• CategoriesOp-Ed

    Op-Ed: Does Popularity Ruin a Destination?

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    Working in the travel industry, and particularly living in Phuket, I frequently see people sharing their opinions of the popular destinations around me. A common opinion of some of the beautiful islands near Phuket is that they have been “ruined” by crowds of people. While I can sympathise with this viewpoint, I also find it extremely selfish.

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    Getting a Gun on a Plane

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    Firstly, let me explain to casual readers and people who just googled the title: this is a travel blog, not a guide to hijacking commercial airlines. This is actually the story of getting my new airsoft gun from Bangkok, where I bought it, to Phuket, where I live.

  • CategoriesParadise Abandoned · Photography

    Phuket Country Lodge

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    The story goes that some ambitious soul heard that Phuket was finally going to be connected to the rest of Thailand by rail. As it was (and, spoiler, still is), you could only take the train as far as Surat Thani and, while the line continues south, it takes a hard left turn there and proceeds towards Pattani and, eventually, Malaysia and Singapore. Passengers for Phuket have to change onto a bus, which takes about three and a half hours to cover the remaining 250 km. Why the rail link has never been made is unclear – perhaps the cost, possibly the fact that much of the land between the two points is in national parks, or maybe just the fact that quite a lot of it is rather mountainous. Either way, despite frequent promises, the last 250 km of rail has never been laid and, in all probability, never will be.

  • CategoriesFood · Review

    Café de Paris Patong Beach

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    Before last Thursday evening, I had never realised that wine is such a complex subject. I knew there was a lot to it, in the same sense that I realise that rocket science is not particularly simple, but the sheer depth and intricacy involved was made much clearer to me during the wine dinner at Café de Paris Patong Beach.

  • CategoriesParadise Abandoned · Photography

    Phuket Peninsula Spa & Resort

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    Located just a few hundred metres along the coast from the Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Nai Yang Beach, the Phuket Peninsula Spa & Resort (hoteliers and not noted for their imagination when it comes to thinking of property names…) is one of the more complete of the abandoned hotel projects around Phuket. I haven’t been able to find too much information about it, but what I did learn suggests that the construction work was nearing completion when a fire damaged part of the building. During the ensuing investigation by the local authorities, it was discovered that the development had encroached on national park land – something which the Thai authorities take rather seriously. As a result, building work was halted immediately and indefinitely.

  • CategoriesHotel · Review

    Nook-Dee Boutique Resort

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    There is a wonderful stretch of road along Phuket’s east coast, rising from the junction where Kata Beach meets Kata Noi Beach. The road climbs up the hill and skirts along the side of the hills behind the latter beach before continuing towards Ya Nui Beach and on to Promthep Cape – the southernmost point in Phuket. It is probably the most beautiful road on the island because the view is outstanding. Naturally, a number of bars and small restaurants have taken advantage of this. So, too, has Nook-Dee Boutique Resort. The view of Kata Noi Beach is spectacular, particularly from the reception, pool, restaurant and the rooftop terrace.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 33: Hot

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    There are certain aspects of this photo that I really like. The motion blur in the chef’s utensils was created by using an unusually slow shutter speed. Below about 1/60th, there is a danger of the whole picture becoming blurred by the camera movement created just by trying to shoot freehand. However, I seem to have managed to get away with it here. This slow speed was partially an intentional effect and partially a result of my not wanting to raise the ISO any further. I am beginning to notice that my Canon 7D does not perform well at ISOs above about 800 so, unless I want a grainy effect, I tend to stick to below that figure.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 32: Soft

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    Airsoft is probably the most misnamed sport around. For one thing, most modern guns use electric motors to propel their ammunition, not compressed air. Furthermore, with said ammunition being 6mm plastic ball bearings, their impact is far from “soft”! A lot of people are put off by this fact. Many of my friends, on discovering that I was taking an interest in the sport, said that they had tried it once, but found getting shot too painful to keep it up. Fortunately, I am rather less skinny than most Thais and the force of the impact is significantly dampened by my slightly excessive body fat. The only thing that caused enduring pain was the extensive exercise to muscles unprepared for it, causing my legs in particular to ache for several days after.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 30: Colourful

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    The theme was “Colourful” and I was fortunately back in Phuket, where colourful streets are the norm, particularly in the older parts of Phuket Town. The city’s old Sino-Portuguese architecture and brightly-painted streets mostly hail from the 1850s to early-1900s, during which the island experienced a major economic boom as a result of the tin mining trade. A minor side-road off Phang Nga Road presented this lovely line of multi-coloured terraced shop-houses. I nipped down there during my lunch hour one day and literally snapped just three photos. This is the third.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 27: Patriotic

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    Talking technically, I am very pleased with how the shot came out. I boosted the clarity in post-production, which brought out the grime and damage of around four years of abuse the helmet has taken, but the colours shine through regardless. The lighting effect, while very cool, was entirely unplanned. It would have been better had the metal roof in the background not been exactly the same colour as the cloudy sky, but there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about that (other than use a different background, I suppose).