After a smooth flight from Kuala Lumpur we landed in Phuket on the evening of our first anniversary. There can't be many people who are lucky enough to still be on their honeymoon on their anniversary! Immigration seemed straight forward. I even got a stamp allowing me to stay until Nov 15th instead of Sept 15th (that'll teach the immigration guy to be on his mobile while checking people in to the country!), until the he realised and ran after me through the immigration hall. We knew we were in Thailand with the constant "taxi?", "Tuk Tuk?" "Where you want to go?" as soon as we set foor through arrivals.
Spotting a Hilton desk we got them to organise a taxi for us. At least we knew we would get to the hotel this way. 5 minutes later a very new car pulled up, with leather seats amd a tiny young driver got out. We later decided there was no way he was a proper taxi driver. It was about 45 mins drive from the airport to the hotel through Phuket island. There was a lot of speeding up and breaking/swerving quickly to avoid mopeds with whole families on them (Mum and Dad sitting down with the kids standing in front and the shopping behind.)
After nearly running out of petrol we arrived at the gates of the hotel. Our taxi was stopped at the anti-ram barriers and the security guards checked the taxi for bombs before letting us to the reception area at the end of the drive. The taxi wasn't allowed to take us to the hotel. We had to get a hotel tram up the driveway to the main reception.
I know you might be thinking this doesn't sound like your average backpacker hostel. This was our anniversary treat, although being frugal it was a free treat. I still had some Hilton points left from my PwC days so we got 2 nights of luxury for free! We walked up to the check in desk and on showing my Hhonors VIP card we were whisked away to the VIP check in area. We were given a champagne glass of fruit cocktail and hot towels as we sat checking in. When the girl said "happy anniversary Mr and Mrs Love, we have given you an upgrade to a suite" I actually burst out laughing. It all seemed so surreal after months of hostels! Then I was worried that she might think we had lied about it being our anniversary because I was laughing so much!
The girl showed us up to our room which was amazing. Written on the bed in flowers was Happy 1st Anniversary and a bottle of champagne was chilling in the corner. Our balcony looked out to the sea and one of the four swimming pools. Happy days!
The next morning we did some damage to the buffet breakfast and didn't need to eat again all day. So many choices, including curry and sushi- just what you want for breakfast. We walked down to the beach which was stunning but the sea was too rough to swim in. Instead we opted for the pool with the diving board so Brian could show off his skills amongst the Chinese and Japanese tourists who thought they were performing olympic dives (or belly flops to us!).
We spent the next couple of days relaxing and enjoying the luxury as it would be the last for a while. We enjoyed a lovely Thai dinner (thanks Mum and Dad) of Lime and Chilli sea bass for me and seafood pudding for Brian. All for about GBP10 incuding beer and home made coconut ice-cream for dessert!
We decided to take a trip on the local bus (lorry with seats in the back) to Phuket town. When we arrived we wandered about for a while then finally gave in to Alex the enthusiastic Tuk Tuk driver who told us there was "nothing to do here, I take you where you want to go, to markets, gem shops". It was about 60p so we got in. He took us to the port to book our ferry to Phi Phi the next day and then to a market full of cheap clothes and finally the obligatory stop at the gem shop (we went in for 5 minutes so he could get his petrol voucher after he pleaded with us to go).
The next day we got a transfer from the hotel to the ferry and on to the beautiful Ko Phi Phi.