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Phuket Open for Business

This IS NOT Bangkok's Main International Airport

This IS NOT Bangkok's Main International Airport - Source Standard.net

You will have no doubt seen the recent news coverage of the terrible flooding in Bangkok and in Central and Northern parts of Thailand.

This has certainly been a hot topic on Phuket related social media sites and  it seems that many of you who have already booked your holiday to Phuket, or are planning a holiday in Phuket, are very worried about whether it is safe for you to travel to Thailand.

If you are currently faced with this predicament, then I would like to put your mind at ease straight away and say that Phuket is completely unaffected by the floods and if you are planning to travel to Phuket via Bangkok, then Suvarnabhumi International Airport is also completely unaffected and has been operating as normal since the flooding crisis began.

As the flood waters finally begin to subside, the tourism industry across Thailand  is counting the costs of this devastation. It is vital now that tourists and people planning to travel to the kingdom gain a renewed confidence in Thailand as a world class, safe tourist destination and help the industry recover after another key season is disrupted by extraneous circumstances.

If you are still concerned whether it is safe to travel to Phuket or not, then I urge you to consider this before making any changes to your plans. The distance between the affected areas and Phuket is approx 800 km. That is roughly the same distance as between Paris and Barcelona and Im sure it wouldn’t cross your mind to cancel a holiday in one city if trouble flared up in the other.

If Phuket was completely unaffected by the flooding, then why wasn’t this message communicated effectively to a global audience you may ask? Well, the reason for this is that a great many factors contributed to the confusion surrounding which areas of Thailand were actually affected as the floods waters began to surge. These included: “the scale, severity, size and speed of the unfolding crisis “; inadequate flood prevention measures that couldn’t cope with the water run off; the response time of a new Thai Government still hungover from the recent elections triumph and the inevitable sensationalized news reporting and ensuing over zealous world government travel warnings.

The fact remains that while misinformation was being widely reported around the world and as governments rolled out their blanket travel advisories, Phuket remained completely open for business as usual throughout the entire crisis.

Surin Beach Phuket, Thailand - Nov 2011

Surin Beach Phuket, Thailand at the height of the floods in Central and Northern Thailand - Nov 2011

There was clearly a dramatic failure by all parties concerned to get reliable, factual and geographically based information out to a global audience. Had communications been handled more effectively then is likely that the negative impact on tourism could have been contained. This current crisis has provided many notable case studies of a total failure of communication.

A number of Chinese Airlines made the ill-informed decision back in early November to cancel all flights into Bangkok, after mistakingly assuming both airports in Bangkok were flooded. I find it remarkable that key decision makers hadn’t been informed that Bangkok’s Main International ‘Suvarnabhumi’ Airport was completely unaffected by the floods.

They, like the rest of the world, will have seen sensationalized images like those of a flooded Don Muang Airport (see above top) played on a continuous 24 hours news loop with the caption ‘Bangkok Airport Closed’, without any real attempt to distinguish the facts. Bangkok and by default Thailand was off limits.

Tourists, it seems, have followed suit, with reports stating that Suvarnabhumi Airport has seen a 25% drop in the number of tourist arrivals in November against last year, despite the airport continuing to operate as normal throughout the whole flooding crisis.

So, while it is understandable that tourists are concerned about travel to Thailand, please rest assured that Phuket is very much open for business and aside from the affects of lower than expected tourist arrivals, remains completely unaffected by the flooding crisis.

In an age of social media and real time communications, there is surely the propensity for all stakeholders to communicate efficiently and effectively and to strive to compartmentalize a crisis to only the affected areas therefore minimising any further damage to a country in crisis.

To check out the latest Tourism Situation in Thailand you can visit www.thailandtourismupdate.com or if you are travelling to Phuket you can post questions or concerns on these popular Phuket Facebook Pages

Has media reporting of the flooding crisis and government issued travels warnings made you think twice about visiting Thailand? 

Roger Gibson
Marketing & Communications Manager
Thavorn Hotels & Resorts (THR) Phuket, Thailand
Roger Gibson

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Why Phuket is much more than a tourist island

Patong Beach, Phuket

These days, when parting with our hard earned holiday cash, our expectations have been colossally elevated by the sheer abundance of choices and alternatives out there. We demand that our holiday delivers and below are some very good reasons why a holiday in Phuket could prove to be an unrivaled travel experience that not only exceeds your expectations, but smashes them into oblivion.

 

 
The Initial Consensus

Your initial perception of Phuket as a travel and tourism destination will be shaped through hours spent surfing travel review sites & social networks, keying in google searches and the heavily influential tips and recommendations from your social circle. This conditional filtering of the limitless supply of available information will ultimately sway your choice of whether Phuket is the travel destination for you.

