We flew Thai Airways from Heathrow to
Immigration formalities were done at
Lynda and I are very much beach people....but quiet beaches please. We selected this hotel for its quiet location, very good looking beach, decent accommodation and smallish size.
The blurb on the resort website claims that its beach is private, and yes I know, there is no such thing as a private beach in
We stayed in a Seaview Deluxe room with outdoor Jacuzzi. Very nice room with both indoor and outdoor shower. Sitting in the Jacuzzi with a glass of wine watching the sunset was just magical.
There is some decent snorkelling to be had at a beautiful little island, which is about a ten minute boat ride away. Easily organised through the hotel and cheap enough at 1000baht.
The resort has a decent selection of eating options offering good quality food.
We stayed here for three nights and will certainly consider visiting this hotel again.
Suitably unwound and relaxed, our next destination was Phi Phi and there's loads of news to come from there !
The view from our balcony at Andaman White Beach.
Snorkel trip transport.
So, time to head for Phi Phi.
Having spent some time in Phuket, we could easily have gone for the ferry. But speedboat transfer has become part of the experience for us, and that’s the way we went.
I arranged it all before we left
The journey was as exciting as ever. A little bumpy, but quite comfortable. We know from experience that looking behind us and waiting for Phuket to just about disappear is the moment when Phi Phi comes into view ahead. The unmistakeable shapes of the two main islands, particularly the unique outline of Phi Phi Ley. Mosquitoe and
We were having our second dip when the 13.30 ferry from Phuket arrived at around 16.45. So we spent fifteen minutes or so just bobbing around in the sea, watching the local longtails servicing the ferry. Transferring passengers and luggage to the shore and unloading provisions for the resorts. It’s an activity we’ve seen many times before but one that I never tire of watching.
For dinner on our first night of ten, we headed off down the beach to Jasmins. A rustic little beach restaurant run by the local sea gypsys. Beautifully fresh fish cooked right in front of us and served in a fabulous location. Bare feet in the sand looking out to sea, past the longtails and with the horizon a mass of twinkling lights from the squid fishing boats. A black clear sky filled with billions of stars. Yes……we’re back……to a little piece of paradise! And we have nine more nights to go.
A nice welcome.
The view from our bungalow.
Day 2, after breakfast we set off to explore the new development at the southern end of the resort. This is a project to build some additional bungalows and has been ongoing since 2003. We knew that big progress had been made since our last visit but were mightily surprised to see that 10 of the new units were occupied and the new swimming pool was going to be in use within a few days. These new rooms are gorgeous and have been constructed in such a way that they look like they have always been there. When it’s completed there will also be a new bar and restaurant down at this end. I must say at this point that the construction going on has no negative impact on the resort.
We decided to keep walking south and make our customary visit to
We walked through the coconut plantation at the rear, to swim at
Heading back to the path we bought some cold water to take to the workers who were paving the footpath. When we reached the area where they were working, we gave them all some water and sat down for a chat. It turned out that the work gang were two families. Mum, Dad and kids…..all working together. They have been working on this path, with very, very basic equipment, since 2006. Backbreaking work and in searing heat. When I suggested that they must be sick of the sight of the path and the paving, a huge smile accompanied the reply of ‘oh no, we are so happy we have work’ !
After more snorkelling, and a few glasses of fine malt, taken on our veranda, we had dinner at H.I. We took the traditional Thai buffet which was excellent. During our many visits to this resort the food has often been good and sometimes not so good. On this occasion however I have to say it was excellent. There is a new management team in place who are making some subtle but definite improvements. More about that later.
Day three began with a surprise. I jumped out of bed pulled on swimming shorts and headed for the sea. After a few strokes I was aware that every time I pulled my arms back I seemed to get a handful of what felt like grape seeds. Treading water to investigate, I found that I appeared to be swimming in a sea of tapioca ! The water was just full of little jelly like cylinders, about an inch long, and half an inch wide, and with a little black bit in the middle ! YIKES !! I swam to the left, to the right, closer to shore and further out to sea. There was no escape. The sea was just absolutely full of them….millions…probably billions. It was around seven a.m. and not another soul in the water. Slightly un-nerved I headed back to the shore where I found the sand full of these little things, some pulsing away like little hearts and others totally lifeless. Looking back at the sea I could now see that it had become very slightly milky, not the crystal clear that it normally is.
After a longer than normal shower we headed off to breakfast, passing the dive centre where we bumped into Suwit, who has worked here for as long as we have been visiting. Hey Suwit, what’s happened to the sea?
As yes John, this happens every year, once a year. Don’t worry they are harmless baby squid. They will all be gone in two days. And they were.
In all the trips we’ve made to this island I’ve never seen anything like it, nor even heard of it. But apparently it happens every year, sometime in January or February.
Completely harmless, but it is quite unpleasant swimming with them. I tried a few times but just didn’t like the feel of them.
