The connection from Koh Tao to our hotel in Phuket wasn’t quite the seamless exercise that we are used to. It’s a fair hike off the island southbound with a boat and coach trip, and a lunch stop on the way. Arriving in Phangnga we found ourselves somewhat stranded, trying to arrange a transfer with phone credit close to zero, no capacity to communicate, and the hotel denying they have our reservation. The pinnacle of failure was watching the most beautiful possum-squirrel-thingy attempt to cross the highway in front of 7-Eleven. The only thing it succeeded in was dinting the car that collected it.
I was able to coax the phone from Hubby before he threw it into oncoming traffic and after a quick conversation with hotel reception in my best broken English, I thrust the Samsung into the hands of the 7-Eleven girl and asked her to “speak Thai, location? Kob khun kha”. Just under an hour after disembarking from the coach we boarded the hotel transfer and were on our way once again.
The third and final chapter finds us at the Marriott Resort, Phuket, in the magnificent Renaissance Hotel. So, the actual process of arriving today wasn’t great, and to date we have found some of the Thai people a little less than friendly or hospitable on a number of occasions, however all of that has been blown out of the water here. Not only is the hotel exactly what you would expect from the Marriott with multiple bars, restaurants and shops onsite, a modern and fully equipped gym, pools and daily activities for kids and adults alike, and rooms that make you think twice about actually leaving to explore what’s on offer, the staff are, once again, the hotels greatest asset.
Hana and Q in reception, Golf the shuttle captain, Pond, Milk, Will and Nut in Loca Vore and the Sand Box all took the time to learn our names and what we liked, recommended things and were spot on every time. And the food? What can I say. The selection is second to none, and if you can’t find something you like then perhaps you should just stay home. And coming from one of the fussiest eaters on earth, that is possibly the greatest accolade I can give.
You don’t lift a finger here and nothing is too much trouble. We spent our days in the gym and relaxing by the pool, participated in the many group classes like yoga and boxing, had massages at the day spa and dined in all of the restaurants. It was more like a health and relaxation spa than a hotel. And even when the rain arrived for the last few days we just set up camp in the upstairs lounge after a morning in the gym, spa and sauna to relax with a coffee, read and listen to the rain.
One of the highlights here worth a mention is our trip out to James Bond Island, located in Phangnga Bay out of Phuket Marina. Ian Flemings’ 1974 classic “Man with the Golden Gun”, the 1987 Robin Williams film “Good Morning Vietnam”, and “Jurassic Park” 1 and 3 among others were all shot in this area. We spent the day zipping around the various locations in a speedboat, canoeing the caves and strolling the islands until the heavens opened and the monsoonal rains saw us with a few beers until the weather passed and we could be on our way again. If you are even in the area this should definitely be on your to-do list.
So our maiden voyage to this land of surprises came to an end just as the sun came out, which is often par for the course as it turns out. If there is anything I have learnt from travel it is this… Always expect the unexpected and be prepared to roll with the punches. And never let anyone else’s opinion or experience dictate your next destination. Walk your own path. You never know where it is going to lead you.
Happy planning and safe travels ,