Our Second Overseas Family Trip: Phuket, Thailand

When we booked our flight to Phuket for early evening on Christmas Day, I don’t think I anticipated exactly how long that day would feel. Though the flight time was less than two hours, we took off at Harper’s bedtime, after a day that started early and included quite a lot of action for small kiddos. Especially because it seemed as if a switch had been trigger for Harper and she was suddenly walking independently and impressively fluidly. She tested this new trick out all over the airport, which made standing in lines a little tiresome and had me scared about the flight. Thankfully learning how to walk takes a lot of energy and she crashed with takeoff.

Overall, from stockings, to presents, to a festive lunch out, packing and schlepping to the airport, and flying to Thailand – it was a long day that led to the two kids arriving at the resort looking like this:

The staff was gracious upon our arrival, offering me a lovely glass of tropical juice and launching into a long winded spiel about every possible thing you could ever want to know, which is exactly what you want to listen to when you have two exhausted children whose nighttime sleep is being interrupted by the check-in process. I know some people have these kids who will like stay asleep as they are carried from the couch to the bedroom, or even as the car seat leaves the car and heads somewhere attached to the stroller. But those are not my kids.

My kids are also usually a part of the wake up before the sun’s up crew, but on our first morning they did both sleep until 7am, which was actually 8am in Singapore, so we chalked that up to an epic win and began to explore our surroundings. I have never been to a place that was more thoroughly landscaped to resemble something out of a fairy tale. The gardens all had this vibrancy and charm that felt like walking through a storybook. And my favorite local flower was everywhere.

We spent our first day exploring the resort. It had a beautiful pool that had at one point apparently been the largest freshwater pool in South East Asia. It sprawled all over the property, with no shortage of shallow spots for Harper to practice her walking. A newly mobile baby in a pool is great fun actually because the weightlessness allows them to move quicker and more fluidly, so she was feeling pretty darn impressive toddling through the water. The resort’s buffet did not disappoint. In addition to the croissant which Penny fell in love with on our last vacation, they also had mini sugar donuts somewhere reminiscent of American munchkins, which delighted my child to no end.

The resort beach was fun for sandcastle building and fascinating from an ecological perspective. It was an intertidal zone that revealed all these interesting rock formations when the tide went out, each one full of sea life forms. But this geological phenomenon made a dip in the ocean a little logistically complicated for little ones and so for our second day, we decided to venture off-resort to the famous Patong Beach. Here the water was brilliantly blue and you could wade right in, but the vibe here was reminiscent of my college break trip to Acapulco. Clearly tourism is a huge industry in Phuket and between stands renting everything from unicorn floatation devices to jet skis and the large crowds hailing from all over the globe, this beach was teeming with activity at 10am on a Friday morning.

We spent the rest of the day back at the resort, where Penny was delighted to interact with the resort pets. The sweet bunny I placed on her lap happily ate the greens and then bounded off and we needed some help to lure him back to his friends.

We capped off our trip by having dinner at the beachside restaurant on site. It didn’t have French fries on the menu, so we were able to order them from the beachside bar and bring them over. The meal included lots of walking around holding Harper’s hand between courses and Penny completed an entire sticker book, but we got to eat delicious Thai food and watch a beautiful sunset. For me, this was the highlight of the trip.

Watch me go guys!

Our flight back was mid-morning the next day, so we only had time for breakfast and “saying goodbye to the ocean”. The trip was quick, but I honestly think that’s what made it so sweet. It was the perfect length to feel like we soaked up what was easily available, and I felt ready to go home but not overly so. There are no doubt lots of excursions we could have done, but most of the those things are for adults adventuring on their own or families with bigger kids, honestly. My kids right now are happy with time with their parents and a bucket, and I’m more than aware that won’t always be the case.

The only notable thing about our trip home was how crowded the airport was when it was time to board your plane. Passengers were bused from the terminal to their aircraft, and the same departure gate was used for flights as close as 15 minutes apart. It definitely made me want to have one hand on each child at all times.

Overall, this trip felt like a vacation, which is a feat in itself with two children. I definitely left wanting to see (and eat my way through) more of Thailand, but maybe a sleepier side of it next time.

Thavorn Resort Highlights:

  • Great food. A seafood ceviche I had was one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while.
  • Landscaping. I was struck by the natural beauty everywhere I looked.
  • Animals! This was unexpected and so fun for the kids.
  • Pool – It was sprawling with easy toddler access.
  • Phuket as a whole felt really eco-conscious. No plastic straws or bags, smart housekeeping suggestions to limit waste.

Drawbacks:

  • The beach wasn’t really functional for family use.
  • Phuket in general has a strong party vibe. Our last night at the resort there was a wedding in progress, which was beautifully to witness, and a rowdy bachelorette party which was less so the kind of thing I want my kids to see.
  • Hotel gym had some of the most ancient exercise machinery I’d ever seen.

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