I always tell myself to take it easy when on vacations. Slow down. Try not to rush from place to place. Don’t end up spending hours on the road. Heck, I even tell my readers that. BUT I STILL END UP DOING IT!!! It’s like, I CANNOT HELP IT. I must try to squeeze in as many destinations as possible to make the flight worth it. Hands up if you are guilty of that too!
But after falling sick on our last trip to Hokkaido during the June holidays, I decided that’s it. I REALLY need to chill for our next vacation. Someone in another realm must have been looking out for me. Because next thing I knew, we received an invitation to check out Marriott Vacation Club‘s resorts in Phuket over the September holidays! *pops the confetti*
After hearing from my sister (who had brought her kids to Marriott’s resort at Mai Khao Beach last December) about the numerous activities they have for families there, I decided we should spend the entire week in Phuket to fully enjoy both of Marriott Vacation Club’s resorts. Marriott Vacation Club had two resorts, both located near Mai Khao Beach. One was called Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club and the other was called Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach.
So I told the husband, “Let’s go to Phuket for a week!” He was like, “A week??? What’s there to do in Phuket for a week??” And I was like, “NUA lah!” (Nua = laze around in Singlish.)
I confirmed our accommodation at Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club and Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach, booked our air tickets, and that’s it!! Okay, I also couldn’t resist going to TripAdvisor to find out what was good to eat around Mai Khao Beach. But that’s really all the planning I did. And off to Phuket we went!
We took Jetstar‘s morning flight which landed us punctually at Phuket International Airport at about 9am. We found our driver arranged by Marriott Vacation Club waiting for us outside the airport and we were whisked off in comfort to the resort.
I was SO GLAD we were staying at Mai Khao Beach which was a short drive from the airport. You see, I had booked an 8.20am flight (meaning we had to be at the airport by like 7am latest) on the morning after Jay Chou concert. I made a bad judgement call to drive to a sell-out Jay Chou concert, resulting in my car getting stuck in the carpark after the concert due to massive traffic jam and to cut the long story short, I reached home at like 2am. Luggage unpacked. So I only had about 3 hours sleep the night before. So yeah, I was very zoned out and was super happy I didn’t have to endure another hour plus car ride to town from the airport.
We reached Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club where we were welcomed with drinks and fresh towels (I NEEDED THEM). And MF decided to break the glass. Two male staff dashed over with their broom and dustpan and were like, “Are you okay?? No worries, we’ll clean up.” Paiseh (embarrassed) to the max.
Our room was not ready yet, but we were free to start using the resort facilities. Needless to say, I checked in to the Kids Club immediately.
The boys helped themselves to the toys and games in the Kids Club while I stoned at the side.
At about 12 noon, they called my husband to say our room was ready. By then, there was a heavy downpour outside. (Did I mention we were there in monsoon season? Yeah, September holidays coincided with monsoon season.)
So the resort arranged for a buggy to bring us to our room at the far end of the resort – thank goodness. Last thing I needed was to get lost in the huge resort trying to find our room. In the rain.
The buggy driver drove us to our lift lobby and helped us bring our luggage up to our room. Okay, I shouldn’t call it our room. I should call it our APARTMENT.
The boys were ecstatic to find a towel elephant next to our welcome fruits basket (complete with a handwritten welcome note), and I was like, “DON’T DESTROY IT! LET ME TAKE A PHOTO FIRST!”
The boys left the elephant alone for our entire stay there – because they had other stuff to entertain themselves with. Like the HUGE bathtub.
After the boys had given their approval for our home for the next 3 days with, “WAH, THE BATHTUB IS SO BIG!!” and “THERE ARE POKEGYM AND POKESTOPS HERE!”, I decided I was starving and we made our way back to the lobby for lunch.
I had planned to go to Turtle Village (as recommended by TripAdvisor – remember my research?) for lunch, but because of the heavy rain, we ended up dining at Siam Deli – one of the few places in the resort open for lunch.
As I dug in to my first Pad Thai for the trip, I pondered over why the rest of the restaurants did not open for lunch. I found out the reason the next morning… I’ll explain it later when I get to Day 2.
After lunch, the boys went back to the Kids Club again – which was packed with activities to keep them occupied in the wet weather.
Then the rain stopped and the sun came out and I was like, “C’mon!! Let’s go check out what’s there around the resort!”
First we went to the beach volleyball and beach soccer courts.
After working up a sweat, we went back to change to our swimming costume and headed for the pool!
At the towel station, MY spotted some bananas and decided to help himself to them. This boy seriously loved his bananas.
