Phuket & Phi Phi Islands Thailand

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.

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 Daily, new animals were made with our towels with tropical flowers.

Daily, new animals were made with our towels with tropical flowers.

 Part of the huge hotel complex.

Part of the huge hotel complex.

Stellar facilities with over 7 restaurants

 Breakfast Buffet. Asian, American, so many choices!!!

Breakfast Buffet. Asian, American, so many choices!!!

 Reflecting pool by the bar to the right.

Reflecting pool by the bar to the right.

 They have 3 pools. One with a swim up bar.

They have 3 pools. One with a swim up bar.

 Longest pool I’ve ever seen. Must have been at least 70 yards long.

Longest pool I’ve ever seen. Must have been at least 70 yards long.

 Quiet adults-only pool was so beautiful.

Quiet adults-only pool was so beautiful.

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.

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I got an hour long beach massage for just $18. 500 Baht = $18.

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 The hotel had a huge garden area with this Buddha.

The hotel had a huge garden area with this Buddha.

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.

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One day we went to the Upside house. Or you can believe I’m super strong.

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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!

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They distracted them with chicken meat on a stick and also by shaking a long pole with bamboo leaves.

 He’s having fun!

He’s having fun!

 Such wonderful patterns.

Such wonderful patterns.

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We then went to a huge Buddhist temple area: Wat Chalong.

 Note the bell and the drum. They rang the bell and later set off fireworks.

Note the bell and the drum. They rang the bell and later set off fireworks.

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 All the ornate carvings and golf leaf paint was impressive.

All the ornate carvings and golf leaf paint was impressive.

 Buddhist monk walking into the temple.

Buddhist monk walking into the temple.

 One of 3 separate temples.

One of 3 separate temples.

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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.

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Mini worship Temples are everywhere.

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As well as memorials to the New King. His father died 2 years ago at age 86 and was very beloved.

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 View point of the Andaman Sea.

View point of the Andaman Sea.

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.

 Little girl posing for photos.

Little girl posing for photos.

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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!

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 This was a baby that Sophia was feeding.

This was a baby that Sophia was feeding.

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 Inside the caverns was a huge Buddha.

Inside the caverns was a huge Buddha.

 The caverns went very far back.

The caverns went very far back.

 The Temple outside the caves.

The Temple outside the caves.

After a waterfall stop, we got to ride on Elephants. Eventually, the trainer let us be solo on them.

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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.

 This teenage Thai boy was in charge of a 3 year old Elephant. The elephant liked to squirt tourists. The end of his truck has a point that he can feel and squeeze your cheeks.

This teenage Thai boy was in charge of a 3 year old Elephant. The elephant liked to squirt tourists. The end of his truck has a point that he can feel and squeeze your cheeks.

 Sophia getting a kiss.

Sophia getting a kiss.

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!

 A lull in the action while we wait for the water to catch up with us.

A lull in the action while we wait for the water to catch up with us.

A lull in the action while we wait for the water to catch up with us.

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.

 Khai Nai Island

Khai Nai Island

 Our boat has 3 working motors. 90 minute trip to the islands from the Phuket Harbor.

Our boat has 3 working motors. 90 minute trip to the islands from the Phuket Harbor.

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 Maya Bay and beach was featured in the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio. Since then it’s popularity was swelled so much that up to 10,000 people visit daily. Going in the morning, we avoided most of the crowds.

Maya Bay and beach was featured in the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio. Since then it’s popularity was swelled so much that up to 10,000 people visit daily. Going in the morning, we avoided most of the crowds.

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.

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Other stops included the Monkey Beach (monkeys DO swim!)

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 A great place to swim!

A great place to swim!

 Vikings Cave, where Thai men climb the cliffs to get birds nest (made out of saliva, not grass)

Vikings Cave, where Thai men climb the cliffs to get birds nest (made out of saliva, not grass)

 Some of the many fish we saw snorkeling.

Some of the many fish we saw snorkeling.

 Bamboo Island, our last stop. 4th Phi Phi Island we got to experience. It was a long full day.

Bamboo Island, our last stop. 4th Phi Phi Island we got to experience. It was a long full day.

We left the next morning at 330am to fly to the Maldives.  That will be the next blog…

Phuket & Phi Phi Islands Thailand