In a general sense, every travel destination comes with a pre-conceived label attached, compounded and defined by millions upon millions of online, user generated experiences. As Thailand’s largest and most developed Island, Phuket is largely perceived as being the most touristy, overcrowding and expensive holiday destination in the kingdom, with over 52,000 reviews on Tripadvisor alone helping to establish this perception.

Sunbeds & Umbrellas, Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Sunbeds & Umbrellas, Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Having lived in Phuket for the last 2 years of my life, my perceptions of this stunning part of the world as a travel & tourism destination have naturally evolved from this initial consensus and a new kind of filter emerges applying a new level of clarity and understanding to the vast abundance of readily available information.

Railay Beach, Krabi Province, Thailand

Railay Beach, Krabi Province, Thailand

Greater Phuket

One way in which my perception has evolved is that I am more aware of the Phuket that exists away from the main beach resorts such as Patong, Karon, Kata, Surin & Kamala. I am more aware of the ‘Greater Phuket’ Province, as well as neighbouring provinces such as Phang Nga and Krabi. I have discovered that Phuket as a tourist destination should not to be treated as in island in isolation.

 

 

The incredible places to experience in the greater Phuket province and surrounding provinces are all easily accessible, even during a 10-14 nights vacation and can comfortably be reached without eating too much into your holiday relaxation time. This makes Phuket a rich and diverse travel destination and provides an experience that few other holiday destinations can compete with.

Some Suggestions:


Raya Island, Phuket, Thailand

Raya Island, Phuket, Thailand

Island Hopping

Island Hopping has long held a fascination and pre-occupation for travellers to South East Asia. In the Andaman Sea, travellors to Phuket are blessed with islands & beaches such as Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Raya Island and Railay Beach, Krabi all within a few hours by boat, so that you can gain that feeling of ‘travelling around SE Asia’ even under tight time constraints.

Some Suggestions:

  1. Koh Phi Phi
  2. Railay Beach
  3. Koh Lanta
  4. Raya Island

A major draw to Phuket and part of the reason for it’s huge popularity is it’s International airport, the second busiest in the whole of Thailand after Bangkok. This means that you can book your flights in and out of Phuket and after spending some time relaxing at one of Phuket’s world class beach resorts, spend a few days on any number of stunning island destinations to add an entirely different perspective to your overall Phuket holiday experience.

Have you combined a holiday to Phuket with other nearby island destinations ?

Roger Gibson
Marketing & Communications Manager
Thavorn Hotels & Resorts (THR) Phuket, Thailand
Roger Gibson

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5 Reasons to choose a Holiday at Karon Beach, Phuket

It’s not like you really need a reason, but if you can’t quite handle the taste of the all action, ‘assault-on-the-senses’ flavour of Patong, then Karon Beach is a milder alternative and an ideal resort for your holiday in Phuket.

Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Popular with families, ex-pats and couples the world over, it is easy to see why Karon Beach enjoys such a famous reputation. If you’re still unsure then my top 5 reasons below will show you the light on why Karon Beach is the tropical paradise holiday you’ve always dreamed of.

1. Easy Access to over 3km of Uncrowded Beach

Phuket is blessed with literally miles upon miles of white sand beaches, so what makes Karon Beach any different from the rest? Well Plenty actually. I lived in Karon Beach for a while when I first arrived in Phuket and every day I enjoyed long, uninterrupted walks along this vast expanse of white sand, listening to my i-pod in total awe of my surroundings.

Ipod walks on Karon Beach

Ipod walks on Karon Beach

On smaller, more crowded beaches, I have attempted similar walks and given up after forever tripping over sunbathers lay in the swell along the shoreline.

Ok, this I don't mind so much ...

Ok, this I don't mind so much ...

What is so special about Karon Beach for me is that it is accessible to everyone. To enjoy a long walk along a deserted beach such as Mai Khao in the north of Phuket, you have to have deep pockets and be staying at one of the International Chain Resorts, or for mere mortals, endure a long journey there by car.

Karon Beach never feels overcrowded and can conjure up feelings of solitude, yet the other sunbathers dotted along the shoreline provide a reassuring and safe atmosphere.

It is this mixture of solitude and habitation that makes Karon Beach so unique. Resorts such as our Thavorn Palm Beach Resort are separated from the beach by a small single track road, so if you are staying here, it is literally a stones throw from the soft white sands. When you are on the beach however, the low-rise nature of the resort set back from the shores, leaves you with the magnificent sense of being alone with nature’s majesty.

