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Published: October 14th 2009
Dave & Saai
on a large sofa near the outdoor bar
We’re now visiting Saai’s family in Trang (southern Thailand), but I wanted to get a blog update covering our time in Phuket where we celebrated our 1 year anniversary.
Yep, it has already been one year! Saai and I chose to return to Phuket, the popular island in Thailand, where we went on our honeymoon.
Saai and I really enjoyed our honeymoon on Phuket a year ago, and decided to return after finding another great airline deal with AirAsia. I’ve had some great deals on AirAsia over the last several years, but this deal was one of my best - 1,120 baht for 2 round trip tickets from Bangkok to Phuket. To translate, that is under 35 U.S. dollars. What about taxes, fees, etc? Included. Per person? Nope, total. As is often the case, timing is everything. I purchased the tickets 11 months in advance during a great promotion.
Last year, Saai and I spent 5 nights at Mom Tri’s Villa Royale, a very nice resort between Kata Yai and Kata Noi. This year, we upgraded to an ever nicer and more expensive resort, but shortened our stay to 2 days so we wouldn’t completely blow our budget.
Sala Villa #48
Pool and part of outdoor bathroom.
Where did we stay? Sala Phuket
. It’s a new (opened in 2008), modern 5 star resort on Mai Khao Beach (in the northwestern part of the island). Although Mai Khao Beach is the longest on the island (approx 11 km), it’s not very developed (part of a national park which means all structures are set back a ways from the sand). About 1 km away from Sala Phuket are Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Anantara Resort, and the new boutique shopping center, Turtle Village. But that’s it. There isn’t anything else around. It’s very private, and the design makes it even more so.
The Sala Phuket has 79 rooms, of which 63 are villas with private pools. There are privacy walls surrounding each of the 63 villas with private pools, and all bathrooms are outside. Although it was a little odd to have a bathroom outside, it worked just fine for us in this tropical climate. The resort is pretty amazing (check out the pics!). We could never have afforded it during the high or peak seasons, but got a great deal during the low season.
Ok…so we arrived on Phuket on the 10th. Sala Phuket picked us
From the bar area at Sala Phuket
up at the airport and made the short drive to the resort (15 minutes). As part of our package, transportation was free (which helped since transportation on the island is generally very expensive by Thai standards). Check-in was really easy with great, friendly service (as we would find throughout our stay). They brought us to our villa (Sala Villa #48), and wow! I had seen plenty of pictures (and video) but Saai hadn’t (some things should be a surprise, right???). We loved our villa.
That night we got 2 free set Thai dinners in the resort’s only restaurant (part of the promotion!). I thought the quality of the food was very good. Although the restaurant and attached bar are the closest structures to the sand, they aren’t as close as most beachfront properties on Phuket. You can’t actually see the sand from the restaurant, but you do get a pretty good view of the ocean and sunset. There are 3 main seating areas (covered patio, indoors, and rooftop). Due to the weather (rainy season), the rooftop was closed during our stay so we chose to sit on the covered patio for all of our meals (as did most other
This captures about 1/2 of our huge breakfast. Saai is holding a Spanish egg dish. Our favorite breakfast dish was the poached eggs with toasted croissant (on the plate in front of her).
The next morning, we got another free meal since breakfasts are included in the price of the room. There isn’t a breakfast buffet at the resort’s restaurant, but they offer 5-6 different breakfast combinations and some other a la carte items. Although I think they intend for most guests to stick to one breakfast set, we ordered from more than one (choosing multiple items from the Sala, Spanish & New Orleans sets) which resulted in an amazing amount of good food. In my first sitting I personally ate a waffle, an omelette, pancakes, mashed potatoes, bacon, granola with yoghurt, poached eggs over a toasted croissant with crab meat and hollandaise sauce (loved that!), iced coffee, pineapple juice, and water. Saai almost matched me. We did bring a small portion of leftovers back to our villa, but most of it was eaten in the restaurant. The plan was to eat big for breakfast, and skip lunch. Mission accomplished.
In the afternoon, we did venture over to the Marriott (which is huge and includes a timeshare section - “Vacation Club”) and Turtle Village. The common grounds of the Marriott looked very nice and I’m sure the rooms are nice
Looking towards the beach near the restaurant and main pool area.
too. Turtle Village is an upscale small outdoor shopping center with a couple of restaurants, a minimart, and retail stores. We didn’t stay away for long though. Our time at the Sala Phuket was short so we wanted to make the most of it.
That night, we celebrated our 1 year anniversary (October 11th) with a great dinner in the resort. Everything we ordered was at least very good, and some of the dishes were great. We especially liked the scallops with red curry sauce, crab cake, and the lava cake for dessert.
Unfortunately, that was our last night at Sala Phuket due to the price. We did manage to get a late check out the next day though (4:00!).
After another huge breakfast and time spent relaxing in the villa, we were off to another beach on the island - Kata Beach. As I mentioned, transportation is expensive on Phuket (by Thai standards). The best deal we could find was 700 baht for the 1 hour trip.
In Kata Beach, we stayed at the Kata Palm Resort & Spa
. This is a mid-range resort located about 10 minutes from the sand. It has a nice meandering pool (similar to
Kata Palm Resort
Our second resort on our stay in Phuket...Deluxe room
a water park), and the deluxe room we stayed in (#243) was clean and fairly new. Considering it was only 1,650 baht ($50) during the low season (including a breakfast buffet), it’s a great flashpacker/mid-range option . We didn’t have much time there since we arrived after 5:00 p.m., and checked out the next morning to go to Trang. It cost us 450 baht for the 40 minute taxi drive to Phuket (really a private driver reserved through the resort). Once at the bus station at Phuket Town, we took a 5 hour bus ride to Trang (240 baht per person for 1st class bus tickets; 190 baht for 2nd class tickets; no VIP available). As with most Thai bus trips, there were multiple stops to drop off & pick up passengers, but none lasting more than 10 minutes.
So now we’re staying at Saai’s parents’ house for a couple of nights before we leave for Phi Phi Island.
I'll try to do another update covering the remainder of our vacation after we return to Bangkok on October 17.
Look! There goes Dave (& Saai!)...
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