We left New Delhi relatively early but with the time change, flight, long immigration lines, and traffic in Bangkok we got to our hotel rather late. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue but our friends had already been in Bangkok for a couple of days and were eagerly awaiting our arrival. After get our luggage to the room we headed straight to the top of the Millennium Hilton 360 Lounge for some cocktails with Paola, Justin, and Lyle. The cocktails were a little expensive for Thailand but the views were priceless and the company was excellent!
The next morning we headed straight to the other Bangkok airport, Don Mueang, to fly to Phuket, Thailand. Phuket is a large island on the western side of Thailand’s mainland. It’s a huge tourist destination but still very tropically and beautiful. We selected a hotel a little off the beaten path mostly because it has a two master bedroom suite with kitchen and small living room, not to mention a private pool. We ended up being very happy with our selection especially because it was within budget!
Our first full day all five of us went diving and it was a long day with 3 dive sites and an hour drive to and from our hotel to the dock but it was well worth it. The first dive was at Racha Yai where we saw an underwater scooter and actually our first wreck. We also saw a massive puffer fish for the first time!
The other two dives were at Racha Noi (one of the sites was called Banana Bay but no one knows why). Some of the highlights of these dives were two cuttlefish one of which did the cool color change they can do. We also saw some rays, massive clams and lots of tiger fish. All in all it was a great day and super awesome to finally dive with some friends!
We started our second full day in Phuket at the Elephant Sanctuary, which opened less than a year ago, but is a sister park to the very famous one in Chang Mai. The elephants live in families and most of them roam freely in the sanctuary except for the moms with very young baby elephants (this is mainly for the protection of the babies as they like to reek havoc like any other toddler). We were the first people to get there since our hotel was so close and we got some alone time with the moms and babies, one of which is called Justin Bieber because he’s a naughty boy haha.
Our first task of the day was to prepare food for the elephants. We un-bunched bananas, cut watermelon and sugar cane and then created baskets to disperse for the different elephant family groups. Then we got to feed the elephants! It was SO much fun. I even had an elephant bow to me after feeding her. It was a little scary at first but then you get over it and are just in awe of how gentle these giants are.
After the elephants finished all the food – man they can eat! We went into a shallow pool with them and scrubbed mud all over them, it supposed to good for their skin and they seemed to enjoy it. They also blew water on us out of there trunks which was a little disgusting but fun. Then we went into a deeper pool where the older elephants were able to lay down and get scrubbed better (it’s too hard on their joints in the shallower water). It was pretty neat until Justin Bieber decided to ‘play’ with me and chase me through deep water! As the elephants were done they just got up and walked over to the elephant showers and we followed to give them an ‘elephant massage’ with brushes.
After the whole experience we also got to wash off and enjoy a delicious lunch. Then we said goodbye to the elephants and headed back to the hotel. One thing you absolutely have to take advantage of in South East Asia are the cheap massages so that was our next goal and we definitely successfully achieved it! For $15 or less (including tip) you can get the most amazing massage ever just make sure you leave the hotel and find a local spot! After our amazing massages we took advantage of our private pool and had a pool party.
The following day we did laundry and rewarded ourselves with more massages. Then we went to the hotel pool and enjoyed happy hour at the swim up bar which we all agreed was the best invention since sliced bread. After cleaning up we took a taxi to Phuket town for the Simon Ladyboy Cabaret, a must do in Thailand, and it did not disappoint. The choreography, costumes, and lip-syncing were on point. After the show I asked every member of our party what percentage of the show were ‘natural’ women I got answer ranging from 50% up and I told them that according to the website it’s 10% so clearly they did a good job!
After the show we went to the famous Patong Beach street which is known for its nightlife. I’m not sure what debauchery the men got into but I do know one of the guys ended up with a charge from ‘happy fishies’ on his credit card for $250. Paola and I got our toes painted, shopped, had some drinks and enjoyed a great cover-band. The night ended with Burger King, getting to the hotel at 3 am and no money in our pockets so clearly it was a good night!
The following day we needed to recover so we slept in, relaxed at the pool, and watched some Game of Thrones – thank you Chewie! The next morning we all left Phuket- Paola and Justin to go to the Maldives, and Lyle and us to head to Bangkok. We could have easily enjoyed a couple more days in Phuket but I think we did it right.