Our most recent destination was Phuket, Thailand. We stayed right near both Kata and Karon beaches, so we were nicely located to explore quite a bit of the area.
We had been really looking forward to spending lots of time at the beach and experiencing a bit more of Thailand. Pete had been to Phuket in his teen years, but the rest of us had never been. We were very excited to spend the week in Phuket with my Dad, as well, after having a few days in Chiang Mai to catch up.
What was our overall impression of Phuket? I have to admit, we were a little disappointed. Overall, it was rather uninspiring. We have found Phuket to be very very touristy and crowded (which is not really our thing), rather overpriced, and we were hard-pressed to find much good, authentic Thai food. I think we might have done Thailand in the wrong order – it was a bit hard to come from Chiang Mai, where everything was crazy cheap, the food was pretty incredible, and generally the Thai culture was vibrant. In Phuket we felt it was the opposite, and we couldn’t help comparing to Chiang Mai many times.
We have enjoyed everywhere we have been this year, although some places sit higher on the list than others (Phuket just may sit at the bottom…). But here are some things we loved:
A week with Gramps
It’s been ten months since we last saw my Dad, so obviously we had a lot to catch up on. We loved spending time with him all week and Elena and Kilian were very happy with the company. They also really liked Gramps’ resort (especially the kids club). Our week with Dad followed a typical pattern – after breakfast, we would head out to Dad’s resort. We would play in the kids club for an hour or two, then we’d swim in the pool. After the pool, we’d head out and explore a bit of Kata or Karon. We sampled a few beaches – Kata, Karon and Kata Noi. Kata Noi was the most beautiful and less crowded, Karon had the waves, and Kata was super calm and perfect for the kids. One day we spent an afternoon in Patong. We decided we were glad we weren’t staying there.
We did a day trip out to Phang Nga bay, home to the famous James Bond Island. The tour involved taking a speedboat out to Khao Phing Kan (James Bond Island) and exploring for a bit. This stunning island was followed up by lunch at Koh Paynee, an incredible floating village. We then went off on the speedboat again to a little island where we hopped into little canoes and paddled around some beautiful caves, then our last stop was for a swim at a beach on one of the islands (apologies, as I can’t remember the names of these last two). It was a lovely tour with some really stunning views.
Beach every day!
We really liked going to the beach every day. The beaches here are really lovely, it’s easy to see why so many people (Russians?!) flock here. The water was always beautifully clear and the perfect temperature. Elena and Kili like playing in the sand, and Pete loves to dig them big pools and castles. We have been loving seeing Elena in the water. She seriously has no fear of the ocean. She runs straight in, gets crashed about and dunked by the waves but loves every minute of it. It’s great to see this sometimes overly sensitive girl just shrug off being totally wiped out by a wave and jump straight back in. We’ll be playing on the sand and she’ll go back and forth from the water to the sand, casually telling us she is just going to cool off.
Our hotel and a lovely lady called June
I think we hit the jackpot with our hotel. We chose a budget one which is about a 15 minute walk from the beach. It included breakfast, which was a bit of a treat for us. The lady who runs the hotel is called June, and she was very kind and generous while we were there. For starters, breakfast would fill us up easily til the early afternoon. We never finished it and she urged us to take the leftovers. Lunch and snacks sorted. She plied the kids with food and treats, til they were actually piling up in our room. And for the last few days we were there she made us lunch and dinner too. She let us pay her, but it was obvious she was just letting us to make us comfortable. We enjoyed eating June’s food much more than the restaurants we’d been to. At one, the owner gave us a green curry and insisted it was the red curry that we’d ordered…. Also at June’s, she had a monkey, and a cat, and fighting fish. Happy kids.
We have enjoyed our time here in Phuket, although we are definitely happy for a change of scene. I don’t feel confident that we would come back here. Tomorrow we fly to Malaysia and we have mixed feelings – we are very excited to explore Penang and Kuala Lumpur, but sad that we are onto the last three weeks of our trip. Also we are very much looking forward to coming home!