A fun thing to do when you travel is check out the buildings and architecture. I'm no architect, I know nothing of the names or significances of the styles, but I do love to admire their uniqueness. And if you can learn some of those tidbits, all the better!
When you travel, notice the architecture of the homes, offices, in markets, official buildings, places of worship, schools.. Just try to check it all out! See how different (or similar) it is to where you live. Note how modern or ancient, how plain or intricate, how lavish or simply sufficient it is. It's great fun!
Here's a little slideshow of some Thai Architecture:
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Breakfast at The Village was quite good. They offered a great spread of fresh fruits, pastries, an egg station, soup, rice, chicken, dumplings, smoothies and the list could go on. The breakfast was included and it's always nice to know you can get a hearty start to the day without spending any more money. We always have trouble getting up and around to the breakfast before it ends, though. One day they had already started to tidy things up when we entered the restaurant. A nice lady scooped up pastries and sausages (that we didn't eat for the record haha) and presented us with a platter of them.
Lunch / Dinner
We were invited to take a seat and enjoy welcome drinks while we checked in. A sweet, young muslim girl walked us through a folder of information. You know, the usual, resort map, restaurant information, pool hours, shuttle hours, and so on. She explained that with our deal voucher we would receive unlimited use of the water taxi shuttle to the mainland (yay!), a glass of sparkling wine in our jacuzzi room, a pizza/pasta meal, day trip for 2 to Koh Rang Yai, 30% off spa services ad 20% off food and drinks at the hotel.
Tropical Jacuzzi Suite
After spending time in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, we wanted to go south and have some time to relax at the beach. We decided to go to Phuket after we found a great deal on Travelzoo (like Groupon, but more travel oriented ) for a place to stay called The Village at Coconut Island, but more about that in the next post.
I love that everywhere you go in Thailand is only a short flight away, if you choose to fly!
When we landed at Phuket Airport it was nice that our voucher included roundtrip airport transfers, so we didn't have to arrange and pay for them on our own. In the car we enjoyed bottles of water and chatting with the driver while looking at maps of Phuket. You can see in the map below that Maphrao (Coconut) Island is on the right, about halfway up the map. The airport is quite north, so there was a bit of a drive.
You must take a water taxi from the Royal Phuket Marina to Koh Maphrao where the hotel/resort is located. I had over-romanticized the idea of being away from the main Phuket crowd and being able to relax and explore this little island while also having that option to take a boat back to the mainland to explore there as well. More on that later.
Waiting for the Water Taxi
While there are a number of options for traveling longer distances in Thailand, when we went up to Chiang Mai we opted to fly on Thai Airways. It's true that there were some nominally cheaper flights on other airlines, and there is always the sleeper train, but to be honest... I just wasn't feeling that this time.
What Does It Cost?
The flight between Bangkok and Chiang Mai is just over an hour and we booked "early saver" seats at 1320 baht per passenger including taxes. That's about $35 USD. Not too shabby!
There's Free Food?!