The Top 10 Hotels in Phuket

Updated - this is an older Top 10 page which was compiled in 2008, but still seems to get quite a few clicks from Google - There is a new Top 10 based on TripAdvisor rankings in 2016 - see Best Phuket Hotels 2016. Also now online are the following very useful Phuket Hotel pages :

Luxury Hotels
Family Hotels
Romantic Hotels

If you're planning a trip to Phuket, you are almost certainly going to need a place to stay unless you already bought a house or have friends living here. Phuket has a huge variety of accommodation available from backpackers dorms to 5 star (6 star?) luxury resorts. You'll find a growing page of recommended Phuket hotels on the blog already, and I try to add another hotel every month or so. The hotels on the recommendation page are ones I like because of their location, or because they've been recommended to me by others, or because they offer something different. But what are the BEST hotels in Phuket?

The following Top 10 list is based on the Phuket hotel rankings on Tripadvisor in 2008. For each hotel below there are links for online reservations/rates and availability - I recommend Agoda.com if you want to book a hotel in Phuket. The review links below are also from Agoda.com - only people who have booked the hotels on Agoda can make a review, and if you take a look, you'll see honest reviews, good and bad, plus points and minus points - a very useful tool for checking for your ideal hotel.

Top 10 Phuket Hotels (2008)


1. JW Marriott Resort and Spa

The JW Marriott probably is unbeatable. If you want a quiet luxury getaway, then you can fly to Phuket and the resort is just 15 minutes from the airport on the uncrowded and as yet relatively undeveloped Mai Khao Beach. Words such as "paradise", "sanctuary" and "heaven" are not just words!

JW Marriott - Online Reservations
JW Marriott Reviews

2. Mom Tri's Villa Royale

The newer sister resort of Mom Tri's Boathouse, Villa Royale is one of the few hotels in Phuket that can be called secluded, while also being close to the main beaches. It's on the headland between Kata and Kata Noi, overlooking the ocean beach featuring beautifully designed luxury villas.

Villa Royale - Online Reservations
Villa Royale Reviews
More about Mom Tri's Villa Royale on this blog

3. Sala Phuket

Sala Phuket is a new (very new... I am not sure I had heard of it before starting this top 10!) luxury villa resort on Mai Khao Beach - just opened in December 2007. The reviews say it all, things like "breathtaking", "blissful", "Sala Phuket is amazing!"... you get the general idea.

Sala Phuket - Online Reservations
Sala Phuket Reviews
Sala Phuket - more information on Jamie's Phuket

4. The Slate

I wrote about The Slate already - it's a top class resort and has a very original look and feel with decor based on the old Phuket tin mining industry. It may not be to everyone's liking, but it's got class and it's not afraid to be different!

The Slate - Online Reservations
The Slate Reviews

5. Pacific Club Resort

Located on the hillside overlooking Karon Beach, Pacific Club's owner Eric is a chef and also owner of the Karon Cafe in the center of Karon. It's a small resort with a personal feel and great panoramic views. Well off the main road and yet only 10 minutes walk to Karon Beach. Ideal for those wanting seclusion, but still easy access to the main beach centers.

Pacific Club - Online Reservations
Pacific Club Reviews
Pacific Club Resort review on Jamie's Phuket

6. Banyan Tree

The Banyan Tree is part of the Laguna Resort complex at Bang Tao Beach. Nice. Very. It's listed in the 2008 Conde Nast Gold List of the best hotels in the world (so is JW Marriott). I rest my case.

Banyan Tree - Online Reservations
Banyan Tree Reviews

7. Cape Panwa Hotel

Another hotel already recommended on this blog, Cape Panwa Hotel seems to be a perennial favourite. I love the Panwa area, it's miles from the busy beaches, and this resort is the hideaway at the edge of Phuket. Patong is a different planet.

Cape Panwa Hotel - Online Reservations
Cape Panwa Hotel Reviews

8. Marina Phuket Resort

I was actually surprised to see Marina up in the top 10. I had always thought it was a slightly old mid price resort - but then I have not stayed there. It's right on the south end of Karon Beach, with deluxe villas overlooking the ocean, and Dino Park right next door!

