December 21, 2013

Phuket (Day 4 and 5, 20 & 21 Dec 2014)

We're home! 

Didn't really do much today except have breakfast, take a final walk along the stretch of shops outside the hotel and before you know it, it was time to check out and depart for the airport. The flight was delayed for almost an hour, which was unusual so we killed time using up our last baht in DFS. 
Yesterday we went elephant trekking which the travel partner Nick works with in Bangkok helped to arrange through their local office. It was a lot bumpier than I expected and I kept feeling like our seat was going to fall off. I paired up with Nat while Sasha went with her daddy. We had a pregnant elephant and the mahout coaxed her along as she ambled along the uneven terrain. 
We were 'held hostage' at one point when the mahouts stopped to help us take photos etc but very quickly fished out a box of elephant trinkets and persuaded us to purchase for good luck. I felt compelled to buy because I didn't want to be stranded on top of an elephant in the middle of nowhere! 

After the excursion, we were brought back to the hotel and we tried their Italian restaurant. Again, kids eat free so they lapped up their carbonara while I had a prawn, scallop and tomato linguine which was very affordable by hotel standards and fresh too...about $12? 
We said goodbye to the froggies and on the way back to the room, there was a giant teddy bear sitting all alone in the courtyard. Coincidentally, I had just watched the movie 'Ted' the night before so I did wonder if the bear would come alive! Nick had a conversation with him. 
We had one last swim in the kids pool before hunting for hermit crabs and seashells on the beach. It's a pity we didn't spend more time on the beach but Patong isn't particularly secluded and the shoreline looked more inviting in Kata, Karon etc. Next time we shall stay there. 
Dinner was at a place called Cafe del Mar which we stumbled upon along the Patong stretch. They had a reasonably priced set meal for 2 and we just added a horfun for the kids. 
It was a nice end to our brief holiday and I daresay we shall be back. The kids loved running up and down the long hallways at the hotel and if they remember nothing else about the trip, they will certainly remember that! 

December 19, 2013

Phuket (Day 3, 19 Dec 2014)

We did some proper sightseeing today, I had booked a driver for 6 hours, whom I found on the internet and he seemed to have lots of positive reviews. His name was Mr Chai and he picked us up in one of those massive four wheel drives. Coincidentally he told us his office was just across the road from the hotel so I guess we were convenient for him.
First stop was Promthep Cape, the southern tip of Phuket. This is a famous spot to catch the sunset but I didn't want to drag the children here in the evening considering its distance to our hotel. The water blended with the sky far into the horizon and while it's a scenic spot, there isn't much else to see or do there except to snap a few pictures of the ocean and the rocky outcrop.

We were amused by the sight of some PRC tourists dressed in colourful Hawaiian shirts and sarongs. And also Korean ladies, or maybe they were Chinese, standing on some rocks and posing with their scarves above their heads, blowing in the wind. 

After Promthep Cape, we made our way to the Big Buddha statue which is still a work in progress. It's quite big, on the top of a hill and since I was wearing shorts, I had to use one of the free sarongs available to cover my legs. 
We asked Mr Chai for a recommendation on lunch and he brought us to a big restaurant called Kan Eang by the pier. Food was so-so, my tom yam was tasteless though I requested for less spicy...there was no spice at all. But the venue itself was pretty chilled and it was nice to be able to sit by the water, and the ponds, waterlilies and koi fish kept the girls entertained. 
After lunch, we went in search of an animal attraction only to discover it had closed down. So instead we drove past the Portuguese-influenced shophouses in Old Phuket Town, which felt like we were in Malacca or Joo Chiat. 
Decided to take refuge at the Central Festival Mall and I bought the mums tops from Jim Thompson and while Nick had tea with the girls, I did a quick recce around the mall, found the supermarket and loaded up on Thai spice mixes. Mr Chai sent us back to the hotel after that and the whole cost of the private tour set us back only about 1500 baht or about SGD$10 an hour. 

After dumping our purchases, we walked to Jungceylon, which is the main mall in Patong. Had dinner at Coca and watched the fountain show. Some breakdancing buskers showed off their moves, impressing the kids and we rounded up the day by taking a tuk tuk back. It was the girls' first ride and they were amazed at the vehicle's flashing neon lights! 

December 18, 2013

Phuket (Day 1 and 2, 17 & 18 Dec 2013)

We're here in sunny Phuket to spend some quality time with the girls and also to minimize having to do housework while Geraldine's on home leave! Poor Noah is back in Singapore while we say hello to the sun, sand and sea!
Home for the next few days is the Holiday Inn Resort Patong which is pretty kid friendly, especially since they have a kids club and kids eat free all the time. Plus it's just across the road from Patong Beach! 
We took a late afternoon flight yesterday and by the time we reached the hotel, it was dark and so we just ate in.

This morning en route to breakfast, we got to see more of the hotel and the girls were thrilled to find that the hotel's ponds are full of tiny little frogs. That should keep them busy...spotting frogs! After breakfast we went to recce the beach and the kids picked up some seashells. Didn't linger but instead we went back to the room to change because they wanted to swim in the kids pool.
After swimming, we headed out to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe which was just opposite the hotel. Then we started browsing the street shops and Nick found a tailor to make some pants.
Nat is very happy on this trip because I allowed her to paste nail stickers on her fingers but they won't last very long. We had dinner at a deserted restaurant along Patong, local food on this stretch ain't that cheap by Thai standards. 
During dinner we spotted sky lanterns being released and that's just what we did once we had finished our meal. The girls had their Rapunzel/Tangled moment!