Convincing me to spend Christmas in a tropical place was a bit of a task for my good friend Chris, but when combined with an opportunity to attend our friends’ wedding in Thailand, I agreed.
I will admit that Christmas was not the same, and I’m not sure that I’ll ever go anywhere warm again for Christmas; however, this was easily one of the best vacations I’ve taken in my life, and I certainly needed it. I’ve taken some amazing trips in 2016, every country just as amazing as the next, but for the first time I was able to do awesome things and relax at the same time. It was incredibly nice.
My favorite things in Phuket:
Swimming with Yaya @ Paradise Beach
This was a truly magnificent experience. Baby elephants are so playful , and this one was so well trained. Going swimming with this gentle giant was well worth the money. Yaya used to be at Tritang Beach but is now at Paradise Beach. Read more about my interaction with Yaya here.
Cuddling with Tiger Cubs @ Tiger Kingdom
(Well, this one’s not a cub, but look how cute!)
wI was in love with these little cubs. AHH, adorable!
This was another unforgettable experience. We did a package deal for this and paid 1600 baht to experience both the big and small tigers. They have several different packages for all the different sizes that you can purchase and there are age requirements, but everything is safe as long as you follow the rules and don’t do anything stupid. It’s a bit expensive, but hello… tigers!
Getting a Thai Massage
This may have been my best decision ever. I had my first traditional Thai massage at a little shop near our resort. I can’t even describe how amazing it was. For only 300 baht, you can get an hour of the most glorious massage available on Earth. They somehow manage to use every part of their body, seemingly simultaneously, and use just the right amount of pressure that it doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort. On top of that, they give you a good stretch, and you just feel like a whole new person in the end. Definitely do this, maybe once, twice, or twelve times before leaving.
Getting an Elephant Tattoo
One of the first things that you’ll probably notice while walking around Phuket is that there are loads of tattoo parlors. On our first day, I jokingly said to my friend that we should get elephant tattoos. Later, we brought it up again to the groom after the wedding as a joke. After repeatedly saying this and not taking it seriously, we soon grew fond of the idea, especially after the impression that Yaya had left on us. And as our last line of business before departing the island, we went to Aussine, an Australian tattoo parlor, to get our tattoos.
White Water Rafting
Going white water rafting in Thailand was our way of having a “white” Christmas. This was actually part of a tour we booked that included white water rafting, zip lining, elephant trekking, and a trip to a monkey “cave” all for 1200 baht. You could also book the ATV tour as well, but we opted not to. For our tour, they picked us up at 7:30 am from our hotel, and we were out all day. I can really only recommend the white water rafting as part of this specific tour. The white water rafting was fantastic and the crew was amazing; however, the elephant trekking and ATV option shared part of the track and weren’t really “through the forest” as advertised. We were also surprised that it was nearly three hours from our hotel, also not as advertised. We had to go to Phang Nga, so it took forever. It was certainly the best bang for your buck, though. I’d probably recommend skipping the tour and just doing the white water rafting.
A lot of places offer elephant trekking. If you’re someone who is sensitive about animals and how they are treated, then I recommend doing your research on this before committing to a tour. I didn’t realize how terrible this was for the elephants until I got on. I, personally, won’t do this again.
Zip Lining/ATV Tour
The place we went was a bit underwhelming, but I’m sure if this is something you’re really into, you could definitely find better places.
Take a Tuk Tuk
If you’re not going far, this is the best way to get around, and it’s super fun with all the lights and music!
Relax at a Resort or Beach
I think this one goes without saying. It’s vacation in Thailand, go enjoy yourself!
Take a Ferry to Koh Phi Phi
Keep in mind that the last ferry back to Phuket is at 2:30 in the afternoon so plan to spend the night there.
There are many beaches that offer great snorkeling. You can easily search locations near you on the internet.
Night Life on Bangla Road
If you’re looking for a night out in Phuket, this is where you need to be. It’s pretty much a pedestrian street of bars and clubs.
Visit the Big Buddha
If you haven’t seen a Big Buddha, I would recommend checking this out. We didn’t because we have both visited the one in Hong Kong, but I sort of wish we had. Big Buddha’s are always fun, in my opinion. It’s definitely on my list for next time!
I definitely plan to visit Thailand again some day. Have you ever been? Any recommendations of other things to do?