When we got married, we were three weeks away from moving to Thailand. Going on a honeymoon (and having to plan yet another trip, after having in a four month span planned a cross-country move, a wedding, and a long-term out of the country adventure) was the absolute last thing we wanted to think about at the time. And at any rate, I was about to move to a new country (a new continent!) sight unseen, without a job or a place to live, and there is no way I would be able to relax without having hammered down some semblance of a real life. So there was no real rush to take a post-wedding vacation. It was just going to have to wait.
We are amazingly lucky to family and friends who did want to help us take a trip though, so armed with a week at the most luxurious hotel I’ve ever stayed in and our wedding gifts (side note: honeymoon registries are AWESOME), we’ve been exploring and lounging for the last two weeks in Phuket.
Getting down to the island was a bit of an adventure. We decided to save a bunch of money by taking a night bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, and then flying to Phuket from there. For whatever reason, flying straight from Chiang Mai was incredibly expensive, although the nonstop flight back was super cheap. The bus we took was, in my opinion, THE NICEST BUS in existence (and it wasn’t even the top level! We went Gold Class, but there’s also what is the presumably luxurious VIP class). The seats were contained in a shell thing, each with their own tv/video game consul, and reclined to an almost horizontal position. Since they were in the shell thing, leaning back didn’t impact your neighbors at all! We slept most of the way to Bangkok, hopped a cab to the airport, and got to Phuket around the middle of the day. We spent the first day exploring Phuket Town (which, really, isn’t much to see), and then took the ferry to Koh Phi Phi.
The only thing we’d booked ahead of time, besides hotel rooms, was the plankton tour off Phi Phi Leh. You go snorkeling all afternoon, eat dinner on the boat, watch THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSET you’ll ever see, and then once it gets dark you get to snorkel with bioluminescent plankton! SO AMAZINGLY COOL!!! Whenever you move, the plankton light up. You can see millions of them in the water, and they make kind of a glowing bubble around you as you swim. Unfortunately, all of the video we took of it just came out black, but I’m sure it will stick in my memory forever.
The next day, we hung out on the beach of Phi Phi Don, in the crystal clear/turquoise water. The whole place just looks like it was torn off a screen saver, it’s so beautiful. We were pretty bummed to have to leave.
(Hilarious side note: Ko Phi Phi is FULL of sunburnt people, as well as Russians on vacation in mankinis. This was a pretty common sight.)
Our next stop was Kata beach, one of the three main areas on Phuket. We rented a scooter to explore the area, and wound up spending the next day in Patong. Patong is kind of famous as the Vegas of Thailand – packed with people, and nighttime host to drunken hordes. We were there during the day, but it was pretty fabulous just for people watching. At night we zoomed up the mountain to the After Beach Bar, which has an AMAZING view of Kata beach and the sunset.
Thus concluded our lives as everyday travelers, and began the honeymoon portion of our trip! We rented a car to drive up to the JW Marriott, where we lived in utter bliss for a whole week. Originally we were planning on renting a car for half of the time so we could explore the area, but once we got there… we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave! Normally, we are always on the go when we travel. We both are used to backpacking, staying in dirt cheap places and moving around every couple of days. It’s been a long time since we just went on vacation simply to be on vacation, instead of to see EVERYTHING. And if you plan on doing nothing for a whole week, it’s all the better if you’re staying a villa next to the beach.
Our daily routine for the week looked something like this: wake up, go to the pool, come back to the villa to make lunch, go back to the pool, go sailing, make rum drinks, play with baby elephants, watch the sunset, lounge in the villa (watching much-missed English television), sleep in a nice soft bed (as opposed to the rock-hard beds of everywhere else in Thailand, including our apartment), repeat. AMAZING. We also lied our way into the timeshare pitch, and used our bribe money to go to the steakhouse at the hotel. All in all, it was probably one of the nicest vacations we’ll ever take.