Join me and Roxy on our adventure far out east in Thailand with Experience Travel.
February is surely the most miserable month. The excitement of Christmas is over, people up and down the country are breaking their New Year’s resolutions and there’s a good chance that snowy weather will throw the UK’s train services into disarray. What better way is there to escape the drudgery of a grey British winter than to fly to a distant land where you can still see the sun in the sky?
So, that’s exactly what my partner and I have decided to do. We are saying no to shapeless winter coats and itchy thermal underwear and a big fat yes to bikinis and cocktails on the beach. With a little help (ok, maybe a lot of help) from our new friends at Experience Travel Group, we’re escaping the final clutches of winter and spending two glorious weeks (or thereabouts) in Thailand.
Valentine’s at SALA Phuket
On 13th February we fly out from London Heathrow and we will arrive in Phuket on Valentine’s Day. For the first time in all of my travels, we will be met at the airport by a driver who will take us to our home for the next couple of nights – and boy, what a home it is. One of the swankiest and most enticing resorts in Thailand; we will have the pleasure of being guests at the five-star SALA Phuket Resort & Spa. Staying at one of the SALA’s pool villas, we will be living in the lap of luxury with a private pool, king-size bed and an outdoor bathtub that overlooks lush tropical gardens. Essentially, it’s a paradise on Earth and we could fit our entire North London flat in the swimming pool alone; a far cry from our last Valentine’s, which saw us taking to East London’s dodgiest backstreets and eyeing up photos of butchered 19th Century prostitutes on a Jack the Ripper tour.
In the morning, after a breakfast that I’m sure will be to die for, we’ll be getting straight into it, spending the day on-board the June Bathra, a traditional Chinese junk, experiencing the spectacular limestone scenery of Phang Nga Bay. We’ll stop for a dip in the picturesque turquoise waters before taking a long-tail boat to the caves and grottoes scattered throughout the mangrove delta.
The next morning, we will check out of the SALA Phuket (we haven’t been yet, but I’m already dreading leaving) before going on a private E-Bike tour throughout the Old Town. Zipping through the quaint historic quarters, the tour will see us visiting places such as Baan Silaprachan, which was home to the family of a former Phuket Governor, and the Thai Hua museum. We’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the island’s architecture, from the Sino-Portuguese buildings to the oldest Chinese shrine in Phuket, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere at a downtown fruit market.
Koyao Island Resort and Koh Yao Noi
Later that day, we’ll take a long-tail boat from Bangrong Pier to our next destination, Koh Yao Noi. Coined as the last unspoiled island in Thailand, it is one of the largest in an archipelago of over 40 islands. Largely untouched by the tourism trade, the island is perfect for those looking to escape the mayhem of daily life and relax at one of South East Asia’s most beautiful locations.
We will be staying at the Koyao Island Resort where we will no doubt be treated like the royalty we wish we were, firstly making ourselves at home in a sumptuous Sea Breeze Studio before being upgraded to a Beach Villa for our final two nights. Surrounded by reclusive beaches and tropical greenery, the Koyao Island Resort is out of this world. It boasts an infinity pool and a deluxe spa and the studios and villas themselves feature mangrove palm leaf roofs and views that you’ll have to pinch yourself to believe. The resort also has an on-site restaurant with outdoor seating where you can watch the sun set on the horizon whilst you sample both local and international cuisine along with fresh seafood. If that isn’t perfect enough for you, you can also enjoy a private dining experience on the island of Ko Nok, which is just 15-minutes away by boat.
Given that the island is so wonderfully untouched, we’ll spend most of our weeklong stay at leisure; cycling around the fun network of bumpy roads, hiking, kayaking and relaxing on the idyllic white sands of the never-ending beach. Potentially even catching a boat over to Koh Yao’s sister island, Koh Yao Yai.
On the third day of our stay on Koh Yao, however, we do have a wonderful Community Connection experience planned. The island was badly affected by the 2004 tsunami and we will spend a day with the island’s villagers, learning about their lifestyles and tsunami recovery efforts. We will take part in awesome activities such as coconut-shell souvenir making before enjoying lunch with a local family and visiting some of the other villages on Koh Yao Noi.
Sadly, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and after 11 days in paradise, we will set sail from the little island and fly home. With an 11-hour stopover in Hong Kong, we’ll enjoy a whistle stop tour of the city before settling back into our London lifestyles, eagerly awaiting the return of spring.
Head to the Far Out East with Emma & Roxy page to find out about our booking experience and our holiday.
You can also read more about our travels here and on Twitter using #ExpThailand.