So up until we arrived in Phuket, it felt like we were living out of suitcases bouncing from one place to another. That all changed when we arrived in Thailand for the last two weeks of our summer together.
We had originally planned on going to Mexico for some getaway, relaxation time, but when I was surfing Airbnb (in January!) the prices were just a little out of our range. So I expanded my search to all places in the world with beautiful beaches. 🙂 I found a 3 bedroom villa in the Rawai area of Phuket for only $75 a night and we pounced on it. It was a good plan, do our US travel, drop our stuff and then go and do nothing for 16 days. I have to say it was what I was looking forward to since January!
The travel was easy, even though our flight was delayed. We flew from the Shenzhen airport, so we didn’t have to deal with the ferry or anything. We arrived kind of late at night, checked into our place and took a quick night swim. It was glorious. There is not much to write about in our first 10 days there. We walked around the area, did some grocery store trips, cooked some yummy food, including our own version of Tom Kha Gai and made a few trips to the beach nearby. Paul swam everyday, I devoured books and we’d watch family movies together in the evenings. It was a blissful break from all responsibility and obligation in a gorgeous and relaxing setting.
We had a stretch of rainy days preceding the arrival of my family, but it was good to build up the anticipation and prepare ourselves to be active again. 🙂 Andie, Ben, Matt and Alayna arrived very late on a Friday night of the last week we had in Phuket. We had all sat down in April at Dad’s wedding and bought them plane tickets to meet us there. I cannot express how excited I was to get to hang out with them for a full week with no other distractions (like jobs and other people….lol). They were excited to arrive, but exhausted from their journey, so hugs were had by all, then sleep.
The next day, we took it easy and had a big family breakfast, followed by a swim in the pool, then headed to the beach. The sky was threatening to rain, but it didn’t last long and we spent quite a few hours lounging, swimming and playing in the sand. I mostly stayed up and guarded the beach camp, and it was so fulfilling to watch everybody swim and jump in the waves. And with so many people to attend to him, Paul hardly ever had to come out of the water!
The next day was Sunday and we relaxed around the house, swimming and competing for what to watch on tv (Paul won most of the time). After Matt and Alayna got back from a workout, we piled into a van and headed to Patong Beach to go to a mall to eat (we had to try out the local brew pub…food was really good, beer wasn’t) and to see the new Star Trek film. It seemed so appropriate to be watching Star Trek with my family. It was a good movie! And after a quick stroll down the crazy night walking street, we were ready to head home.
The following day was my most favorite day of the trip. Donnie did some research and chartered a boat for a ride out to the Phi Phi Islands where we had stayed before. We got a really nice private motor boat and the tour included food, beverage and use of the cabin for the day. It was so fun! We started out early, heading out over the glassy bay to a snorkeling spot near the Coral Islands. The water was perfect and clear and very calm, so we all had a blast splashing around looking at the fish, eel and sometimes jellyfish!
From there we sped another hour or two out to Maya Bay, the place where that movie The Beach with Leo DiCaprio was filmed. (Sidenote: The captain of our boat had been the one to ferry him to and from the set!) Donnie and I have already been there, but it was a different perspective from before. I loved the fact that I got to share such a beautiful site with my family. We had some homemade Thai lunch, which was delicious! Then they took us to a private beach across from the bay and we played in the waves and snorkeled around for a while before loading back up on the boat. We rode around for a while looking for another place to snorkel, but it was crowded and so many boats made the water way too choppy. We settled for heading back towards home, stopping one more time by the Coral Islands for a last snorkel sesh. We were all sun spent, but glowing with happiness when we loaded in the van back to the villa.
The next day was a down day for the Hale family. Matt and Alayna went on an adventure on a motorbike and Andie and Ben did some touristing with elephants! I was happy to chill with my boys at home. We did rally for dinner and a night swim though. Again my heart was so happy to have so much love so close.
Suddenly it was our last full day in Thailand together. We’d decided to take advantage of the cheap dentistry and all go for teeth whitening! We had back to back appointments at a clinic in Patong. So we loaded up once again and traveled down to Patong. I had no idea that teeth whitening is so painful (the Zoom procedure at least!), but we all emerged with whiter, yet throbbing teeth. It made for a pretty uneventful last day, all of us turning in pretty early. Matt and I managed to handle the pain and chatted until for a few hours before we too succumbed to sleep in the hopes of numbing the pain.
Luckily when we woke the next day, we were all pain-free. We packed up, cleaned up and then checked out of the villa. And drove to a hotel Donnie and I had stayed at while we were there the last time. We were departing at 6pm, but the rest of the crew weren’t leaving until midnight. We were planning on having one last beach day and swim in the fantastic pool at the resort, but Phuket weather had other plans. We got our rooms, shared a final meal together and then got some naps before heading to the airport.
I can’t even begin to describe how lucky I am that my family is willing to travel to all ends of the Earth to visit me. It’s so wonderful getting to share experiences and make memories with them. I’m already looking forward to the next epic Erhart adventure! 🙂