Long flight and 1 week in Phuket
Trip Start Mar 22, 2013
2Trip End Apr 05, 2013
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Apartamentos Es Trenc Ses Salines
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
We departed Newark, NJ mid-day on Friday March 22. The flight was long...14 hours direct to Tokyo, followed by a 3 hour layover, and 7 more hours into Bangkok. We arrived near midnight on Saturday (12 hours ahead of EST), and spent the night in the Airport Novetel. The girls were in heaven with the buffet breakfast...classic Thai full buffet that had everything, and it was very good! We then headed back to the terminal for our 10am flight to Phuket, a nice short 1 hour trip.
Day 3 - First day in Phuket
We arrived mid-day, in the scorching heat. This is the hottest time of the year in Thailand, 2 weeks before the holiday known as Songkran. As soon as we stepped out of the airport we were suffocated by the near 100 degree heat. It is much worse than the heat we faced on our RV trip because Thailand is so humid, which makes it feel worse.
To make the trip exciting, we rented a car. Anyone who has been to Thailand knows that driving can be an adventure, and that it was! We rented the most compact car that would seat 5 people, because smaller is easier to handle, which is a big plus in some spots. Oh yea...and they drive on the left side of the road here, which adds to the fun. My biggest challenge is the turn signal, and Madison finds it hilarious that every time I make a turn the windshield wipers come on because the turn signal is on the opposite side of a US car.
Today we spent most of the day exploring the resort, going to the beach, and swimming in the pool. We also found the resident baby elephant Lucky, and the girls enjoyed feeding her bananas. It was a nice day to recover from the jet-lag, and by night we were ready to venture out beyond the resort and drive to Patong Beach. We visited this beach 10 years ago when we lived in Thailand, so it was nice to go back. The girls loved all of the shopping, but the heat really started to get to Emma and we had to leave pretty fast. We did have a nice dinner sitting right on the beach.
Today we spent the morning and early afternoon at the resort swimming, and then we did some exploring around Phuket Island, and went to a show called Phuket Fantasea. The show consisted of: 1) a really bad Thai Market, 2) a so-so dinner buffet, and 3) a very good show with 10 very well trained elephants. We were pretty amazed that the show was booked solid - 3,000 seats filled. It is a very popular show, although we felt it was overrated relative to other options.
Today we went on an organized tour that took us north off of Phuket Island to a National Park where we went elephant trekking and white water rafting. Both events were quite fun...the girls loved riding on the elephants, and Xiu couldn't stop screaming on the raft! It was really a full day, and overall quite fun and memorable.
Snorkeling with endangered sea turtles - Most of the advertised snorkeling cruises depart to the east of the island and head Pi Pi island. The issue we heard is that they are just packed with people which takes away from the experience. We opted for a smaller (thus more $$!) trim to the west into the Andaman Sea to the Similean Islands. They are pretty far, as we were on a speed boat for 1.5 hours. Very bumpy, and fortunately none of us got sick!
We snorkeled off of 3 islands. The water was an amazing clear blue, and you could see everything very well. First a major negative: It was very sad to see all of the dead coral...it was all brown everywhere. The combination of warming waters and the Tsunami has destroyed what was certainly a much more beautiful area. However, on a positive note, the fish were amazing! Many fish of all sizes and colors. The colors were amazing and vibrant...really cool. A great highlight was observing an endangered sea turtle. It actually seam with us for about 15 minutes, and we got some great views.
A downside of this trip was that we all got too much sun! I think it was impossible to not get some form of sunburn!! We all started the day with 50 SPF, and reapplied multiple times, but we still burned!
Sea kayak trip into the caves with sunset dinner - This was our third and final tour in Phuket. It started early afternoon and went until dark. At the start we were all a little tired and perhaps wishing we were just staying by the pool, however in the end we all loved this tour and agreed it was our favorite. We departed from the east side of the island and proceeded to 3 smaller islands which that rise up 1300 feet with caves eroded into the sides. You have to enter the caves at low tide, and work your way to the center of the island where you are in a water bound oasis. It is difficult to explain, but awesome! If that was not enough, when we arrived in this paradise, we were greeted by long tail monkeys, which thrilled the girls (especially Katelyn) to no end.
In addition to the exploration, both lunch and dinner on our small boat was excellent - unlike most other tour meals! We ate dinner on the open water and watched a nice sunset along with the rising of a pretty cool pink moon.
The day was capped off with a 'Loi Kratong Ceremony', where the girls make a floating loi kratong out of banana leaves, flowers, candles, and inscents. We then took these out in the sea in the dark on our kayaks and released as a gift to Budda in appreciation and thanks for all that we have. Very well done and memorable event.
This was our final day in Phuket, and we spent it relaxing by at the pool and doing resort activities. It was a nice, restful day, In the evening we drove to a seafood restaurant that is located right on the beach and had a wonderful final Phuket dinner! We are off for Bangkok in the morning...
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