A WEEKEND IN PHUKET

The perfect weekend getaway destination to meet “half-way” between Shenzhen and Singapore.

The odds were in my favor. After preparing my solo trip to Phuket once Fran told me he probably wouldn’t make it, the unexpected happened, and he joined me! 🙂

Landing in Phuket

Since we landed in Phuket International Airport nearly at 2 am on Saturday, I had booked in advance a transfer service to take us to our hotel, the Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach. When we exited the airport, it was easy to spot my name on a piece of paper. Unfortunately for us, we had to wait a little bit to leave the airport because our driver wasn’t there (he maybe went for a walk?), we don’t really know. But when he came back, he drove us all the way to the hotel, which is a 30-to-40-minute ride.

Map Phuket from airport to Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach Hotel
Map Phuket: from Phuket International Airport to Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach Hotel

The Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach is a nice hotel by the beach. It has an open-air lobby with a bar area, a couple of buildings for the rooms, an infinity pool with a bar and two restaurants, one of the rooftop bar (where there is a pool table!) and another one on the ground level, which serves as breakfast restaurant too.

Novotel Phuket Kama Beach Rooftop bar and views
Saturday night, after the island hopping tour, we went to the hotel’s rooftop bar “On The Roof” to have a couple of drinks and play pool – I beat him, btw! The right picture shows the views from the rooftop. In the left picture, Fran’s still happy, as he doesn’t know I will win him at pool.

Saturday Morning: Island Hopping Tour – Phi Phi Islands by Speedboat

At 6:10 am on Saturday (we went to bed around 3:30 am), the pick-up car arranged by Phuket Sail Tours was waiting for us in the lobby of the hotel. We took the hotel’s packed breakfast box and went to the meeting point, somewhere opposite to Naka Yai Island.

When we arrived at the offices of Phuket Sail Tours a complimentary breakfast was waiting for us (coffee, milk, cereal bars, cereals and some fruit). We had a couple of cups of coffee to wake up and our packed breakfast box.

When everyone arrived, our tour guide for the day, Kon, a very nice guy, asked us to take a pair of diving fins, a snorkeling mask and tube and led us to the speedboat.

The Phi Phi Islands Tour by Speedboat includes 3 snorkeling spots and several visits to the islands that belong to Phi Phi, which I learned they are part of Krabi, not Phuket.

The first stop was at Bamboo Island, our first snorkeling spot where we spotted some jellyfishes. We thought that the jellyfishes were dead because we couldn’t see the long stings, but Kon explained to us that they were very much alive, they were a different type of jellyfish, the one that many Chinese people eat. He also said that if you get stung by them, it doesn’t hurt as much as getting stung by the jellyfishes with long stings – lucky us!

Bamboo Island, Krabi
Bamboo Island, Krabi: our first snorkeling spot of the Phi Phi Islands tour by Speedboat. We arrived very early, and the beach was just for us!

The second spot was somewhere in the middle of different islands, our second snorkeling spot. This one was our favorite as it was beautiful, there were many more creatures and corals were alive (In Bamboo Island many corals were white, dead).

Around noon we stopped at Ko Phi Phi Don, where we had lunch all together (lunch was included). We had some green curry with white rice, Massaman curry, fried rice, salad, fries, chicken wings and ice cream – I am probably forgetting something else. After lunch, we had some free time to walk around the island.

Koh Phi Phi Don
We had lunch at Ko Phi Phi Don. After lunch, we walked along the beach and captured these colorful longtail boats, typical in the region.

Monkey Beach, still in Ko Phi Phi Don, was our next stop. Our boat’s captain took us to see the monkeys. A crew member fed them by throwing some pieces of fruit at them while Kon told us that during dry seasons, the monkeys go to the village and do “monkey things” around the town:D

Monkey Island Ko Phi Phi Don
From the speedboat, we got close to the cliffs where we were able to spot some monkeys. Many tourists go to Monkey beach and feed the monkeys. We didn’t stop in the beach, though. We just saw the monkeys from the boat

Last but not least, the last stop of the island hopping tour was Maya Bay, in Ko Phi Phi Leh. Maya Bay is spectacular. It is the location where the movie The Beach was filmed. No wonder why they chose this location!

Panoramic view of Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Leh
Panoramic view of Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Leh, where the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed.

As a matter of fact, this place was the whole reason why we chose to come to Phuket this weekend. A few weeks earlier I read that Boracay and Maya Bay will close to tourists for about 6 months starting in June, to restore and maintain both spots. I didn’t want to miss the chance to visit this place while I am this close to it from Shenzhen, therefore, we organized the weekend so that we could visit it. By the time we arrived, not many tourists were there (proof in the picture above!).

Besides swimming a bit in The Beach, we also explored the area, as recommended by Kon. We went to Loh Samah Bay, which is right behind Maya Bay. The whole area is beautiful and we could walk barefoot as sand is everywhere. We reached the viewing spot of Loh Samah Bay after climbing a couple of wooden stairs. The views are incredible: the waters are super blue, the islands are completely green. It is truly a wonderful place!

Koh Phi Phi Leh
Fran climbing branches as his pals the monkeys in Ko Phi Phi Lee  do. We left Maya Bay behind after swimming a bit looking for Loh Samah Bay viewpoint
Loh Samah Bay views
We reached Loh Samah Bay viewpoint in Ko Phi Phi Lee after climbing the wooden stairs. The views are just unreal

This was the last part of our island hopping tour before we headed back to Phuket. It was a great Saturday, the crew was super nice and they prepared the tour in a way that we started earlier than other tours so that we can avoid huge masses of people, and we went to the islands and bays out of rush hours. In fact, by the time we left most of the spots, other tours were getting there.

Ko Phi Phi Leh
This is the last picture from our tour in Phi Phi Islands. I think there isn’t a better way to express how happy and satisfied I was with this island hopping tour! 🙂

After the tour, we asked the same driver that picked us up to drop us in the city center. We went to Old Phuket Town and wandered around the main streets. After a while, we took a taxi back to the hotel and we enjoyed the rest of the evening in Kamala beach (and I won Fran at pool!)

Sunday Funday: a day to relax before heading back home

Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach Hotel
Views from the swimming pool at the Novotel Hotel Kamala Beach

On Sunday we decided to stay at the hotel and to enjoy the swimming pool and the Kamala beach. We checked out at noon, but we got to enjoy the swimming pool during the entire day. While we waited for our Grab (an app similar to Uber), we played pool at the bar in the lobby. Fran won the first round out of 3, but since we never finished round 2 and 3, I am still the official winner! Sorry Fran!

 

by Eloisa Latorre
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