After a great day out with Panya Kamman my wife and I decided to to do another trip to Phuket Night markets, only this time we wanted to go to the zoo for my wife to get a photo with a tiger and we wanted to eat some of the food at the night markets as Panya had advised that is should be fine if we ask for freshly cooked food instead of the food on display.
Enter Mr Nick who provided an unenjoyable day, we were wandering along the street parallel to beach road behind Gracelands when Mr Nick approached us for a taxi ride. We made it pretty clear that we were not interested in his poster of activities as we’d done everything we wanted to do except visit the zoo and spend a decent amount of time at the Phuket Night market.
We suggested Mr Nick pick us up at about 2pm to go to the zoo and see the shows, Mr Nick said this was way too early as we would not need much time at the zoo to see the shows as they were on at about 4.30pm. Mr Nick said 3pm would be much better for this. Not knowing any better we agreed.
We’d contacted the legendary Panya Kamma who gave us a tour the week before but he was already booked. We agreed with Mr Nick on a price of 1000 baht.
On the Saturday he didn’t arrive until 3.15pm, he had a nice Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and when we jumped in he was playing Eminem and 50cent rap music, I instantly started to wonder how this would end up, even more so when I got talking to him and he said “no money, no honey”. He put the usual tour poster in front of me with all the tours and stuff and I again explained we had done everything we wanted on this trip and would do some other stuff next time, he tried to convince me to do the Siam Niarmit show. Next time I said.
He then took us to the zoo, we got to the zoo just before 4pm and they charged us for 3 adults and 1 child, even though our eldest son is only 12. That was about A$85
When we got to the zoo the tiger photos had already finished for the day and we had time to see an elephant show and hundreds of crocodiles sliding all over each other in a tight enclosure before being picked up. The amount of time Mr Nick had suggested we spend at the zoo was not nearly enough and we missed the main thing we had wanted to do.
He then talked us out of eating anything at the Phuket Night Market ‘as it may make us ill’ and said he would take us to a better place. He then dropped us at a place called Phong Pang which sold virtually nothing but seafood which my wife and kids are not keen on and we weren’t going to get out of there for under $50 Australian. My wife suggested we just have a beer and enjoy the view, my youngest son had a chocolate milkshake.
When we went back to Mr Nick and jumped in the car he asked how the food was, I told him it was too expensive and we just had a drink. At this point Mr Nick went very sulky and said next to nothing on the way to the markets. The trip was very long due to the time of day as the traffic was horrendous, something I would have thought Phuket taxi drivers would have been aware of. It took about an hour to get from the restaurant to the markets.
When he slowed down to drop us at the markets he said there had been a misunderstanding and did we think he was going to drop us back at Patong. I advised that we were not planning on walking. My wife asked if he was annoyed that he’d missed his cut on the meal at the place he had dropped us at. I said there was no misunderstanding but would give him a couple of hundred baht extra as we were going to get home a bit later due to the traffic.
We argued for a while which was not at all pleasant and felt like we had been stooged after Panya Kamman took us for a full day the weekend before and then to the Phuket Market, acting as a tour guide and making sure we were all hydrated with water the whole day. Mr nick then spend about 20 minutes driving around in circles looking for somewhere to drop us off for the market.
We last about 5 minutes in the market before my youngest son had to race to the toilet (chocolate shake at Mr Nicks preferred restaurant, perhaps?) so instead of shopping we spent the next hour at a bar while my youngest son went back and forward to the toilet, we were hungry but Mr Nick had scared us off from the food are of the markets.
Whilst the next hour was pleasant enough Mr Nick had peeved us with his non-Thai hospitality and we wondered if he would pick us up at all.
In the end Mr Nick picked us up, albeit 15 minutes late again. He said next to nothing on the way back to Patong and when he dropped us off I explained to him that stooging tourists won’t get him anywhere. I gave him the extra 400 baht he said he needed to complete our trip and I explained that the last driver we had got an 800 Baht tip. I told him to have a nice next life.
I could not recommend Mr Nick, compared to Panya you would be better off getting a tuk tuk, I only wish I had booked Panya earlier for both weekends I was in Phuket as he was an absolute gentlemen and tour guide, his car is very comfortable, he keeps you hydrated with bottles of water and can’t do enough to ensure you have a great day. If you do book Panya and agree with my comments, tip him handsomely as he really deserves it.