local people so visitors are expected to pay respect and observe of the rules such as proper dress code and taking your shoes off.

They could've been praying for luck and more blessings
It was also said that the Wat Chalong is the most important of the 29 buddhist temples of Phuket (formally named Wat Chaiyathararam).

Another view of the temple 
And also, Elephants are sacred here
We are not really sure of the flags, maybe another ritual or sign
Wat Chalong is just about half way between Chalong Circle and Phuket town. Near the entrance is an alley of stores selling different stuffs like plants, bags, accessories, souvenirs and different kinds of food that will really catch your attention. You would really want to try almost everything.

There’s a lot of grilling and frying on the sides, milk teas, fruits and refreshments. Near the temples are much more like the market in the Philippines as there’s a lot of clothes and other stuffs for sale.

Food stalls are just everywhere that you really want to try
Just like in Divisoria
It was again a very unforgiving sunny day and you’ll often expect us near a shade of a tree resting before checking out another temple. Crowds are everywhere and it’s also a bit hard to explore the area peacefully.
Tired ladies
With my hal of course

After a few refreshments and rested under the tree, we bid our goodbyes and headed to our next destination. It was really such a temple-overload. :p

Wat Chalong Temple
Address: Phuket, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket, Thailand
Opens from 7am to 5pm

Discover Phuket - The Famous Big Buddha

The very enormous Big Buddha ~ credit to Sol for the pic
We decided to go on a city tour in our first day in Phuket. And of course the Phuket Big Buddha is on top of our list. It was just a few kilometers away from our hostel. We walked to the tuktuk terminal and just for 20Baht, we asked the tuktuk driver to drop us to the Big Buddha. It’s around 20-30 mins ride uphill.

We were dropped at Yot Sane 1 Alley. We thought that it will be just right there. Not realizing that it’s 6 kilometer uphill walk to reach the famous tourist spot. Upon discussing how we can reach the top (either renting a tuktuk or a motorcycle) a private van parked nearby offered us to bring us to the Big Buddha and wait for us so he can also bring us back and drop us to Wat Chalong after. It costs us 700Baht (group of 8), not bad for a big group.

Another view before the stairs up
The statue sits on top of what they called Nakkerd Hills and it can easily be seen from far away. The whole body is made of White Burmese Marble, it shines in the Sun making the view more breathtaking not only for the devotee but for the tourists who flock everyday with full of hope and wishes. It's still an ongoing project so portion of it is still under construction.

You'll also notice some monks giving blessings to the tourists, they also prepare a bracelet made of string to temple visitors. String bracelets are common to Thai, called “Sai Sin” bracelet. It’s a shortened length of Sacred Thread which being blessed by monks for luck and fortune. This ritual is said to be common throughout Southeast Asia in both Buddhism and Hinduism. Remember to keep the thread for good luck.

Visitors kneeling waiting for their turn of blessings
In return, the monks will be giving you the String Bracelet
You can also burn incense in your prayer
All the funds used for this massive structure come from donations. Near the base of the Big Buddha is a hall showcasing the history of the project and some Buddhist teaching. There are also countless of donation boxes displayed around. You can buy wishing bells and small marble tile to write your wishes and good luck messages for a certain amount, proceeds are to be used in the project.

A bit pricey donation to be able to right your message 
The tile will be part of the construction - and look, Filipino
humor everywhere :) 
You can also get a bell and write your message, for a
certain amount too. 
A Thai kid getting some donations out of the box - not sure if
he's allowed or what but we just let him do his thing. :p 
This really catches my attention, I need to learn this ~ credit to Sol for the pic
And my friend Sol spotted this cute cat in the center of the crowd sleeping in the donation box 
Some stalls can be found at the base to bring refreshments and souvenirs for the tourists. You will also see another smaller Gold version of the Buddha image facing Eastward. This Gold Buddha is made of 22 tons of Brass.

Equally stunning Big Buddha in Gold
Do not also forget to pay respect to their religion as proper dress code is required. You can borrow some sarongs within the vicinity though I am not sure if you’ll pay for it. Be prepare as well to the crowd of visitors in the area and don't forget to check the overlooking view of the city.

And to close this with a famous Buddha Quote:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything.”

Big Buddha, Phuket (Chao Fa Road East near Chalong)
Operating Hours: From 08:00 – 19:30

Malaysia: Around the City, Food and How I See It

Such a smooth train ride :)

My stay is too short for me to know the life here in Kuala Lumpur. I actually do not have any expectations or whatsoever because we had a very limited time. It may not be the country that’s on top of my list but I am still very glad that I was able to see the place right through my eyes.

Taken somewhere on our way out the KL airport
The airport is obviously way better than what we have in Pinas. Well we’re tagged as having the worst airport in the world so it’s very evidently true. What do you expect in a corrupt government anyway? (Hays, silently praying here for a better Philippines)

Bus ticket booth before exiting the airport
While waiting for the bus to arrive
And this is where you buy your tickets
KTM ride going to Batu Caves
I admire how organize the airport is and how easy we can get a bus from the airport. It was a smooth welcome for us. By the way, they are also prompt with bus and train schedules unlike here. Transportation like buses and trains are relatively new and clean unlike what we have here which is old, rusty and asking for retirement already. Lol. And also, much cleaner view of the streets and highways with lesser traffic.

There are lots of Indian, Chinese and also Filipino nationals in the country but of course the majorities are the Malays that look closely like us. Communication is not hard as most of the locals can speak English well.

They call this Petaling Street "China Town"
This is where we bought our souvenirs
And their local palamig (refreshments)
Because it was almost Chinese new year, there are lanterns for sale 
The food is generally spicy in which I am not very fond of. Though I enjoy the curry rice, we were so lucky that we have our friend Ems and Arjie who served as our guide and introduce us to the local food such as the The Tarik and Nasi Lemak. Make sure to ask first if the dish you’re ordering is spicy or not. But sometimes, when they say its not, it’s still spicy for me. There are also lots of street foods that are very tempting to try.

Big serving of Curry rice with some of the common chicken dishes
Local pita bread and some spreads
Sweets on the streets
Shop for souvenirs! 
We were advised not to practice the “haggle to the max then forget about it” style that we used to do in local markets in Pinas like in Divisoria. You know what I mean? Normally they are a bit sensitive if you’ll ask for the price, haggle to the very last price they you’ll still not but from them. We were advised to instead buy in one shop so we can haggle since we will be buying in bulk. Prices are almost the same here in Pinas if you'll convert the rate to Peso. (1 MYR is around 12 PHP)

Cute canvass bag for sale :)
It was indeed a short memorable trip to Malaysia and we’re so happy to visit Arjie here. Overall, I guess it's not very hard to live in this city. There are many Pinoys and since it's very close to Pinas, going back and forth is not a problem. I know there's a lot more to discover and experience. Maybe on the next visit and hopefully next time we’ll be able to stay longer.