While the boys preferred the pools, Doug and I definitely preferred the beach. The beach was totally secluded as the resort covers the entire cove between two hills on either side. The water was crystal clear, with varying shades of blue stretching before us each morning. And, despite the fact that it was the end of rainy season, we had perfect weather. The only real rain we experienced was as we checked out on Saturday at lunch. Breakfast buffets, pizza by the beach (the Tom Yum Gong pizza was to die for), visits by a baby elephant each day, and drinks at sunset while the boys watched a movie at the kids club did a lot to extend our bliss as well.
The only dent - coming under fire on the beach by a rogue fireworks operator who sent one sideways rather than up in the air.
We did manage to tear ourselves away from the resort for a few adventures. The first was an elephant trek, which left us feeling a bit dirty. Not because we actually got dirty, but because we felt bad for the poor elephants. One of the drivers (Doug and Quin’s) hit his elephant somewhat frequently, and the drivers basically extorted us for tips at the halfway point of the trek.
The rest of our excursions were a lot more fun though. One night, we headed into Patong Beach. There, we visited the market, then stopped at one of the local bars for a drink. As Berkley said, the Monkey Bar was the best bar. We let the boys have two (TWO!) Fanta sodas (there are an amazing variety of Fanta flavors out here, and the boys are on a mission to try all of them), and the bartender pulled out endless rounds of games and puzzles to entertain us all. And it’s amazing how much one’s parenting improves after a beer or two. Patong Beach at sunset was beautiful, and the hole in the wall Thai restaurant was delicious (dinner and drinks for 4 for about $21!).
On Friday, we went out to swim in a pool at the bottom of the Bang Pae Waterfall and see the gibbons at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. The whole trip helped wash away some of the dirty feeling left by the elephant trek as the work being done by the Gibbon Project is really amazing.
All in all, I highly recommend Phuket to anyone who’s looking to enjoy a tropical beach vacation, enjoying some R&R and/or experience Thailand. You should check it out - I know we definitely plan to return to do so!