After 2 days in Bangkok we took a short one hour flight to the island of Phuket. As cool as Bangkok is, Phuket Island is a welcomed vacation spot with the high energy party vibe, the great beaches and the nearby islands. There are resort areas on both sides of the Phuket. We decided to stay in the “Patong” area rather than Phuket Town. Though our hotel was very nice with its pools and large rooms, we planned to make the most of our opportunity with excursions traveling around the other islands. Our hotel is just what we were looking for, a nice pool, nice rooms and a friendly staff.
Once we check in we are off to the tailor shop, Frank and Charlie are getting custom suits, then we find a great beach bar with live music. Great conversation, music and view. Our last stop for the day is a Thai cooking class. The Chef was a funny guy. Our class including a review of the primary Thai tastes, spices to use and how to mix and match sweet/sour/bitter/spicy/salty. Next we made our own curry paste and finally cooked and ate three dishes. Again great fun, great food and company.
On our first full day on the island we started our adventures with a fast boat trip to “Ko Phi-Phi” island for swimming, snorkeling, and beach combing. The views are spectacular. This is where the movie “the Beach” was filmed. Our boat carried 45 passengers and had 3 Honda 250 outboard engines and did we fly toward the out bound islands. There are many vendors, but we were really pleased with “SeaStar”that provided all the amenities and equipment when needed. Our tour director, stage name “Latte”, was a real hoot. The snorkeling was really fun, the coral had colorful fish, but there were also some jellyfish which we needed to avoid. Jumping off the boat at various locations was fun too. Charlie and Gabbi have a GoPro and get some great underwater shots.
We enjoyed ourselves so much that we signed up with SeaStar for a second day of island hopping, this time going to “James Bond” Island first and then other islands that are home for “Water World” type communities. James Bond has this obelisk shaped companion rock spire that defies gravity—think the “Floating Mountains” of the Avatar Movie. The water bound communities adjoined a small island where their temple was built; the homes and schools were on stilts with docking areas. The multi-room primary school housed loads of cute little kids; most attentive and some on recess playing tag on the floating playground. There were other islet beaches to stretch out upon and swim. The sun was gleaming.
Back in town we are back to the tailor for fittings and dinner. After much discussion we all agree that we need a break from the Asian food so we pick an Italian place; what a surprise the food was outstanding some of the best we have had, and of course great conversation.
The next day we are up extra early for an outing at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. Here we experienced the feeding, bathing, mudding, and washing of about 8 Indian Elephants including a one year old baby boy. To be so close and unimpeded was fantastic. They would plop into the mud pit and allow us to rub the goo into their sides. Some would move there legs as if swimming. Some would fart; some would cause us all to back away by doing other bathroom stuff. The baby played like one and mother would control him with her trunk. This Sanctuary does not allow riding. Thailand has an abundance of elephants once used in the timber industry, but now by law they are spared that work. After our hard work of playing and scrubbing, the sanctuary provided an outstanding buffet lunch and handcraft gifts. See our pics below
After a good scrub and some rest we have a fun night out starting with a great Thai dinner and go to a musical/dance extravaganza called “SeaSation”. This night was a treat to us from Charlie and Gabbi, an early anniversary present, we have a big anniversary next week. The dinner was great, the show was good but it had a few elephant acts with riding and tricks. After a day of playing with elephants that have been rescued, we don't see this as entertainment anymore.
Our last day on the island is for relaxing at the pool, picking up our tailored suits. In the late afternoon we fly back to Bangkok and stay in an airport hotel to help with our early morning flights, the kids fly home to Chicago, and we fly to Myanmar (formerly Burma). It has been a great trip. What was our favorite things?
- Charlie and Gabbi - Our guide in Bangkok and the Elephants
- Frank - the canals of Bangkok, suit shopping with Charlie
- Janet - the cooking class, and snorkeling
We say goodbye to the kids at security our flight is not checking in yet. Frank and Janet's favorite thing, seeing our kids. Only 45 days left before we are home again with all of our kids and our wonderful family - Love you all