When in Asia, Explore Asia. First Stop -Phuket, Thailand

When we made the decision to move to Kuala Lumpur for my husband’s job, we knew that we wanted to take full advantage of being able to travel to not only the many amazing places within Malaysia, but also the countless countries that can be found within Asia.  It is quite the impressive list, you have places like Vietnam, China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Maldives, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Cambodia just to name a few.

Once we got settled into our home in KL, we started discussing where we would want to go on our very first trip as a family.  We ended up making the decision to go to Thailand in late August.  Not only had we heard lots of great things about vacationing in Thailand, but the flight time is just over an hour long, which was very appealing given our last flight from the states to KL was right around 24 hours!  Our next decision was where to go in Thailand.  Popular vacation spots in Thailand are Krabi, Phuket, Ko Samui, Chiang Mi and of course Bangkok.  We narrowed it down to Krabi and Phuket and eventually settled on our first family vacation to be to Phuket.

We were very excited!  Like any vacation, you need to know what your purpose is while on vacation.  Are you looking to have a busy and adventurous vacation, see all that you can possibly see in the length of time that you are there?  Are you looking to have complete rest & relaxation at a resort with a beach and all of the amenities that come along with resort vacationing?  Or are you looking for a bit of both, venturing out to see some parts of the city, perhaps an excursion or two, but balancing that with some days of complete solitude?

For this vacation, we were looking for relaxation.  We were still in the process of adjusting to living in another country, my husband was working a lot of hours and keeping very busy in his new position within his new office in KL and well our 2 year old daughter just looked like she needed a vacation, some R&R, time away from the hustle & bustle of city life and the stresses from school.  At the age of 2, life can be very overwhelming!  Toddlers really have it rough.

In preparation for our short 1 hour flight for an 8 day, 7 night vacation, I did the majority of the packing.  I already knew that traveling with a child required a lot of stuff.  Packing for this trip was no exception.  Diapers, wipes, sippy cups, snacks, beach toys, iPad locked and loaded with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes, suntan lotion, mosquito spray, swimsuits, clothes, pajamas, first aid kit, stickers, coloring books, crayons, books and so on and so on.  We literally as a family took FOUR, count them 1-2-3-4 pieces of luggage and a huge carry-on packed with all the essentials for a grueling 1 hour flight with a toddler.  In our defense, I will say that one of these pieces of luggage was my husband’s DJI Phantom 4 drone, but it still seemed pretty excessive for a 1 week vacation.

The day before we were going to be leaving, my husband had an Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) doctor appointment scheduled.  He had been having issues hearing out of his left ear so he figured it would be a good idea to have it checked out.  Thank God he did, because he was diagnosed with Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL) and was going to need to have surgery the morning of our trip.  Surgery! Can you believe this?!  The procedure, while he would be under anesthesia, was going to be a steroid injection into his ear in order to try and help recover some of the hearing loss. The surgery was going to be at 7:00 AM, his doctor said it would be a 10-15 minute procedure, our flight was scheduled to depart at 1:00 PM and so we would need to leave for the airport by roughly 10:00 AM.  No problem, right?

If that’s not bad enough, next we start reading about ‘relatively small explosions’ in Thailand in resort areas including Phuket and Krabi.  Um, what?!  We are going to Phuket! Or should we seriously be considering not to be going to Phuket?

THEN we start to read more about the current weather in Phuket.  August through October are the wettest months and currently there are also surf danger warnings that are urging tourists to beware of the dangerous surf and high tides.  Awesome.  Everything seems to be falling right in place for a relaxing week long vacation.  I mean seriously, is the universe trying to tell us something?  Are we being given signs to cancel and not go on this vacation?

After spending time discussing the surgery and the weather and the bombings, we made the decision the night before our trip to Phuket, that we were going to just cancel the trip.  We cancelled our hotel reservation at the J.W. Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, cancelled our transportation service from the Phuket International Airport to the resort and were about to cancel our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket.  Antoine and I started to talk about maybe just changing our flight to go someplace else, you know somewhere without bombings and daily rain?  Sounds a bit more relaxing. The more we discussed other places to go, we ultimately decided to just stick with our initial travel plans of going to Phuket.

With the continued research we had done on the bombings, we felt strongly that we would be safe at the resort, especially since our plan was to stay at the resort and not to really leave it much while we were there since we would have our daughter with us.  Although the weather forecast appeared to be very rainy for the 7-day outlook, we decided that we would just take our chances and if it really did end up raining every single day that we were there, we would just figure out ways to have fun at the resort indoors and as a family.  We rebooked our hotel accommodations at the J.W. Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, at actually a lower price, which was probably due to the fact that their occupancy levels were fairly low due to the rainy season and then got our airport transportation rearranged.  All that needs to happen now is for Antoine to have an easy, breezy surgery and we will be on our way to Phuket for some family fun & relaxation!

That didn’t happen.  Antoine had the surgery, which did only take 15 minutes, but coming out of the anesthesia did take some time and the pain that he was in did require him to stay at the hospital a lot longer than we had expected.  As it passed 10:00 AM, the time that we needed to leave to get to the airport, it became very clear that we were not going to be making our 1:00 PM flight.  I got on the phone with Malaysia Airlines and managed to get us rescheduled for the 5:00 PM flight.  Antoine made it home after 12:00 PM and fortunately was in good spirits to still go on this trip.  We finished the last of our packing and headed on out to the airport.

