A couple months ago the Hong Kong government established a special one-off holiday to mark the 70th anniversary day of the victory of the Chinese people’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression….hmmmm. While it didn’t sound like we would be ‘celebrating’ a particularly joyous event, we did appreciate an extra day off. The holiday fell on a Thursday, so we took Friday off to make it a long weekend and jetted to Phuket. We had our bags packed and ready to go, and took off right after work on Wednesday. Yay Thailand!
Here’s what we loved about our little weekend getaway to Phuket:
We flew with Thai Airways and really enjoyed their service. They’re a Star Alliance partner, so we were able to collect Aeroplan points too, which was a nice bonus. They were super friendly, the food was good, and we had individual TV’s at our seat, so the time passed quickly. On the way there we had a layover in Bangkok and on the second leg the plane wasn’t full and I snagged a row to lie down and sleep. On the way home we flew direct, which was really nice. It was a 3 hour direct flight.
Airport to Hotel
Braden knew our flight would be arriving in Phuket quite late (after midnight) and had transportation organized for when we landed. He booked with Phuket Shuttle, which was a private service for the hour drive from the airport to the hotel. It was so nice not to have to worry about this part of the plan, although I do have to say, I was hoping to see someone standing and waiting with our name on a piece of paper. I’ve always wanted that (how dumb)!
Our booking was quite last minute, but Braden found us a great place to stay: the Amari Phuket. It met what seems to becoming our formula for accommodation location. We prefer something a bit removed from the busy part of town, but accessible by foot or scooter. Amari was perfect – on the outskirt of Patong. It has an older section and a newer area, which is where we were. It was nice to be somewhere shiny and new, and everything worked perfectly. The site is quite hilly, so a few times we took advantage of the golf carts to take us from the lobby to our room. Nice!
I loved the pool at our hotel. It was attached to The Clubhouse, where we had breakfast (included) every morning. It was for the use of guests in the newer area of the resort and was never very busy. It wasn’t large, but it had a fabulous view of the bay below. I was quite happy to spend many hours camped out on a lounge chair under an umbrella, jumping in to the pool to cool off.
We rented scooters last time we were in Thailand. We were pretty excited to get scoots again, and Braden found a place just down the road to rent them. We had to pay upfront (I think it worked out to about $15 per day per bike) and we also had to leave a piece of ID as collateral. We each got our own bike because then we both got to ride and Braden prefers not to have me on the back (is he calling me fat?!!?) We took the scoots out to explore, go for meals, find new beaches, and see more of the island. Gas was cheap and the roads felt safe (well-marked and well-paved) and the traffic was very organized. Last time we rented scoots one said “Scoopy” on the side, and the other said “Wow”, so we called our scoots Scoopy and Wow, as in “should we take Scoopy and Wow to the market?” etc. This time they actually both said Scoopy but we decided that Scoopy and Wow were such a dynamic duo that we should continue with the same names. We actually never decided whose was whose – it’s just always Scoppy & Wow. We love you Scoopy and Wow! Thank you for being our trusty scoots!
We didn’t spend much time at the beach. We were quite happy to hang out by the pool, and the weather was a bit iffy, so it was easier to duck back to our hotel room when it rained rather than trekking to the beach and getting caught in a monsoon. I think it might be rainy season. The beach we saw the most was Patong Beach which is know for its turquoise waters and nice sand (and also riptides, from what I read). We, of course, checked it out, but didn’t spend much time there.
Our scoots took us all over the place and we found many little places that we wouldn’t have discovered if we didn’t have them to jet around on.
We love Thai food. It is so tasty and so cheap and the service is always good. Braden is great about researching places on Trip Advisor and we always seem to find good restaurants in Thailand; Phuket was no exception. I didn’t take photos of most of the places, but we had excellent Thai curries, pad thai, coconut prawns, satays, spring rolls and, of course, cheap beer. Loved it.
Thailand is known for their abundance of spas, which offer great, cheap massages. We always say “let’s get a massage every day we’re in Thailand” and it never seems to happen. This trip was no exception – for some reason we only went once. I think it cost us about 300฿ (Baht) each ($12 CAD) for an hour, and we both had an excellent massages. The place we chose, which was in the Kata Beach area (found on one of our scooter excursions) was incredibly clean and, though it had a small shopfront, opened up in to a massive multi-storey building that was lovely and clean. We should have gone back, and I wish I knew the name so I could recommend it. There was even a massage place at the airport (more expensive but still so reasonable). Now THAT is a good way to pass the time while waiting at the airport!
We said this last time we were in Thailand, and we’ll say it again: the Thai folks are lovely. They always seem to be smiling. They are friendly, pleasant, polite and happy. It’s a pleasure to be around them and they are just so obliging. Thank you, Thailand!
So, Sunday we reluctantly packed our bags and headed back to Hong Kong, with basically the reverse itinerary from our arrival. We landed in Hong Kong with just enough time to get back home, unpack, throw in a load of laundry, and get ready for the work week ahead. We feel so fortunate to be able to take a weekend jaunt to such an exotic place. We are taking advantage of easy flights from Hong Kong and so happy to be doing so!