Marina Phuket - Online Reservations
Marina Phuket - check rates at HotelsCombined.com
Marina Phuket Review on Jamie's Phuket

9. Ayara Hilltops Resort and Spa (was Treetops Arasia)

Another luxury villa resort, this one with views from the hillside overlooking Surin Beach. There are only 48 villas, and I gotta say it looks like a fab place to stay. And if you stay here, splash out on the Rachavadee Suite.

Ayara Hilltops - Online Reservations
Ayara Hilltops Reviews

10. Andaman Seaview

Hey! Just down the road from where I work! Andaman Seaview is on Karon Beach, prices are decent (in fact, in low season a real steal). I think the main reason it creeps into the top 10 is value for money. Quality at a price you can't argue with. Andaman Seaview is not comparable to some of the others in this list, but it's much cheaper!

Andaman Seaview - Online Reservations
Andaman Seaview Reviews

NEW! Latest Update 2014 :

Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2014

My Phuket Hotel Recommendations
Phuket Hotels - Booking @ Agoda.com


Agree with the top 10? Stayed somewhere else that you thought was better? Do add a comment below. You'll notice that most of these are pricey resorts, 5 star, most are on more secluded beaches and many of them (like Sala Phuket or Indigo Pearl) are new resorts that have only been open a year or two. There are new luxury resorts opening every year. Phuket IS trying to push the luxury lifestyle, and it's often said that Thailand does luxury very well. If you're on a low budget, this list is not for you, but you can look here: Low Budget Phuket Accommodation. As for this list, I'd hate to disagree with the opinions of the reviewers, this certainly looks like a top 10 to me!

A Guest Writer ...

(I have resisted the ever present temptation to edit or tamper with someone else’s words. Said I wouldn’t, so I didn’t. I figure anyone, that good at keeping a secret, deserves the respect of “hands off”. So without further adieu let me relinquish the floor to our Guest Writer...)

Praise Where Its Due…

Dear Readers
I am hoping that Village Farang will publish this article as one of his main blogs rather than merely as a “comment” because many of his regular readers may find it interesting.
At this stage I must apologise to Village Farang for not letting him know sooner that while I have been making comments on his blog site for several months as “Village Surfer” I am also the male half of his “Visitors from New Zealand”.
I have had many holidays and travelled through over two dozen countries in the past twenty years, but our two weeks with Village Farang and his beautiful wife would have to be among the most rejuvenating and restful I have ever experienced. It was great to have a base where we could relax, recover and enjoy companionship in luxury, in between our various expeditions.
After several days of celebrations with my Thai partner’s family near Bangkok, we flew in a Boeing 737 for an hour and a half towards Thailand’s northern border with Burma and Laos. We were picked up from Chiang Rai airport by Village Farang and his lady and escorted in their luxury vehicle to lunch at a great “locals” restaurant in the outskirts of the town. After a further sixty kilometre journey we arrived at VF’s mansion next to a rice growing village in the countryside. With the village two hundred metres away to one side, the views all around the house were soothing to the eyes with different shades of green from luxuriant plots of recently transplanted rice seedlings at different stages of growth. Villagers with peaceful expressions added colour to the scenery as they inserted seedlings into the water logged soil in half planted rectangles. Clumps of trees dotted the fields as one gazed further afield and took in the darker green and blue of the hills and mountains in the distance.
We felt pampered, with good views from the luxury of a five star visitors’ room with toilet, hot showers, a queen size bed and air conditioning. The day after our arrival we were taken on a tour of interesting little towns and wide rivers on the borders of Laos and than Burma.
In the evenings VF’s talented wife would serve tasty Thai meals while breakfasts included exotic fruits and VF’s special coffee brewed for exactly eight (or was it seven?) minutes. There was never a dull moment with the puppy and dogs allowing us all to play with them. As the days passed the girls enjoyed visiting the temple as well as relatives and friends in the village while VF and I went out on walks and bike rides and reminisced about exploits from our younger days and philosophised on the state of humanity.
As someone who grew up in the countryside watching the locals working their farmland, and as a dog lover playing with the dogs, I was able to re-live my childhood on a daily basis. This nostalgia meant a lot to me, and I will often remember that this “special vantage point and playground” evolved from and was a reflection of VF’s unique “energy”.
Village Farang and his family were able to have a break from us when I talked my partner into joining me on an amazing three day trek amongst rainforests and hill tribes in the mountains.
On our return we were again treated to delicious meals by VF’s wife whose physique and exquisite taste in clothes is a sight for sore eyes. Then our hosts drove us to Chiang Mai and left us there to enjoy the city and its ancient temples. Several days and a few bus rides later we returned “the house” to once again recover and relax in luxury.
In New Zealand in the weekends I often go away on surfing trips or work in the garden while my partner catches up with her Thai friends. This gives us enough of a break from each other to really value our stable relationship. So after two and half weeks of us being cooped up together all the time I decided to give her a break from me while I went and spent a couple of days in Chiang Rai. This also allowed her and my hosts to more candidly reminisce about their many years of friendship without the presence of my “less familiar” energy. The trip to Chiang Rai allowed me to enjoy travelling on my own as I had done during two years of backpacking around the world. It also gave me chance to get over a slight annoyance with my girlfriend about some “fair sharing of workloads” issues which had built up over several weeks to a level where it had finally required discussion. We needed a few hours apart to eliminate any residual negativity that may have built up, and to take on board the “win-win” solutions we had discussed.
I got the feeling that Village Farang did not agree with or wish to understand my ideas of “cutting to the chase” and the “value of time spent apart”. However, being a gentleman he did not impose his opinions on me, and left me to deal with my own baggage, with the comment, “whatever floats your boat”. But that is all good because life would be boring if we all had the same attitudes to ways of communicating and resolving issues.
On my return from Chiang Rai, Village Farang and I once again enjoyed discussing “the meaning of life” in between attending to the puppy and entertaining the other dogs. VF also showed us how his computer works and the software he uses to enhance photographs and manage his blogs. Meanwhile the ladies enjoyed their last days together before we were dropped off at Chiang Rai airport.
Safely back at home now, we look forward to Village Farang and his wonderful wife coming to stay with us in New Zealand sometime. They can rest assured that they will have as good a time with us as we had with them.
We thank, “Village Farang and his lovely lady” for looking after us in their home, and giving us a chance to enjoy Northern Thailand.
Adios

