We arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok and boarded our connecting flight to Phuket. We were greeted by the now familiar (after traveling Thai Airways) Thai greeting of ‘Sawasdee’ (meaning Hello) which my daughter Sanika had learned by heart and which got her some special attention throughout Thailand.
At Phuket airport, we booked a Toyota Camry which took us to the beautiful Amari Coral Beach Resort. Amari Coral Beach Resort is owned by the Amari Group of Hotels which has some really good properties all over Thailand. The resort was ranked 1st among all hotels at Patong Beach area and looked exactly what we wished for.
The rooms promised a fabulous view of the ocean and is a short walk away from the Patong beach which is the main beach of Phuket. Since we were with a child, we did not want any place too far from the main pulse of the city and chose the Amari over other fantastic options like the Momtri hotels. But we also did not want a hotel bang on the noisy Patong beach road (Holiday Inn is a great choice for those who do) and Amari Coral proved to be a calm and serene haven which gave us views of the ocean as well as the nearby Patong beach (see below for the view from our balcony). The hotel is nestled amongst the national forest area of Phuket and is a destination of sorts, in itself. More on that on the 3rd day.
View from our balcony…
After resting ourselves in the afternoon, and having a lunch of a wood-fired Pizza from Amari’s famous Italian restaurant – La Gritta, we started towards the beach at about 4 p.m. The Amari has a private, guarded road towards Patong beach.
The road to Patong Beach…
The road takes a turn and we get a full view of the beach
After a lot of fun on the beach, as the daylight got dimmer and dimmer, we took off to see the shops on the pther side of the Beach Road. As we were all hungry by now, we bought some freshly sliced watermelon and Sanika had a Chocolate-Banana Crepe from one of the numerous street stalls. Then, we proceeded to Soi Post Office my agenda for the day – buying Benjarong. Since I am an avid collector for my home, my only ‘must buy’ in Thailand was the famous Thai Royal Porcelain or the five-color and 18k gold pottery ‘Benjarong’ which was once used exclusively by the King of Thailand. Since our itinerary in Bangkok did not leave time for the Rivercity Mall which houses the Government recognized Benjarong store, I planned to do it in Phuket itself since the prices remain the same in trusted shops. ‘Siam Ceramics’ in ‘Soi Post Office’ (the lane next to the Post Office on Patong Beach Road – hard to miss) was my destination and I saw some stuff on sale which made it possible for me to spend lesser than I had budgeted. I had budgeted 4500 Thai baht for a souvenir teacup and saucer but I got a miniature tea set for 3000 THB.
Gorgeous Benjarong on display
While I made my decision in the shop, Sanika amused herself with the friendly women of the Thai massage parlor as they painted her nails. We had given up hopes of getting a Thai massage done since we did not want to leave Sanika under the care of a baby-sitter in a foreign land, but that was about to change. We asked the women if they would keep her engaged while we took a massage from them and they readily agreed. We fixed on the day after tomorrow for our massage and shopped for a beach towel and a cover-up dress for tomorrow’s excursion followed by an Indian dinner in the same lane. By the time we returned, the Beach road had turned into a dazzling display of all sorts of toys, goodies, knick-knacks, fake designer stuff etc. Since we were well-warned that shopping is much cheaper in Bangkok, we wore blinkers on our eyes, turned our backs on all the shops and went back to our hotel.