Tim turned 30 this year! ISN’T THAT THRILLING???
If you’re a friend or family member, you’ll know that Tim’s last few birthdays in NYC have been pretty grandiose – I just love gathering all of our friends together to celebrate my favorite person!
This year, in Singapore with no friends ‘cept each other (jk we kinda have friends here) we decided to celebrate TT’s beed in Thailand – Phuket to be exact.
Phuket is only 1.5 hours away on a plane. That’s less time than it would take me to drive home from work during rush hour in NYC. We made a weekend of it, taking Friday off from work and heading to the airport bright and early for a 7am flight.
With only 3 full days in Phuket, we wanted to make the most of our time so had our taxi driver take us straight from the airport to the Big Buddha so we could explore before being dropped off at our hotel.
Phuket’s Big Buddha is very similar to Hong Kong’s Big Buddha on Lantau Island. At 45 meters tall and sitting on top of the Nakkerd Hills, the gleaming white facade of Phuket’s Big Buddha can be seen from much of the surrounding island.
One notable difference I found was that HKs Big Buddha was elevated on a platform so no matter how high youc limbed it was still seated quite high above you and out of reach. Not the case with Phuket. That big bood is RIGHT THERE in all its gleaming glory.
We wandered around the temple which was steeped in gorgeous photo ops. Learning a bit about Buddha’s life and reading inscriptions and well wishes from travelers and worshippers alike, we took it all in before heading back to our taxi driver who had dutifully waited for us to take us to lunch.
On recommendation from our driver, we stopped at Baan Pu Doo Lay on the way down the mountain from Big Buddha for something to eat. While we assumed the driver and restaurant had some sort of agreement, the view was second to none and the food was actually quite fantastic. A delicious first meal made up of Crab and Pineapple Fried Rice
Green Chicken Curry
Mixed Seafood in Chili Sauce
Pork Laarb – minced spicy pork
and a great view.
We struggled a lot picking a place to stay in Phuket. While Patong beach is the most popular area we knew we wanted a bit more of a relaxing stay so wanted to go a little farther out. A co-worker had recommended Karon beach a little south of Patong and we were just about to book a lovely resort when we found a top rated hotel right on the beach for $20/night on hostelworld.com. Not quite understanding how any hotel could be so cheap (AND INCLUDE BREAKFAST) but also reading hundreds of 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor, we decided to try our luck and booked it.
Kata Villa was fantastic. For $20 a night, clean, and directly on the beach, you couldn’t ask for more from a budget hotel. The staff were friendly, the complimentary breakfasts were delicious, and the room was spacious. It’s not luxury by any means, but it was just what we were seeking.
Tim had picked a restaurant he wanted to try for his birthday night so we showered, got dolled up, and headed to Mom Tri’s Kitchen. I had sneakily called ahead and arranged for them to play Happy Birthday on the piano when we arrived so we walked in to a jubilant chorus of HBD BAYYYYBEL.
Mom Tri’s sits right on the ocean cliffside so we were ready to take in a gorgeous sunset with our meal. Unfortunately, the restaurant is positioned rather strangely so while you are facing the ocean and a beautiful view of the beach, you are not at all facing west and therefore basically completely barred from seeing any suns setting anywhere. While a bit of a letdown, we enjoyed a fantastic dinner.
A large part of the day had been spent with TT annoyed at me for being on my phone. As I’ve already said, I usually throw big bashes for TT’s bdays and even though we were in Asia alone this year, I still wanted it to be special.
I had found a Phuket balloon man and asked him to fill our hotel room with balloons while we were out to dinner. A series of hilarious events unfolded including me trying to mime a man delivering balloons to the hotel staff so they could understand to let the man into our room and the balloon man asking me to leave the money with a hotel staff and take a picture of the staff member so they didn’t run off with the money. After agreeing to leave the money under our TV, allowing the balloon man to call the hotel and speak with the staff directly in Thai, and crossing my fingers and hoping for the best, we headed out to dinner. Once at the table waves of anxiety started to rush over me.
What had I just done?
Did I really allow a random balloon man that I found on Google into our hotel room?
What if his Thai explanation to the hotel staff was not an explanation at all and just a cover for robbing us blind?
WHY did I automatically assume the balloon person was a man?
These thoughts consumed me leading to me ultimately asking Tim how easy it might be for someone to pick up a hotel safe and run off.
TT, as one can imagine, was extremely confused by my barrage of hotel safety questions and also already pretty fed up with my constant phone usage – little did he know I was just messaging the balloon man!
We arrived home to a balloon filled room with all of our possessions still where we had left them and a very happy Babel enjoying his surprise.
Knocked off to bed full and happy and ready for Saturday!