Wat Sawang Arom (Rawai Temple)

Many things in life are easily missed if you keep to the main roads. You gotta take time to smell the roses. Take the road less travelled, explore the side streets. There really is no hurry. The temple at Rawai Beach is called Wat Sawang Arom. It's only about half a kilometer from the sea, but is off the main road that runs from Chalong to Rawai. You can't see the temple from the road, only the entrance...

Entrance to Wat Sawang Arom

Like many of these backroad temples, I have driven past on countless occasions, but never ventured inside. In the last couple of years, mainly due to this blog and my pledge to blog all Phuket temples (eventually), I have tried to find a few free minutes in life. It's always worth the effort, worth stopping for a while and visiting a small temple.

Wat Sawang Arom is not a large temple. It was built to serve the small local Rawai community, including the Wat Sawang Arom school which among it's students are sea gypsy children who were affected by the 2004 tsunami. As I walked around one morning, the school assembly was in progress. I could hear a cute voice doing a solo on the national anthem. The temple and school were quiet except that one voice.

Wat Sawang Arom School

Wat Sawang Arom School

I do love temple architecture. There is so much detail and colour in every temple, and each temple has something different. Great for photos!

Wall at Wat Sawang Arom

Temple walls often feature the 8 spoked wheel known as the Dharma wheel. The eight spokes represent the noble eightfold path of Buddhism.

Wat Sawang Arom

Buddha at Wat Sawang Arom  External view of Wat Sawang Arom

Window at Wat Sawang Arom

Inside the temple, aside from several Buddha images, the walls are covered with painted scenes showing the life of the Buddha.



Rawai Temple - Location Map



More Phuket Temples
More About Rawai Beach
Rawai Beach Hotels

To Overcome ...

As the sun sets and dusk settles over the world, the darkness that envelopes the night often enters our lives, hearts and minds as well. In much of the world, tomorrow is a question mark. It can be hard to discern the lucky ones from those who, may or may not, make it through the night. War, famine, pestilence, natural disaster, are for most, real and constant. In the West we suffer much angst over not getting our “fair share” and being frustrated in our efforts to attain our goals. Few understanding that getting their “fair share” would ultimately mean giving up much of what they already have. Often we are surrounded by whiners and complainers, loudly advertising their weak hearts and minds.

