Phuket

DSC01633Leticia and I started our Asia tour in Thailand.  We flew from Hong Kong International (HKG) to Phuket International (HKT) on Cathay Pacific.  They are a great airline with excellent service.

Our motto for this trip was “no hurries…no worries”.  In the spirit of this theme we had no reservations and no idea of where exactly we would end up.  After clearing customs, we checked with a few hotel representatives at the airport but decided to just catch a cab to Patong  Beach and just look when we arrived.  Our cab driver suggested a travel agency on the way saying that he could get us a discount.  We ended up booking 2 nights at the Blue Sky Patong.  This was a nice, clean and new hotel with great staff (1200 baht per night).  We also rented a scooter from the company recommended by the front desk staff for $7.50 USD per day.  This hotel was conveniently located by the main road and next to the police station but we realized that we were pretty far from the beach.

On the second day, we checked hotel prices and availability in the area and found the Patong Sub Inn.  This hotel offered everything the Blue Sky offered at a better price (600 Baht per night) and a more central location.  The owner and his staff are great people who take the time to get to know their guests and provide a welcoming environment.  They go above and beyond to provide for your needs.  Since coffee is always a priority in the morning, they lent us a hot water pot so that we could make instant coffee.  We also rented a scooter from the rental company in front of the hotel for $5 per day.

DSC01638Patong Beach is a great location for shopping, restaurants and bars.  The beach is nice but we found other beaches in the local area that were less crowded, more scenic and offered surfboard rentals.

Karon Beach is about 10 miles South of Patong and offers a more resort-like atmosphere but the prices for food and hotels are resort-type as well.

Kata Beach

Kata Beach

Kata Beach is about 10 miles South of Karon and has more of a surfing village vibe.  They rent surfboards and have a younger crowd.  There are plenty of hotels shops and restaurants here but the prices are a bit high.

A word of advice:  You can’t walk 10 feet without running into time share sales people from Absolute.  We consistently told them that we were not interested.  However, one person was pretty sneaky.  She asked if I would participate in a brief survey to better help tourism in the area.  I happily obliged.  That evening, I received a phone call at the front desk of my hotel explaining that we won a prize for taking the survey…an all expense paid trip to visit Phi Phi Island.  She explained that we would need to schedule a 90 minute appointment.  I was skeptical but we arranged a time to meet the following day.  I assumed it was a time share sales presentation and it was.  We planned on visiting Pi Pi island anyway during our trip so we went along with it.  To their credit, Absolute did not use high pressure tactics on us and only highlighted the benefits of their program.  They were true to their word; our appointment lasted only 90 minutes, we received a voucher and were booked on the Phi Phi Island cruse.  On following trips to Kata Beach, whenever we were approached by the time share people we just told them that we already took the tour.

We decided to stay in the Patong area and make day trips to Kata for surfing and enjoying the less crowded nicer beach.  For us, this was the best value for our money and provided the opportunity to explore the local area.

Hong Kong

Flew into Hong Kong and had to spend the night at the airport waiting for our flight to Phuket Thailand.  We checked many hotel counters in the airport and found that an average room is $260/night.  In-airport lounge wanted $160 for 4hrs :(   We decided to camp on the benches.

Afternoon at the dog park

Took Sydney to Lorie Wilson dog park today.  This was our first visit but I’m sure we will soon become regulars there.  They have great facilities for both large and small dogs.  There were plenty of water bowls, a clean grassy area for the dogs to play and even small pools for the dogs to cool off.  Sydney had a great time playing with all of the small dogs.  All of the dogs were so well behaved and their parents were great too 🙂

How to install a doggie door in a hollow core door

DSC01574After Stinky visited his cousins in LA, we decided he needed a doggie door at home too.  He likes to go outside to lay in the sun and chase lizards and bugs.

In stalling a doggie door is pretty easy but there are a few considerations the instructions do not mention if you have a modern hollow core door.

DSC02875Tools required:

  • -Template provided in kit
  • -Tape measure
  • -Tape
  • -Pen
  • -Screw driver
  • -Level
  • -Drill
  • -Dremel or other cutting device

Use measuring tape to find and mark the center of the door with the pen.

DSC02868Tape the template to the door and use the level to make sure it is straight

DSC02869Trace around the template with your pen

DSC02871Drill holes through the door at each corner

   Note: make sure you drill is level and straight

Use holes on reverse side of door to transfer template to the other side

DSC02870Trace around the template with your pen on the other side of the door

Now, you have to be careful choosing a tool to cut the door.  I used a dremel because the outer shell of the door is thin and the foam core will melt with too much heat from a circular saw or angle grinder.  Also, these doors tend to be too flimsy to use devices that cut through both sides such as a reciprocating saw or jigsaw.

DSC02874

Even the Dremel melted the shell a bit

Cut through the shell on both sides of the door following the lines traced from your template

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Afterwards, use the dremel to cut through the foam from both sides until the core pops out.

Last, insert the pet door and install as per manufacturer’s recommendations

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Now Stinky can come and go as he pleases 🙂