Well the weather outside is miserable with a capital M. So lets pop on our uggies, and grab a hot chocolate (with extra marshmallows please) and talk about travel. I love travelling. Always have and always will. In my past life, the one pre-children that is, I was a travel agent. I’ve done lots of traveling and hope to do lots more.
Since my life before children is long gone, let me tell you about our recent family adventure. It was amazing. We spend 10 nights in Thailand, on the island of Phuket, right up north in a place called Khao Lak. We flew Jetstar (beggars can’t be choosers) direct from Sydney to Phuket.
Khao Lak is a small coastal town about an hour north of Phuket airport and about 1 1/2 hours north of the touristy areas of Patong. If you like the hustle (and I mean real hustlers!) and bustle of tourist towns then Khao Lak isn’t for you. But if you want to experience a quiet, real Thai holiday then I can highly recommend Khao Lak.
I had researched the spot very well, I love checking out peoples reviews on Trip Advisor before I go anywhere too. Always pick up fantastic tips when reading reviews on there. We found a place called the JW Marriott Resort and Spa Khao Lak, and we weren’t disappointed. The resort is set around 3kms (yes you read right!) of a lazy swimming pool that meanders around the complex and gardens. There are larger pools in amongst these and a kids pool area and slide. There are recliner chairs you can sit on in the water that have water jets in them – a lying down spa of sorts. There’s plenty of pool activities and sports put on by the resort as well.
The kids club is fantastic, such lovely ladies that do so many activities with the kids – but be warned – they all incur a separate cost. Most things did there actually – it’s not an all inclusive type place. Regardless of that and if you put that to the back of your mind whilst you’re holidaying then it won’t matter. The costs were usually a few dollars to make a candle – about $10 for a tshirt, but others were free. They have a little gym inside for the kids to play in – ball pit and slide type number.
The food in the resort was lovely but pricey. They have a deli where you can have sandwiches, milkshakes and bottles of wine to take back to your room. All of average ok price. There are a number of restaurants, a gorgeous Thai restaurant, and one of our favourites was actually the Italian restaurant by the beach. They had a really nice atmosphere and staff are always amazing. There’s a little bar at the top of the resort that looks out over the gardens, we had the kids babysat a few times and had a couples night up there then checked out the restaurants alone.
The best thing about this place was that if you walked out to the beach and turned left or right you had your choice of tiny huts where you could eat real thai food. There’s always an English and German version of meals as well so the kids will still get their chips and nuggets if they desire. Even better than that is there’s no haggling whilst you dine, no one shoving fake ray bans in your face trying to make you buy things or take a tour. Only once did we get a brochure put in front of us but they never tried to make us do anything. Just offered it.
We did venture out a few times. We got the hotel to organise a van for us for the day – I think it cost around $80 for the whole day with an english speaking driver. We went to an Elephant camp close by – however I just couldn’t bring myself to go for a ride on one – they were so sad. We didn’t stay long here, enough to feed them some bananas and have a look at some very sad other animals. We then drove down to Patong (just to say we’d been!) and had lunch. We didn’t last long here – way too touristy for us, and very glad we didn’t end up staying down there.
Absolutely one of the highlights for our trip was a speed boat trip we took to Phang Nga Bay. We went with Phuket Sail Tours who I can HIGHLY recommend – their captain was Aussie Captain Mark – who was hilarious and really knew his stuff. The seas were fairly choppy but we knew they wouldn’t take us out if it was too bad. Check out their website and the video on the kids from Koh Panyi village. Amazing stuff.
Back at the hotel – the rooms where a decent size (bit dated but clean) and plenty of room for Miss A who’s 3 to sleep on their little couch/sofa bed with no troubles. We paid extra and got a swim out room which was fantastic. Right near the kids pool, we basically jumped off our balcony to the pool and over to the kids slide. One pool over there’s a pool bar (didn’t happen to be open that often mind you) then another pool over with another swim up bar that was open more regularly with great food too.
Another highlight of our trip was the fact there was an Indian wedding taking place at the hotel over a few days. This was amazing, they had an event on for the wedding every day – meals were a carnival experience (only for the wedding guests though) and everything was extravagant. Floral arrangements around the restaurants were fabulous. When the actual wedding ceremony took place, it went for 8 hours, there were food stands for the guests to go and eat or drink and step away from the wedding at any time. The groom entered down to the stage on an elephant (didn’t see how the bride entered though – not like that anyway!). And of course all followed by some amazing fireworks. Such a treat to witness.
So if you’re looking at heading to Thailand for a holiday, I’d highly recommend JW Marriott, relaxing (oh I forgot the spa is amazing too – though xxy) fun, and pretty well priced. I believe I overhead some people had gotten a deal of scoupon or something so always a bargain to be found!
Local elephant comes to visit twice a week
Phuket Sail Tours Phang Nga Bay
Ground of JW Marriott