We have become deeply attached to our villa overlooking the infinity pool overlooking the sea. We do not want to leave, but our time is up and we must move on. Most of our group will stay overnight in Bangkok, providing additional time to relax or to shop. Geneva and I fly out tonight and will have a thirteen hour layover to explore Seoul. Let’s do this.
It’s our last full day in Phuket, and there is so much we won’t be able to see and do on this island. Today we will visit with elephants, shop for souvenirs, have massages by the pool, and share one last home-cooked dinner at the villa. Everything else will have to wait for “next time.”
Phuket island is not just one beach, resort, massage parlor, bar and souvenir shop after another. On its Eastern coast, there is a town with century-old Sino-Portuguese buildings, thriving markets, and a renowned food culture. Today we will cross the island to Phuket Town for a food tour.
Two of the six of us here in Phuket are snorkeling fanatics, so today our group will split and have different itineraries. At dinner, we can catch up on our various adventures.
Phuket Island is one of Thailand’s premier tourist destinations. We have booked a Villa on a hill overlooking Surin Beach, a relatively quiet town a good distance from the island’s sleazier spots. But first, we have to get there, and that presents the challenge of squeezing my essentials for four nights and gear for a snorkel trip into a single bag. Better get to it.
Being Sunday, it’s a perfect day to head to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, Thailand’s largest bazaar. I only had one taker for this plan, so there will be multiple itineraries today. We’ll meet up for dinner and share stories.
While I could take my friends on any number of day trips, a UNESCO world heritage site should not be missed. Hence, we will be heading North to Thailand’s central plain to see ruins, ruins, and more ruins.
During my research on group activities, I accidentally discovered a site called Cookly, which lists numerous cooking courses in Bangkok. Amongst the fancy professional and hotel cooking schools were several home-based classes that offered a great value and, I hoped, a setup one could better hope to recreate back in the States. Today we’ll have the opportunity to see for ourselves.
The Royal Orchid Sheraton is very close to Chinatown, which is the first stop on our walking tour this morning. I suppose it would be more accurate to say walking, boat, bus and tuk tuk tour, but we will get to that soon enough. The first challenge for my friends is fighting the jet lag and getting to the lobby by 8:15 to meet our guides.
Five friends will be joining me on their first trip to Thailand this afternoon. I don’t think I’ve learned enough Thai to function as a tour guide, but I have apps for translation, mapping, and reviews, so I’m hoping it will all work out. This morning, I have time for one more massage before checking out of the Salil and moving across town.
The last day of any of Kasma’s trips dawns bittersweet. We will celebrate our time together with a dinner feast, but our little tribe might never find ourselves all together in one place again. At least we have photos, and nearly 24 hours of potential adventures ahead.
Gazing out over the beach from the Anda Lanta’s breakfast buffet, it is easy to understand the attractions of this island. Yet we must continue North: more reefs need to be snorkeled, and more delicious Thai food awaits. Krabi, here we come.
Kasma has been bringing groups to the Southern end of Koh Lanta for a few years now, to put some prime snorkel spots a 30-60 minute boat ride away. The Anda Lanta is a luxurious little oasis on our trip. Its lovely views, ludicrously large beds, ample porches with drying racks, strong air conditioning, hot showers, and easy breakfast buffet make life here a breeze. Kasma’s driver Sun says coming to Koh Lanta is like coming to a foreign country because no Thais visit here, but this time there are at least two exceptions: due to a cancellation by a trip member, there is a room for our drivers Sun and Aex so they can get a closer look at how foreigners vacation in Thailand.
Located on the Gulf coast of Thailand, Nakhon Si Thammarat is an historically important sea port and home of Southern Thailand’s most important Buddhist temple. Here we will find our main cultural sites on this trip, as well as some tasty food.
The road from Khuraburi to Khao Sok passes through the town of Takua Pa, where we indulge in delicious roti with savory and sweet accompaniments. But first, one more warm shower.