Published: July 29th 2009May 23rd 2009
Welcome to Asia!
We finally made it out of Oceania for a 12 day trip Thailand. We did a lot in 12 days, and took A LOT of photos, so we had to split this blog into three parts:
1. Phuket - 4 days at the beach with Heidi's best friend Melissa and three other friends from NY;
2. Northern Thailand - Almost a week visiting elephants in the jungle with our friends Josh and Shaun;
3. Bangkok - a quick tour of the city during our 18 hour layover.
So - Phuket! One of the main reasons we planned our trip to Thailand was to meet up with Heidi's friend Melissa and her boyfriend Dave who had planned a two week vacation through the country. Amazingly enough, Dave had a timeshare at the Marriott resort in Phuket, and there was room for two more in the villa. So, we timed our trip to meet up with them in Phuket to spend 4 days relaxing at the beach and get in some dive time.
After almost missing our flight out of Sydney (phew!) we landed in Phuket at 9am on a beautiful, hot, humid day.
We made our way to the resort, where we were welcomed by staff that gave us flower garlands and cold drinks and promptly agreed to store our bags for the day until Dave and Melissa arrived. Having slept well on the plane we were ready to explore, and quickly got a taxi to take us to a nearby wildlife reserve. We spent the afternoon hiking across the park from one waterfall to the next, and successfully worked off our lunch and cured any lingering jetlag. (The 90 degree heat and humidity was killer!). After the hike we were ready to relax, and luckily enough, the resort was an amazing place to do that. We spent the afternoon lounging by the pool and exploring the grounds, and met up with our friends just in time for dinner. Our first Thai meal was an amazing array of food, including a tasty grilled fish served in a fish dish!
During our next three days in Phuket we took two amazing day trips. The first was a full day diving trip through the Phi Phi islands and the other areas just south-east of the main island of Phuket. It was truly a full
day - we left our resort at 7am and didn't get back until 10pm - but it was definitely worth it. The trip included 4 dives - 3 day dives and 1 night dive (our first!), and the diving was definitely some of the best we've experienced. We made friends with a German diver, Maximillian, who did all his dives with us in our group of four and luckily he had a great camera and was nice enough to send us the photos. 3 leopard sharks, a nurse shark, lion fish, scorpion fish, barracuda, and a sea snake were just some of the things we saw. Not to mention the amazing scenery and rock cliffs of the Phi Phi islands. We had perfect weaher and this trip, just on our second day, was one of our favourite parts of the entire trip.
Our second trip was to Phang Nga Bay, an area just north of Phuket. Sheer limestone cliffs jut out of the water, and there are multiple trips that take you out around the islands. Within some of the rock islands are lagoons, and the only way to get inside is to kayak through the cave tunnels that
link that sea to the internal lagoons. Since it was close to high tide when we got there, some of the caves were a pretty tight fit, and we had to lay flat while our guide manoeuvred us through the tunnels while the rock ceilings grazed our heads. The inside of the islands was stunning - incredibly peaceful, shallow lagoons with mangroves growing up from the mud, and trees hanging from above. After travelling through several islands with our kayaking guide, we were dropped at a secluded beach where matt showed off his kayaking skills.
We spent our last day relaxing by the pool, getting beachside Thai massages, and spending time with our friends. It was a great and relaxing way to start our Asian adventures, and a perfect contrast to the northern jungles yet to come. While Phuket is a fairly touristy spot, if you are keen to relax and take in the beautiful scenery you won't be disappointed.
More on northern Thailand soon to come - keep your eyes out.
Matt and Heidi
There are more photos below