Monday, July 27, 2015

DANCE | Night Out with the Jambo Survivors in Phuket, Thailand

And so my stay in Phuket won't be complete without dancing. And I was very lucky to meet an African band (they are from Tanzania) who played salsa the whole set.

I met Ester (lead singer) and Eddy (male vocalist), who were so warm and friendly with everybody.

They sing very well, especially the popular salsa songs. It's just that not many guests were around during those nights. Probably due to the monsoon season, but I am sure that on summer days this place is jam packed.


***

Plus, I got to meet two salseros from Holland- Johnnie and his wife. They were in Phuket for some short time and I saw them dancing salsa, so I came up to them and asked whether I can dance with the lady. There I learned that they have a dance studio and Johnnie actually is a DJ, who plays salsa, bachata, kizumba, etc.







Danza Kuduro



Salsa



Tche Tche



Cha Cha Cha



Conga



Waka Waka





Sunday, July 26, 2015

TRAVEL | Thailand Travel Journals & Photoshoots

I am still working on the magazine edition of my short but sweet vacation in Phuket, Thailand. Might take some time before this issue comes out (reckon before August 1st). For the meantime, below are the related articles regarding my travel.

TRAVEL JOURNALS

Phuket Top Attractions
Don't know where to go in Phuket? Then this article might just help you decide places to include in your itinerary. Bonus- you get to see real videos of people who have been there.

Phuket Thailand Salsa Review
Phuket may not be the destination of choice for salseros, but in case you find yourself in the area and fancy some mambos here and there, then this article can help you find the right salsa places.


PHOTOSHOOTS
Note: My travel photos are now on sale. Please send me a message: allanyasser.abdula@gmail.com

































































TRAVEL | Phuket Top Attractions

1. Phi Phi Island

Located 48 km Southeast of Phuket, Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Leh are encircled by water so clear that you can see almost to the seabed from the surface.



2. Phang Nga Bay

Ao Phang Nga has a seascape both bizarre and beautiful. Covering some 400 sq kilometers of coastline, the mangrove-lined bay opens out to limestone karst formations of up to 300m in height, jungle-clad and craggily profiled. The bay is thought to have been formed about 12,000 years ago when a dramatic rise in sea level flooded the summits of the local mountain ranges.



3. Phuket FantaSea

A night time fun-for-all entertainment complex that is definitely a must-see for visitors to Phuket. Dubbed as the world's first Thai cultural theme park, Phuket FantaSea offers a highly entertaining and spectacular theatrical show, a grand 4,000 seat buffet restaurant, and a colorful shopping street full of games and carnivals!




4. Promthep Cape

A promontory stretching into the sea and forming the farthest south end of Phuket. Tall cliffs offer a stunning panoramic vista and an ideal location to watch a stunning sunset.



5. Spa

Phuket is host to the burgeoning wellness industry of health spas and a variety of yoga, meditation and detox centers in natural environments dooted across theisland.

6. Patong Nightlife

Boisterous, flashy and loud, Patong is the center of the hedonistic night life of discotheques and beer bars mixed in with upscale restaurants and chic designer night-spots. With its wide variety of activities and nightlife,, Patong is an ideal place to party and play.




7. Similan Islands

Known as one of the world's top 10 spots for awe inspiring above-water and underwater beauty, the 9 islands that make up the Similan Islands are located approximately 100km northwest of Phuket. Massive granite boulders set magnificently against turquoise waters give the islands their distinctive character, and the 30-meter underwater visibility is nothing short of overwhelming.



8. Phuket Town

Phuket City features an exciting mix of old and new, simple and sophisticated, peaceful and pulsating. The night markets off Ranong and along Soi Downtown offer exceptional shopping opportunities.




9. Beaches

Few islands can boast of such abundance of sandy beaches and clear waters as Phuket. The winding coastal roads along the west coast of the island offer stunning views and easy access to some of the world's finest beaches, such as Nai Torn Beach, Paradise Beach, Surin Beach, Leam Singh Beach, Nai Han Beach. The monsoon rains of May-October can bring unpredictable swimming conditions, so heed the posted flag warnings.

10. Wat Chalong

Is the most visited Buddhist temple on the island and the most beautifully ornamented of Phuket's 29 Buddhist monasteries. The Chalong temple is associated with three revered monks of Luang Por Chaem, renowned herbal doctors and setters of bones, who helped the people of Phuket put down the Ahngyee - Chinese Coolie, Rebellion in 1876 during the reign of Rama V.



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SALSA | Phuket Thailand Salsa Review 2015

Okay, so this is a little salsa scene review of Phuket, Thailand.

If you are like me who considers salsa as a vital part of your itinerary when visiting a new place, then you need to read this review.

Phuket on a low season (the monsoon months) does not seem to offer many events for salseros. However, there are one or two salsa venues which you can find in Phuket.

