A Travellerspoint blog

September 2011

Sawadee Thailand!

Last stop, Phuket!

sunny 30 °C

Phuket was our last stop in Thailand. I’m glad we only stayed two nights in Patong, as Phuket didn’t feel especially Thai, and certainly the most westernized spot we had visited in the country. Good shopping, great international food options, tons of tourists and a fun spot for partying, but that’s about it. We stayed here as we needed to fly out of Phuket to Malaysia, but we wouldn’t really recommend Patong. Although we heard there are some nicer spots elsewhere on Phuket island.

We stayed at The Nap Hotel near Patong Beach. The hotel was really great, very new andclean (aside from a few teensy tiny ants in our room, but they sorted us out, and it is kind of unavoidable in Thailand). We passed a lot of mediocre hotels on our way to Patong from the Phuket airport, so were pleased with our choice. Here are a few photos:

One of the nicer spots in Patong is Patong Beach. We strolled through one afternoon. It is pretty long and once again, massages on the beach are always an option!

Along the beach, and all over Thailand during our visit, we saw many enlarged portraits of their Queen, Queen Sirikit, such as this one.
As the Queen is also regarded as mother to all Thai people, her birthday is also celebrated as ‘Mother’s Day' on 12th August every year since 1976 (the King’s birthday is Father’s Day, too). For this occasion, people all around the country raise national flags and houses are decorate with the portrait of Her Majesty the Queen. This is their way of expressing their loyalty and honor to her. Following the Thai tradition, kids kneel down before their mother to show their love and gratitude. They present her with white jasmine flowers or garlands, in return, mother shower her blessings on kids. On this day, white jasmine flowers are a common sight in Thailand as they are the symbol of maternal love.

We used our time in Patong to get organized for our the next leg of our adventure. We stocked up on some baby items at their big grocery store, Big C.The local tour booking agency near our hotel also did laundry very cheap, so we had some washing done. The lady who owned the agency wasn’t in when we came by, so the man who owned the shop next door told us to just leave our clothes outside the door and he would tell her what we wanted. We crossed our fingers and luckily all was washed and folded by the next day. 7 kgs of clothes for about 5 GBP! Here's Naim picking up the washing!

I got beautified and had my eyebrows done in one of the hundreds of beauty salons and massage parlours around town, and Zavian reviewed a list of treatments he was considering.

Check us out indulging in some authentic Thai experiences before departing:

Hanging out with Alien and Predator!

Having a kebab!

Hee hee!

We packed our bags and prepared for our next spot, Kuala Lumpur. But not without saying the traditional greeting of Sawadee! See our friend Ronnie doing the greeting here.
We heard this greeting (insert info on meaning, etc,) throughout our trip, always accompanied by a warm smile. Sawadee is a polite hello or goodbye, and is followed by "khrap/krup" for men, and "kha" for women (Zavian often got that! ha). You do not shake hands but make a "wai". Both hands are put together as if in prayer. As higher the hands are hold, as higher is the social position of the person greeted. The wai originated from an ancient greeting that was done to show neither individual had any weapons.

Thailand was a fascinating country, and we will always remember our time here and look forward to exploring it more again. In the meantime, thank you and sawadeeeeee!

Posted by jknazef 10:37 Archived in Thailand Tagged phuket patong Comments (0)

Koh Phi Phi Islands

sunny 32 °C

It was sad to leave Krabi Island behind, and the early start made it even sadder, but we gobbled up our last fabulous breakfast at the Centara Resort, snatched up a mini tub of plain yogurt from the buffet for Zavian to have with his lunch (he has become a total yogurt lover on holiday) and hopped aboard our ferry to the Koh Phi Phi Islands. It lasted about 3 hours and and rained a little, but fingers crossed it would be brighter in Phi Phi. We passed some gorgeous islands on the way, including Chicken Island, which we didn't have a chance to visit, but perhaps next time. See if you can make out the chicken head and neck in the second photo.


