Finally, the long anticipated blog about Thailand. It will only be a peek into the trip, but it is a start.
We left our house April 4th at 5 am. From Raleigh we took a 2 hour flight to Chicago. After a 3.5 hour layover we boarded the plane set for Singapore, via a "small" stop in Hong Kong. I have never been on a 747 airplane so I was in awe watching the 400+ people board. I took a picture of our boarding sign, however I accidentally erased it when switching camera settings. (oops)
While we were not fortunate enough to be in business class and sit on the upper level, we were in a plus section so we had extra room compared to just a regular coach seat (not that really I slept any). Originally when we booked our tickets we were told that our tickets were direct to Singapore. We then found out that we had to stop for fuel in Hong Kong. Little did we know that meant we would have to deplane for 3 hours and switch gates.
Anyways, the flight from Chicago to Hong Kong was 15.5 hours. The longest flight I have ever been on was 7 hours to Europe. This flight felt like eternity. Luckily we had 4 movies, 3 meals (one including a "noodle service") and free alcohol. It was so strange looking out the windows as it was always light out.
So finally we landed in Hong Kong where we deplaned, switched gates and wandered around for 3 hours. This was my "first meeting" with Asia. Here is a picture of the view outside the gate in Hong Kong.
I wish I had taken pictures of the food court. Hanging in some windows were whole fried/smoked ducks, parts of chickens and other mystery items. It was interesting to walk past each place just to see the different items. I decided to try a beef and broccoli in a mini-wok with some Chinese tea and it was very tasty. Two thumbs up to the Hong Kong food court (even with the hanging meat).
Back onto the plane we went for the 3.5 hour flight to Singapore. This is what Matt looks like after 24+ hours in the same pair of boxers (excuse the blurriness, I am a bit exhausted at this point).
We land in Singapore just before midnight, on Saturday, April 5. Our flight was set to leave at 7 am so we went and found the transit lounge to shower and refresh. We then wandered around the airport, drank some tea, ate some cheesecake and dozed. The Singapore airport is amazing. It is so clean and, well, sparkly.
So finally after a night in the airport (it was amazing how many people were hanging out there) we were off for a final 1.5 hour flight to Phuket, Thailand. If you add all that up it made 22.5 hours via plane and over 13 hours in airports. **yawn**
The Phuket airport is almost an hour via car from where we were staying and the main beaches. So we out into the humidity like I have never felt, got a driver (boy was it crazy with all the taxis, hired drivers, buses and people) and set off for the Hilton Resort at Karon Beach, our first hotel of the trip. I just took the drive in –– the people, the businesses, the vegetation, the landscaping. At one point I hit Matt and said "Did you see that! They were washing an elephant next to the road!" The driver just laughed. Here are just a few glimpses from the car.
Finally we went through a gated security (they took mirrors and went all around the car) to the welcome lobby of the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa. From there we loaded a tram to the main lobby. This place was huge and beautiful. The most amazing place I have ever stayed. We were told to sit down and the next thing we know a front desk person brought us cools towels with some floral scent to refresh our faces with and fresh juice. I was impressed with the service but as Matt explained to me this is the Thai culture. They do everything and anything to make sure you are happy. Their goal is to serve you. And throughout the whole vacation this was made evident.
After checking in we went to our room and once again I just had to drop my jaw. The room was huge, hardwood floors and the decorations were amazing. The bathroom had a soaker tub, a huge shower and a vanity section that was more than big enough for two people. Sort of what you would expect from a condo hotel, not a regular hotel. The room had fresh orchids and everyday they switched out fresh flowers. The towels were folded into animals. You could just see personal touches everywhere.
Our goal was to change and spend the day getting acquainted with the hotel and more importantly the pool. There were three pools so we chose the one next to the beach and with the least amount of kids.
We spent a few lazy hours by the pool, walked down the beach, took a nap and then wandered out for supper and to check out the area. We found a really good restaurant where I had a pork lo mein, a local beer and ice cream , DH had the same but with prawns, and our bill came to $6 US dollars. Then we retired for the night as we were spending the next day on a snorkeling and beach tour of the Phi Phi islands.
You can check out more pictures from our travel and of the Hilton Resort here. Stay tuned... next up is Phi Phi Islands.