Phuket & Phi Phi Islands Thailand
Leaving Singapore for a direct flight to Phuket Thailand, we had traded our Cape Kiwanda place for a week at the Marriott Beach Club and a good size 2 bedroom villa with kitchen.
Stellar facilities with over 7 restaurants
They have 3 pools. One with a swim up bar.
The nice hotel beach with super soft sand. This area didn’t get hit too badly by the tsunami but further south it was devastating. Two of our taxi cab drivers lost people they knew. The entire area has now tripled in terms of population and hotels since 2004.
I got an hour long beach massage for just $18. 500 Baht = $18.
A predominately Buddhist culture, with a fair number of Muslims, I went to the English speaking church service at 2pm here. The mornings and evening Thai services are packed out. The pastor has recently started 30 churches all over Thailand and Christianity is spreading there.
One day we went to the Upside house. Or you can believe I’m super strong.
At Tiger Kingdom where we got to pose (from behind only) with 3 adult tigers. We could touch their tails, back paws and flanks…not their heads. No lawsuit baby. These tigers are incredibly muscular, very active and playful-like big cats. All are domesticated. Note: all Tigers have white spots behind their ears (so it looks like eyes for protection) and are larger than lions. Learn something every day!
They distracted them with chicken meat on a stick and also by shaking a long pole with bamboo leaves.
We then went to a huge Buddhist temple area: Wat Chalong.
Then we drove through Phuket to catch the view and sunset at Promthep Cape viewpoint. On the way, we saw cable nightmares and the Big Buddha on top of the hill.
Mini worship Temples are everywhere.
As well as memorials to the New King. His father died 2 years ago at age 86 and was very beloved.
Another evening we went to the Fantasea Palace of Elephants show. Lots of glitter, like a Disneyland without the rides. The show was a mish-mash of acrobatics, jugglers, magicians, dancers and 18 Elephants on the stage.
After researching quality tours (that DON’T mistreat the Elephants) we took the Elephant Trail Guides Tour. First stop was the Monkey Temple where long tailed monkeys hung out begging. SOOOO cute!
After a waterfall stop, we got to ride on Elephants. Eventually, the trainer let us be solo on them.
From my observations, the elephants seemed well cared for and loved by their trainers. No bruises or marks were seen and they were watered, feed and rubbed frequently.
We concluded our tour with a river raft trip. When I looked at the river, it was mostly rocks, but the guide said the dam will be letting out water soon. Shortly, the water came rushing down and so did 50 rafts all pile in at once (as the dam then shuts off the flow after 30 minutes). Everyone was splashing each other with warm water (NOT like the McKenzie!). It was a 40 minute bumper boat party down the river. A kick!
The final day we were there, we took the Sunrise tour to the Phi Phi Island.
First stop was a uninhabited party island where we had breakfast and petted the many 20+ cats who lived on the island.
Starting every May, the beach will be closed for 4 months during the summer so it can renew itself and the rest of the year, boats will be required to dock on the other side (see bottom photo), AND tourists will be capped at 2,000 a day.
The views, the water and the soft sand was so incredible and I’m glad we got to go while the unique Thai boats were still here. This photo will soon be a relic to the past.
Other stops included the Monkey Beach (monkeys DO swim!)
We left the next morning at 330am to fly to the Maldives. That will be the next blog…
Phuket & Phi Phi Islands Thailand