Phuket - Beach, elephants and yummy Thai food

Posted by ~Summer~ on 26.5.14
in

At last, I'm sharing about the most memorable shore excursion during our cruise on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas. Our last destination was Phuket, Thailand and we were very much looking forward to our first elephant ride as a family!

You know, it takes a lonnngggg time for me to upload the photos, then sort, select, edit, enhance, make into collages and finally, compress before I can post them here. Considering how I can take over 1000 pictures for one holiday, please pardon me for taking time to write these Travelogue posts. The good thing is I will definitely write about the places that left an impression and it actually feels awesome to reminisce those fond times as I pen down the memories.

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Phuket, Thailand's largest island, is a well-known tourist attraction for fun in the sun with beach activities like swimming, snorkelling, diving, yachting, jet-skiing, windsurfing and parasailing. This would have been a paradise for the hubby and I in our courtship days and we would love to do parasailing as a couple. I still think we might, one day. For now, we are happy to stick to more kid-friendly activities so that the girls can enjoy every bit of the holidays.


First up, we took a coach to Island Safari where we were going to come up close with animals - something that never fails to thrill and delight our kids.


The first part of our itinerary was to watch a monkey show where we saw monkeys walking the ropes, doing somersaults, climbing trees, plucking coconuts and even riding a tricycle. Likewise when I watch circus performances, I wonder if it is considered cruel to be training animals to do tricks to amuse and entertain tourists. Well, I try to convince myself that these animals are probably better off this way where they are fed and protected than left to fend for themselves in the wild.

Next up, it was our highlight of the day! We were the first in our group to go for the elephant ride and our guide kindly allocated us a big elephant so that all four of us could go together. Yippee! If I could carry Angel on an Ice Flyer ride in Switzerland at 10,000ft high where we were swept over glaciers and snow peaks, carrying Ariel on an elephant ride sounded easy. Still, I made sure she was snug in the baby carrier and held onto the bar the whole time.

I was pretty amazed that the guide sat right on top of the head of the elephant without any form of support at all and still managed to control and steer the elephant in the right direction. The whole ride was smooth and less jerky than I expected, other than when we had to go up and down some steep paths or make a U-turn, which only thrilled the kids even more with the sudden movements.

Before the ride, I had asked our guide if he could take a family photo for us. He said "Yes, yes, take photo later". It ended up that the only photo taken of us was sold at the souvenir booth and I can't remember the exact cost but it was at least S$40. Still, I am a sucker for photo mementos and when we discovered they did not accept credit cards and we had not enough Thai Baht with us, it was a relief that they were smart enough to accept singapore dollars.

We were pleasant surprised by a sweet gesture when the guide presented Angel with a star necklace - made using a leaf he plucked during the ride. I swear his fingers were more nimble and deft than mine and it was impressive how he managed to fold layers of the star so neatly and perfectly. Angel loved it so much and it is now still hanging on the wall in our house.

After the elephant ride, which unexpectedly took near half an hour but something which we welcomed, we were treated to an elephant show performance. The hubby and I had seen something similar in Bintan where elephants could throw hoops, shoot darts, do math sums, kick balls and dance. But of course, this was the first time our girls watched anything like this and it was fun to see how Angel was impressed by these smart mammals.

As for me, I took a bold step and volunteered to do something for the first time - get stepped on, I mean massaged, by an elephant! See, that's my proof. This gentle giant was really good in giving some strong but controlled taps with its foot and having a baby elephant as a masseur will definitely be a special memory etched in my mind for a long time to come.

Ours last destination of the trip was to visit the largest and most revered temple in Phuket - Wat Chalong temple.

The temple is most revered because of the sacred relic that is kept here - what is said to be a fragment of a bone of the Buddha. The relic is kept inside a glass case on top of the 60 meters high Grand Pagoda which is contains Buddha statues and wall paintings depicting the Buddha's life story. After climbing up three stories to catch a glimpse of the relic, we decided to let the girls run free and went for a stroll in the gardens instead.






