After a smooth flight from Singapore to Phuket we were met by our taxi driver who escorted us to his big people carrier car, which was almost large enough to be a minibus. Before setting off we stopped at a shop to pick up some water and snacks. I stumbled over the unfamiliar currency, amazed at how many 0s there were on the notes!
The journey to our hotel felt long, maybe more thanan hour, but it was smooth and a good introduction to the landscapes, buildings and billboards of Thailand.
We arrived at our hotel, the Palmery, which had an open front to reception and the friendliest staff I have ever met. They were all pretty gaga over my son who was just 1 at the time and was pretty chubby with big brown eyes. Our room was clean, with modern decor and had glass sliding doors that opened out on to a pool shared between 4 or 5 rooms. As it was down season, our stay was very reasonable and included breakfast, which in Thailand is like a full meal with noodles, meats and vegetables.
We settled in and took a walk to Kata town and beach. The pathways (sidewalks, for the American readers) were skinny at points, forcing us and the buggy on to the road, but there were decent gaps between cars and motorbikes so it wasn’t much of a problem. Motorbikes seem to be the main mode of transport in Kata, and it isn’t rare to see a family all enjoying a ride on a single cycle! Helmets are rare despite some pretty loose road rules. The locals were all very friendly, often saying hello as we passed. Electricity I guess is still relatively new in this area and wires are all over-head. There isn’t much of an organised system, with heaps of coils on the end of telegraph poles. It seems when someone needs electricity, they just run a new wire for them!
We ate local food at a restaurant as we had Milo and my sister’s little one too and it seemed easier to have them sat. Food wasn’t too pricey, although there are lots of cheaper options, including street food from carts attached to the back of motorbikes called Tuk Tuks. We tried some seafood from various Tuk Tuks over the course of our short stay, all of which was super tasty and we managed to avoid “Thailand Tummy” which some friends have experienced and have not recommended!
We spent a day on Kata beach, a beautiful sandy beach with blue sea and views of islands in the distance. The waters were warm and clean. Milo seemed keen to get in so I carried him in. The current can be strong so I was pleased to have been holding him when a large wave came. We tumbled in the water for a bit and I struggled to take a breath. Before I got to panic stages I found my feet and was able to steady myself, wipe Milo’s face of water and check he was ok, only for him to laugh and shout “again!”. To this day he’s loved water and waves.
As we experienced a movie-style sunset, we were entertained by local surfers carving their way through the waves. Back at the hotel we were grateful for our proximity to the pool as the kids were in bed at a relatively sensible hour and we weren’t ready to turn in for the night!