After a few days in Singapore, we decided that we needed a mini vacation (already)! Mainly because I have spent the last few days helping my mom spring clean our apartment ahead of Chinese New Year, I need a good vacation where I just lie around doing nothing. For DBB, he would like to start exploring Southeast Asia and get a trip in before he starts working again!
We chose Phuket as we wanted a beach destination, cheap air tickets and a hotel with a good pool, air-conditioning and within walking distance of nearby restaurants. To be close to the beach and restaurants is a must for us as we have decided that for our first trip of 2012, we are not yet adventurous enough to bargain with tuk tuk drivers.
After deciding on Phuket, there is now the matter of deciding which beach to stay at. Based on his initial research, DBB was quite adamant about staying near Patong beach, which is considered the most touristy stretch in Phuket. Remembering my trip to Patong when I was a mere 11 years old (about 2 decades ago), Patong beach had seemed pretty darn touristy, crowded and commercialized at that time already. 20 years can change a location from a peak tourist destination to a dirty, over-used and tired dump.
I'm not one to demand to be only one of a handful on a beach, but I have no desire to spend my mini vacation feeling like I'm in NYC. After all, we had just left NYC, and glad we were to leave that. I took over the planning wheel and steered us towards Karon Beach and Kata Beach. Based on my research, these two beaches seem to be decently developed, with easy access to tourist wants like a clean beach and restaurants, without the rampant tourist vices that are indulged in Patong.
After deciding on Karon/Kata Beach and checking out some hotels based on TripAdvisor reviews, we narrowed it down to CC Bloom's Hotel and Karon Sea Sands Resort. CC Bloom's had received good reviews and is well-priced. CC Bloom's is running a 4 night special for THB2,500 per night (tax and breakfast included) for an ocean view room. However, we were deterred by the need for a shuttle to take us to the beach. For this vacation, we really wanted to be within walking distance to the beach, so we decided to pony up some extra money and pay THB5,500 per night for a hotel that was closer to the beach.
With the air tickets bought (Jetstar Asia) and hotel reservations made, all that is left to do is to pack our swimsuits and head to Phuket!
Have you been dreaming about a beach destination this dreary winter? Which beach are you headed to? Where are you staying?