Thavorn Palm Beach Resort, Karon Beach, Phuket

Thavorn Palm Beach Resort, Karon Beach, Phuket

2. Room to breath

There is a great sense of open space in Karon Beach, not only on the beach, but also in the areas of development. The resorts along the beach front maintain a refreshingly open and natural feel and have resisted the urge to cram every available space with rooms. They are generally low-rise, so your room is set amidst the beautiful, natural surroundings.

Thavorn Palm Beach Resort, Karon Beach, Phuket

Thavorn Palm Beach Resort, Karon Beach, Phuket

The development in the main area surrounding the north circle is less chaotic than in Patong and when walking through the bustling and lively streets, you never feel enclosed and are not constantly stepping aside for other people.

Karon Beach (area near to North Circle)

Karon Beach (area near to North Circle)

Those who have run the guantlet along the beach front in Patong, will know you can cover at least three times the distance through constant side stepping of people, hawker stands and batmobile Tuk-Tuks.

3. Vibrant Nightlife.

Karon Beach is often referred to as ‘Patong’s Little Sister’, but whilst it has a lively nightlife scene with plenty of variety, I think this might be overstating it. Karon Beach has a quieter much more relaxed vibe of it’s own, with a bustling hive of activity along Patak road (near the north circle), and beach front restaurants, where you can relax and catch the stunning sunset views.

Mariachi Mexican Restaurant, Thavorn Palm Beach Resort, Karon Beach, Phuket

Mariachi Mexican Restaurant, Thavorn Palm Beach Resort, Karon Beach, Phuket

4. Sandwiched between Patong and Kata Beaches

Karon Beach has a prime location on the South-West coast of Phuket and is only a short distance from Patong to the north and Kata Beach to the south. In fact, Kata Beach is only separated from Karon by a headland and depending on where your staying, is within walking distance along the beach road.

Karon Beach with Kata Beach at top just over headland

Karon Beach with Kata Beach at top just over headland

The famous nightlife and entertainment capital of Patong is only a short Taxi or Tuk Tuk ride from Karon Beach and even if this is not somewhere you want to spend the entire duration of your holiday, it really is a fantastic night out and would be a shame to miss with it being virtually on your doorstep.

Night out in Patong, Phuket

Night out in Patong, Phuket

A Taxi or Tuk Tuk ride will set you back around 400 THB for the journey one way.

5. Great Base for exploring the south of the island

There is so much breathtaking scenery to see in Phuket, especially in the south of the island, which makes Karon Beach the perfect base for exploring all the highlights.

3 Beach viewpoint with Karon Beach to the top of the photo

3 Beach viewpoint with Karon Beach to the top of the photo

There are plenty of places to rent motorbikes along Karon Beach with a day’s rental costing around 300 THB.

Karon Beach is a world-class beach destination with diversity and flair that offers a special and memorable holiday experience to all who stay there. For more info, join us at our Facebook page Friends of Thavorn or contact me via my details below

Cheers

Roger

Top 10 Tips for a New Life in Phuket

This is something I did back in January 2010, so if you are thinking of doing the same, here are some Tips based on my experiences.

1. Get your Travelling out the way first

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

because once you find a job in Phuket, you will be working your ass off. If you go the TEFL route you still have to work hard, but at least you get time off for travel during school holidays. For a job in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry expect to be working a minimum 5-6 days a week.

We come to these exotic parts of the world, to experience new cultures and wonderous things

Tah Prom Temple Ruins, Siem Reap

Tah Prom Temple Ruins, Siem Reap

and of course to hang out in some cool places.

Chilling out in Koh Phangnan, Thailand

Chilling out in Koh Phangnan, Thailand

but it is best to do this before you knuckle down in a job, so you are not thinking 6 months down the line, I wish I had more time to visit these places. (Of course you will still be thinking this, we all do, but at least some experience of travelling will soften the blow).

2. Establish a base and a plan to find a job.

Once you arrive in Phuket it’s time to get a semi-business head on. I decided to stay at a guest house in Karon Beach, which actually turned out to be a little bit like this

Chilling out in Koh Phangnan, Thailand

Chilling out in Koh Phangnan, Thailand

but for the most part I behaved and stuck to my plan, which was to hit all the 4-5 star resorts along the coastline and to hand out my Resume and Covering Letter. I chose Karon Beach, as it was pretty central to where I wanted to be looking for work with Patong, Kamala, Surin beaches to the north , to the south, Kata, Kata Noi, Nai Harn, Panwa and also Phuket Town to the east.

I didn’t want to land in party central Patong Beach and begin my job search from there as that would have lead to distraction.

3. Avoid distractions.

Because there are plenty here in Phuket.

distraction

It doesn’t project the right image if you turn up to a 5 star resort with your CV, bloodshot eyes, reeking of Sangsom and Red Bull buckets and with an entourage of pretty girls from the night before. That’s not to say you cannot enjoy the lively nightlife in Phuket, but maybe just on the weekends hey. Treat your Job Search like a Working Week.

