February 17, 2019

Beware of cheap airfares


By Peter Chapman

At around June each year my wife and I invariably start chatting about the need for a flop and drop holiday for the Christmas break.

That conversation provides the drive for us to keep an eye out for some cheap airfares so we can at least get the first part of the holiday locked in.

A Malaysian Airline offer of $800 return flights to Kuala Lumpur proved to be on the money for our future trip. We moved quickly to get the price and sent off the payment.

We reasoned that Kuala Lumpur would give us an easy stepping point through to Phuket where we had decided to spend our holiday.

All was good, that is until we started looking around at what accommodation was available in a peak holiday time.

Best rooms were taken, top hotels had waiting lists and what was available was listed at sky high prices.

Like many travellers these days we started pouring over TripAdvisor reviews checking out a hotel when they posted a good package.

It eventually led us to the Andakira Hotel for the first part of our holiday.

The hotel sits right in the heart of Patong and this was one of our pre-requisites.

The timing put us in Patong for the New Year's celebrations something by reputation we wanted to experience.

The Andakira didn't excel as a place to stay, but it didn't disappoint either.

We knew we had booked a middle class hotel and as far as value for money it lived up to that.

Our room which cost us around $100AU a night featured a private pool access.

That meant we had a long lap pool sitting off our small outside area.

 If you do decide to stay at this hotel go for one of these suites.

The room was clean and the morning breakfast package was substantial and served by courteous staff.

My big concern was that the bed was rock hard and in hindsight I should have asked for a mattress topper, mind you I don't know if they would have had any to put on my plank.

The location of the hotel was a big plus. It was just a five minute stroll from the major JungCeylon shopping centre and another five minutes had you on Patong Beach.

We have been to Phuket before so there were no hidden dramas for us when it came to shopping.

One tip I quickly remembered was that always know what you want to pay for an item before you ask the shop keeper "how much?".

That avoids what can soon become an intimidating conversation.

Prices in Patong these days are not so cheap you have to buy and for the most part you can do better at your local shopping centre when they are on sale.

The best part about a visit to Thailand is the food. On just our second scouting trip looking for a good restaurant we noticed a small venue, Tom Nua No1, that was always full.

As popularity is the best recommendation you can get to choose a Patong restaurant we ended up going there four times for dinner.

The food was fresh, service was good and the place was clean.

An example of their prices was their Spicy Soup with Seafood cost $4, while a pineapple rice was under $3.

Our stay in Patong was for seven days and in hindsight it should have been no longer than five.

A must do is a day trip across to Old Phuket Town. The taxi fare there will cost you around $20AU.

Old Phuket Town is a much quieter location, the quaint old shops offer more than just T-shirts and fake handbags and the shop owners don't act like sharks circling an injured seal.

There are a few day trips you should also enjoy such as the speedboat journey out to Phi Phi Island.

One word of concern, even if you rode motorbikes at the speedway don't be tempted to hire a scooter and ride the streets.

Everyone is crazy slicing in and out of the heavy traffic, in just a few days we saw numerous accidents.

Finally can I say, when you do see a cracking flight deal think hard about the reputation of the airline.

I have flown on Malaysian Airlines before and was happy with the service.

This time I wasn't and it will take a lot of persuading to get me on one of their flights again.

The food was below average, the plane was tired and I had a broken entertainment monitor that kept collapsing.

But I will say at least they were on schedule and the flight was cheap.


Malaysian Airlines:     4/10

Andakira Hotel           6/10

Patong:                      8/10

Tom Nua No1            9/10

Words and images: Peter Chapman,

Feature supplied by: www.wtfmedia.com.au 

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