|Dinner on deck at Kata Beach Resort and Spa, Kata|
Imagine eating a delicious, authentic Thai buffet dinner with this gorgeous ocean view sunset... I did! For a whole week!
A few months ago, I was selected (along with a small group of other Travel Consultants) from my company, to attend a 10 day Educational trip to Bangkok and Phuket. Now whilst it was a lot of fun and sun, there was also plenty of work involved!
Before you go...
Check your travel list to ensure you haven't forgotten anything! Your swim suit should be at the top of that list! Try not to carry any liquids on you, bring them in your checked baggage if you can. If you wish to bring liquids, aerosols or gels on board with you, remember to check the size limits as security will confiscate any unrestricted items permanently. A travel adapter/converter for any appliances is a must for Australian travellers. Adequate Travel Insurance is on that list too!! Is your passport still current? Australian Passport holders don't require a Visa to enter Thailand, you just need to ensure your Passport is still current with at least an extra 6 months validity for after your trip.
Are you going to enable global roaming on your phone and are you aware of ALL charges? After a short trip to New Zealand, I came home to a $2000AUD phone bill that was from one phone call, and a whole bunch of Facebook. With WiFi cheap/free at most resorts it was convenient to bring my smartphone instead of my laptop, and use a prepaid Global Card that comes free with my Travel Insurance. I loaded $30AUD before I left, so I loved the fact that I didn't have to stress about a big phone bill. Calls and SMS were great value. Data still wasn't very cost effective though, and found it better value to purchase WiFi from the resort instead.
Where to stay...
This depends on the purpose of your trip. And to get it right, it really does come down to an appointment with your local travel consultant (and hopefully that's me!) Patong is the happening area to be if you want plenty of nightlife, shopping and excitement. A short drive south is Karon which is slightly more chilled out than Patong, and then even further south is Kata which is even more relaxed (though still plenty to do!) You can get fantastic family-friendly resorts with facilities like Kids Clubs and Waterslides in any of these areas, as well as getting the opposite of a peaceful and romantic 18+ only resort in these areas.
My personal and biased favourites for Patong:
For a family in Patong - Merlin Beach Resort. A really cool private beach (no hounding markets!) awesome pools that are all connected around the resort (you can swim underneath the bridges to get to the next pool) family friendly, but different areas could easily suit a romantic getaway.
For a couple/boys weekend/girls weekend in Patong - The Kee. Brand new, very trendy multi-storey with the best pool bar and pool access rooms (literally step out your door into the pool) I have ever seen, romantic suite had a spa with a view, rooftop bar, great shopping right outside.
|The view from the rooftop bar at The Kee, Patong|
For the rest of my recommendations? You'll just have to book a trip with me to find out!
The most common option is to catch a direct 6 and a half hour flight from Perth to Phuket. For this trip we were going to Bangkok first. So we flew with the national carrier Thai Airways, and flew the 7 hour Perth to Bangkok direct route. A few days later we flew again with Thai Airways, from Bangkok over to Phuket. The onboard customer service was fantastic, seat-back entertainment that would keep any traveller happy and comfy seats.
|Love the colour scheme!|
When you land...
All you will want to do is check out the wonderful resort that will be your home for the next week or so, have a nice, cool shower and to relax by the pool with a fruity cocktail. Well don't start slipping into your swimsuit just yet. Depending on what area you are staying in, the drive from the airport to resort can between 45 minutes to 1hr away, and that's in good traffic! Don't let this dishearten you, the drive is filled with plenty to see.
|Big Buddha stands 45m high and has a great view|
Once you have checked in...
Start practising the local language! Thai people genuinely love it when you give their language a try, and will cheer you on as well as help you to improve. If you are a female sa-wat-dee-kaa is a polite hello; Sa-wat-dee-krab if you are a male. To say thank you, kob-kuhn-kaa if you are a female, and kob-kuhn-krab if you are a male. Nail those two and you make some fast friends.
Try some of the local food! I would advise you to carefully judge for yourself when purchasing food from street stalls though. Old oil, unsterilised utensils and unhygienic procedures won't end well for you if you don't have an iron stomach. You can usually judge how good a restaurant will be by how full it is; just like you would back home! A favourite of mine is Cafe Opera on Kata Beach. Fantastic real fruit daiquiries, and super tasty meals for a great price.
|Just what you need on a humid Phuket day|
Enjoy a half an hour foot massage (~$8AUD) from a salon you can find on most corners or really indulge with an hour long package at your resort's Spa.
Go shopping! The Temple Night Markets in Karon is a favourite. A short walk from the Moevenpick Resort and Spa, these markets are great because they were out in the open and felt safe. There is no pressure to purchase and I never felt overwhelmed here like I did in most of the other enclosed markets. Remember that not all places barter, and some are more friendlier than others. A really rough guide is to barter back with 30% off the price you were given. Always give it a try though and have some fun with it!
Visit Phi Phi Island by speedboat! Snorkel with tropical fish, and visit the location where the Beach
was filmed! A gorgeous day trip that I highly recommend.
Ride an Elephant! The 4-in-1 Jungle Safari day tour was one of the highlights of my trip. It was a day filled with traditional Thai culture, cuisine and coffee!
|My delightful travel companions Sherry and Sam enjoying their ride|
This is only the beginning of the wonders that await you in Phuket, not even the tip of your dream frozen cocktail. Whether travelling solo, as a couple or a family, there is something for everyone.
Get out there and see the world!
Labels: escape travel, infinity famil, open the world to those who want to see, phuket, thailand, travel