While the big picture varies little from day to day, occasionally one witnesses a small victory that looms large in the life of an individual. As the sun rises, a new day dawns and a young woman is reborn. From a mindset of, I can’t and I won’t, comes the realization that, I can and I did. Three days in a rain forest, in torrential downpours. Steep muddy trails, leeches, bugs, rivers, elephants, strange hill tribes food and accommodations. Wet, dirty, week and tired, from days of hiking the rugged terrain, and yet somehow feeling refreshed and renewed. What had seemed insurmountable at first, is now a fait accompli. Dread and foreboding is pushed from the forefront and replaced by the joy and exhilaration of victory and achievement.

I find myself humbled as I had been certain that my wife’s friend, would at some point, call for a vehicle to rescue her from the ravages of the jungle. I am sure she was tempted and I admire her ability to resist that temptation. Though still noticeably the girl we have known, she has grown and continues to do so. No doubt the boyfriend has played a role but since we have known her for 10 years and him for the proverbial 10 minutes, the focus is on her. I wish to giver her credit, where credit is due, regardless of how much help she may have had along the way. So here is the Village Farang saying, “I was wrong. I underestimated our friend.”

After resting up and sampling our slow paced village life. After a good massage in the comfort of our home. The adventuring spirt of our guests resurfaced. Chiang Mai was calling them. So we mounted our trusty black steed, with puppy in tow, and headed south through the mountains to our much larger sister city of the North. Staying at the same hotel but separating during the day to pursue our different agendas, allowed them to be the tourist as we visited friends and did some shopping for the house. We ended up returning home early, to allow them the freedom to do as they chose and return when they pleased. Being no less delighted to return home than us, our puppy celebrated her homecoming by plunging several times into our pond.

And now the end has come. We have just returned from the airport and things do seem a bit quiet, with our guests gone. Catching up with an old friend. Meeting someone new. It all makes for a busy, whirlwind of conversation and activity. With two brief and timely breaks, the two weeks seemed to pass almost unnoticed. One day here, the next day gone, all in the blink of an eye.

 It strikes me that the good thing about such visits, is the intensity. Compacting and condensing years into days. Whereas the bad thing about such visits, is the intensity. It is an artificial high that is simply unsustainable in day to day existence. One must endure separation in order to bask in the joys of reuniting. Living where we do, the separation will no doubt pass with celerity and our recent meeting will feel as if it were only yesterday, when we once again meet.

Phuket Airport Hotel

I seem to keep recommending people to book the Phuket Airport Hotel. I think the reason is because it offers something different, which is the kind of place I like! When you hear the words "Airport Hotel" it does conjour up images of a 500 room concrete block attached to the terminal.. but not this one.

The small family-run hotel is just one minute drive from Phuket International Airport and Nai Yang beach. Even though it's so close to the airport, the hotel is peaceful and has a secluded feel - noise pollution is minimal, as it does not lie under the flight path. Wan and the staff work hard to make Phuket Airport Hotel something special. There are only ten beautifully decorated bungalows which all face the hotel’s small swimming pool. There is free wifi internet available too. Nai Yang beach is about a 15-minute walk from the hotel, though if you ask nicely someone might give you a ride down to the water...

The main reason most people stay here is the location. Got an early flight? Well, do remember that if you stay at Karon or Kata Beach, it will take an hour by taxi to reach the airport... stay at the Phuket Airport Hotel you can lie in! Or if you just want a small, quiet, friendly hotel, this might be ideal.