So with the sea being like that, to-day was a good day to
Coming in to the bay, it was very clear that new building
has been progressing at a pace very untypical of Phi Phi. Lots of concrete,
which is understandable, but for the first time since the start of the
post-tsunami re-build, I felt that
Absolutely full of backpackers and day-trippers and even during the day….too much loud music. Not our thing at all. We spent two or three hours there, doing a bit of shopping, checking out a couple of the new hotels and of course, we always visit the Tsunami Memorial Garden which I’m delighted to say, is still being beautifully maintained.
For our return longtail trip, we left from the Tonsai Bay side and travelled back up the east coast, passing Long Beach, Rantee Bay and Loh Bakao Bay.
Just in time for us to wander up to the viewpoint at H.I. for a couple of cocktails whilst watching the sunset.
For dinner we again sat barefoot in sand, but this time at Sawadee Restaurant, which is adjacent to Zeavola. More lovely fresh seafood…….Thai style…..fab.
Next day the baby squids were still there so the sea didn't have its normal attraction. We spent quite some time in the new swimming pool which was today open for the first time. Whilst having our late afternoon drink on the veranda we were chatting to a young German couple from the bungalow next door and they were enthusing about the snorkel trip they had just returned from at Phi Phi Ley. Amongst many other species, they had seen turtles. This would be a first for us at Phi Phi, so we decided that to-morrow we will go snorkelling at Phi Phi Ley. I wandered along to the gypsy village and arranged to hire a longtail and driver for six hours next day and agreed a price of 2000baht. For this price we could have taken two other couples with us and shared the cost but we prefer the freedom of being just us.
After a light breakfast we set off at around 8.00. It took
around 50 minutes to reach
We only stayed here for half an hour or so experiencing nice but routine snorkelling and enjoying the lovely setting.
We then headed on to Pileh Wall which is where our German
friends had seen the turtles and is about five or ten minutes by longtail. We
had a great time here for about an hour, but no sign of any turtles. We
encountered loads of black tip reef sharks, a couple of leopard sharks, various
types of moray eels, (some of them are really ugly) and loads and loads of
multi-coloured fishes of all shapes and sizes. I can't find the words to
adequately describe the beauty of snorkelling around Phi Phi. The water is just
so beautifully clear and the colours of everything are breathtaking. I can swim
in these waters day after day after day, and never tire of it. We've only been
home for around a week and already I'm looking forward to our next visit. Every
snorkelling session brings new experiences and sights. I just never tire of it,
catching a glimpse of a completely different world. We moved on to
To-night the resort put on a special dinner for Chinese New Year. They transformed the restaurant and the staff put together, a great show with Chinese music, dancing and a very nice buffet.
I won't dwell any longer on the Phi Phi section of this trip
other than to say that our ten days just flew by. I know that will be too long
for many people, but I could easily have stayed longer. Maybe one day I will
have had my fill, but for now, I just can't wait to return to
Our flight from Phuket was at 13.30, so we arranged for our speedboat at 09.30. We were given a wonderful send-off. One of the resort office staff needed to visit the hospital in Phuket, so we gave him a lift. Sea conditions were a little choppy, so the transfer took nearly an hour.
We arrived at Bangkok Suvarnibum at around 3.15. We had pre-arranged a car to take us to our hotel. The Shangri-La. We splurged a little for our last few nights and had booked a de-luxe balcony room in the Krungthep wing. Very swanky and even had our own personal butler! Beautiful room with fantastic views over the river. For a special treat, this hotel really is something else.
We felt a little uncomfortable with the butler, who wanted to do everything for us....right down to running the bath.
Itâ€™s been a few years since we last visited River City Shopping complex, so we jumped on a river taxi and headed up river.
The first and second floors of this complex are mainly for tourists. There are some nice silk shops, boutiques, tailors, jewellers, art galleries, leather products stores and gift shops offering all sorts of goods. The third and fourth floors are mainly art and antique shops which are just fantastic, even for a confirmed non-shopper like me.
For dinner we went to the Riverview Restaurant on the second floor.
Lovely little restaurant serving great traditional Thai food, and offering great views of the river. Many of the river dinner cruise boats embark here, so it's quite entertaining. Not at all expensive and highly recommended.
We headed back to our hotel for an early night as we had quite a lot planned for the next day. Sitting on our balcony just taking in all the river action, we were treated to a fireworks display, which I think was put on by the Oriental, just next to us. I believe they do this display every Saturday night around 9.00.
Breakfast at this hotel is spectacular!!!
Served in the elegant Riverside Lounge. Would you like eggs sir? Yes please.....scrambled and the same for madam.
When they arrived the eggs had become.....scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, hash browns, and maybe even more. It was beautifully cooked and presented. Then we were offered the Asian buffet which was extensive. Of course all the usual cereals, fruits pastries etc were also available. Certainly a spectacular breakfast.
After a little walk around the hotel grounds, we headed for the river bus stop which is less than 50 yards from the hotel entrance....very handy.
More photos from this trip here.
Our flights, transfers and hotels were booked through Expedia. Try the search engine below to customize YOUR trip to Thailand.