We first arrived in Phi Phi's Tonsai Bay, from where we would have to take a longtail boat to our hotel. The Phi Phi Islands are along the western Andaman seacoast. It is made up of 2 islands, Phi Phi Don, the larger of the two and the only one with permanent inhabitants. Phi Phi Ley is also visited for its beaches, and of course, Maya Bay, where the movie The Beach was filmed (hello Leonardo!). Tonsai Bay is the only port, and our hotel was a 40 minute longtail ride away. We didn't really know how secluded our hotel was, and how easy it would be to get back to Tonsai Bay, so I decided we needed to stock up on baby supplies. We couldn't haul all our luggage and baby around Tonsai Bay, so Naim stayed with the bags and haggled with some boat drivers on a price to get to the hotel while I strapped baby on for a mission for formula and nappies. I first checked 7-11 (they are everywhere in Thailand, even on tiny islands!), but no luck. Then the pharmacy next door, who told me I should check the grocery store. I eventually found it and low and behold, all the formula info was in Thai! From my baby item research before the trip, I could recognise the brands and wanted to get Wyeth S-26, which is closest to what Zavian used while we were in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, I couldn't read the age or anything else for that matter! So I had to ask the woman at the register who tried to explain to me in broken English, and I just hoped she was right (then later needed someone at the hotel to translate the directions). So I bought that and some nappies and thanked the lord I stocked up Zavian's jarred food while in Krabi which had a much larger selection compared to NONE in Phi Phi. By then it had started raining hard so I opened up my umbrella (word of advice, never listen to your husband when he tells you there is no need to pack an umbrella for your trip to Asia during monsoon season) and we raced back to Naim. All aboard to the hotel!

Our hotel in the distance

It was a good thing we stocked up, as we learned upon arrival that there is no way to get anywhere without taking a boat, as the interior of the island is all jungle and you can't walk it and there are no cars! We arrived at The Holiday Inn Phi Phi. The hotel grounds are lush and tropical and they have a very nice beach, but all the activity is centered around the hotel and the activities it offers. You must eat all your meals there (unless you discover the hidden gem, Jasmin restaurant, but no staff will tell you about it, thank you Tripadvisor), and book your boats at hotel prices (unless you find the same boat guys who work for the hotel but will give you cheaper prices if you book with them, and coincidentally they are located right next to Jasmin). We didn't like the bungalow they gave us, and the baby cot they had for Zavian must have been a child's prison in a former life (it was grey, metal and a recipe for disaster), so I asked the manager if we could change rooms. We read on Tripadvisor that there is a newer section of the resort and we were going to try our hardest to get into one of those rooms! So I followed this tiny little manager man around (who I swear was wearing makeup) and who was probably the most uncheerful Thai person I had met thus far on the trip. He reluctantly let us take the furthest room away in the new section, told us he couldn't put a baby cot in the room and that he really should charge us another 1000 bhat per night for the room, but he didn't, and we were happy as the room was a million times better and had a great back porch with a semi-ocean view where we could chill out while Zavian napped. Some pics of the resort.

How often do you see a sign like this?
Or this one?

Also, we arrived just in time for toad mating season. We, amongst the other hotel guests, were astounded by the extremely loud croaking that began for 2 nights around dusk. We had never heard such a sound, and there were thousands. Here's a pic of a little one that crossed our path.

Our time here was very relaxed. Maybe too relaxed as after a while we started to get a little bored. Perhaps 3 nights would have been sufficient in Phi Phi. Can't complain too much though! We did some crab searching at low tide, enjoyed gorgeous sunsets from their Sunset Bar, swam and just chilled out.

Delicious meals on the beach at Jasmin.

Our big adventure was a early morning longtail boat ride to Phi Phi Ley, to check out some of the amazing beauty, and of course The Beach. IMG_2123.jpg
Viking Caves where you can find bird's nests for bird's nest soup! See the bamboo scaffolding they climb.
Phi Phi Lagoon, or "Blue Lagoon." The most stunning and serene spot. We were the only boat inside.
Maya Beach, The Beach, was pretty, but if you arrive after 10 AM is packed with tourists. It is a pretty beach, but there is an extra set of cliffs the moviemakers added to the background, to make it look like a lagoon, which it really isn't. We learned that the residents were really upset after the making of the film, because of some damage to the beaches by all their boats and equipment, but the tsunami later wiped it all out and actually restored the land back to its original beauty. No Leonardo at the beach, to my dismay!

Tonsai Bay, where we did our baby shopping.

And take a look at the teeth progression. First in Italy, second in Thailand!

Posted by jknazef 23:50 Archived in Thailand Tagged beach the thailand phi maya Comments (0)

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