When I was researching where to stay in Phuket I read a lot of reviews complaining about how commercialized and overrun with tourists Phuket had become. I decided to split our trip by staying three nights in the touristy Patong area and three nights at the nicer, more remote Surin Beach. I didn’t have high expectations based on what I’d read, but sometimes you just have to experience things for yourself. When we arrived at Amari Phuket, perched on top of a hill overlooking Patong Beach, I was blown away. The great thing about booking accommodations several months in advance is that you forget everything you did and you’re pleasantly surprised at how good you are at picking hotel resorts. And at booking fun tours.
The morning after arriving in Phuket, we had a 6am pick-up to sail Phang Nga Bay. As soon as we reached our first destination, Tom commented that I had the biggest smile on my face. I couldn’t stop grinning the entire day because I was doing what I loved most: seeing beautiful sights with my favorite people. We had to lay down in canoes and row through partially submerged caves in order to access the lagoons of Panak Island. Emerging from the dim caverns into sunlit lagoons of mangrove forests was breathtaking to behold. We kayaked around Hong Island to admire the stunning topography and then visited “James Bond” Island where one of the franchise movies was filmed in the 1970s. The kids had a blast and the crew members were so sweet to them. The buffet lunch prepared and served on the tour boat was phenomenal, possibly some of the best Thai food I’ve ever eaten. Lastly we were delivered to a private island beach where we nibbled on fresh fruit served to us while we swam in the ocean. It was unreal. I will be forever grateful to have experienced a day like that with my family.
While our days of boozing and bar-hopping are long past, the buzzing tourist hub of Patong was still fun to explore with the kids, who are turning into serious foodies. They gnawed on fresh grilled crab like it was going to be their last meal. As our stay in Patong came to an end, I worried that our next destination wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable. We hit up a few popular tourist attractions on our way to the Surin Phuket where, once again, I was blown away. Amari Phuket was a gorgeous resort but we had our own beachfront cabin at the Surin Phuket and it was incredible! The surrounding town had a sleepy charm that was more our pace. When rainstorms rolled in, I was happy to use the drizzly weather as an excuse to get plenty of massages, although it was a little startling to have my breasts massaged at one point. I guess after a couple of hours the masseuse runs out of body parts to massage? The intermittent rain hardly put a damper on our remaining time in Phuket because it turned out to be one of the best vacations ever. Considering the amazing time we had also had in Borneo, it was inconceivable that the best was yet to come.