I entered into the conference hall where the morning session had already commenced. I looked for Dr. Adnan but could not locate him. I decided to attend some of the ongoing presentations. During the coffee break, I had an opportunity to talk to some who were planning to go for a city tour that afternoon. Dr. Adnan also had joined our conversation. In the end, we resolved to have a sightseeing of the Phuket city after lunch. The conference session resumed.
After lunch, we all assembled at the hotel's lobby before proceeding for the sightseeing. We were a group of five: myself, Dr. Adnan, two keynote speakers Prof. B. K. Mohanty & Dr. Arvinder Kaur and one other participant Dr. A. K. Mishra, a senior scientist from the Indian Agricultural Reserach Institute, Delhi. Naturally, one taxi was not going to be enough for all of us, so we decided to hire a tuk-tuk. Tuk-Tuk is Thailand's most recognized form of travel. They are abundant on the Phuket island and the three wheeled vehicles offer more safety and comfort than its two-wheeled counterpart. However, now our negotiation skills were going to be tested as the fares were not fixed ones. I was not sure about Dr. Adnan, but rest of us had a little bit of bargaining skills. Finally, we managed to seal the deal for a five hour city tour for 500 Bhat which was much less than the asking price.
There is a long legendary history associated with the Chalong temple which is still told to the visitors to the temple. The temple is also known as 'Wat Chalong' and many stories are told about how the miracles performed there and how the wat played a pivotal and healing role in the fighting between Chinese secret societies (Angyee). This is a beautiful Buddhist temple located on the outskirts of Phuket. It enshrines statues of several prominent Buddhist monks like Luang Por Cham, who had played a pivotal role in putting down the Angyee also known as the Chinese Coolie Rebellion.
It was around 6PM when the tuk-tuk reached back to Patong beach area from where we had started our tour. It was a tiring yet enjoyable trip. We all decided to take a brief rest at the hotel. Later we went to the nearest shopping mall and did some shopping there. Dr. Adnan had his return flight to Bangkok in the evening. I said the final good-bye to him but not before we promised to meet someday at another conference which, however, seems highly unlikely. we , the remaining four, took the dinner at an Indian restaurant 'Kohinoor' and returned back to the hotel.
Next day was last day of the conference. I attended the sessions before lunch. After lunch, I and Dr. Mishra decided to spend time at the Patong beach. We put on the casual cloths (half-pant and half T-shirt which, I had to buy there last night) and took towels from the hotel room. We booked two beach chairs (with beach umbrella) at the Patong beach for 100 Bhat each. I was laying there for most part of the day. And, it was indeed a nice experience.
During the night, I had a visit to the Phuket Fantasea which is a new theme park complex that promises to be the ultimate night time entertainment venue. It is a place worth visiting specially for those looking for a unique experience. One can see cultural traditions blended with the latest in Las Vegas style cutting edge technologies. Some of the highlights of Phuket Fantasea are magic elephants vanishing into the air and the musical fountains. It was indeed a fascinating show!
I hope that you have enjoyed reading my experiences in the Phuket islands. Please do not hesitate to share your feelings here. Its time to sign off until my next write-up. I look forward to welcome you again. By the way, thanks for having a patient reading to this long post!