4. Get a monthly Rental on a Motorbike or Car.

You will need your own transport when looking for a job in Phuket and this is by far the cheapest and easiest option of getting between the different beach resorts. Plus it looks better when you turn up for interviews. I figured I could walk from resort to resort along Karon Beach

Job Hunting in Karon Beach

Job Hunting in Karon Beach

but again, it is not a good look turning up to meet with the General Manager, dripping with sweat and sun stroke. Although, you will probably be offered a refreshing drink and a cold towel, it is unlikely you will be offered the job.

No, I'm fine - please take a look at my CV

No, I'm fine - please take a look at my CV

5. Local Thai Mobile Sim Card

This is essential, so get yourself one from the nearest 7 11 store when you arrive. Add your new number to your CV and your Covering Letter and try not to lose your mobile on a booze fuelled night on Soi Bangla. If a resort is interested in employing you they will need to be able to get hold of you, and it looks more professional to have a Thai mobile number and shows perspective employers that you are here to stay and mean business.

6. Resumes, Covering Letters and Recent Passport Photos

You will need a lot of copies of your CV and Covering Letter to hand out at the resorts, so the cheapest way to do this is print out a copy of each at an internet cafe and then go to a print shop and photocopy as many as you think you’ll need for 2 THB per copy. I also scanned a recent passport photo and duplicated it about 50 times onto an A4 sheet using Photoshop. I then printed this out at a Kodak shop and again it saved me alot of money rather than getting passport photos done at a shop each time I needed them.

7. Prepare a Job Search Spreadsheet

It helps to have a plan and keep organised when looking for a job in Phuket. I created a spreadsheet of all the resorts I wanted to visit including location, contact details etc. I then planned on which day I would visit each location i.e. Kata and Karon one day, Surin and Kamala the next. I printed this out and then updated the spreadsheet with Names, Numbers and notes about each place I visited, so I could keep track of the places I had been and also any new leads I generated.

8. Check the online job market first

Before you go out cold calling with your CV it is worth seeing which of the resorts on your spreadsheet are actually recruiting. You can then make adjustments to your CV to transform you into the ideal candidate and also write and print off a Letter of Application for that specific job vacancy.

9. Cold Calling works

Having said that, cold calling is an affective way for finding a job in Phuket (it worked for me) and most hotels and resorts are happy to keep your details on file if they haven’t any current vacancies, which could lead to opportunities further down the line. Always dress like you’re attending a Job Interview when you visit a resort i.e. no shorts and flipflops. Smart shirt, shoes and smart trousers/jeans should do it. Try and speak to the General Manager or Human Resources Manager as leaving your CV at the Front Desk is unlikely to achieve anything. If a manager is not available, then find out when they will be and go back at a later date. Update your spreadsheet straight after every visit so it’s fresh in your mind, keep business cards, make notes, remember names, follow up on tips or recommendations.

10. Networking

Phuket has a large Ex-pat community, so it is worth frequenting the usual haunts, such as Irish Bars, Sports Bars etc to see what opportunities are about. Remember, everyone’s personal circumstances are different and some people can afford to sit in a bar all day and night. Not You! If you are serious about finding a job in Phuket, remember to treat this as a Networking exercise and be careful of the pitfalls associated with Tip No 3.

distraction

While the quality of life out here in Phuket is fantastic, don’t be under the impression it will be constant girls, partying, hamoks and palm trees. Unless your lucky 😉 My experience is you will work as hard as you have ever done anywhere else, but when your work is done for the day, you can enjoy your new life in Phuket and all the benefits that living on a tropical paradise island brings.

The good life in Phuket

The good life in Phuket

On a side note, I am currently looking for talented native speakers of English to come and join our Social Media Team. If you are interested in starting a new life in Phuket, you can contact me via Facebook or Twitter, see below

Cheers

Roger

The Top 6 Phuket Viewpoints

Phuket is a mountainous island with many stunning vantage points to catch a glimpse of one of natures’ truly spectacular sights. The Andaman Sea from up high, resembles a shiny, shimmering, perfectly flat Emerald disk, which blazes like liquid gold at sunset. It is a calming, even spiritual experience that can reset your perspective on life. Below is my guide to the Top 6 Viewpoints from where you can witness the Andaman Sea and the beautiful islands surrounding Phuket in all their glory.

1. Phromthep Cape

The No.1 Viewpoint in Phuket will not come as any surprise, as Phromthep Cape is the most visited and photographed spot on the whole island and for good reason. Sure, it gets over-crowded close to sunset, but this is one truly iconic picture postcard not to be missed.