Phuket Airport Hotel - Booking & Reviews

Phuket Airport Hotel - Rates and Reservations at Agoda.com
Phuket Airport Hotel - Reviews at Agoda.com


Phuket Airport Hotel - Photos

Phuket Airport Hotel

Phuket Airport Hotel Pool

Phuket Airport Hotel Room

Phuket Hotels - More Info & Online Booking

Jamie's Phuket Hotel Recommendations
Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2016
Book Phuket Hotels at Agoda.com

Get Social with Jamie's Phuket

Jamie's Phuket on Facebook

Now I admit to not being totally up to date with all the latest web crazes, there just seem to be so many social networking websites it's hard to keep up. I joined Facebook a while back and spent some time wondering "now what?". So I dug around, found some old friends and some current friends, played a few of the quizzes and games and then thought "and now?". Well, I reckon Facebook takes some time to grow on you, as new people join, you find friends of friends, join "groups", add photos, look at friends photos, add your thoughts to discussion boards. It's huge and I guess you could happily while away the hours and wonder where the day has gone.

I started a "Jamie's Phuket Page" on Facebook a few years ago for people who read my blogs and like them. Anyone with a Facebook account can like the page, add photos, start discussions, leave posts on the "wall", chat about Phuket... you can ask questions and I will try to answer, or maybe another member will know the answer. I try to post something almost every day. Hope to see you there:

Jamie's Phuket Facebook Page


Twitter - Follow Me!

Twitter is an odd kind of place. You can post your thoughts, what you are doing now, you can update every minute of every day... I tend to update every day, especially trying to mention the weather so it compliments my Phuket Weather blog, which gets updated every week or so.

If you join Twitter you can choose to follow people, which means you can log in and see what they have posted. You can see my latest Tweets on the left side of the page (somewhere). I have been using Twitter for years and have around 4000 followers right now. It's ideal for "microblogging" ... Like if I write "It's a sunny morning in Phuket" - that does not qualify as a blog post, but Twitter is just perfect for a one liner.

Follow me on Twitter!


Social Bookmarking

Yes, you can still use your Internet Explorer (or indeed Firefox) Favourites, but these days there are way more interesting ways to bookmark your favourite webpages, and even share them with other people. I registered for del.icio.us a couple of years ago, and now you can do things like Digg an article or StumbleUpon all kinds of things. It's commonplace for websites to have social bookmark buttons at the bottom of each page, and you can see the same on my blogs too.

So please by all means, share some of Jamie's Phuket or the Phuket Weather Blog - you can add to Facebook, del.icio.us, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon or hey you can even just press Ctrl+D to add to your computers favourites. At least I hope you will think of this blog as a favourite! :)

Nikitas Bar, Rawai Beach

If you're looking for a place in Phuket where you can relax with a cold beer and sit right by the sea away from hawkers and bar girls, well you better get out of Patong! Somehow, Rawai beach has remained pretty quiet, although it is certainly busier than when I first went 8 years ago. A few more restaurants along the beach road, quite a lot more real estate developments along the road from Chalong, all promising a sea view. It's a popular area for living, less so for hotels, mainly because Rawai is not really a swimming beach - it's too rocky and very shallow at low tide. Very beautiful area, but not a prime holiday resort location. Good! Let it stay that way!

Entrance to Nikitas Bar, Rawai Beach

It must have been about 8 years ago that I first had a drink at Nikitas Bar. This place is a Phuket legend... been on the beach in Rawai for over 15 years, and is still small, friendly and most importantly does not rip you off for a beer just because you are sitting by the sea! My wife and I used to head for Rawai often, a couple of times per month, for drinks or lunch. We don't go so much these days as we live a bit far away - I can't really justify a 30 minute drive each way just for a cold Beer Lao. But we do like Nikitas. You'll find it near the east end of the beach just after the road turns to the right when coming from Chalong. It's a rare find in Phuket these days to have a small, quiet bar on the beach.

Nikitas Bar, Rawai

We last went a couple of months ago, got a friend to look after the kids for a few hours, so my wife and I could have a rare moment of peace and romance :) Candles light the tables, the waves gently caress the shore, I kid you not. We plan to go again next week - my in laws are visiting and we do like to dump the kids on them at least once every time they come! Oh, and they do food too (including pizza), not just drinks. I totally recommend a visit to Rawai beach and while you're there, do have at least a drink at Nikitas.

More about Rawai Beach
Nikita's Website
Rimlay Restaurant (next door!)
Real Estate - Buying a House in Phuket
Rawai Beach Hotels

Visitors from New Zealand...

