The central bit of Thailand was full of wonderful adventures in many cool places, and the rest of our journey was no less exciting. From Khao Sok we made our way south, to the ever popular island of Phuket. We would spend the next two weeks exploring both the island and the nearby Andaman sea.
For our first three nights in Phuket, the parentals got us a sweet set of digs in the Nai Yang beach area. The area is a nice little strip of beach south of the airport bookended by a pair of national parks. Other then enjoying the beach, eating, and doing some souvenir shopping, there is not much to do. The majority of the people there were European families with kids who were just out for a week or two of sun tanning and playing in the warm water. The sunsets here are fantastic however, and the area is an easy cab ride to most anywhere else on the island.
The hotel we stayed at was called the Nia Yang Discovery Beach Resort. It had nice little rooms in the main building with AC, and another set of cute little rooms with no AC further down the beach. The beach view room is in this little row and it has a sweet view of the beach, and AC unlike the others. The hotel staff here were very friendly and quite cute. It was a great place to stay.
The food at the restaurant was about the same as most of the other restaurants in town, but the service was a bit lack luster. It is right on the beach though, so the view is nice. Unless you get a pair of old men in thongs that decide to camp out right in front of you while you’re eating like we did, but that is a rare occurrence (I hope).
For the best grub in Nai Yang, go next door to Phen’s. It is one of the only dedicated restaurants and both the food and the service are out of this world. It doesn’t matter what you order it will be fantastic. Phen’s is also on the beach, so it is perfect for a sunset dinner.
We spent a few days here, waiting for Courtney’s brother and his partner to arrive. When they did, the real fun began. He had the great idea of getting a suit made, and since we have some weddings coming up, I thought it was a good idea. We went to William and Joseph tailors, and worked with a wonderful man named Joseph. He did a brilliant job with my suit, Clayton’s suit, Sophie’s dress, and a blouse for Courtney. We all got to pick our fabric, colour, and style and he made the suit from scratch. Including measurements, adjustments, and the making of the whole suit, it cost me about 180 US. The suit came out perfectly. It was well worth the money and I will have it for years to come. If I ever need another suit, I may just order it from him and have him post it. It will still probably be cheaper.
Now for the main attraction:
Courtney’s parents had rented a catamaran out of Phuket harbor for the week of xmas. We got on the boat a few days before and prepared ourselves for a lovely little voyage through the Andaman sea. We spent the next six days enjoying the beauty that the area had to offer on our faithful vessel the Madam Cholet.
Over the next week we visited quite a few amazing places. We visited places like Railay beach, Phi Phi Island, and Ko Rang Yai. To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to the names of the places, and I surely didn’t write any of them down, so names will be lacking from many of my descriptions. I was on vacation…
What I do know, is most of them were quite gorgeous. The water around Ko Rang Island, where we spent our first night, was clear and warm. The snorkeling was wonderful. We saw starfish, a lion fish, color changing rock fish, parrot fish, big needle fish, clown fish to name a few, along with numerous types of coral. It was a wonderful place to snorkel, especially in the evenings when the tourist boats had all gone. The island has a lovely little beach, but it is packed with speed boats disgorging hordes of tourists for much of the day, so we didn’t spend much time there.
We spent some time near the famous Phi Phi Island, and the snorkeling and swimming here were also rather nice. We went ashore and had a nice little dinner and enjoyed the beach a bit. We had Christmas dinner at Railay beach. The food was great, we had a lovely husband and wife duo, which serenaded us the whole time, and we got to watch a fire show from the deck of the boat. A lightning storm passed by a ways off so we also got to watch the lightning while we were laying around enjoying the nearly full moon. The beach just around the bend from the harbor was also beautiful, and it was well worth the visit.
Perhaps the most awesome part of the whole experience, besides the awesome camaraderie, was the all around amazing scenery. Sheer sided karsts of varying size pop up from the green/blue water. Jungle covered islands sport beautiful white sand beaches and quiet bays perfect for relaxing. The water is often clear, warm, and shallow. The wonderful variety of fish and coral made snorkeling a treat. Sadly, the wind wasn’t really in our favor so we did not get to do any real sailing along the way. All in all it was a unique and mind blowing experience, even if there were some boring moments.
When we got back to land, we stayed in Nai Yang once again. We got our suits adjusted and finished, and I will say they looked quite fantastic. The next day we took a few hours to cab down and walk around the old quarter and a bit of down town Phuket as all we had seen of it was the huge mall. We did watch Star Wars there though, so that was cool. We were not terribly impressed by the rest of down town. There were some shops and restaurants and the like, but all and all it wasn’t really worth the visit. We also briefly visited the famous Patong area. It was even more crowded with European tourists and huge hotels. I did find a nice pair of Oakley knock-offs at a stall there though.
Phuket, and Thailand in general in a lot of ways, was an interesting bit of travel for us. It was wonderful seeing Courtney’s parents and family, and we had a great time enjoying traveling with a bit bigger of a budget. The country was beautiful and there was a ton to see, but it moved a bit slower and Phuket especially felt much more like a vacation then an adventure. By the time we got on the plane we were more then ready to be done. Despite that, it was a thoroughly wonderful trip.
Also, my phone did not survive the trip, so many thanks to my love Courtney for her wonderful work as my new photographer.