Experiencing Phuket: The Land of Smiles

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Saturday, March 29, 2014


THAILAND - As soon as I boarded the A320 aircraft of Cebu Pacific Air to my destination of the land of smiles, Phuket Island, I knew that this would be an experience of a life time.

In just three hours, tourists can enjoy this paradise haven which mixes the Eastern native culture and modern lifestyle without sacrificing its rich cultural and religious heritage via Cebu Pacific Air which offers thrice weekly flights between Manila and Phuket.

Together with my fellow journalists from different local newspapers, our group was accompanied by Charles Lim of Selrahco PR firm, Michelle Eve de Guzman, corporate communications assistant manager of Cebu Pacific Air, Jannely Balmonte, and Renith Grace Rivera, marketing representatives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Communication Specialist of JG Summit Holdings, we set out to our five day adventure.

We first checked-in at the Sunset Beach Resort, a modest hotel with a spectacular view of the sunset.

After a good night’s rest, we were off the next day to get up close and personal with several large cats at the Tiger Kingdom with a tiring photo session with the tigers. We eventually had our lunch at the Secret Cliff Dinner at the said place.

With our bodies still sore from the trip, it was time to relax at the Sukko Day, a multi-awarded spa which recently got the 9th place in the Thailand Tourism Award and Platinum Thai Spa world Standard 2010-2013.

Our group was also treated to the spectacular must see show “Siam Niramit,” which featured over 100 performers, lavish costumes and stunning set designs. Not to forget enhanced special effects and the world’s most advanced technology used to produce a very realistic, stimulating and inspiring experience.

On Day Three we went island-hopping to the famous James Bond Island, a popular landmark in Phang Nga Bay. It first found its way onto the international map when featured in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

For our lunch, it was off to the 400-year old Muslim fishing village where we savored the Tom Yam seafood, deep fried fish with chili sauce, red frog crab with curry powder, baked salted prawns, stir fried mixed vegetables and omelet.

Day Four saw us visiting the old Phuket town to get a glimpse of old houses and historical landmarks.

The Phuket Trick Museum, the first trick-eye 3D Museum in Southern Thailand, is an interactive museum with a concept that stimulates your creativity and imagination.

Some of my favorite places are the Big Buddha, view point of Kata, Kata Noi and Koron beaches.

For our lunch and dinner it was a hot tasting experience, sampling native dishes at the Thai Village Diner, Pong Pang Restaurant and World Cafe, and Mercure Phuket Deevana.

Just before ending our day, the group was briefed by Director Anoma Vongyai of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Phuket Office and Veeranat Limprasutr, Executive General Manager of Mercure Phuket Deevana.

And as I boarded our flight back to Manila, I felt I had a heavy heart in leaving this place, but at the same time jubilant, knowing that once in my life time I had the chance to visit this amazing island known as Phuket, the land of smiles. (Chris Navarro)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 30, 2014.

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