Photo by Phuket.com

Thailand -Phuket and Ko Phi Phi Don: By Jen Oliak

Come with me to explore Phuket and Ko Phi Phi Don island! After spending 7 busy tour filled days in Bangkok (Post on Bangkok) and Chiang Mai (Post on Chiang Mai), we were excited to head to the beaches and lounge.

We flew from Chiang Mai to Phuket for about $500 for the whole family.

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Anantara Hotel Mai Khao:  4 nights, $600/night for the Sala Pool Villa

We were amazed to see our room in person with sliders that opened to its own swimming pool.

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View from inside our room

The kids jumped right in!

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Jake may have a problem with this “underwear” pic one day. Lol.

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Bathtub adjacent to the pool.

The resort was set along the ocean.  We loved swimming in the warm water and hanging out until the sun set.

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Justin found a toad and did not want to let him go! The toad seemed ok with it.

Phang Nga Bay, Phuket

We took a day tour through the Phang Nga Bay.  This bay covers an area of 400sqkm and is home to 100 islands. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

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Photo by Phuket.com

The James Bond Island (formal name is Ko Tapu), with its signature rocky pinnacle has been a major attraction ever since it was featured in the 1974 Bond movie.  It is big on the upper part and thin at the bottom.

A distinctive feature of this famous bay is the number of sheer limestone cliffs that vertically jut of the the emerald green water.  We traveled on a rafting boat through these limestone caves.  Words can’t describe the beauty in this area.

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Can you see the bats on the ceiling, hanging upside down? We rafted under them!

Phang Nga Bay was the highlight of our Phuket stay.  It gets very crowded so go with a tour company that visits the bay during the earlier hours before the rush.  Also, the smaller your tour group, the better.  It is important to book with a company that allows for rafting into the caves.  This is where most of the beauty is seen.

Anantara – While the resort was gorgeous, the service left much to be desired.  The staff was unresponsive and slow.  The beauty of the resort was 5 star but the service was 2 star.  However, we did love our in room pool.  It was a great place to unwind at the end of the day. I would recommend staying at a different resort with better service, but with your own pool! The location was also very good.

Ko Phi Phi Don Island

Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort: 3 nights, $500/night for a Hillside Pool Villa

Getting to this island takes a 1.5 hour boat ride from Phuket.  The Phi Phi Island hotel arranged our transportation from Phuket, so it was relatively easy to get there. It had a very different vibe than Phuket.  There are no roads on this island and the lifestyle is very laid back.  This is a small remote island largely made of limestone. It is almost separated into two islands, but a strand of flat land connects them. On this strand lies the largest town on the island, as well as most of the resorts.

Phi Phi is considered to be one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the world (in fact, there are six islands in Phi Phi). They lie 50 km southeast of Phuket and are part of Had Nopparattara-Ko Phi Phi National Park which is home to an abundance of corals and amazing marine life. There are limestone mountains with cliffs, caves and long white sandy beaches. The national park covers a total area of 97,000 acres.

Ko Phi Phi Leh.  This is a smaller island just to the south which was popularized when parts of the movie The Beach were filmed there. The island is uninhabited apart from birds nest harvesters and a few Maya Bay wardens. Expect plenty of tourists during daylight hours, especially in Maya Bay, also known as “the beach”.

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Our room with pool set in the forest

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Velvety smooth white sand beaches – so beautiful

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Long tail boat used for transporting goods

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Phi Phi Don is known for their great Scuba Diving!

A trip to Thailand is not complete without a visit to its beautiful coastline and islands.  We were grateful to have this week among these majestic beaches before heading back to California.

Is Thailand on YOUR bucket list?  It is one of the best vacations my family has taken. Our kids still talk about our trip today. I hope our review on Thailand helped you get some ideas on where you would like to travel!

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt.  A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.