If you are looking for a beautiful getaway and organised (sort of) tourism then Thailand is always a great option. The last time I went to Thailand was in 2009 with my best friend. We had travelled to Bangkok and Krabi and visited the nearby islands of Koh Phi Phi, Coconut island and James bond island (Koh Khao Ping Gan). You can reach these islands from Phuket too.
Phuket was not somewhere I had any interest in visiting to be honest. But with budget and where to meet my friend after HK, Phuket seemed the most convenient location. Zaf has been my closest friend for nearly 20 years! I have a deep sense of gratitude for his existence so, as you can imagine, I was very excited to see him.
From HK to Phuket
When I arrived, Surin Beach blew me away and reminded me of the beauty Thailand has been blessed with. Its landscape, golden sand, smiley people and my oh my the FOOD is amazing!
My love for Thai food is from childhood.The flavours are steeped with good memories! Tula’s (another good friend from school) family had a Thai restaurant which we would go to and luckily eat for free. Being dragged to countless Thai restaurants and ordering lots of starters to compare was always fun to do with Tula and I am sure a reason why Thailand was a dream to visit in my 20s.
When the day came to meet my mate I trekked to the Surin Phuket hotel that he had booked for a few nights. He got a really good discount and I was definitely not complaining or not accepting this treat. Nevertheless, I felt totally out of my comfort zone. I had gotten use to budget accommodation and I felt a little guilty I was not being a ‘backpacker’ or ‘budget traveller’ as I was clearly living it up a little. I was now walking in to a 5 star hotel. Sweaty, looking a little unkempt and carrying way too many bags.
When I was escorted to the hut I was grinning from ear to ear. It felt like a small paradise with a perfect bed, a range of coffees, a space for my writing, a bath robe that just soothed me and a shower I could sit under forever. The views were amazing and as I relaxed waiting for his arrival I was utterly grateful and so touched by this gesture.
This beachfront hotel was luxury. There is not much need for any other word. Surrounded by luscious tropical trees and a white sandy beach, it was simply amazing and stimulated all of my senses. If you are looking to treat yourself, a honeymoon break or celebrating an anniversary then this is an ideal location.
There are many islands (which I mentioned earlier) nearby that you can visit whilst staying here.
South East Asia’s random act of kindness 6
A visit from my best friend and a treat for me: Ladies and gentlemen when you are given a gift, accept it with love. It was quite a spontaneous decision to get to spend two weeks with my best friend (he booked it a week beforehand!) let alone spend our first few nights in a luxurious hotel. It was a peaceful space that let us catch up, confirm that, yes this is what I was going to do for a long while (this was mostly for my dad), have some giggles, get stuck in monsoon weather and enjoy being ‘party animals’ drinking tea, coffee and eating chocolate.
Take in the views of Surin Beach
Check out this mini clip for a taste of what we saw…
Although the hotel is secluded you can walk around to Surin Beach where there are plenty of other places to eat and drink for a range of budgets.
*** Being a responsible traveller ***
On this particular trip I was made aware of the need to travel responsibly. This ranged from respecting other cultures and traditions to doing my best to not encourage child labour or unfair treatment to nature and wildlife.
Although this is not exclusive to Thailand, seeing many promotions to take pictures with tigers seemed like a “cool” experience “that would make an awesome picture on my IG account” but really the reality should make us stop this kind of tourist activity. These animals are sedated for our benefit and often mistreated. It seems quite selfish to me to think I could get to cuddle a tiger without getting hurt while they suffered silently. It really is not worth the trip and although many tourists do this, if there is a shortage in numbers paying for this kind of experience then it will surely cease to exist.
This goes for certain elephant rides which I have to admit I paid for back in 2009. I do remember seeing how the elephants were treated after our ride and regretted being part of it. The real highlight was feeding the elephants which you can do in Thailand responsibly.
If you want to have an authentic experience with wild animals it is best to see them in their natural habitat. There are sanctuaries that give you a chance to find out more and help take care of the animals that we claim to love so much.
We always have a choice and some level of responsibility.
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Next Happy Light Traveller blog post: Getting Wild in Borneo Malaysia