The Expat Life: Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand
April 28-30, June 3-4, & September 29 – October 1, 2017

Phuket, another place which has been on my bucket list since Leonardo Di Caprio’s “The Beach.” I still haven’t made it to Maya Beach which are just off the shores of Phuket in the Phi Phi Islands, but that’s ok because there are plenty of other places in Thailand to visit! This year, I was fortunate enough to experience three types of trips to Phuket: first on a family vacation, second to get a suit made for Nick, and the third was an end of summer weekend getaway.

Family Vaca. My first trip to Phuket was with my parents earlier this year for my father’s 66th birthday. They came to visit me in Singapore, surprising me with my 6 year old nephew, and then I met them for the weekend in Phuket. It was my first real getaway from the little red dot, fully introducing me to the Singapore Expat Life–the ease of popping over to an exotic island just for the weekend. The trip with my family was pretty PG. We stayed at the Novotel in Patong which was as family oriented as you can get in a city I would later know for its Ping Pong shows. As a typical mom vacation, we relaxed by the pool, got massages, and walked around the beach and local shops. We also took a day trip to James Bond Island which was exciting to finally see but honestly a bit underwhelming. Thailand is full of so many beautiful islands and beaches, however, the more well-known a spot is the more packed it will be with tourists taking away from is natural beauty.

Our last day was spent at the Pullman where I had decided to stay my last night since my family flew out the night before me. Having lived in swanky New York and been a loyal Starwoods member, arriving at the Pullman immediately fed my appetite for modern luxury. I also loved seeing how happy my parents and 6-year old nephew were swimming in the infinity pool overlooking the bright blue waters of Naithon Beach. While my nephew could be happy in any pool really he was especially excited about this one and kept saying “Its so beautiful, Auntie!” The excitement not only in his eyes but in his genuine voice and love for travel warmed me. He is one of the most well-traveled kids I know and I hope all of his experiences seeing the world as a child lights that travel bug I have so deeply engrained in myself.

Now, my parents. They have given me everything they could afford and more. They both worked very hard to provide my siblings and I with a roof over our heads, a good education, and a solid foundation to accomplish anything we want in our lives. For that, I am forever grateful. I know they made a lot of sacrifices to support five children, so to see them enjoying themselves in Phuket made me so happy. My mom loves lounging by the pool with a margherita in hand, while my dad is simply happy just watching us. His happiness is seeing his wife, who never ages on the outside and looks younger every year, and kids and grandkids smile.

Patong. Hmmmm I’m not sure where to start with this one but let’s just say my sheltered Catholic school girl mind was blown. I returned to Phuket with Nick in early June and he showed me another side, the crazy nightlife of Patong and Bangla Road. Jaw drop! I went to The Box once in NYC, sat near Russel Brand–imagine how crazy that could be–and watched gothic dressed women, or men, and “angels and demons” with huge feather wings take microphones and other things out of weird places. Although I didn’t see one, I imagine that Ping Pong shows in Patong are far worse. All those rumors you hear about Thailand apparently are not rumors, they’re true. I just hope I’m never with someone that actually partakes in it. Aside from that, I did like Phuket–the food is great, it’s cheap especially if you want to get a tailored suit, and it’s a quick hour and a half flight from Singapore. Perfect for a quick weekend getaway.

Romantic getaway. Which brings me to trip three–yes, I went to Phuket three times within five months. Nick and I returned for a weekend at the end of September. I wanted to take him to the Pullman, so we decided to skip out of Singapore for a little r&r. A quick flight and a 15 min cab ride brought us to paradise. I like the Pullman for its relaxing, chic beachside decor and welcoming feel. Everything from the lighting to the scent of jasmine feels open and relaxing. Our room was beautiful. Waking up with the sunlight gently shining on our faces to a view of the ocean, breakfast in bed, afternoons by the pool, was definitely the perfect weekend getaway.

Recommended by some friends is a lovely modern-chic Thai restaurant only reachable by a little tug boat in the middle of a magically lit lagoon at The Slate Hotel. The experience was something out of a movie or maybe closer to a romantic date on some reality TV show. The hotel is dark and swanky, and upon arriving we were escorted down winding paths through numerous private villas to a long, blue walkway. At the end was a fire torch in the middle of a wooden gazebo, just on the other side was a calm lagoon filled with green lily pads and flowers, and its perimeter illuminated by fire torches. Across the water appeared to be what looked like a beautiful, ancient Thai temple. However, there was no temple to be found, it was Black Ginger–an elegant restaurant bringing modern flavors to traditional Thai cuisine.

Phuket is definitely an island for everyone–families, couples, groups of friends, bachelors. There is so much to do and I have only scratched the surface. If I find myself there again next year, diving definitely needs to be on the books!




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