Sunday, October 10, 2004

Phuket was wonderfully fun, even though I was incredibly moody on and off throughout the trip. I guess I'll write about Phuket first because once I start going on about how frustrated I've been feeling, I'll never stop.

As part of the organising committee for this departmental offsite, I wasn't looking forward to this trip as I otherwise would have had I been going with friends. The thing is, as every organiser knows, there're bound to be complaints... and silly ones to boot. Still, I do love organising events.

Phuket turned out to be more active than anyone expected. We went ATV biking through the jungle near Chalong, shooting (I handled a .22 calibre pistol and achieved 44% accuracy :), go-karting (where I learnt to get over my fear of high speeds) and parasailing at Patong Beach, where our hotel was located. In between all of these activities, I went swimming in the hotel pool. For the record, it's the first time I've swum in four years, so it was nice to get back into the swim of things.

The food was pretty damn good too. We ate at Baan Rim Pa, an expensive restaurant with decent food and a great view of the bay at sunset, and Savoey Seafood, arguably Phuket's most famous restaurant for live seafood, if also a little overpriced. While not with the entire department, we discovered a local coffee outlet called Coffee Lovers which served terrific coffee, even if the prices were similar to Singapore prices.

I didn't do as much shopping as one might expect; my total haul (not including Thai snacks purchased for the family) consisted of a light blue transparent Thai silk top, a red cap, a pair of shades (both purchased from roadside stalls but nevertheless, excellent quality for fakes) and a colourful bag from the Jim Thompson canvas range.

And yes, I indulged in a two-hour Thai herbal massage at one of the shops in the delightfully-named Let's Relax chain... and for only 700 Baht too (~S$30)! It was a fantastic experience and I really do regret not having gone back for one more before leaving!

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