Day 7: up super early to get on our plane at 8:00 back to Thailand to Phuket. Everything was on time and had a good short flight! Arrived at our Airbnb only to discover it wasn't what we had planned on. Spent the afternoon exploring Phuket before heading back to the BNB to discover bees had taken over the patio and the plumbing was a disaster. After some frantic internet work by Leanne and some frantic scooter rides for Darren, we found a new apartment that was much better and closer to the beach! It was now 1:30 am and we had to be up at 6:00 to catch our shuttle for our island boat excursion.
Day 8: caught our shuttle outside our old apartment at 7:45 and headed to the pier to catch the Sea Angel speedboat to take us to Kai Island and Phi Phi Island. The tour was great and we all got sunburned really good. Layla got some great shots with her GoPro and had a great day in the ocean. Definitely a different way to spend Christmas Eve! Came back to our apartment at 5:00 and nursed our sunburns and ate dinner awaiting Santa's arrival!
Day 9: Christmas Day! We got up to discover that Santa had found us here in Phuket! Had a great Christmas morning complete with pancakes and bacon! Headed out to Patong beach to look around but made sure to stay in the shade as our sunburns were still smarting! Jacqueline arrived at the apartment today and we had lunch with her then headed toward Patong to the market areas after dark.
Day 10: We all had a great sleep and decided it was a good day to see what Patong beach had to offer so we got suited up and headed to lie on the beach for a bit. The beach was very busy but still very clean and relaxing. We didn't stay too long as the girls wanted to see about getting their nails done at a local salon so we headed back to the hotel in the afternoon. It was a low-key day but still nice to be on the beach.
Day 11: Another day at the beach proved to be lovely; we are definitely getting more tanned as this vacation progresses. We rented scooters today and decided to go and explore Phuket and some of their sites. Our first stop was the Southern-most cape of the island where we had some amazing views of the Indian Ocean. After that it was off to the Big Buddah, the biggest in Thailand where we were all blessed by a Buddhist monk. We then hopped back on to the scooters and made our way back to Karon Beach, An amazing stretch of sand. It was getting dark so we decided to get back on the bikes for a tense ride back to the bustling centre of Patong. A great day all around!
Day 11: Today was probably the best day in Phuket! We headed to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary in the early morning to take part in an elephant care excursion. The day started with cutting up food for the elephants (sugar cane and bananas) and then feeding them all. After that it was off to the mud bath with them. We had a great time scrubbing the elephants and watching them play in the mud. There was a close call when one of the photographers got caught between a baby and a tree, but he managed to make it out ok. After that we took the elephants to the bathing pool to clean off and swim around and then out to a shower. It was so amazing to see the elephants unchained and not hit or whipped into submission but just allowed to be themselves. We had a great lunch after and a great day overall. We also managed to spot a tiny, secluded beach on the way back to the hotel that we plan to check out later.
Day 12: Today was a good day for relaxing and exploring Patong. We had a good day at the beach and exploring the night markets around Patong Beach. We also managed to find the famous "Number 6" restaurant where we waited in line for some amazing Thai food.
Day 13: We decided it would be a great day to rent scooters again to try and find the small, secluded beach from the day of the elephants. After about an hour on the scooters we found the roadside parking lot and made the descent down to the beach. It was amazing and clear and we had a great day where Layla made a friend from Alberta, Bonnyville of all places, and played with her all day. We also managed to find shisha on the beach, something that is illegal for some reason in Thailand. We were back on the scooters by sunset and ready to get to bed for our New Year's Eve trip to James Bond Island. That evening we left Layla at the apartment so we could go and watch a Muy Thai boxing match in an open air arena. It was very cool but somewhat brutal at the same time! Leanne's dad would have loved to watch it.
Day 14: New Year's Eve: we were up early and on the shuttle bus to take us to the mainland of Thailand where we would board our boat to go to James Bond Island and to go Sea Canoeing. We took the canoes into some amazing lagoons and caves where we saw monkeys and bats and then we headed back on the boat to visit James Bond Island. After that we had lunch on the boat and made our way to a protected cove to jump off he boat and swim or take the canoes out for a spin. It was a great day on the water even though it was a bit cloudy and windy to start. It was nice however to not have to worry about sunburn for a while! We got back and had some dinner out on Patong beach before heading to the party on the beach complete with lights and a DJ. We lit two paper lanterns and made a wish for 2017 and danced the night away until the countdown to 2017. Layla had a blast and we all enjoyed seeing the amazing fireworks from all directions around Patong.
Day 15: New Years Day: We all slept in this morning and decided it would be a slower day with a visit to Patong Beach and a final farewell to Phuket as we were to leave for Koh Samui tomorrow. We enjoyed the beach and headed into town to Jungceylon mall for dinner and so Leanne and Layla could visit the salon one last time.
Day 16: Leaving Phuket. We awoke and packed up the apartment to head to the Phuket airport to catch our flight to Koh Samui, an Island to the north of Phuket and the mainland. Upon our arrival at the airport we discovered that the flight was very delayed due to terrible weather in Koh Samui. Apparently it has been raining hard for the past few days. Here's hoping that's not the case for our time there! We arrived at 6:00 pm and checked into the Chalala resort, had dinner in the sand on the beach and then popped in and out of beach bars all night while waking the length of the white-sand beach if Chewang. A good end to a bad day!