Phromthep Cape

Phromthep Cape - Photo by Khun Jack

2. Windmill Viewpoint

It is a close call on the bragging rights for No.1 Sunset Viewpoint in Phuket and the iconic status of Phromthep Cape keeps it in top spot. This in no way diminishes the appeal of Windmill Viewpoint which is usually less crowded and offers a much more peaceful and magical ambience.

Windmill Viewpoint

Windmill Viewpoint - Photo by Dimas

3. Three Beaches Viewpoint

This is a very popular viewpoint and provides fantastic views over 3 of Phuket’s most famous beaches, Kata Noi, Kata and Karon.

3 Beaches Viewpoint

3 Beaches Viewpoint - Kata Noi, Kata, Karon

4. Kho Khad Tower Views

This is a lesser known viewpoint on the way to Cape Panwa and offers spectacular 360 degrees panoramas from it’s mountain top tower.

Kho Khad Views Tower

Kho Khad Views Tower

5. Big Buddah

The 45m  Tall Big Buddha can be viewed from most points in the south of the island and it gazes out from a prime vantage point on top of Buddha Mountain. The views on the way up are as spectacular as the view from the top, so make sure you take time to enjoy the vistas from all sides of the mountain.

Big Buddha Phuket

Big Buddha Phuket

6. Koh Sirey Temple

Around Sunset, Koh Sirey Temple is usually deserted, aside from from the numerous Golden Buddha statues, so you can enjoy the breathtaking vistas in a very peaceful and tranquil setting.

Koh Sirey Temple

Koh Sirey Temple - Sea Gypsy village in Foreground

If you would like to know more about these viewpoints please feel free to leave a comment or you can contact me directly via Facebook or Twitter at the addresses below.

Cheers

Roger

Tip #4: Discover Phuket in 140 Characters or less.

So far, you have called upon the services of Tripadvisor, Hotel Booking Sites and Facebook to assist on your quest for that dream holiday in Phuket, but why not use Twitter and some of the indispensable Twitter dashboards that can help you discover the real insider knowledge of Phuket?

Tip #4: Discover Phuket in 140 Characters or less.

Twitter is the key to uncovering the hidden secrets of Phuket, so set up an account, even if you never actually make a Tweet, as a virtual Goldmine of Phuketian information awaits.

Get acquainted with a social media dashboard like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck as you begin your voyage of discovery into the online, realtime, character-challenged world of Twitter.

With Hootsuite (and Tweetdeck) you can organise your Phuket related “Tweets”, in columns side by side and watch it update before your eyes as relevant real-time info comes in.

Discovering Phuket with Hootesuite

Discovering Phuket with Hootesuite

Very quickly and efficiently I see that I get a 20% Discount off room rates through Friends of Thavorn (I used the Twitter search for Phuket Travel Deals).  I searched for ‘Phuket Massage’ and am now inspired to go have a massage on the beach when I arrive for under $4. I entered the keywords ‘Phuket Bar’ and ‘Phuket Restaurant’ and have uncovered a great Phuket Restaurant Map and also have discovered (through my list of people Tweeting about Phuket) that The Impossible with Ewan Mcgregor and Naomi Watts was recently filmed in Phuket. If the film is a box office smash, it is a safe bet people will flock to the filming locations the same way they did with Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi, the fictional setting in the film The Beach with Leonardo Di Caprio.

Find Insider Knowledge on Phuket through Tweetdeck

Find Insider Knowledge on Phuket through Tweetdeck

To really get to the insider knowledge of Phuket, add a search column in your preferred Twitter dashboard, above I am using Tweetdeck, and enter the search term “Phuket Blog”. The results show people with a real passion for blogging about Phuket and who have some of the best insider tips and previously hidden secrets. Most will be delighted if you ‘follow’ and ‘Tweet’ them requesting a Phuket travel trip, as everyone likes to feel like their opinion is valued.  To do this add @username to your tweet, then enter your question, for example, to ‘tweet me’ you begin the tweet @rogergibsonUK then follow this up with your question.

Try it, I guarentee I will personally respond 🙂

In the days before the internet there was only guidebooks (namely the Lonely Planet) and in the days before Lonely Planet there was only word of mouth which meant you were left to your own devices with a mysterious and exciting world to discover for yourselves. Maybe we have lost some of that wonderment now that the world is reduced and documented extensively in the digital form, but since we now live in this world, why not participate and take every opportunity to discover what we can about our chosen holiday destination. Your findings could make all the difference to your dream holiday in Phuket.

Hit me up for Phuket Travel info at any time at @rogergibsonUK

Cheers

Roger

Top 10 Tips for finding your dream holiday in Phuket: Tip#3

Now you are well on your way to finding your dream holiday in Phuket. Your first port of call was Tripadvisor where you created a shortlist of potential locations and resorts. You then visited the leading Hotel Booking Sites to hone down your search further in terms of budget and to establish a base price for the hotels on your shortlist. Now it’s time to connect and engage with your shortlisted resorts on a social level.

