Following a few busy and fun days in Bangkok, it was time to fly south in Thailand to Phuket, for what was to be for us all; a Holiday. The girls (Lily and Izzy) love flying, so it was another exciting day for them, we all once again crammed in to one Bangkok taxi and headed off towards the airport, a short flight later we landed in Phuket and we got picked up to go to Kamala for the first five nights, a quiet beach town away from the hectic main town of Patong.
Kamala is one of the towns that was decimated by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, here there is a statue and tribute to the victims of the tsunami.
In Kamala, Kay, Ian and the girls all stayed in a new hotel whilst we stayed just down the road in a smaller cheaper guesthouse because the rooms in the hotel were too expensive for us, the advantage of this was that both places had a swimming pool so we could use both and the girls actually preferred the pool in our guesthouse because it was a better place for them to play around.
In the five days we were there, Isabelle went from being afraid of the water and wearing a swim-vest, to losing the swim-vest, learning to swim unaided and doing dives and front flips off the pool-side. At the same time, Lily learned to swim confidently and under-water and learned to dive excellently, they both absolutely loved the time spent around the pool and were uninterested in the beach (which isn’t great here) as they prefered the pool.
The girls got their first ever Thai Banana Pancake here, a ritual for the first-timer in Thailand we think. Lily also found her love for curry, a Penang chicken curry with chicken fried rice has just the right amount of meat, spice and sauce for her it would seem.
One of the reasons we chose to be in Thailand at this time of year when they would all come out to meet us was because of the Thai New Year Festival, Songkran, from 13-15th April. For those who don’t know, this is a very significant festival for the Thai people, but to foreigners is just known to be the worlds biggest water-fight, of course we had to take part and buy the biggest water guns we could find.
On the day before the festival would start, we got a ‘party tuk-tuk’ from Kamala to Phuket’s main town, Patong. We went with the intention of seeing it before it got crazy during Songkran, of course, nobody in Patong seemed to realise it was only the 12th, and the water fight was already in full swing here.
We had gone there drastically unprepared, without water guns, or protection for our phones, so after several minutes of being drenched whilst sat in the party tuk-tuk, we eventually bailed out and in to a 7-11 to stock up on water guns and plastic bags. We then walked around Patong, which had a great party atmosphere in places, but a sense of drunk foreigners being stupid in other places, until we were all soaked, except Isabelle, who didn’t really like it, so was carried around by her dad and the water guns stayed away from her direction. We then ate some food and headed back to Kamala.
Note for those who haven’t figured it out yet, a party tuk-tuk, is just a tuk-tuk, but with huge speakers blasting out loud music which the girls (and the adults) loved.
The next day the Songkran festival would start in Kamala, so we all got water guns and headed out in to the main street where it would all take place. Not long before this, me and Stac had gone to get us all some take-away Thai food for lunch and we got caught in a tropical downpour whilst waiting for the food and saw what was the most Thai way of celebrating Songkran ever we think; a guy had genuinely brought what appeared to be a fire-truck to the main road spray people with, so if the rain wasn’t soaking everybody enough, this local made sure of it.
After armouring up, we headed down to the road where we had an amazing time, the party was mainly just locals having a great time with the few tourists and expats that were here, the atmosphere was incredible, everybody joined in and even the girls loved getting wet and wetting others. A water fight where even a four-year-old enjoys it, another magical part of Thailand.
The evenings were mainly spent sat around chatting in the nice hotel, having a few drinks, playing drinking games, which the girls participated in (obviously, only with chocolate milk) and laughing so much that it hurt.
Party tuk-tuks, Ian getting broken, little men in the shower, water fights and no-shoes dabbing were just highlights of the amazing times we all had together.
After our five days in Kamala, we would move to another beach in the very south of Phuket; called Rawai. A quiet place with not much here, but a main base for boat trips to the local islands.
We ate by the sea-front on the first day with some amazing views of the nearby islands and the girls enjoyed a coconut whilst we had lunch the Thai way; with a bottle of Sangsom (Local Whiskey), sprite and a box of ice.
There appeared to be something missing from Rawai to us all, there didn’t appear to be really any tourists here at all, it was a quiet, sleepy area with not that much around. We still managed to find decent food every day and enjoyed an incredible day out at a nearby island on one of the days, but again, the highlight to the girls seemed to be just having fun around the pool and enjoying themselves, it was amazing to see them again every day after not seeing them for so long.
The place where we stayed had a resident beagle, called Jack, who obviously got a lot of attention from us all (mainly Stac).
One day, we organised a boat trip with one of the locals to take us around a couple of the nearby islands on a long-tail boat, this day was amazing, we stopped off first in quite a rough bay, but the snorkelling was amazing and even the girls got in the sea straight from the boat to have a swim. Because the sea was quite rough here, we unfortunately couldn’t stay too long, and after I got stung by a Jellyfish (only a tiny one) we decided it was time to get the girls out of the water and move on.
The next stop was Banana Beach, the paradise beach that the brochures for Thailand show you, it was as stunning as it looks. Soft white sand, warm crystal-clear shallow water, and amazing snorkelling. All of us, except Izzy, spent hours taking it in turns snorkelling around the coral and seeing an amazing array underwater life; tropical fish that you would normally expect to see in an aquarium surrounded us at all times, star-fish and other creatures kept us all interested.
We also spent an evening watching the sunset at the southern-most point of Phuket; Promthep Cape. The views of the sunset, and the colours of the sky were stunning, it was just a shame the nearby beach, that we had been told was very nice, wasn’t nice at all, so we left it very soon after arriving. We’re not sure if it was just because of the season, but it certainly wasn’t a patch on the other beach we had visited.
We had very kindly been given some money by family to treat us all to a nice meal at some point during the holiday, we found a very nice Italian restaurant and had quite an amazing meal, soups, pasta, mixed grills, fresh prawns (which the Italian chef came out to explain the dish and check it was amazing as he wanted it to be) washed down with lots of good wine and a couple of tasty chocolate deserts made it in an incredible meal. It’s these times that we will remember, very special to us all.
Unfortunately, it seemed only five minutes since they arrived but it was the day before they had to fly back home already. We did actually manage to spend the day not thinking about this though and had a great fun day by the pool with a few drinks and a delicious dinner to finish off the holiday with, an incredible two weeks spent with amazing people having the best fun we could possibly have.
Of the two weeks we spent together, Isabelle has decided that us messing around in the street on the last night (a long story) was her favourite part of the holiday. As anybody who has met her already knows, she is hilarious.
The day had come that we had to say ‘see you soon’, we all took a minibus up to Phuket Airport, they had a flight to Bangkok, we had to somehow get a couple of hundred kilometers to Krabi, but had heard many conflicting stories about buses. We told the minibus driver our situation, he put us back in the bus at the airport and drove us to the main road where he stood and waited with us while he flagged us down a bus going the right way and sent us on our way. The typical kindness of the amazing Thai people shining through once again.
We clambered on to the locals bus through the back door of the bus, you know, the part where the engine usually is, and got the last two seats on the bus full of locals watching a very loud Thai martial arts film, this would continue for the next three and a half hours to Krabi, we had gone back to the ‘Travelling’ lifestyle with a bang 🙂
Final note; a very special update may appear on this post soon written by a very clever young lady, so keep checking back.