The visitors from Hell? No wait, that story belongs to someone else. Our visitors have been a real joy. The role of gracious host can be tiring when done right but when your guests are as polite, thoughtful and appreciative as ours the time passes quickly and it all seems worthwhile. They brought their own luck, with the neighbors putting on a show right outside the front windows for two days. Watching twenty-some villagers planting rice as you eat breakfast and sip your morning coffee is truly priceless. What are the chances of being here when that particular 10 Rai plot is being planted? All around us the show has been continuous, with many people working at various stages of plowing and planting.

The first day we arrived home from the airport in time to get a much needed hike in. The girls made dinner as the men (dogs included) made it to the dam and back before dark. The next day started slowly but finally the four of us and the puppy were in the truck and on the road. We did the loop from our house to Chiang Khong, Golden Triangle, Mae Sai, Chiang Rai and back home. Roughly 300 kilometers with lots of stops for pictures and to let the puppy pee.

The following day I was in no mood to drive but a bike ride seemed just the thing. The girls opted to do a few loads of laundry and be free of their men for awhile. After adjusting my old bike to fit my guest, we headed for the hills, valleys, villages and fields. Only twice were we forced to dismount. Trudging up a particularly steep gradient seemed more sensible than trying to ride it.  Expedience demanded we tread lightly when surrounded by a pack of dogs who didn’t invite us to pass their territory. One can peddle slowly through a herd of cows or buffalo, or when passing most dogs but not all. With some of our canine brethren the chase instinct is too strong, and walking slowly or stopping briefly is the more judicious option.

Meals have not been a problem and our guests quickly made themselves at home and useful all at the same time. Being an outdoorsy Kiwi, the guy expressed interest in a Trekking adventure. With the help of my wife we got them setup with a guide, itinerary and recommended kit. To my genuine surprise the wife’s girlfriend decided to go along. If not for the house and puppy we would have been sorely tempted to make it a foursome.

Just to be clear, we are talking about a Bangkok girl, who’s idea of a hike is to walk from the car-park to the shopping mall. Granted she has lived in New Zealand for several years but to the core she is a conservative, middle class, over protected city girl. She had never been to an area even similar to where we live. So I’m waiting on pins and needles to see how she has dealt with jungle trekking, hill tribes, elephants and peeing in the bushes. I am hoping that my fears will be proved unwarranted and that she is no longer the “little girl” that has been my wife’s friend for so many years. She has surprised us before, however, by going to study in New Zealand and ending up staying and getting her citizenship there.

To me it seemed ominous that all of the driving, shopping and prep work for the “Trek” was done in the pouring rain. Today things are looking better but I’m sure that first day was very wet indeed. Perhaps I will have more to tell when they return from their adventure and rap up their stay with us here at, The House in the Field.

Phuket News - Where to find it...

I try to keep up and post some of the latest Phuket news stories on my Phuket News page, along with some not-to-be-forgotten old news stories. There's not normally any "big" news in Phuket, but if you want to get a feel for what goes on, it's worth checking the news before you travel, and not just the weather!

You can try following me on Twitter, I will post news, weather and related Phuket information as and when I find it, and I tend to be online every day and Tweeting often - Follow me on Twitter @jamiemonk.

There are a number of local newspapers and magazines in Phuket, mostly they are just dressed up advertising, especially with regards to restaurant "reviews" and property news. If you want real news, there are several choices.

The Phuket Gazette has been around since 1993, when Phuket tourism was still (relatively) in it's infancy. I've been reading it (mostly online) since I came here in 1999. Sometimes the news is thin on the ground, sometimes there are 5 articles per day. The Gazette has more than just news - there's an extensive classified section, a job section, "issues and answers" and the "queer news" too. The news is mostly local, often reporting on crime, local politics, environmental news and tourism issues. The print version of the paper has some extra articles. It's not a bad read and only costs 20 Baht.. or is it 25..? Not sure, I am on the computer every day, so I use the online version.

A new paper and online site started in 2011 called The Phuket News - I reckon equal to the Phuket Gazette, certainly worth reading both!

Another print paper is the Phuket Post, but it's more of a magazine masquerading as a paper. Not really much headline news there. Plenty of column inches for property and eating out, certainly plenty of information about Phuket, and they even reprinted a blog article of mine about Songkran. Not too cutting edge, but they do have some interesting stuff, worth a read for sure.

