Well…it’s been a long time coming for this trip report. No excuse except that I just added it. I was looking through some old pictures today and figured I had the free time to do it.
Back story for this side trip is that I had a friend come over for his first LOS trip…he wanted to see Phuket, so I came with since I’d never been before either. Weird how Pattaya keeps such a hold on a person
After a few days in Pattaya and after doing a little research on where to stay we booked a flight on Air Asia for a reasonably cheap rate…can’t remember exactly as it was over a year ago, but I believe it was below 2,000baht.
Ok, so the hotel we agreed upon was the Hilltop Hotel overlooking Patong beach. It was during the mid season and all 3 of us (my friend brought a friend of his along with him from the States) had a superior room. That will run you about 1,600baht. Helluva a deal for the hotel.
I arrived early since I booked my airline tickets separate from them and the hotel had a taxi waiting on me at the airport. It took about 30 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport. It was easy to tell how much hillier the island was compared to Pattaya. I wasn’t too sure about renting a bike for my stay. I met the owner, a Danish fellow by the name of Jaan, and checked into my room. Nice small room with tv and decent internet.
The internet was fast enough for me to play online poker at PartyPoker.com. PartyPoker’s a good way to pass time and sometimes even come out ahead. I just played poker until Ken and Sam showed up.
After the taxi brought them we just kinda hung around the hotel pool ordering food and drinks until night time. The hotel gives you a buzzer that you can carry around with you and just buzz when you need more food or another drink. They’ll just add it to your room tab and you pay when you check out. I liked that and it did away with paying the bin every night or every time we left the hotel. Jaan actually makes a lot of the items on his menu by hand…like the bread, icecream, and a few of the Danish dishes that I can’t recall the names to. All of the food was delicious…just wonderful. Also, you could even have food all throughout the night. Some sort of sandwiches after hours and into the early morning.
The first night we took a complimentary baht bus down to the beach and went around checking out the various bars in the area.
Second day of the trip was my favorite. My friend Ken wanted to get motorbikes and cruise around the island. I explained to him that traffic might be a bit hectic and he’d never rode a bike in Thailand yet. He wasn’t having any of that and insisted we go for it. We got 2 bikes from Jaan for 200baht/day. Sam couldn’t ride a bike and planned on riding with Ken. Well, Sam’s a big girl and we soon realized that Ken wasn’t going to be able to ride her around all day. We also found out that Ken wasn’t much of a rider himself
So what we ended up doing was this…I took Sam on my bike and we went down off the hill until we found a motorbike taxi guy not doing anything and offered him 1,000baht for the day to drive Sam around and also do a bit of tour guiding for all of us. Ken and myself would just follow him around the island. I thought it was a great idea. It did turn out really well. The taxi driver was great and showed us some great little spots around the SouthWestern part of the island. Ken did get lost (he was a bit slow and always ended up pulling up the rear), but our taxi guy drove back and found him. Phuket is an awesome place to take a ride on a motorbike.
We had a trip to the Phi Phi islands planned out for the 3rd day. I ended up staying down the hill at bars all night long which turned out to be a horrible idea. Jaan had recommended a few tour packages and we picked one out and set it up to be picked up at the hotel around 7am. I was knackered and really didn’t feel like taking the trip. We ended up on a yacht type boat with a load of other people. Mainly Chinese and Japanese tourists. They did have booze on board, but no beer…only wine coolers. Another thing…we forgot to take sunblock with us…big mistake. Anyways it seemed like it took forever to get to the small island (Phi Phi Lek). Once there we just sat in the bay and were only able to look at the beach. Ken and I decided we’d just swim to the beach while the others on the tour swam out in the bay. It took about 50 meters before we figured out it could be a bad idea, so we turned back and joined the others.
We left from there and docked at Phi Phi Don, the larger island. Here the tour group had us a lunch set up which wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great either. The service was pretty bad as usual, so we left the group to check out the island. We were able to track down some sunblock, but it was priced at 500baht in the store…I don’t know…I thought that was pretty crazy. I guess we should’ve broke down and bought it, but we didn’t. While walking around and cooking in the sun we decided we’d split from the group and hire our own boat. I wish we would’ve done this from the beginning. It was more expensive than I would’ve liked, but we ended up finding us a captain that would take us back to the small island for some snorkeling. Phi Phi Lek was a lot less crowded and had better beaches I thought.
After a couple of hours in the water it was time to head back. Once we got back to the main island we had to find transportation back to the West side of the island…we were on the East side. We ended up each getting a motorbike taxi and it was up there in the top ten worst experiences in my life. It had to have been an hour before we made it back to the hotel. All of us with sunburn and just exhausted from the day. Being in Phuket though we had to go back to Patong beach and hit up some bars before the night was through.
We just hung out in the hotel pool the next time and did some recuperating before gearing up for another night at the beach bars. It was our last night on the island and it was fairly relaxed and we had a fun time. Ken and Sam were taking off for Singapore the next day and I was going back to Pattaya.
The only thing that came up at the hotel that soured the stay a bit was that just about all of the food and drink orders ended up on my tab as well as I had been charged double for my room than what it was supposed to be. I brought it up to Jaan though and he was great about and settled the issue immediately. Ken and Sam had already left for the airport though by the time I figured out about the food bill. Eventually we split it when Ken and Sam came back to LOS to stay in Bangkok for a couple of nights, so in the end everything worked out. All in all I’d have to give the Hilltop 4/5 stars. Really amazing place to stay. Enjoy the rest of the pictures.