We have just returned from 2 weeks of heaven, it was our first time in Thailand and one of the best holidays we've had.
We flew with Thai airways and although the down side was no tv's in the seats the service we received more than made up for it. They couldn't do enough for you.
We stayed in Patong at the Merlin Beach Resort a beautiful hotel the pools were wonderful and the buffet breakfast was to die for. The staff were friendly and very helpful and efficient. The only down side was the location it was just to far from anything if you wanted to go anywhere you always had to get a taxi or a tuk tuk, the hotel are aware of this and put on a courtesy bus to take you into Patong or Phuket town, we made use of the buses a lot and never had a problem. I would have liked a bit more evening entertainment in the hotel but other than that I couldn't fault the place.
Patong was a lively place, we used a tailor called Tom's which is down the road from the Otop almost opposite the patong merlin hotel, my husband had 3 suits made each with 2 pairs of trousers and 5 shirts and it cost him 40,500 baht (about £600 ). He was pleased with the result and they couldn't do enough for him they picked him up from the hotel and returned him. Don't take a taxi there or they have to give the taxi driver a commission.
We of course went to Kitty's and stocked up on dvd's and cd's because we bought so many they worked out at about 60 baht each. we haven't had time to test them all yet but the ones we have looked at seem to be ok we are not expecting them all to be perfect but at less than a pound what can you expect.
We went to all the usual places the Gibbon and elephant rehab center which was pretty good with Charlie of course taking center stage, my daughter loved him and was thinking of ways she could smuggle him home. The Friday night social was good fun, good food and good entertainment my daughter made it up the pole my son wouldn't even attempt it ( not cool for a 15 year old!).
The John Gray starlight sea canoe is an experience I would not have missed, everything everyone says about it is true, we went on a sea canoe trip earlier in the week which wasn't a patch on John Grey, we even got to see the great man himself. Our canoe guide was lovely he reminded us of Captain Jack sparrow from pirates of the Carribean he was very knowledgeable, the food was lovely, a long day but very special.
Our day with Mr Mor was great he took us to places we would never have gone on our own and we did things we would never attempt on our own, he took us to the temple and showed is how to make an offering, we went to the waterfall but the highlight for us was seeing the massive Buddha they are building, we could not get over the size of it ,it was a shame it's not finished yet, but even so it was very impressive the scaffolding made of sticks was a sight in itself something you would not get away with in England. We had a blessing from the monk which was very special and he gave us bracelets to wear which we are still wearing. Mr Mor is a great guy he is quiet but has a wicked sense of humour.
Unfortunately we left on the 13th April so were unable to take part in the Songkran celebrations with Richard,we went to Bangkok for two days so didn't miss out to much. We had a lovely day in Bangkok with Nook arranged through Tong. We saw the reclining Buddha and the Grand Palace, we then went on a canal trip and got absolutely soaked from everyone throwing water over us we were sitting targets. We had just managed to dry off and then got soaked again from the evening celebrations.
All in all our visit to Thailand was wonderful, the people made the biggest impression on me they are so happy and friendly I have never been anywhere where I felt so safe and so welcome, they are hard working, respectful,and so happy we could learn a lot from them, the bartering is all done in good humour, they are only trying to make a living after all. The Songkran celebrations were so happy something like that in England would have probably ended up in a riot, although we did see some police presence ( one even got a taxi for us!) it just wasn't needed.
Now I am back with all the washing to do and the jet lag to get over, but it was worth it just to have experienced a truly different culture and a completely different way of life.