Our flight was great and super short!  Ari was awesome on the plane and before we knew it we were touching down in Phuket!  It was obviously later than we expected, so our goal was to just get settled into our room, get Ari down to sleep and finally have an opportunity for my husband and I to spend some time together at one of the resort restaurants, followed by some bar time!

Late Night Dates – Delicious Food, Great Drinks & Live Music at a Beautiful Resort

The resort was absolutely beautiful.  The staff was very friendly, accommodating and you never passed by without hearing, ‘Sawasdee’, which is the all mighty greeting phrase. It works for hi, hello, good morning, good afternoon, good evening and even goodbye.

A glimpse into our room, Ari’s lofted private nook where she slept and played & a Heineken drinking dog made of towels. Ha!

We were now prepared to get settled in for a week filled with fun and sun at the beach and the pool!  So earlier I mentioned that this was really our first family vacation with just the three of us.  My husband and I quickly learned that when going on vacation with our sweet, adorable and fun daughter, that the rest & relaxation that we were anticipating, um wasn’t going to happen.  We were still up early EVERY SINGLE MORNING, we still kept to a pretty consistent schedule with the exception of a missed nap here and there and laying out at the pool or on the beach was a distant memory of vacations from the past where it was just the 2 of us laying out in the sun, with a cocktail in our hands, listening to some music or falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean.  We were now fully aware that family vacations ultimately center around your child or children and if you are lucky you will have the evening when they are asleep to relax and enjoy time together.  Some of you are probably laughing at me to even think that relaxing on vacation when you have a toddler is even a remote possibility.  I get it, laugh away.  Lesson learned. But, you know what?  It is all okay.  To see our daughter happy and having a great time was so worth it.  We have simply added a new ‘type’ of vacation based on where our lives are at.  And we are going to enjoy it, because our little ones grow up so fast, and one day that busy, scheduled, restricted, chaotic ‘type’ of vacation will be gone and before you know it we will be back on the relaxing, tranquil, quiet ‘type’ of  vacation.  And although it will be wonderful because I will have my love & my best friend right there next to me, cocktails in hands, we will be thinking about and reminiscing about the other ‘type’. Or perhaps not! Its a beautiful thought though.

Okay so how did the weather holdup? The week that we were in Phuket, we were very lucky when it came to the weather.  It did rain just about everyday, but only for like a short afternoon shower or quick downpour and then the sun was back out so we were able to have plenty of pool time, which Ari loved! We introduced Ari to the beach for the very first time and although initially hesitant to play in the sand, she did end up having so much fun playing with her beach pail and shovel and demanding that I continue to fetch water for her so she can pour it in the sand and build sandcastles with Daddy.  Unfortunately there was only one day that we were able to spend a decent amount of time on the beach playing because the other days that we tried the waves were causing the water to completely take over the shore.  It was definitely not safe to be on the beach very much at all, but we took advantage of the time that we did have and even managed to take some great family photos.

Ariane’s introduction to the beach life!

Beautiful pool, awesome water slide & poolside snacks with our sweet girl

Although Antoine didn’t get the R&R he was wanting, he did have a lot of time to fly his DJI Phantom 4 drone.  He got incredible shots & video of the resort and the surrounding areas and it is the drone itself that took all of our family vacation photos!  I personally was terrified when he was flying this thing over the water, but not my husband, he was wanting to see how many miles out he could go just to capture amazing shots and videos of Phuket and the beautiful area that we were in.

Family photo shoot compliments of the DJI Phantom 4 drone

Okay, so when you seclude yourself strictly to a resort for a week and don’t leave to go on excursions or immerse yourself into the city that you are in and the culture that you are surrounded by, resort life can get a little bit long.  Don’t get me wrong, we loved our time in Phuket, we loved the resort that we stayed at, we enjoyed our time at the beach and our endless amount of time at the resort pool. The resort food was great, we got good use out of their well equipped fitness center and even had an enjoyable family bike ride (well except when Antoine’s bike chain snapped off and we had to call in for a replacement bike to be brought to us. Oops).  But we decided that staying a full week was just way too long.  We now think that 4-5 nights tops would be ideal.  By the last couple of days & nights you are so in a routine of what you do on a daily basis that you are actually ready to go.  It really is like lather, rinse, repeat. To us it now seems like a better idea to enjoy wherever it is that you are at as a family, do fun things while you are there, enjoy time together that you don’t always get when you are in the hustle & bustle of everyday life, head back to that place you call home and then hold close the memories and start thinking about where you would love to go next.

Family bike ride just outside the resort!

Just me & my girl. Love her.

We are truly blessed to be where we are at at this time in our lives.  To be living in Asia surrounded by so many incredible countries, we owe it so ourselves to take advantage and travel to as many of them as we possibly can!  Phuket, Thailand was our first stop.  And there will be many more stops along the way.  I can’t wait to share them all!

Here is a video my husband put together to capture the beauty of our resort and time together as a family in Phuket, Thailand.  Thanks babe!  Your DJI Phantom 4 drone skills are awesome!


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