We’ve reached a point in our life in Singapore, where we are beginning to struggle with knowing where to go for short weekend breaks. For this Hari Raya Haji long weekend (12th September), we went with Phuket for no apparent reason, and it’s certainly not my preferred destination (especially with a baby). The last time I was in Phuket was when I was a little kid travelling with my parents. So this trip is as good as coming for the first time, given I had almost no memory of my childhood trip here! In my mind, this place wouldn’t be all that different to Pattaya which we had been to not that long ago… and I am probably not that far off!
We chose Kata Palm beach, which seemed to be rated reasonably well on booking.com. It’s a good distance away from the hustle and bustle of Patong which was intentional. Having said that, it’s no 5-star hotel that’s for sure. I chose it for the pool which frankly is more like a canal that covers the length of the resort than a pool. Ethan definitely had fun swimming in it during our entire stay..
Whilst the hotel is definitely on the ‘old’ side, there’s certainly a air of ‘localness’ to it that I liked.. think rooster waking you up in the morning, dogs barking, and mosquitoes hunting you down the minute you step out. Apart from that, it’s been a while since we’ve been able to experience a decent sized balcony! Ethan wasted no time at all…. watching YouTube.. 😉
This trip was intended to be a quick, dirty and ‘cheap’ trip, so I certainly didn’t go into it with high expectations. Given my priorities with doing things the ‘local’ way, one of the more ‘adventurous’ thing we did was taking the local bus.. I can tell you that being tossed around sitting on a bench at the back of the bus was a regular experience, and part of the FUN! Even saw a foreigner almost falling off the back of the bus, when the bus driver took off suddenly! No joke!
Thankfully, we made it to our destination just fine. We visited two of the largest shopping malls there, namely Central Festival and Jungceylon over 2 days. Not that we shopped all that much. We really were just hanging and chilling around. Ethan couldn’t pass up on a chance to sit in a ‘car’ while being pushed by daddy around the shopping centre..
Perhaps the other more ‘adventurous’ car ride we did, was in this tut tut!
It’s the same price as an air-conditioned taxi to get back to our hotel, but hey how boring would that be, when compared to the chance to sit in a ‘breezy’ compartment with loud pumping music! I enjoyed it.. not sure about wifey and Ethan.
The more interesting part of the trip began, when we went on a morning trip to one of the better known elephant park (called Siam Safari) not too far from our hotel. Whilst I thought we were only going to be seeing elephants.. our trip actually started with all things Thai.. starting with Thai coffee and tea…
We were given a demo of how rice is planted and harvested as well..
.. and wifey even got a chance to try out the manual husk removing process..
We were shown how ‘fresh’ curry is made.. and .. oh.. the curry rice sample we were given later were damnnnn good!
We were even given a little ‘joy ride’ behind a bull!
And.. FINALLY.. we got to see the elephant. Unfortunately, it was too late.. and Ethan fell asleep on daddy’s shoulder and missed the whole ride..
By the time he woke up though.. he did at least get a chance to feed the elephant…
All in all, it was a fun day (or morning I should say), and probably got a bit more than I expected.
The adventure continues though, when we took a day trip to visit nearby areas in a hired car (with driver). It’s one of those deal where you hire a driver for a couple of hours, and his job is to take you around sites that you are interested in. Not that we had any idea where to go. Nevertheless, the day went by and we ended up with quite a few adventures including Ethan feeding monkeys…
We went on a buggy ride together! Which was awesome!!
I know most parents would look at this and frown at us. Ethan had a ball though, and kept calling it a ‘monster truck’ from all the monster truck songs and videos he watched on Youtube. Important part was we all had fun and came back safely.
We went around a few beaches and view points (e.g. Karon viewpoint) and along the way, Ethan saw plenty of ‘elephants’, though they weren’t real this time..
And we stopped over at the highly rated “Mom Tri’s kitchen” for lunch.. which we thought had some decent food with very large portions..
For the whole trip, we didn’t hang by the beach at all, except to drop by to take some ‘cool’ shots together
Besides, we weren’t treated the same by the local shops at least before they realised we weren’t from China. I don’t know what the Chinese (from China) did, but I certainly got a load of ‘attitude’ from the local shop assistants, until I spoke English to them. It’s like a ‘switch’ flipped when they realised I wasn’t from China, and the whole customer service experience changed. You kind of feel sorry for the locals though, and judging by our conversations with some of the taxi drivers, the locals definitely felt they are used and abused by Chinese and Russian tourists here!
Apart from that, this short 4 day trip turned out to be a ‘winner’, at least for me. Now back to work!