Tip #3: Connect with your dream resort on Facebook.

Some people haven’t yet bought into the idea of Facebook, but believe me it is so much more than reconnecting with distant school friends. It can be a virtual goldmine of travel related information and is well worth the time setting up a Facebook account for this reason alone. Assuming you are one of the 500 million+ people that actively use Facebook, then you are likely to be part of the 78% of people who are influenced by the opinions of their peers (as noted by Erik Qualman @equalman author of Socialnomics). This makes Facebook your ideal platform for consumer research of any kind. Type Phuket into Facebook’s search box and the first results shown will be those profiles and pages that your friends have already engaged with on some level.

Facebook Search Results influenced by my friends

Facebook Search Results influenced by my friends

Imagine if you find that the top 3 results in your Facebook search for Phuket are actually the Facebook Profiles or Fanpages for hotels/resorts that are on your shortlist. How far will knowing your friends opinions about these places go towards influencing your decision on which resort to choose? How cool would it be to read the latest posts from your friends on your desired location in Phuket? This is easily done by selecting the ‘posts by friends’ option.

Facebook Post by Friends Search Results for Karon Beach

The social aspect of Facebook means you can then very easily connect with each of your friends or even engage them all together in a discussion about the best location for your dream holiday in Phuket.

Even if you’r friends haven’t posted about your desired resort, you can borrow someone else’s friends by searching for ‘Posts by everyone’ to see if anything about you favourite location or resort in phuket comes up.

Facebook Search Posts by Everyone

Facebook Search Posts by Everyone

You can quickly form an opinion of each location or resort on your shortlist based on up-to-date, socially generated information. If these methods don’t yield any results for your dream resort, then carry out a general search as chances are they have a Facebook presence. Request to become a ‘friend’ of that resort or ‘like’ their fanpage and that will give you a chance to engage with the resort on a level that was not previously possible.

Connecting with your dream resort in Phuket via Facebook means not only connecting with the marketing and public relations team at the resort, but also connecting with fellow guests who engage with this resort and form part of their community on Facebook. This can be a really useful method  of quickly obtaining information about a resort or Phuket in general from a variety of sources.

Island Tour recommendations from our Thavorn Beach Facebook Community

Island Tour recommendations from our Thavorn Beach Facebook Community

Once you have connected with your dream resort, you may also be able to take advantage of some great Facebook offers such as our Friends of Thavorn Promotion.

This is where your research on the Hotel Booking Sites will come in handy as you will have established a base price for each hotel and now you can look around on Facebook to see what special offers can top those prices.

Stay tuned for my 4th Tip for finding that dream holiday in Phuket.

Cheers

Roger

Top Tips for The Perfect Phuket Mai Tai.

If you live in Phuket and like to drink Red Wine you will find that it is a little on the expensive side (upwards of 1000 THB for a cheap bottle of decent plonk). On the plus side, at least you CAN now buy decent Red Wine, as when I first visited Thailand over 9 years ago, it was woefully in short supply. I have however, found a cheeky and very gluggable 3 litre box of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon for only 700 THB, but I am not sharing any more information on this as the shop keeps running out of stock.

Out of Stock

Out of Stock

So, if you are looking for a delicious and cheaper alternative to Red Wine for those nights by the pool, read on, because the tips and special recipe I am about to share will take you on a wonderful journey into the ‘enlightened’ world of cocktail making. (After all, Phuket is a tropical island)

1. Know Your Source

I happen to know a fantastic source of wholesale liquor at bargain prices near to Phuket Town. Coming out of Phuket Town on the road past the Jatujak Night Market, you turn left onto the bypass road and a couple of hundred yards on the right hand side is the ‘blink and you will miss it’ Prom Pan Store. You can be forgiven for driving right by this place and being blissfully unaware of it’s existence as it looks very inconspicuous from the outside. Once you step through the door however, oh my lord,  it opens up into a veritable Aladdin’s cave of imported beverages.

2. Deviate from Instruction Manuals

Having acquired several books of cocktail recipes from the delightful shop assistant at Prom Pan, we gleefully purchased all of the necessary ingredients at what turned out to be a very reasonable price. It wasn’t long before I concocted my own version of the Long island Ice Tea, the ‘Wrong Island Ice Tea

Wrong Island Ice Teas

Wrong Island Ice Teas

a guestamation of 5 large shots of numerous white spirits which proved to be too blue for a school night. For this reason,  I’ve now gravitated towards and perfected the fabulous Phuket Mai Tai and my girlfriend tells me they are pretty damn good.