Phuket News Online

If anything big happens in Phuket, you'll probably find it on the BBC or CNN well before the Phuket Gazette gets it's gears in motion. If I want to make sure I have not missed something, I tend to use Google News, which searches just about any news source you can mention. A search for "Phuket" right now gives results ranging from "Sail World, Australia" to the "Jerusalem Post, Israel".. mind you, it's not all cutting edge news. I see the Google News search tells me "Kimi Raikkonen invests in Phuket Beachfront Villa"...

The national newspapers will also report on news that has a bearing on Phuket. Let's not forget that Phuket is not some Utopian holiday isle.. it's a province of Thailand, so some national news updates might be worth reading now and then... You can try the Bangkok Post or The Nation. There are a couple of Thai language websites such as Manager Online that probably have even more news... but you will have to learn Thai first!

Forums and Chat Rooms - there are some very active forums, of which Thai Visa would be the best for news and discussion. You may also catch something on the Lonely Planet Thailand forum, or the Trip Advisor Phuket forum.

Latest Weather News - Best place to look for weather reports and links to weather forecasts, radar, satellite images, webcams and more - my Phuket Weather blog.

So, there you go. If you're coming to Phuket, or just love Phuket and want to know what's going on, there are plenty of news sources. Mostly the news is pretty local and won't affect visitors, but if anything really big happens you'll find it here on Jamie's Phuket and probably on TV too!

Wat Thepnimit

Wat Thepnimit (or Thep Nimit) is about 3km outside Phuket town on the road to Chalong (Chao Fa Road) in Tambon (sub district) Wichit. You can't see the temple from the road, though the entrance is quite obvious. The temple is behind Thepnimit School. When I visited yesterday morning, kids were arriving for school...

Thepnimit School, Phuket

The temple was very quiet, as the local temples normally are. It's not a large temple, but as always I found some points of interest (if you like temples!). The main building was locked, as they often are - the local temples are not normally open 24-7.

Wat Thepnimit

Prayer bell

Normally the temples have a kind of bell tower. Here the bell was in something like a pagoda, brightly painted with pictures of lotus flowers.

I had read on another website a story about a new chedi built at Wat Thepnimit about 3 years ago to house what is described as "Buddha’s relics". It seems many local people helped to build this new golden Chedi which is about 8 meters high and very golden indeed!

Chedi at Wat Thepnimit

The Monks houses here looked very simple and there were cats and chickens running around all over the grounds.

Monks house at Wat Thepnimit

You find "holy trees" all over Thailand with cloth tied around them and Buddha images placed among the roots. Here's one at Thepnimit temple:

Buddha image at Wat Thepnimit

Some of those cats I mentioned decided I was worth following. Maybe they are used to someone bringing them food. One cat would not sit still for a photo. If I moved back a meter to take a picture, it followed...

Cat at Wat Thepnimit

Then found a friend...

Cats at Thep Nimit temple

More Phuket Temples

Recharging My Batteries ...

Take a deep breath. Heartbeat’s elevated. Starting to sweat. Look around, focus on where you are and what you are doing. That’s it, we are finally back on the bike and heading down a familiar trail. Keep your senses about you and soak it all in. Seems like forever since we were out here. Trail, sky, clouds, streams, animals, fields and forest.

Done too often, things take on a monotonous, almost robotic feel. A break in time or change of routine and it all seems new again. These last two weeks have been lived with a singular focus. All energy has been sapped by the needs of our little one. Today the batteries need recharging, so lets try and find that squiggly little line we saw on Google Earth. Looking at the old with new eyes and fresh perspective is not enough today. Lets look at something new, and see what lies around the next bend.

Two hours of hard riding and I have a new loop trail to add to my repertoire. With a little more time to spare, perhaps another hour or so, I can see joining this loop to that loop, creating a monster ride with constantly changing scenery and terrain. Technology as a tool is great, as long as it doesn’t take over your life. I see my toys and tech things (bike, computer, blog, Google Earth, etc.) as aids to living a better life. Extensions and add-ons, that spur me on to do more, not less.

