When I signed in I realized my lovely rant and message about find travel size products and getting ready for our trip never posted but instead saved itself into our ‘drafts’ folder. Well to keep it simple … finding sun tan lotion in the middle of January in a travel size that Chris will not go through in one day was not possible and instead did not happen until we reached Bangkok and waited for our transfer to Phuket.
As a reminder to anyone reading …. I DO NOT LIKE AIRPLANES OR FLYING! I would not have made a good Superman, although he probably doesn’t encounter turbulence like we have had the fortune of experiencing our last 3 flights. Well I have decided to do a day by day experience of our trip and post some pictures as well… enjoy!
Day 1: Tuesday 1/28 Chris and I went to work with the knowledge that we would finish a class period early and make our way up to the airport…. talk about a long day. I think the students know when I am excited about the end of the day and find ways to exhaust me on the way… they’re very talented. Anyways, at the end of the day we took the train from Pyeongtaek up to Seoul and then transferred to the express out to Incheon. After a veryyy long morning getting to the airport for Japan we decided to stay at the Best Western Airport hotel the night before. The place was really nice and pretty affordable so we will probably use this process again the next time we have a morning flight. It turns out most of the flight attendants and pilots stay there as well because the sign for the bus pick up included the word crew and we saw many people the next morning.
Day 2: Wednesday 1/29 was basically a traveling day. We got to the airport by about 7:30 had some Dunkin’ Donuts (they don’t believe in butter here so no toasted bagel and their hashbrowns are giant greasy things!) and headed towards security. THANK GOODNESS! The lines were insane with the holiday (Lunar New Year) and it took the longest time we have ever had to get through. Of course we only did carry-on which is our style when traveling here so we also had to deal with security with each of our bags. Once we got through, our flight to Bangkok was a long 5 hours because we were both stir crazy to get to Phuket. In Bangkok when you get off a plane its like one of those wheel up stair cases you see for fancy people then you all climb onto these sub way busses that take you to the arrivals area (which of course we needed departures for our transfer). We had about an hour between transfers from our big plane to the small one and they had Subway (yes, the food place)!!! We haven’t had a sub in over 7 months and so we dove right in and nom-nomed away. It was so delicious. Our flight to Phuket was only an hour so it wasn’t very long (by time your up to elevation give it ten minutes and are your coming back down). Phuket was a little intimidating because all these people are waiting at the doors with signs to pick up people and screaming taxi! taxi! at you. We found the woman holding up our names and she took us to a small bus we had to ourselves. The drive took almost an hour because we were at the other end of the province … of course and people are INSANE drivers there… I’ll get to that. Well we finally got the resort around 8 and it was breath taking. Everything on the website we have been staring at and dreaming about was so true! We ordered room service while we freshened up, ate on our balcony and then went to enjoy to beach bar and put our feet in the sand. It was just amazing after a long day of traveling.
Day 3: Thursday 1/30 was our first full day. Phuket is two hours behind Seoul so it was easy for us to wake up at 7 a.m. and go to breakfast. We got an umbrella on the beach this day but that was the only time (you have to pay for it because technically it is outside of the resort – really common in Asia). We enjoyed fresh fruit, eggs, toast and small baked goods from the porch overlooking the beach and ocean. We spent the morning laying in the sun on the sand while reading and relaxing. Chris was loaded with lotion so he did not burn! The day was spent in the sun, eating lunch at the beach bar (they had good sandwiches) and relaxing. We ventured just outside the doors of the resort and found tonsss of restaurants and small stores. We went to this big open place and enjoyed some vegetables stuffed quesadillas and salmon. That night we walked around for a bit then found ourselves back on the beach for some night time walking.
Day 4: Friday 1/31 Lunar New Year! The whole place was decked out with lanterns, red and gold signs and lots of flyers for the big buffet that night. We spent some time in the sand in the morning but most of the day up by the pool under the umbrella during the mid day. The sun is very strong. Loved the pool-boy service to bring us drinks and keep hydrated (always a bottle of water with every “beverage”). That day we swam up to the pool bar and enjoyed some light lunch and refreshments. That night we wandered off the get some food again and then we saw a baby ELEPHANT!!! I was all about getting to feed him some fruits and was allowed to. He was so cute! Had these 4 inch bristles all over his body sticking up and all his cute wrinkles. I got a picture with his trunk around my shoulders. It was so much fun. We then went a played a round of mini-golf which was probably the most over-the-top place I have ever been to. It was dinosaur themed and they even had caves you went through. It was fun but the mosquitoes were crazy … they are evil! Even a sign on our balcony warning about leaving the doors open and them. Afterwards we saw the elephant again and Chris got to feed him and then got a big ol’ kiss from him! It was so cute. We wandered our way back for some night time beach strolling and relaxing.