3. Make a Pitcher

The recipe I’m about to share is rather Moorish, so make a pitcher. I don’t do measures, so the numbers relate to the seconds you pour in the ingredient i.e. 1000, 2000, 3000, so for the Perfect Phuket Mai Tai

The Perfect Phuket Mai Tai

The Perfect Phuket Mai Tai

4. Ingredients

8000 White Rum
8000 Dark Rum
8000 Triple Sec
6000 Grenadine (alternatively add Bubblegum flavour syrup for the green version)
24000 Pineapple Juice
24000 Orange Juice.
4 Whole Fresh Lime quartered and squeezed into the glass.
Crushed Ice

5. Method

Fill the pitcher a quarter full of crushed ice. Pour the White Rum, Dark Rum, Triple Sec, Fresh Lime, Grenadine over the crushed ice and give it a good ol’ stir. Add the orange and pineapple juice to the pitcher, roughly about 50 50 for the space remaining. Don’t bother with the garnish of a slice of lime as frankly it is a waste of lime.

And there you have it. The Perfect Phuket Mai Tai.

Top 10 Tips for finding your Dream Holiday in Phuket. Tip #2 Use Hotel Booking Sites to establish a base price.

After you have engaged in the services of Tripadvisor to help narrow down your search for that dream holiday in Phuket, my second tip is:

#Tip 2: Use Hotel Booking sites to establish a base price for your shortlisted hotels.

Hotel booking Sites such as Agoda, Booking.com and Expedia all make this task remarkably easy so take advantage. They all have very intuitive user interfaces and are great for filtering results, based on location, hotel star rating, budget, and hotel theme???? (Yes, you can even search for hotels based upon the type of holiday you are looking for in Phuket whether that be romance/honeymoonspa/relaxfamilycity trip).

They also incorporate great mapping functionality that helps you really visualise the location and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each hotel on your shortlist (such as great price, but 3 blocks from the beach). At every step of the way you can easily compare the room rates of your potential hotels and as the top Hotel Booking sites generally offer competitive rates, they provide a useful guideline as you begin to narrow down your search in term of budget.

If you like the look of a particular hotel, but it is proving just out of your budget range, don’t fret and strike it off your list. By using hotel booking sites to establish this base price for the hotels on your list, you now have a good idea of the price you have got to beat in order to book that dream holiday. That’s right, use these services to establish the price to beat then use the tips in my following blog posts to hunt down those special offers and promotions that are going to bring that dream holiday within reach.

Karon Beach Hotels on Expedia
Karon Beach Hotels on Expedia

Before we do that however, these sites really try to help you make that all important decision by reflecting the true state of the market place so use them to their full capability. Booking.com has a great feature where you can see what other customers are ‘also interested in’, which hotels have been ‘recently booked and when’ and ‘which hotels are rated highest’ by real customers.

Real Time Information about Thavorn Palm Beach Resort on booking.com

Real Time Information about Thavorn Palm Beach Resort on booking.com

It also has the ability to ‘like’ and ‘share’ a hotel or particular location, on Facebook, Twitter or by email, which in turn shows you how many of your friends have ‘liked’ or ‘shared’ that hotel or location. I would like to see the top sites integrating with Facebook Connect in the future, which I am sure would produce some highly innovative and useful additions to the site.

To help save you some time as you compare the prices of your selected hotels, I have provided some links below to popular phuket searches on some of the top Hotel Booking sites.

Agoda – Phuket
Agoda – Karon Beach.
Agoda Thavorn Palm Beach Resort
Expedia – Phuket
Expedia – Karon Beach
Expedia – Thavorn Palm Beach Resort
Booking.com – Phuket
Booking.com – Karon Beach Resort
Booking.com – Thavorn Palm Beach Resort

As I have stated throughout this article, when you have used the Hotel Booking sites to establish a base price for the hotels on your short list, shop around on the hotels’ own website or Facebook & Twitter Pages to try and find yourself a real bargain that might bring that resort that was previously out of reach, back into budget. Although the rates on Hotel Booking sites are usually competitive, alot of hotels’ reward customers who book through their own website and some have Facebook only deals.

For example, our Friends of Thavorn promotion is open to everyone who registers with their email address and offers exclusive, great room rates as well as the chance to ‘WIN a luxury holiday in Phuket’.

More about how Social Media helps you to really hone down your search for the dream holiday in Phuket in my next tip.

Cheers

Roger

Top Tips for Wading through TripAdvisor

You may have mixed feelings over the tropical Island of Phuket, with tales of touristy, overcrowed resorts yet sublimely, stunningly beautiful, deserted white sand beaches clouding the issue.

