We have completed our trip to end all trips. Three countries in Southeast Asia over thirteen days (unfortunately 3 of those days were just for travel). And since it was so big…I’m going to be breaking this up into two posts. We left Sydney on Thursday, November 1st and headed to Phuket, Thailand. We had an 8 hour trip to Singapore and then an hour and a half flight to Phuket. The 8 hour trip didn’t seem that long…it probably helped that we got two meals during the flight. Shoot…we even got a meal on the shorter flight. Here is Wesley enjoying an in-flight meal with his feet up:
This was to be the beach portion of the trip. We spent close to seven full days in Phuket. For the most part, we stayed at the resort to play in the pool, lay on the beach and eat…I’ll get to that. In the midst of that relaxation, we did take a few excursions.
On Saturday, we took a trip to the Naka night market in Phuket Town. We had about a 45 minute taxi ride to the market. And driving seems to be an adventure. MANY people drive scooters and there seems to be no enforced rules of the road. Weaving in and out of traffic, going the wrong way, letting your child ride in front of you without a helmet…it was a sight to see. The market was what you would expect to see…cheap goods and food. We had planned on eating there as well but it was so hot walking around that we didn’t even bother. Luckily, we found some shirts and Aimee bought some sandals and a fan for Wesley to play with. Here is Wesley in what would become a familiar position during our time away…being held by Aimee:
On Monday, we went on an elephant trekking excursion. Even though the elephant was the main reason for going, the tour included a few other activities. We took a short walk up to see the Bang Pae Waterfall. It was another hot one and Wesley was not very happy being carried by Dad. It did allow us, however, to take one of our few family photos (with our faces full of sweat):
Then, it was time to be carted around by a water buffalo for a few minutes. This was a very big creature. The tour people were nice enough to take pictures for us along the way so this one certainly gives you an idea of just how big this animal was:
Finally, it was time for our elephant trek. It is amazing that we all stayed on this little bench atop the elephant only secured by a loose fitting rope. Our “mahout” (driver) was directing the elephant while sitting on top of his head. It was about a 30 minute walk through the jungle. When it was walking on flat ground, no big deal. When it was going down a few steps…wow. There was certainly the possibility to fall out with every step he took. Wesley wasn’t all that pleased with the ride but at least he wasn’t crying. Here we are during the ride:
On Tuesday, we had our big excursion to Phi Phi Leh Island. If you look at a map of Thailand, there are a large group of islands in the Southern part of the country. There are many different boat trips you can take to different islands in this area. Now, you probably think that this was an easy way to get away from the mainland…not so. This is a big operation. We saw boats and people everywhere. The beach at our resort, Mai Khao Beach, was much more secluded then this group of islands. We did, however, have a very fun time. There was a real threat of rain in the area that day, but all we saw was sun. The speed boat we were on took us to a couple different destinations. The second stop we made was at Phi Phi Don Island. We had about 45 minutes to play in the waves and on the beach. Here is Wesley and Aimee in front of a long tail boat:
The boat also made a few stops where we just looked and took pictures from our speedboat as opposed to getting out. The first stop was at Monkey Beach where wild monkeys were playing on the beach. We did not get out because the monkeys have been known to bite people. That, however, did not stop operators from other boat companies to let people on the beach. We also stopped at a place called Viking Cave which made for some interesting pictures. We also stopped at Pileh Cove which was used during the shooting of Tomorrow Never Dies. Funny enough…I saw a “Jame Bond” boat there:
The next stop was at Mosquito Cove. I was able to get out for a while and do some snorkeling. Wesley and Aimee watched from the boat and Wesley was able to feed the fish:
The final spot was Maya Bay which is where they shot The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. Here is a shot looking out of the bay…Aimee was loving the emerald colored water:
Wesley had an absolute ball playing in the water. With the movement of incoming and outgoing boats, we got just the right amount of small waves. Wesley was jumping all over and getting knocked down by the waves. I’m sure he didn’t want to leave:
Then, it was time to head back. After all that hard work, Wesley quietly ate two pieces of watermelon on the boat. I always laugh when kids his age are really hungry. It’s like nothing else exists in the world.
As I mentioned above, the rest of the time was eating and playing. Let me start by saying that Phuket was a great destination for us. It was inexpensive. The location was tremendous. The food was excellent. And, the service was amazing. We were told before we left that the Thai people love children. I can confirm that. During our excursions, he was approached many times by the locals. And the people at the resort were especially nice to him…a few even went as far to pick him up and carry him around for a bit. Luckily, we had no bouts of stranger danger. A woman named Ginny who we saw almost every morning at breakfast was particularly fond of him. She would often say, “Ginny love you” to him which Aimee and I got a kick out of. We ate every single meal at the resort or a nearby resort. Personally, I’ve grown to love the coconut milk-based curries that are a big part of Thai cuisine. Here we are during one of our meals:
Our resort was situated on Mai Khao Beach. The sand on the beach was very coarse, but like so many of the beaches we have been on, there was practically no one around. The more popular beach in Phuket is Patong, but it is mostly for the young and single…not really our demographic any more. The ocean was one of the more dangerous bodies of water I have been in when considering the undertow. First, there was a dramatic drop off just a few yards from the shore. And, if you weren’t careful, you could easily get knocked down. We took Wesley there a couple times and held on tight, but he just wasn’t a fan. He preferred the waves on Phi Phi Island.
So, the pool became our go-to destination when we went outside. They had a kids pool that we went to once, but the “adult” pool was much more interesting. There was a very shallow part on one end with a whirlpool. Then, a little deeper area where you could swim laps. Wesley just liked walking around the shallow area and playing with his favorite toy on the trip, a purple watering pot. Toward the end of the trip, he got much more comfortable in the water and enjoyed jumping from the shallow end to the deeper end. We did this one morning for so long that we completely lost track of time. He also likes being underwater way too much. We are probably at a point where he is going to have to learn the hard way that you can’t be underwater for a long time. Here he is in the pool, relaxing with some water and getting a spin from Aimee:
And just for fun, a couple funny ones…here he is posing in the lobby before going to dinner one night and taking care of a little business before we had to head home:
Our last day was Thursday and we only had a chance for a short dip in the pool before heading to the airport. As a finale, here is a sunset shot over Mai Khao Beach:
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