Some find exercise and self-motivation a bit challenging and gravitate to competitions or group events. Perhaps if one is surrounded by enough “noise” in a social setting or listening to the iPod, it is possible to avoid going on that, “journey within”. For me, it is often that journey within, which provides the greatest rewards. Conversing with that inner voice which asks “What the hell are you doing and why?” Exploring the pain and fatigue and relishing ones ability to overcome. Sharing with others provides rewards, too, however. To that end, we have guests arriving tomorrow from New Zealand.

Recently one of my readers dropped by for a chat. I have never met anyone from the online world before, but in this case there was proximity and shared interest in bikes and houses so decided, why not. Perhaps one day soon we will hit the trails together and see how that goes. We are enough different in background and experience, that if we can develop some shared interests, as an anchor, there could be potential.

Conversation seemed not to lag and there were no awkward moments of silence. The only difficulty was breaking things off and getting on with our previous commitments of the day. When one doesn’t have daily interactions with foreigners, the conversation can come gushing out with a measure and urgency that is hard to forestal. Relationships can’t be one-sided or forced, however. That is why they often flounder when time, distance or interests become too divergent. The internet does help one to keep in touch but cannot replace human interaction. Again it is merely a tool to enhance life, not a replacement for living.

Living in such a remote location can be difficult for some, especially for those who don’t speak the language well. My independent nature leads me to prefer my own company much of the time but I’m not against sharing time with other foreigners, if we can find some common ground. Before I leaned on squash and perhaps now it will be my love of the outdoors that will provide that link. I’m feeling renewed after this dissemination of my views and now it is time to get outdoors again.

HotelTravel.com - A Phuket Success Story

A few months ago, I had an email from HotelTravel.com asking about advertising or setting up partner links with this here Phuket blog. Which was nice. HotelTravel.com is a big banana on the internet, and I had been wondering if they had any affiliate program, as it's a top quality website and always seems to pop up in Google searches... they must be doing well, I thought.

HotelTravel.com Phuket Hotels

The HotelTravel.com website is very easy to use, rates are low and there are live agents waiting to chat - and I mean there really ARE live agents.. I always thought that was a bit of a con, the live agent button, normally redirecting you to a call center in Bangalore or something, but I have seen the HotelTravel live agents! Rather than do everything by email, I printed out the partner agreement and visited their office which is right here in Phuket. Only when I saw the offices did I realise what a big company it is. This was impressive! It looked very modern and efficient, I was quite taken aback, as things in Thailand don't always look so sleek!

So I have busied myself adding some links to HotelTravel on my Recommended Phuket Hotel pages. You can also search for worldwide hotels using the HotelTravel.com search box at the top of this page. On the hotel pages on this blog you'll find several links to different hotel booking websites, making it easy to compare and find the best deals. Online is the way to book these days.

Now, what's this about a success story? Yes, HotelTravel.com is based in Phuket, and employs more than 200 people, but it's the story about how it started that makes us all wish we had our hands in a pie like this! There was an article in the Phuket Post newspaper recently about co founder Blair Speers and a genuine rags to riches story...

After a long holiday in Phuket, Mr Speers says "I arrived at the airport with 250 baht in my pocket. I bought a drink and then went to check in. There I realised that the airport tax was more than I had in my pocket. There was nothing for it. I had to beg or go back. I only just had enough to get a taxi back to the house!"

He started a school teaching English, but was cut short by the landlord suddenly tripling the rent on the building - and that's typical round here - the landlord sees you doing well and wants a slice of your fortune thank you.

He was then all but broke again, his girlfriend started doing laundry to make ends meet and his motorbike was repossessed. But you know, if you have faith, things turn around.. and he got a job with PlanetHoliday (now part of Agoda.com), but lost the job when he got sick. Bummer. Then, out of the blue an old friend (who had some money) got in touch, they chatted, and in March 2000, HotelTravel.com started with it's online Phuket Hotel Reservation service. The internet is a funny old thing. If you are just starting to get into it now, well, you might make a living. If you got in early enough, and worked hard, well done to you.

HotelTravel.com is now, as I say, a big cheese.

Poor me - I never had even a hotmail address until 1998! Spent all my time diving and backpacking, oh why didn't I start a hotel reservations website!?

Phuket Hotels by HotelTravel.com
Thailand Hotels at HotelTravel.com
Phuket Post - Story of HotelTravel.com