It's not that hard to tell that these two like to be outdoors, right? Compared to temples, churches and museums, I think that we still prefer to be close to nature and animals. Yes, call us the not very religious, cultured or knowledgeable type of family.

After that, we had around two hours of free and easy time before we had to be back on the ship. Woohoo! The first thing we wanted to do was to try out some local dishes and so we had a yummylicious lunch at a restaurant in Patong - the beach and town along Phuket's west coast and the main tourist resort in Phuket. Pad Thai, Tom Yum Soup, Pineapple rice - These are some of our favourite Thai dishes and we were happy to be able to savour them in Phuket.

You know how some people say you should never eat from roadside food stalls when you are overseas, especially when you have kids, to prevent stomach upsets and food poisoning? Well, obviously that doesn't apply to us. We were thrilled to see a line of roadside stalls and couldn't wait to feast on fresh mangoes, grilled corn on the cob and a delicious, huge barbequed fish.  Wait? Didn't we just had lunch? Even Ariel, who was only one-year-old then, loved the fish!

When we were left with the last half an hour, we could have chosen to make our way back to the ship earlier to rest, bathe and relax. But did we? Neh. We couldn't resist going for a dip in beach even though we did not bring along any extra clothing for the kids.


The girls had fun with splashing in the waves, waddling in the seawater, hunting for fishes, picking seashells, and it was one of those precious moments that we could be together as a happy family without a care in the world. While we could relish that feeling and enjoy the tranquility before returning to the hustle and bustle of city life, we jolly well did.





It's kind of surprising but these shots we took at the beach turned out to be some of the best we had from the entire trip. Was Angel holding a dead fish? Why, yes. She found it on the shore with Daddy and every time she attempted to throw it back into the sea, probably hoping it would live, it got washed back with the waves. It ended up that she tried umpteen times, making it a game of let's-see-who-can-spot-the-fish-first.

We were quite reluctant to bid farewell to Phuket because that meant it was near the end of our 6D5N cruise. It might have been a short day spent on the island but we absolutely loved everything we did. In fact, we can't wait to go on a family holiday again!

Have you visited Thailand with your family? What is your favourite activity there? 

To read our review and exciting experience on board Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, go here. To see more of the world, visit my Travelogue page here.    

6 comments:

  1. **Gasped!!! You are really brave to let the elephant massage you. ** Gasped again!!

    We went to Chiangmai for elephant show and ride too! Looks quite the same. Yes it's definitely interesting for the kids and us.

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    1. Haha, the baby elephant is well-trained! =) A lot of people from the audience did it, not just me. But I am so glad I did, though the hubby seemed a little reluctant when I said I wanted to try. Lol. I mean, how many of such chances do you get in a lifetime? =) Cool, I hope we can bring the kids to Chiangmai one day too! I bet the girls will love it!

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  2. Hi first time here,really nice blog. I am an Indian residing in Singapore for more than 4 years now. SAHM of two kids 5y,5m boy n girl respectively. :) have been to Phuket . My son was also very excited about the elephant ride.

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    1. Thanks much Jaish and nice to know you! I am a fellow SAHM mum to two kids too! I think most kids will be thrilled by the elephant ride and good to know your son loved it just as much!

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  3. You sure are brave to get massaged by an elephant. I would have freaked out at the possibility of being crushed under it's feet. I admit I'm one of those who would not dare to try street food especially if Sophie is with me because I just don't want to run the risk of us getting a tummy upset and then spoiling the whole holidays. I've not been to Phuket and would like to visit there some day.

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    1. Haha, I don't think I would be the unlucky one to get crushed. =p The elephant must have done this a thousand times already and he was really professional at it. =) Oh yeah, I know, some of my friends stay away from street food vendors but somehow, the hubby and I loved to try them out when we were a couple and we still tend to keep this habit. Fingers crossed, hopefully there won't be a day when we regret it! Tsk. The world is so big, we will never be able to see all that it has to offer but I am glad both of us are seeing it a little at a time! Glad to see Bali was so fun for your family, Susan! =) Will love to read your post soon!

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