Flew Thai Airways. Colorful seats. A 4:30 mins journey from Lahore to Bangkok, and then an hour’s flight from Bangkok to Phuket.
Then another one hour and 750 Bhats later, arrived at Serenity Terraces and Resorts. Agoda deserves applause here (so far), as I reviewed Serenity and booked it via Agoda. The hotel turned out to be pretty nice (and at 160 USD / night, counts as one of the more expensive hotels in Phuket).
Phuket, I didn’t know, has a massive economy, second only to Thailand’s capital Bangkok. The one hour drive to the hotel from the airport was enough to show me that people have the buying power to buy lots and lots of 4×4’s.
There seems to be a 7/11 shop after every turn (possible exaggeration here). 7/11 is their general store and is quite common in Phuket. There was one right in front of our hotel. They sell all ‘general stuff’ and I did end up buying frozen Wanton meals to avoid paying for the expensive hotel food.
The food in the hotels that I stayed in is always expensive, even by Thailand standards. What costs me 500 THB in the hotel, it would cost me around 150 THB at a local shop.
I bought a 750 THB Nokia phone (the cheapest I could find) and a 99 THB Sim card.
In Phuket at least, most of the shops have halal chicken and beef. But that is not ‘always’ the case. The Burger King in Central Festival (a Mall in Phuket) had halal chicken, but the beef was not halal (And as we all know, Burger King is 10x better than McDonalds, right?).
No one knows English. OK, so may be a few do, but I was expecting such a well-oiled travel destination to have some more English speakers. The lady at the airport knew enough English to ask me for my passport, and the custom/immigration checks etc were OK as far as language is concerned.
But try a taxi ride, or dare stop at a local shop, and you’ll know exactly what I mean; they just do not speak English. But of course, this should not stop you from trying to communicate; it is an ‘experience’ in itself. I tried asking the taxi driver, “how far is this place?” He gave me the blank look and some murmuring in Thai. And then, “how much time left?” and then just, “what time?” and at that, he showed me his watch. Brilliant.
Basic Thai Phrases
Swadee Khraap is Hello/Welcome in Thai. If you are a female, you would say Swadee Khaa.
Khraap and Khaa are just words used by the males and females, respectively, at the end of most sentences, to show respect. I feel it is just a formalized way of saying ‘Jee’ in Urdu.
If you are into shopping, the following combination would help you well:
“Tao Rai?” Means “how much”.
And “Paeng bai” means “that’s expensive”.
Expect to hear “Mai Paeng”, which means “it is not expensive”.
“Mai” seems to be a negation. “Chai” is Yes in Thai, and to say no, you say “Mai Chai”. Or if you’re being all casual and stuff, just say, “Mai”.
Khob Kun Khraap/Khaa means “Thank you” and Mai Pen Rai is “Welcome/No Problem”.
Mai Pen Rai is used to denote the ‘move along, no problem’ type of slang as well. I feel it is much like “Yalla” in Arabic. Maybe.
Pood Thai mai dai means “I do not speak Thai”