32 HOURS. We left my parents’ house in Brooklyn at 6am (for a 10am flight out of Newark) on Thursday 1/17 and didn’t arrive at our hotel in Phuket until Saturday 1/19 at 2am local time. It was a long trip (3 flights with 2 layovers, plus long car rides to/from the airports), but the kids were such TROOPERS that we were completely blown away. Riley probably slept only 2 out of the 32 hours and Casey probably slept 5 out of 32 hours. Doug and I were absolutely exhausted so you can only imagine how many hours of TV Riley watched on these flights!
We knew that flying to Phuket first would make it a longer journey with an extra flight from Bangkok, but we also wanted to spend our first week at a resort where we could relax and unwind after a crazy couple of weeks. Between our last post and this one, we navigated a busy Q4 for our Amazon business, 3 major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s), 2 last minute trips (Austin, TX & Washington, DC), a handful of goodbyes, moving out of our apartment, and finally packing our bags for 9 months. It was a crazy journey to the Thai islands, but it was SO worth it and *exactly* what we needed.
The temperature on the islands was an average of 90 degrees during our 8 nights there (4 nights in Phuket, 4 nights in Koh Lanta), compared to an average of 25 degrees in NYC during that same time period. Seeing photos and Instagram stories of friends from back home all bundled up, it definitely felt like we got out in the nick of time! We wanted to be more adventurous and get out more into the area around our hotel, but we were pretty lazy and tired (and dealing with very jetlagged kids) so we ended up only leaving the resort twice.
But a break was truly what we needed, so we swallowed the cost of eating inside the resort (way more expensive than local food, but still cheaper than NYC) and allowed ourselves to really relax and not stress too much about anything. The hotel also had an awesome kids’ club and though you had to be 4+ years old to be dropped off, they allowed you to utilize the space with kids younger than 4 as long as one adult was with them. It was the perfect way to blow off steam after nap time when it was too cold to get into the water again. Unfortunately, we were probably too zombie-like during that part of our trip and we forgot to take pictures of the kids’ club! Honestly, we only had 3 full days in Phuket and more than half the time was spent helping the kids get over jetlag, being jetlagged ourselves, and dealing with a ton of temper tantrums from the tired kiddos.
By the time we finally felt better, it was time to leave…thankfully, we were just jetting to another island on the other side Andaman Sea. We miscalculated and didn’t plan out how to get from Phuket to Koh Lanta (more on that in a future post), but the sunset view from our hotel’s pool deck was more than worth the long journey! In fact, because of the location of our hotel on the peninsula, every sunset we caught there was truly magnificent.
If Phuket is described as a crazy party town for spring breakers, then Koh Lanta wins the cake for being Thailand’s best kept secret. It’s not nearly as touristy, traveled to, or commercialized as some of the other islands (think Phuket, Phi Phi, Samui), but had its own charm. We let our kids play, rest, and get over their jetlag. In Koh Lanta, we managed to venture out every night and the girls had a blast taking their first (actually, my first as well) tuk tuk ride. A tuk tuk is basically a motorized pedicab, but in Koh Lanta, it’s more like a rickshaw attached to a scooter! It was definitely more exciting to get off the resort, walk around town, and try new food (like mango sticky rice!).
So…are Phuket and Koh Lanta the *best* resort-type islands we’ve been to? Probably not. But if you were planning a trip to Southeast Asia and planning to see the bigger Thai cities anyway, it is definitely worth a stop for a couple of days for some good seafood, beautiful scenery, and pure relaxation.
Next stop is Chiang Mai, where we plan to settle down for a whole month!