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Urban life to Paradise

By Beth Roulston 2018-12-27 15:51:44

A city like Shanghai constantly challenges you to move faster, learn more and live life by the edge of your seat; a week here feels like one year in my home country. We often don't stop for more than a moment living this lifestyle and it can be taxing. So, as exciting and wonderful as Shanghai is, it is necessary to get out and get some rest and relaxation every now and then.

After a few hours spinning dates and possible destinations round and round on Trip.com, my partner and I finally booked our flights and hotels for a week in sunny Thailand. 

Patong Phuket 

Patong was an incredible combination of sights, sounds and smells; definitely a tourist spot. However, my partner and I chose a less touristy spot at the 'Crest Resort' at the highest point in Patong. For families, the hotel had plenty to do including games, a kids play area, and it even had an onsite babysitting service! 

On our second day we took a walk to 'Freedom Beach’ and discovered a slice of the Thailand we had anticipated. We were thrilled to find that other than a family of four and another couple, we were alone. Together we sat on the white sand and listened to the ocean's waves playing a hypnotic lullaby. While we enjoyed each other's company, I also thought about our future together as parents. This is a beach I felt I could take our kids to as it was safe, secluded, and serene.

 

Koh Phi Phi Island

After two nights in Patong, we finally set sail to Koh Phi Phi and its awaiting turquoise waters. It was well and truly worth the wait. We stayed on the east side of the island at 'Phi Phi Island Resort' which was both tranquil and beautiful. On our first night, we swam in the ocean next to the resort, and whilst floating together we were welcomed by a gorgeous sunset on one side and romantic moonlight on the other. I honestly felt quite spoilt by such a beautiful moment in time. 

 

The following day we did a tour of the island and its waters through the highly rated local tour guide, called 'Mr. Chet Longtail Boat Trip'. According to his website, he is a government licensed snorkel instructor, qualified rescue diver/ first aider and advanced open water diver; and he did not disappoint. Our first stop was at Loh Sa Mah Bay where we went snorkelling. As a newbie snorkeller, there was a degree of nerves. However, the guide gave great advice and made us feel safe at all times. We also got to see 'Viking Cave', 'Shark Point' and 'Monkey Island' which gave us a good giggle! The highlight of the day was definitely Pi Leh lagoon and swimming in its beautiful waters. This tour is probably suitable for children aged six and above but check with the guide before you book! For a trip like this, staying in one area is easier/ more convenient, but for travel-happy families it is definitely worth the effort to island hop! There is just so much to see and do. I would go back to Phi Phi in a heartbeat.

Getting Around Phuket Thailand: There is very little in the way of public transport in Phuket.

See below our advice on transportation:

  • Leaving the airport in Phuket - It can be a little daunting, so research ahead the cost to your hotel / area. If you're unprepared, you may be overcharged. For example, from the airport to Patong beach was around 800 baht which roughly converts to 160 RMB. The taxi ranks outside the airport charge different fees depending on whether you share a minibus with other travellers or you decide to take a separate taxi. They will either charge you a standard fee or give you a quote based on their guesstimate of the meter.

  • Try using the app 'Grab' - It's free to download from both app stores. Once you have it you can even link it to Unionpay cards, which makes things a lot less complicated! It works in a similar way to DiDi - just be aware there is always an initial booking charge.

  • Getting to the islands - There are tours of the islands from Phuket/Bangkok. However, if you stay on the island you can get an earlier tour and miss the crowds! If you do want to stay on Koh Phi Phi, visit either phuketferry.com or bangkokferry.com. For two adults it's about 46 USD which is roughly 320 RMB for return tickets. Ferries from Phuket leave from either 'Rossada' or 'Numchai' pier and stop at 'Tonsai Pier' on Phi Phi. From there you can take a long boat to all the major hotels located elsewhere on the island. Be aware Tonsai Pier is very busy - those with young children should avoid hotels on this side of the island.

General costs:

Initial research told us not to go to central restaurants and that 150 baht (30 RMB) was pretty expensive; but honestly we realized that paying that little bit more made a huge difference. The best authentic Thai food we had was ironically at the Marriott Hotel near Phuket airport at 200-400 baht, per dish (40-80 RMB).

  • Food price 150-250 baht per dish (30–50 RMB)

  • Sun screen 250ml - 350 baht (70 RMB)

  • Bottle of water - 20-30 baht (4–6 RMB)

  • Bar prices: Beer - 70 baht (12 RMB)

  • Cocktail- 90baht (18 RMB)

  • Coffee -80-120baht (16–24 RMB)

  • One week sim card - unlimited internet and 30 minutes of calls -150 baht (30 RMB)

  • Fresh coconut water 50-80 baht (10-16 RMB)

  • Fresh fruit juice 70-100 baht (14-20 RMB)

  • Paracetamol 50-80 baht(10-14 RMB)

  • Street food 70- 100 baht (12-20 RMB)

Baby Do's and Don'ts:

  • Carry medicine - Carry a homeopathic first aid kit and a travel one, adult and children's paracetamol and ibuprofen, and an ear thermometer.

  • Don't drink tap water drink bottled.

  • Use silicon bibs (easier to clean) Avoid giving street food to children.

  • Use a baby harness Way more convenient (trust me!)

  • Carry hand sanitiser, wet wipes and baby safe dish soap!

  • For kids clubs visit: JD Marriot and Pullman Phuket. They have activities onsite like: arts and crafts, ball pools, tie-dye, kids' yoga, pool games and even babysitting for a fee!