Thursday, January 15, 2009

Staff Report – Teresa in Thailand

I was already in Asia on holiday when Bangkok Airport was closed by a peaceful demonstration, my main decision was do I fly into Thailand at this particular point in time. My mind was buzzing with the options open to me, but what I really wanted to do was to continue with my trip as planned. In my many years of travelling I have always enjoyed Thailand and its friendly people and the worst I could see happening was that I might get delayed in Thailand.

So on the 03rd December I flew into the military airport at Pattaya and was quickly whisked through to my connecting flight to Phuket. I had seen the TV reports, but although crowded the airport was working and there were many planes scheduled to depart. Far from the chaos I had seen expecting.

We were met at Phuket Airport by the staff of Sea Bees Diving and whisked by air-conditioned mini-bus to their centre at Chalong Bay. A PADI 5 Star Dive Centre and a PADI Gold Palm Resort, Sea Bees Diving Academy provides professional dive services, including all levels of PADI Courses, daily dive charters on its own boats and a friendly and experienced staff. With a mixture of flexible snorkelling and dive charters and dive course schedules, we made plans for the next few days of activities. We wanted to see as much as possible but only had a few days to explore.

Staying at the Palm Garden Resort, Phuket was a delight, where nothing was too much trouble. It was easy to see that the Resort had been designed with the diver in mind; there was plenty of space to dry your gear and a pool perfect for learning to dive. Everything we needed for a relaxing stay was to be found right on hand. After a hard day out and about it was far too easy to just take a relaxing swim and enjoy our evening meal by the pool. For a change of scenery it was only a short walk to a number of restaurants, shops and the pier.

All in all we found Phuket had something for everyone with beaches and plenty of shopping. From Chalong Bay there was easy access to the dive sites south of Phuket. For those looking for a quieter more relaxed option head up the coast to Khao Lak. Khao Lak was definitely quieter than Chalong Bay with some beautiful beaches and a more laid back relaxed holiday atmosphere. The Palm Gardens Resort at Khao Lak had the same relaxed atmosphere with pool and dive shop on site. From Khao Lak there is easy access to the stunning Similan Islands or alternatively head inland to the jungle covered mountains and one of three national parks in the area. Khao Lak is a relative newcomer to tourism but there is plenty to do in the way of jungle walks, elephant rides and white water rafting.

Although access to the good snorkelling and diving was a boat ride away, we found it all very relaxing and rewarding. We travelled on the Sea Bees boats, that never seemed crowded or rushed, with plenty of freshly prepared food and time to relax. There was a large kitting up area, fresh water showers and areas to chill out or sunbathe. Service on the boats is personalised by having a low ratio of clients to guide - whether you are diving or snorkelling.

A trip to Thailand is not complete without a few days in bustling Bangkok. Here we found the lack of tourists a bonus, with the normally crowed sites like the Grand Place and Wat Phra Kaeo nearly empty. Everywhere was peaceful and at no point did we see any disturbances. The only disappointment was that soon we had to leave but would I go back? Yes definitely and now is the time to go with Thailand offering especially good value for money.

2 comments:

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