Phuket: Sun, Spa, and Elephants

I’ve been wracking my memory to remember how we came to the decision to go to Thailand during our Hong Kong trip. I think that we were considering three options: Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. But because Japan is very expensive and Taiwan was experiencing some natural disaster at the time, we decided on Thailand.

Phuket, Thailand is really beautiful. On our first day there, I was able to also complete one of my life list entries. #174 Ride an elephant. The experience was… interesting. On the one hand, I’ve always thought that it was amazing how you could ride an animal, and such a huge one at that. I was also fascinated by the way the riders controlled the elephants. These men would sit right behind the elephant’s neck and use their barefeet to nudge the elephant behind its ears to tell its commands. I would be too scared to nudge an elephant, much less with my barefeet. This experience took place at the island safari (yes, Phuket is an island off the coast of Thailand) and we also ended up watching two shows there. One with the trained elephants who did tricks (balancing on balls and “massaging” a member of the audience on the ground). The other one was with a monkey or a baboon. The monkey/baboon scared me. Of course, most animals do.

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The hotel we stayed at was beautiful, serene, and breathtaking. There were fresh flowers all over the place and orchids in the garden. When we first entered the hotel, we were each given a flower bracelet by one of the attendants. We could see the beach and coastline from our hotel. There were two Thai women in traditional wear who played the khim in the lobby. I could have probably stayed at the hotel for the rest of the trip and not complained. Though that wouldn’t be right, of course, since there’s so much to see outside of the hotel as well.

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During our stay in Thailand, we also went to a spa. My first spa experience ever was a little awkward but liberating at the same time. If I was younger, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much because I wasn’t as comfortable in my own body. I’m not saying that I was entirely comfortable three years ago or even now, but I was definitely in a better place. Full body scrub and a milk bath… very unique experiences. Whether I’ll do it again, who’s to say? On another day, we went for an authentic Thai massage. The experience was amazing and hilarious at the same time. Amazing because I honestly felt so much more relaxed and loose by the end of it. Hilarious because my mom’s body is very stiff and when they tried to do this particular move on her, she made this funny sound. I was near the end of my relaxing massage when this happened and I ended up laughing my head off.

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The last experience I want to share is our ride on the song thaew. This vehicle is generally used by the locals and normally, we would not have ridden it as tourists. But as the rest of our tour group had gone on a different adventure while we chose the massage, they had to send a different type of transportation for my family. It was a thrilling ride and I can’t wait to go to Thailand again. This time, I want to ride in a tuk-tuk. These are taxis in Thailand that are unique to them. They look so cute and fun to ride in. The open concept of it would also be perfect for sightseeing and taking photos.

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Thailand was fun and filled with unique experiences. I want to visit Bangkok one day. I also want to visit a floating market where people sell things from their boats. There’s so much to see in this country. I’m looking forward to my next visit. Sawadee ka, Thailand.

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