The Port

100/29 Soi Post Office Thaweewong Rd
Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu
Chang Wat Phuket 83150
GPS: 7.891452, 98.294605



Note: This open restaurant features the Jambo Survivor band who plays salsa for guests upon request.

The Green Man Pub

82/15 Moo 4
Patak Road
Rawai
Phuket 83130
Phone: 076 281 445
GPS: 7.824062, 98.331306



Note: This venue is approx. 30 mins. away from Patong


Other Salsa Venues:

Royal Phuket Marina
Kee Lounge Phuket
Le Versace
Salsa Phuket Kata "Da Mario"

If you check on the web and on Facebook, there is only one group in Phuket that caters to salsa dancing- this is the "Phuket Cuban Salsa Lovers".


Phuket Dance (with Anna and Didier)

Website: http://phuket-dance.com/
The website is not well maintained but contains the contact details.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/salsa.phuket

Group Dance Classes
Tuesday & Friday - Salsa Class - Green Mann Studio, Chalong
Thursday - Zumba Class - Green Mann Studio, Chalong

Private Dance Classes
Private one on one dance lessons are available. Please contact us using the form below:
Contact Us: email to dance@phuket-dance.com for more info

The only issue with this salsa venue is that it's really far from Patong or Karon. Please see the map below:



Phuket does not have a good transportation system so one has to rely on overpriced tuktuks or get ripped by private taxis. An alternative would be to rent a car or motorbike so you can travel freely on your own.


Low Season vs High Season

Another factor to consider is the low and high seasons. I was informed that normally, salsa parties are held during high summer seasons, which can be extremely crowded. To be honest,  I have not visited Thailand during summer, but I bet that humidity and warm temperature can get you really soaked in sweat.


Costings

Below costs are approximates only and may vary:
Please note that the exchange rate is: USD to Thai Baht à 1 USD = 33 Thai Baht

Transportation

Airport transfer to Patong in a shared coach
200 Thai Baht
Patong to Airport in a shared coach
200 Thai Baht
Private taxi Airport to Patong vice versa
800 Thai Baht
Private TukTuk
400 Thai Baht onwards (per car/way)
Private Taxi (Saloon Car)
500 Thai Baht onwards (per car/way)
Motorcycle Rent
120 Thai Baht onwards (per day)


Food

Thai Food (small serving)
120 Thai Baht onwards
Seafood
400 Thai Baht onwards
Starbucks Venti
150 Thai Baht
Heineken Beer can
50 Thai Baht
Heineken Draught
120 Thai Baht
Gin Tonic
150 Thai Baht
Coke can
40 Thai Baht
7-11 Coffee
15 Thai Baht


TOURS

James Bond Island 1Day Tour shared
1,250 Thai Baht per person
Fanta-Sea Show
Phi Phi Island
2,500 Thai Baht
3,200 Thai Baht


SHOPPING

Shirt
120 Thai Baht
Fisherman's Pants
200 Thai Baht


ACCCOMMODATIONS

Forest Patong Hotel
400 Thai Baht à Not Recommended
Royal Phawadee Village
2,000 Thai Baht à Good
Southern Fried Rice
600 Thai Baht à Good
Apsara Residences
625 Thai Baht à Not Recommended
Patong Bay Gardens Resort
2,000 Thai Baht à Good

Other accommodations near Bangla Walking Road
The Lantern Hotel
Millenium Hotel
Best Western Hotel
Sleep With Me Hotel

These properties are walking distance from the beach
*When finding an accommodation, please bear in mind that the closer to the beach, the higher the price; but it is worth it because you actually save money by not paying for taxi or tuktuk

**Bangla Walking Road is the central marker of the Patong District. All clubs and bars are located near this area. The farther you get away from Bangla, the more quiet it becomes. So depending on your purpose of visit, you can consider Bangla Road as your marker.


BARS, CLUBS & MASSAGES

Bangla Walking Road
Filled with Thai and Russian strippers
Paradise Plaza
Gay and trans clubs and male massages
Massages
Everywhere


MONEY CHANGERS

Best Exchange
Has the highest exchange rate in Phuket. Located at the center of Bangla Walking Road (nearby Hollywood)

*USD to Thai Baht usually plays around 33.50 but Best Exchange can spike up until 34.50; will be worth it to change 100 USD bills in one go.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

TRAVEL | Philippines from a Visitor's Vintage

Still high from my 2-year stint as a Senior Sales Executive in a Destination Management Company in Oman, I have learned a thing or two about the importance of letting the world know what a country can offer. It is not enough that they know; it makes it more credible if you let them experience it. So I am very happy to share videos like this that highlights my country. Welcome to the Philippines. (Video credit to Jeremie Tridard, 2015).




Philippines 2015
Posted by Jérémie Tridard on Tuesday, June 23, 2015






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