Day 5: Saturday 2/1 was our day to go snorkeling! I had been so excited since I had neither seen clear water or ever been snorkeling before. It didn’t live up to my expectations. 1. The rough water on the way out was enough to send anyone’s anxiety into overdrive. 2. Due to the rough water we couldn’t visit one of the areas we were supposed to (I feel like it was probably the better of the two). 3. It was so overcrowded with people that it was murky and dirty and blah. I guess I just wasn’t impressed. Chris and I bought cheap goggles at the corner mart and had more fun just exploring right outside our hotel. No too much happened during the afternoon except we found some “European style” sun bathers … awkward. We watched the sunset which was beautiful but a little low cloud coverage made it kind of hard to see. The colors reminded me of home. We knew it was our last night so we went to this Italian place we had seen while walking around. Thank goodness we didn’t until the last night or we would have eaten there every night. It was amazing!!! I even got raviolis!!! I have had a ridiculous craving for them lately and its getting to the point where I might make my own from scratch (literally since there is no ricotta cheese here). Chris got a lobster he even got to pick out himself. It was pretty delicious for both of us. Again one last night of relaxing (we got some post cards so worked on filling a few out).
Day 6: Sunday 2/2 we actually checked out of the hotel. After an early breakfast, time on the beach and by the pool and what such we went up showered off and grabbed all of our gear. It was kept with the baggage people during the day fr us and we continued to enjoy the pool and beach bar for one more lunch. There was a very rude person who gave this like ridiculous smirk and laugh at me when I asked not to have feta cheese on my salad and Parmesan instead… made me want to throw the big heavy bound menu at his face… anywayssss. We were so sad to check out but we go all of our stuff together and paid off the balance. It was not an all inclusive hotel and I am glad we didn’t fork up the extra money for one. We had been charging food and drinks the whole time and barely spent $400 compared to the $1,000 more it would have been for the all inclusive! We got another ride back to the airport and headed to our plane. It was a pain in the butt to go through and you needed to go through security twice? We had to go through a baggage line like always to get our tickets and it took over an hour! Pathetically slow. A very small airport not designed for the amount of people going through it. Either way we got on our flight late (just know … if you fly Thai Airlines you will probably be late because every single one of our 4 flights was.) and had to RUN through the Bangkok airport after it dropped us off on the stupid (sorry) bus at arrivals again and this was a much bigger plane so it took forever to get off the damn thing. Anyways people I asked were like ‘oh you’ll be fine don’t worry’ since we finally got off our flight as the next one was boarding. Well luckily a woman at the second security desk let us jump the line and we raced out to our gate (of course the furthest one away). Should have know that they would be late too… just started boarding when we got there! Crazy. Anyways had another long flight overnight (I can’t sleep on planes) and landed a little after 6 a.m. Monday. Usually we have good luck getting through stuff at Incheon (even a long line is quick) but suffered in a horribly slow line to get through immigration. Good news is we caught the 8 a.m. bus back to Pyeongtaek and we were able to “sleep” on it. We came home, got a non-existent nap and then showered and headed off to work…. yeah work. I felt so exhausted but so mentally refreshed the kids couldn’t get on my nerves if they tried.
Some things that we noticed in Thailand:
1. SCOOTER DRIVERS HAVE NOOOOO FEAR. Seriously these people don’t wear helmets, will seat three people on the thing, and sometimes have little side carts that kids and adults sit in alike. They have their own parking which means wherever they want and there are more scooters than cars. They are seriously everywhere and they don’t look they just do whatever they want.
2. Driving is different… its a game of chicken. I grew up driving the parkway and the turnpike but this is different …. I don’t know how it works but it seems to work. Scooters over packed with people and trucks and truck beds over packed with people just chillin’ all just playing a big ol’ game of who will give in and let the other one pass.
3. Telephone wires shouldn’t work… at least not by the look of them. They are extremely hazardous looking with tons of wires just over taking them in the most disorganized looking way.
4. Driving around you understand the difference between the resorts and the normal people who call it home. Its tropical so everywhere is big open patios and open walls and just very used to the warm weather atmosphere. It is also very poor in many areas. It looks like how I would feel driving through a not so nice area of South America and what it would look like… seriously reminded me of it. It kinda has a “not-so-clean” environment as Chris describes.
5. The roads are windy and quick and go practically straight up hill at times. That doesn’t slow down or deter the drivers whatsoever. Just saying – I thought Koreans were bad.
6. It was beautiful, fun, warm (hello its JANUARY) and just what the doctor ordered. A few days of sleep, sun, sand, surf and sipping. Truly a mental refresher and we have come back so much more relaxed and ready to tackle the next five months.
Chris has spent the last week since we got back asking if we can go back … not making it any easier as I pull on a turtle neck and sweater versus a bikini and maxi dress but I don’t blame him. As I finish writing this (it has taken a few separate times because I kept getting tired or forgetting things) I am fighting a little bit of a cold and allergy induced coughing. All is well overall though.
Some of the photos we took: