I thought Bali would be an impossible trip to top; but Thailand was RIGHT on par! We got a great deal on airline tickets through one of the budget airlines in Japan. However, this meant that we had to spend some time in Bangkok before we ended up in our ultimate destination of Phuket. I honestly wished we had, had more time in Bangkok because I wanted to visit the Royal Palace and the Reclining and Emerald Buddhas. This just means we will have to schedule another trip back to Bangkok ;).
Bangkok is typically not viewed as a super ‘family friendly’ place, however if you take simple precautions it’s absolutely doable. I mean obviously things aren’t super clean (nor were they in Phuket), but we never felt threatened or uneasy. We did wear our backpacks on our fronts once we arrived in Bangkok, and I didn’t carry a purse. We stayed alert to our surroundings and had the kids hold our hands at all times. But simple enough precautions, for a trip of a lifetime :).
Something to note about Bangkok is that there are two airports that are about 30-45 minutes away from one another. Suvarnabhumi is the international airport that we flew into and it is CRAZY busy! I have never been in an airport like it. It’s been a while since I’ve flown out of Atlanta, DFW, or Denver…but from what I remember this place was twice as crazy! We left Japan around 10 PM and arrived in Bangkok about 1:30 AM (there is a two hour time difference between the two countries). I had booked a hotel through booking.com that was close to the airport and had a free shuttle service. I also accidentally paid $12 for two bottles of water at a 7/11 in the airport (my math is shoddy anyway…add in a ‘no-sleep’ factor, a conversion rate, and foreign currency and it’s nothing short of a hopeless situation). My biggest fear when traveling overseas, is one of us contracting some sort of crazy stomach bug and ruining our trip. So all-in-all two $12 Evian waters was worth it (or at least that’s the lie I’ll continue to tell myself lol).
The staff at the hotel we stayed overnight in was awesome. They were incredibly kind and accommodating, however the hotel itself needed a good scrubbing. After we went to breakfast at the hotel the next morning and I watched one of the cooks dig in her nose for a solid minute and go back to cooking I decided I would book a different hotel for our stay in Bangkok, on the way back. Of course, no matter where we are in the world my kids just want to swim in the pool. The hotel pool was emerald green, and I wasn’t allowing it, haha so I was NOT my kids’ favorite parent. Let’s be honest, I’m never the favorite parent…but I wasn’t helping my case with the ‘no pool’ rule ;).
One of the awesome things about Bangkok is how incredibly cheap it is. A 45 minute taxi ride came out to something like $3. We drove to the other airport in Bangkok, Don Mueng, where we took a Thai domestic airline to Phuket. We were all so happy to get to Phuket, and the kiddos were exhausted. They were rockstars when it came to travel! They did pass out in our taxi from the airport to our resort though., which ended up being about an hour/hour and fifteen minute drive.
Our first evening at the resort in Phuket we really just spent time at the beach and soaking up what the resort had to offer. The second day we were in Phuket the kids attended a kids’ club for the majority of the day where they got to practice archery and golf. They also swam, played on a trapeze and did arts and crafts. Garrett and I enjoyed Yoga at the resort, adult beach and pool time, and we also got a couples’ massage which was nice.
Thailand is well known for their floating and night markets. So the second evening we were there we scheduled an outing in Phuket Town to one of the night markets there. We got to sample a lot of the street food and see what the markets had to offer. Of course Blake was my adventurous eater and tried several different street foods that I wasn’t as brave to try. Brooklynn and I stuck to the more traditional potatoes on a stick and crepes haha.
The next day we had an ATV tour scheduled; where we got to drive ATVs up to the largest Buddha statue in the world. The drive was gorgeous and the statue was so neat to see. We got to see some of the monks at the monastery and purchase a marble tile to write our names on, that they use in the big Buddha! Now our names will forever be commemorated at the Big Buddha statue; Such a neat experience.
After we drove back down from Big Buddha we had the opportunity to ride elephants through the jungle. This was not the same experience that we had in Bali and it is absolutely my own fault. It was still super neat, but this was not a sanctuary like we went to in Bali and I felt TERRIBLE for the elephants which resulted in my poor husband spending an exorbitant amount on donations towards elephant healthcare. The animal lover in me was sick over the conditions. I am wanting to make it to Chang Mai, Thailand within the next year so I’m hoping to be able to visit the elephant sanctuary there. Our elephant driver did allow Blake to ‘drive’ the elephant for a little bit which was super cool!
On the way back to the resort we rode back with a super kind Chinese family. Hands down one of my favorite things about having the opportunity to travel abroad is getting to learn about the cultures of not only the places that we travel, but also about the cultures of other people we’re traveling with. The two little girls, Lindsay and Noo Noo, sang us several Chinese songs and were kind to give Brooklynn a yellow flower. The father used to work for Texas Instruments which was neat and we learned to count to ten in Chinese, along with the hand movements that they use with their numbers.
The next day, we spent another relaxing day at the resort. The kiddos went back to their kids’ club and Garrett and I were tipped off by our yoga teacher, about a super cheap massage place right across the street from our resort; so we traveled across the street for my very first Thai massage….not a fan…lol. Garrett loved it. A lot of people really love them, but having someone standing on top of me and digging their elbows and feet into my backside was not my favorite. Give me an oil massage over a Thai massage any day. We also got to wear these super funny P.J.s ;).
That brings us about half way through our Thailand travels. (and I still have a whole day of Ishigaki left to update about…) Our Summer has been phenomenal so far, so hopefully I can get the second part of our Thailand trip up soon and update about the rest of our Summer. As always, to all of our friends and family thank you times a million for your prayers. We will need them big time over the next few months as the craziness of the school year ensues. We are all super excited about the upcoming school year but as always, covet your prayers for peace, strength, wisdom, and perseverance specifically.
We love and miss you all dearly!
❤ The Butlers