Heaven or Hell ?

Heaven or Hell ?

These types of feeling are not only isolated to Phuket, far from it, and before you book a holiday to any travel destination, you will more than likely begin dissecting thousands of TripAdvisor reviews, wading knee deep through other people’s, holiday joys and woes.

Wading through Tripadvisor Reviews

Wading through Tripadvisor Reviews

If this sounds like alot of hard work, that’s because IT CAN BE!!! While you are chained to your desktop, America’s Next … Reality Fad will be going on without you. It doesn’t need to be like this however and because you have decided to read these tips first, it will make the job a little easier, more fruitful and ultimately less time consuming for you.

1. Do your Friend’s opinions count?

I’m guessing they do. In fact over 78% of people are influenced by the opinions of their family and friends (Erik Qualman @equalman author of Socialnomics). To tap into this, TripAdvisor has added a great new addition where you can Connect with your Facebook account. This allows you to see your friends’ recent travel activity and also view their favourite travel destinations. I can see that many of my facebook friends have visited Koh Phi Phi, so I click on the link and it takes me straight to the page. It also shows me which hotels my friends have written a review for and as I trust BIG LEE’s judgement, this is likely to hold alot of weight.

Tripadvisor with Facebook Connect

My friends social activity through Tripadvisor with Facebook Connect

2. Safety in Numbers!

Before you dive headlong into individual reviews, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. TripAdvisor Ranks each hotel and resort in a particular destination based on it’s customer reviews, so you can see which hotels have consistently received Top Ranking ‘positive’ reviews.

Phuket Map - Numbers indicate Tripadvisor Ranking for each resort/hotel

Phuket Map - Numbers indicate Tripadvisor Ranking for each resort/hotel

3. Save valuable time by narrowing down your search

If you know you are only interested in a family beach resort with pool and activities for kids, then tick the boxes under ‘Amenity Type’ for ‘beach’ ‘pool’ and ‘kids activities’. TripAdvisor will filter out the unsuitable properties thus saving you valuable time in the process. In fact, I have done it for you here, saving you even more time.

4. Look for common trends in reviews.

Look for common trends across a number of reviews rather than hold a single review in too much esteem. We all know people who see the world through Rose Coloured Glasses and we also know people for whom nothing is ever good enough. There could have been an isolated problem at a resort or the guest could have had a bad holiday for other reasons (like they just found out they can’t stand their partner).

5. Look at how hotels deal with negative reviews.

TripAdvisor gives hoteliers the opportunity to respond to reviews. There could have been a good reason why the pool was sub-standard, but if the hotel doesn’t address this then it looks like they either don’t care or they agree with the reviewer.

Luxurious Freeform pool with Swim up Bar

Luxurious Freeform pool with Swim up Bar

6. Scrutinise the source of troublesome reviews

If a particular review is putting doubts in your mind about your desired resort then scrutinise the credibility of the source by checking the reviewers profile. See what other reviews they have posted and if they are the kind of person for who you would happily follow their advice. Remember, you’re idea of the perfect holiday might not be the same as your grandparents.

Are these your kind of people? (Actually, Yes)

This Party Rocks !!!

7. Deal and Offer Coupons

You can take advantage of some great discount coupons on TripAdvisor by clicking the Deal and Offers Tab. Remember to always check other sources as well, such as hotel booking websites, Facebook pages, Twitter and hotel websites as these coupons might not be the best deals you can find on the web.

8. Member Profile Area

TripAdvisor has the handy feature where you can save all your research into your own member profile area which includes your recent travel searches and any hotels you may have added to your shortlist.

My Member Profile on Tripadvisor

My Member Profile on Tripadvisor

Here are a few Tripadvisor searches on Phuket to get you started.

Visiting Phuket, Thailand
Karon Hotels
Thavorn Palm Beach Resort
Inside Phuket: Written by travelers for travelers

9. Ask the Tripadvisor Community

If you have any burning questions then the Tripadvisor forums are a great place to look for answers. Again, to get you started, I have listed some useful searches.

Tripadvisor Forum – Phuket
Tripadvisor Forum – Karon Beach
Tripadvisor Forum – Thavorn Hotels and Resorts

10. Don’t get distracted.

Remember, you do have a life outside of TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor can become entertainment in itself, especially when you uncover reviews like this.

“I spent the night in the (hotel) room and experienced a friendly spirit. This presence got into bed with me, an old lady, she was nice and I just patted her on the head and we had a comfortable restful sleep. I think I will ask for a different room next time.”

but you must resist the urge and use it for it’s intended purpose, to help you find your dream holiday destination

If you would like any insider tips on Phuket then please leave me a comment or contact me at any time via my Facebook and Twitter pages below.

Cheers

Roger

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