Days 41-43: A Five-Star Beach

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November 24th 2009
Published: December 7th 2009
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The Hilton as seen from Karon Beach.
Angelique's aunt and uncle are beach connoisseurs and have developed a complex rating system for beaches, including variables such as sand quality, air temperature, a crowding factor, and water color, clarity and temperature, among others. We can't pretend to understand the system fully but we're pretty sure that Karon Beach would earn a five-star rating.

We're having a lovely time here. It's hot, hot, hot - about 95F - but the beach and pool make it easy to stay outdoors most of the day. There's a lot to do on and near Phuket but we're just enjoying being lazy. We won't bore you with the heavenly (to us, maybe not so much for you since it may be cold and raining where you are) details, but here is a snapshot of a day in Phuket:

- Wake up late, put on our bathing suits and shorts and wander down to the little cafe at our hotel for lattes and croissants served by our lovely, smiling coffee ladies
- 9am - Park ourselves in comfy shaded lounge chairs on the the beach. Enjoy the fine white sands and clear blue/green waters of the Andaman Sea. Two lounge chairs with a

Karon Beach in the morning. Very quiet.
large umbrella for sun protection are 200 Baht (about $6 USD) for the day.
- 10:30am - interrupt our supine position to enjoy a mid-morning Coke or coconut
- Periodically float in the warm clear water of the ocean and surf in the gentle waves
- 1:30pm- migrate back to the resort and enjoy a late lunch pool-side
- Afternoon - Reading pool-side or exploring the Karon Beach community (including the mini-marts where we stock up on bottled water, beer and snacks)
- 5 p.m. head to the gym for a workout. Afterwards sit on deck chairs on the balcony and enjoy the sunset.
- 7 p.m. Have a lovely dinner at the resort or in town
- Go to sleep.
- Next day: repeat!

November/December is the high season for Phuket but luckily it is never crowded on the beach. Most of our fellow sun and sand worshippers are European. Angelique just loves that there are gorgeous women here in all shapes, sizes and ages and 90% of them (not the Americans) wear bikinis and seem intent on enjoying the beach rather than worrying about how they look.

The Hilton has a distinct Euro feel to it.

Karon Beach
Curiously, there are a lot of Russians here (the entire "library" in the business center is comprised of Russian books). We're not sure why. . . is it just this resort or all of Karon Beach? We think the latter as we hear a lot of Russian being spoken on the beach. There are a lot of Italians here too. Only a handful of Brits/Australians and as far as we can tell no Americans whatsoever. An interesting mix of visitors - one that we haven't seen elsewhere in SE Asia.

As mentioned earlier in our blog there are many things to do in Phuket besides lying around like an Orca. Such activities include:

- Taking a boat or kayak trip out among the islands, either during the day or at sunset. Koh Phi Phi where the movie "The Beach" was filmed is famous for its sugar-white sands and even bluer water than Karon Beach (it was also one of the areas hit hardest by the tsunami in late 2004). Unfortunately, Koh Phi Phi is overrun with people. On most days during the high season, there isn't even room to spread out a towel on the beach. However, there

Sunset viewed from the south end of Karon beach.
seem to be other ways to get away from the crowds and have your own private piece of paradise.
- Kayaking around dramatic limestone karst formations nearby in Phang Nga Bay and exploring caves. One popular site is "James Bond" island, the island that appeared in "The Man with the Golden Gun".
- Diving, snorkeling, parasailing and other water sports
- Visiting elephants, exploring rubber plantations, trekking in jungles, seeing Buddhist temples, golfing, and visiting a shooting range.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Phuket and would recommend the Hilton. The Royal Villas down on Kata Beach (just south of Karon Beach) are also worth a look. The Royal Villas were completely booked during our visit.

Tomorrow we leave the sun and the sand for one more night in Bangkok. Then we're off to what we think will be a trip highlight: Burma!

Additional photos below
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Sunset viewed from the south end of Karon beach.

Relaxing with our books on Karon beach

Time for a swim.

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