1. Phi Phi islands and Maya Bay- The sights seem straight out of a picture post card (with no filters or edits). You will want to soak in all the scenic beauty and smile contentedly of the discovery you make of this paradise on earth. We took the V Marine tour from Phuket to the day long Phi Phi, Maya Bay and island hopping tour. At the port, we rented snorkeling accessories with great zeal, however, with my limited knowledge of swimming and severe sea sickness (later diagnosed as jaundice), we didn’t quite make much of the under-water diving. The views above the water made up for the loss and we ended up thanking ourselves for taking this trip.
2. Enjoy a private pool party- Far from the maddening crowd, tucked away in an almost isolated part of Phuket lies the hidden gem of Renaissance resorts. Where you will get generous helpings of sun, shine and sand for yourselves. Almost exclusively. Soaking it all up, we enjoyed the luxury of a private pool in the villa.
3. Tiger Kingdom- Animals are usually a huge hit with kids. And they don’t seem to get tired of an encounter. So we headed to Tiger Kingdom in Phuket, which is cleaner than Kanchanaburi and the striped cats seemed better cared too. As we were with an infant, we were permitted only the cub encounter. The younger daughter was absolutely delighted while the elder one totally scared. Each family gets undisturbed time of about 30 mins inside the enclosure and the shutterbugs go click click click.
4. Weekend market- This place felt like the Goan markets- though on a larger scale. Thousands of stalls lined up with all the touristy things- tees of Thailand, memoirs to carry back, fake Rolex, Loius Vittons, Guccis and many luxe brands vying for your wallet. We bought some handcrafted purses with elephants for family and friends back home. The street food has a lot to offer, however for us vegetarians, there isn’t much.
5. Wine and dine at exotic beachfronts- If you don’t like touristy crowded beaches like us, you will like the Mai Khao beach that is not bursting with people. You can give the other ones like Kamala a miss and capitalize on the private time at the Renaissance/ J W Marriott beaches. The Thai restaurant at Renaissance overlooks the sea and you cannot help but end up going there for a dine with your loved ones. The service is excellent too and vegetarian options- plenty!
Taxis are most comfortable. Most speak English and our enterprising driver even took us to some famous local joints and markets.
Where we stayed–
Renaissance and JW Marriot
Renaissance is undoubtedly better.
While travelling with kids-
Packing too many itineraries with kids gets on their nerves. So, our holidays try to be kid centric with pool time, play time and just ‘no plan’ time. Amidst all the walking, talking and seeing, we sometimes take time off for pizzas, ice-creams and the works.