Monday, June 12, 2017

Easter Break- Thailand Edition

Thailand is a place I have been wanting to visit for a time. When I decided on Australia for my semester abroad, I knew I was going to have to make the trip! Luckily, my sister and brother-in-law felt the same way so we planned it into their trip to Australia. We went for 5 days, visiting Phuket, Phi Phi Islands and Ko Yao Yai island.

Our flight to Phuket landed late at night, so we stayed at a hotel near the airport. The next morning, our driver picked us up (highly recommend because people drive crazy in Thailand, and drivers are insanely cheap) and we headed to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates elephants that have worked in the logging and trekking industry. Although heartbreaking, it was amazing to hear all of their stories and know they will be living out the rest of their years in total freedom. The entire tour was incredible, as we were able to feed and pet the elephants and watch them roam and swim on their own terms. Later that afternoon, we hopped on a ferry and headed to the Phi Phi Island, Ko Phi Phi Don.

When in Thailand, travel by wooden benches in the back of an old truck!

Phi Phi Islands are made up of 7 islands. We visited the largest, Ko Phi Phi Don, which is a tourist hot spot. The island was filled with activities, restaurants, and shops. The views from the island were beautiful, with the giant rocks in the background, the greenery, and all of the long boats on the shore and in the water. We just stayed here for a single night, in a beach resort across from the water. We spent the afternoon relaxing at the pool, we went to a couple clubs after dinner, and spent the next morning on the beach. We quickly found out that the night life on this island was pretty wild!
Our bungalow at the beach resort

The next afternoon, we got on another ferry and headed to Ko Yao Yai. This island was the opposite of Ko Phi Phi Don. It was very secluded and extremely peaceful. We stayed on a resort called the Ko Yao Yai village, which was a wonderful experience. The bungalows were great and very outdoorsy, the staff was lovely, and the views from the two pools were incredible! We stayed here for 2 nights, before heading back to Phuket.

The two days were spent mostly relaxing at the pool and beach taking in the views, eating great Thai cuisine, and I even got a Thai massage... heaven!

After an early morning speed boat ride to Phuket from Ko Yao Yai island, we had the entire day (literally... our flight left for Sydney at 1:50 AM) to explore the city. Courtesy of my sister, we had quite the lengthy "to see" list. We had another driver pick us up at the dock and haul all five of us around for the day. We started at Monkey Hill, which is basically a monkey playground on a hill filled with wild, rambunctious monkeys. For the sake of not getting bitten and contracting some sort of disease, we just took pictures and watched them. Although one of the sneaky monkeys did jump into our taxi, stole my sisters headphones, and ran into the forest with them. But not before looking at her so she noticed they were missing. LOL. RIP headphones.

Wat Chalong Temple, the most important of the
29 buddhist temples of Phuket.
While we were in the city of Phuket we visited the Wat Chalong Temple, Big Buddha, Jui Tui Shrine, and the Naka Market (not pictured). The temples and shrines were stunning to see in person, and being able to see Big Buddha up close was equally as amazing. We ended the day at the Naka Market, which had everything from authentic Thailand made souvenirs and clothing to knock-off name brand items. I bought two silk and cashmere scarfs for my mom and myself, a bowl that was made from half of a coconut shell with pieces of tile and a painted elephant on the inside, and a couple of magnets. If I had more cash and space in my luggage I would have gotten a few more items, as everything in Thailand was extremely inexpensive. The scarves I bought are nicely made and were only 100 Thai Baht each, which is about 3 US Dollars.

Arch in front of the Jui Tui Shrine (pictured above)

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