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Back from Phuket!

So, how was it?


Karon View Point, Phuket, October 2021


Dear readers,


I hope you are well. I returned from Phuket last night and it needless to say that I already miss it.


Quarantine? Sandbox? Not anymore


I arrived in Phuket mid-October, when the Sandbox was still in place. I won't spend time on this since it will be lifted starting first November for a list of selected countries. Your will take a PCR on arrival in Phuket airport, be sent to your hotel till you get the result. Upon receipt of your (negative) result you will be released. Please see below two tables, a picture is worth a thousand words. If, unfortunately, you aren't coming from an eligible country, you will still follow the quarantine system.



Procedure at the airport on arrival


Much simpler than expected.

  • you will be seated in an area where the airport staff will check your documents

  • you will be given a wifi connection to download MorChana, the Thai tracing app

  • you will have your documents checked again by another staff

  • you will pass the immigration

  • collect your luggage and clear customs

  • you will be guided to a desk outside the building where you will confirm your email address and hotel name for the swab test result

  • you willl take a swab (dont be shocked, the staff are behind big plastic windows and you stand up, it looks like a laborotary).

  • take your car and head to the hotel

I got my result overnight, within six to eight hours. You will likely have it at your door when you wake up if you arrived the previous evening.


Overall it took about 30 minutes. I can say the procedure was very well organized, smooth and not troublesome; thumbs up. Ok I was lucky enough to arrive with few people only, it helps of course...





Daily life in Phuket


Well, like anywhere at the moment Covid-19 is a topic but not too present. Leave aside the fact that is has a major impact on the economy of course, people are not living like there is nothing else on the planet like it is the case in certain countries that I won't name (I am not looking for a diplomatic incident with our friends). Phuket also benefited from being sealed for a long period of time, meaning their infection rate was rather low, limited local transmission and strict travel restrictions.


Be a good citizen, keep your bluetooth on and let the MorChana application run. Most shopping malls will check your temperature, some ask you to check-in. To be frank, the enforcement depends on the shop or the restaurant. It is not very consistent as you can imagine.


Beaches are clean, roads are...relatively empty except during peak hours when locals go to or come back from work. Its a pleasure to move around these days! Restaurants are not full, you w'ill have a peaceful time. Bars close at ten o'clock in the evening so forget about parties on Bangla road if that is what you come for. Well, you can start earlier and finish at ten, that's also an option.


Do not worry about the accomodation, there are plenty with very (aggressive) discounts. I stayed at Patong Resort which has a great location, a big pool, walking distance to the beach, ten minutes away from Karon beach or Kata. Note that these days only Patong has a sort of "active" life. Karon, Kata, Kata noi, Kamala are very calm. Read me correctly: 95% of shops, restaurants, etc. are closed there.

You can head to Kamala beach for a morning coffee with a lovely seaview since few restaurants are brave enough to be open.


Otherwise Chalong is always a busy of course because of the pier, Rawai because of the expat communities living there. Heading East Phuket town is, by default, the busiest place because of the locals.


Kamala beach, Phuket, October 2021



Patong Beach, Phuket, October 2021


Patong, Phuket, October 2021


Shopping and night markets


  • Central Phuket: a big shopping mall with two wings, it will keep you buys few hours.

  • Chilva night market: not a big one (dont expect 6a JJ number two). Good food options (simple food, no fine dining), shops selling everything (your usual suspects) and an seating area where you can eat your food (free seating) with a live band on stage. Its nice and chill.

  • Phuket town night market: weekend, starting around 6pm.



Chilva Market, Phuket, October 2021


Pre-departure


Unfortunately, at some point, you will leave. Yes I know, it is a pain.

So you will need a PCR again, yes I know it is a pain. Either you make a booking in a clinic around your hotel (or just ask the hotel to help you). I walked in at Jungceylon car park in Patong (the big car park next to the mall). It is done by Bangkok Hospital (one of the best in Thailand, if it matters for a PCR...). The price is THB 3'500 including the doctor letter (some countries want it). Got the result, via email, within 24 hours. It went smooth. They open at 9.30am.


Departure


No knowning how it would be at the airport I went there way ahead, well, say too early. As you can see below, it was not really crowded...Assuming you have your documents it is actually pretty quick. Nothing to highlight there except one thing...passed the immigration here is nothing but a Subway and two duty free shops. No restaurant, no cafe no nothing except...Subway which has a terrible coffee but short of option I had it. So if like snacking while waiting, you better load your cabin luggage with goodies to kill time!


Last advice: if your rent a motorbike, have all your documents with you and wear your helmet. The police is on the hunt.







I hope you are the next one to go and enjoy yourself!


Sincerely yours.


The Diving Bear.

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