Days 351-354 Saturday-Tuesday April 5-8, 2008 – Phuket, Thailand
One of the nice things about traveling the way that we do is that from time to time we run across specials that one wouldn’t find by booking ahead. Exactly this type of thing happened when we arrived in Phuket. While searching the internet for beach area hotels on the island of Phuket, I came across the By The Sea Residences which were running a special for less than $50 USD per night including breakfast. The resort is rated as four stars and the room we reserved was a suite with a kitchen, separate living room and a bedroom with a king sized bed. (Something we haven’t seen in a long time!)
The By The Sea Residences hotel runs a free shuttle from Phuket town to the hotel, so we decided to take advantage of this. First thing in the morning we called and set up a time for them to pick us up in town. After getting ready in the morning, we checked out of our guest house and picked up some breakfast. Phuket Town is a rather ugly place and we were definitely ready to get to the beach. At 10am, as agreed, the hotel’s van came to pick us up at the agreed upon spot and we were at the resort twenty minutes later.
Since we got a highly discounted special on the room rate, we were only able to book three nights in the hotel. When we arrived, even though it was well before check in time, the hotel had a room ready for us and before we knew it, the three of us were chillin’ in our suite. The room provided ample space and it was nice to spread out a bit.
By The Sea is located on a pretty isolated spot on Phuket. Other than a pool and beach, there isn’t much else around. Even though I had read about it online, we soon found the one drawback of the hotel’s beach. At low tide, the water recedes quite a bit and what was once a picturesque beach turns into a rocky mess. Also, given the amount of rocks that surface during low tide, the water becomes virtually unswimmable, although it is still quite normal when high tide returns. The transformation of this beach is rather dramatic and I have to admit it is quite ugly at low tide.
Over our three days at the hotel we swam in the ocean and pool and even took the hotel’s kayak out onto the water. For the most part though, we relaxed and took in the amazing views from our room’s balcony. Shawn Reece really enjoyed having a lot of space and took advantage by running around the apartment sized suite playing with his toys.
On our second day at the hotel we took their van back into town for lunch and a visit to the local mall where we enjoyed watching Thai people hover over touchscreen game terminals like zombies. (Those things are everywhere!) Other than that foray back to civilization, we ate most of our meals at two Thai restaurants located on the beach near our hotel. We were grateful for the tasty inexpensive food at these “restaurants”, because the hotel’s eatery was way overpriced.
By the time Tuesday came, we were packed and ready to head back to town. We had already agreed to go back to the same guest house that we stayed at on our first night in Phuket. Our goal after settling back into our tiny room at the guest house was to find a good deal on a tour to the Phi Phi Islands for Wednesday. This tour is the last thing we plan to do in the south of Thailand.
We had done a little shopping around a couple of days earlier and after inquiring at a few more places, we settled on a tour and then headed to the cinema for an afternoon showing of the movie Vantage Point. While the movie has large plot holes, I found it enjoyable. The tour to the Phi Phi Islands left early on Wednesday so we packed it in pretty early. After all, we wanted to be at our best for the trip to paradise!
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The Coomer Family