Sunday, July 24, 2011

Looking back at Phuket FantaSea

A few weeks ago, I started blogging about my Phuket experience (see the posts here and here) while on a reminiscing mode about beaches and vacations. Well, my Harry Potter fanaticism was rekindled when the last film came out, and so I failed to follow up with more posts. So I'm back at it starting with the first of four posts about Phuket FantaSea.

We bought a pair of tickets to Phuket FantaSea from a tourism counter at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok while waiting for our flight to Phuket, which was delayed. I already knew about FantaSea somehow from the internet, and the tickets they were selling us were a bit cheaper than the price I've checked on the internet. What's more, we got a complimentary half-day city tour around Phuket. Sweet deal!

I only thought FantaSea was a Las Vegas-style production that featured elephants. I was surprised it was more than that -- it was actually a cultural theme park of sorts. There were a couple of rides, shops, a glammed-up zoo, elephant rides, a gigantic buffet restaurant, and more. So let me show you around this 140-acre wonder that I wouldn't mind visiting again.

This was right outside the entrance to the park, our shuttle service's drop-off. The pickup service was free because of our hotel's proximity. I think if you're staying in a hotel like in Patong or Karon, there's a corresponding charge.

The entrance. They really don't make it simple in Thailand. Everything has just got to be grand.

Phuket FantaSea was reportedly built to the tune of over $100 million.  I must say that it shows. There are grand "set pieces," highly stylized structures -- the works. And there's just so many intricate details in almost everything!

The ticketing area. Don't you agree it's just so grand?

Some nice little touches: blowers to keep you cool while waiting in line in Thailand's humid climate.

I mentioned details. Just look at all the intricacies involved here. And it's just one column in the ticketing area!

How grand could the way to the restrooms get!

We were ready to go inside. This was just me being stupid.

My Bibe with Thai ladies at the entrance greeting you "Sawadee ka!"

A sampling of stuff sold inside the park: decorative pieces fashioned out of wire. I found it a little too expensive at 1,000 baht, though. Or am I just being cheap?

I've seen lots of stuff made out of recycled materials like cans before, but the tuktuk made out of a beer can is just cute.

Here's a man in the process of making glass art. You'll see samples of his work in the next photos.

Glass sculptures like these aren't really uncommon. I just admire all the attention given to detail.

They do have a lot of fancy stuff here, like this fake gem-encrusted pup.

If I remember it correctly, this is the roof of one of the many shops around the park.

The exterior of a jewelry store. It looks like the building itself is "bejeweled."

Some may find it kitschy but I admire how the Thai people put value on packaging or presenting something. Hats off!

Talk about packaging! I love the vintage car inside one of the shops.

Geez! Even the computer monitor wasn't spared from all the glamming up.

Next up, I'm showing you how all the Thai glam extends to animals. I'd like to call it a mini-zoo but it's a highly-stylized one. (See post here.)

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