I LOVE the pool here. There was a kids pool (with slide and bubbles and all) and a separate infinity pool for adults. The two pools were side by side, but they were such a contrast from each other. One had water and kids splashing all over, but cross the line it was absolute serenity with a view of the sea.
After we swam at the main pools near the lobby, we went to the other pool at the South Wing (there were a lot of pools – did I mention the resort was HUGE?) and continued swimming there.
We found a bar at the South Wing pool, and decided to have drinks and snacks there. It reminded me of our staycation at Festive Hotel Singapore! The boys LOVE dining in the pool! Yes, IN the pool, not BY the pool. And lucky us, we were there during Happy Hour – where we had one-for-one drinks!
After our swim, we went back to our room and I was ready to call it a day. But I saw the sunset from our balcony.
Considering we were there during monsoon season, I figured it was not everyday that we would see the sunset (and turned out I was right), so I headed down to the beach to enjoy the sunset. (And by enjoying I really mean taking a hundred photos of the same thing.)
And to end off the day, I was too tired to go out for dinner, so we called Kin Dee Restaurant for delivery as recommended by my sister.
We started our morning with buffet breakfast at Marriott Cafe. Since it was not raining, we decided to skip the buggy and walk to the cafe via the beach boardwalk.
Along the way, we spotted a swing by the beach and went over for a few swings!
Breakfast at Marriott Cafe was AWESOME. There was soooooo much food!! Before our trip, my sister told us the breakfast at Marriott Cafe was very good and we won’t need to have lunch after eating there. NO KIDDING.
And I reckoned this was the reason why most of the restaurants in the resort did not open for lunch? Who needs lunch after a breakfast here??
I was totally bowled over when my husband came back with the mango. You need to go to the fruit counter to ‘order’ it and the staff would cut it up on the spot and serve it to you like this.
And when I thought it couldn’t get any better, a staff came by with a basket of Doraemon and Hello Kitty cupcakes for the kids!
After breakfast, it was back to the Kids Club, where the boys made a sea shell wind chime.
After the boys completed their wind chime, we decided to go outdoors while the weather was good. We went over the the Health Club to rent bicycles to cycle around the resort.
We cycled over to the other end of the resort furthest from our room (yeah, the resort was so big that I had to cycle to the other end. Okay, maybe I was just too lazy to walk.) and stopped for a break by the beach before cycling back.
As we slowly cycled back towards the Health Club, we passed by a lovely lily pond. Yeap, it took me one and a half days plus a bicycle to discover that the resort had a gigantic lily pond with a fountain no less.
After we returned our bicycles, the boys went to check out what other services were available at the Health Club and discovered they could rent board games and DVDs. So they picked out a board game (Snake & Ladder) and we went back to the room to play.
In the evening, we went to Turtle Village for dinner. The resort provided free shuttle service to Turtle Village so off we went on the shuttle!
We had dinner at The Coffee Club – I highly recommend the satays and burgers there!
After dinner, we bought some groceries from the small supermarket called Turtle Mart (what a cute name!). And by groceries I really mean ice-cream.
While waiting for the shuttle to go back to the resort, we saw a buggy coming out from Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach resort and tried to hitch a ride. Remember at the start of the post, I mentioned that Marriot Vacation Club has two resorts: Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club and Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach? We were staying in Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club, which was like 10 minutes walk from Turtle Village. Whereas Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach was right beside Turtle Village. So when we saw a ‘Marriott Vacation Club’ buggy coming out from Marriot’s Mai Khao Beach, we stopped the driver and asked if he was heading towards Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club and he said yes! So we just hitched a ride from him back. Genius.
Instead of starting the day with breakfast, I had signed the boys up for a kids aerobics class at the Kids Club at 9.30am, so we decided to have breakfast after that. Since I didn’t think doing aerobics after the super filling breakfast at Marriott Cafe was a good idea. It was raining that morning, so we called for a buggy to bring us from our room to the lobby.
After we arrived at the lobby, we saw many kids gathered at a station outside Marriott Cafe and we went over to kaypoh (kaypoh = be a busybody). They were doing nail painting and tattooing for the kids. The boys love temporary tattoos and decided to join in.
After they had their tattoos, we headed to the Kids Club where the boys had their morning workout. Or at least MF did.
Then we went for breakfast, or should I say brunch. I was pretty bummed to find out that they were out of mangoes when we were there. So if you want those pretty mangoes, go early!
At 11am, we went for the turtle feeding session. Mai Khao Beach was one of the few places in Phuket where turtles go to nest.
The feeding session at the turtle shelter within Marriott resort was not just a simple feeding session. Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation was set up to protect the sea turtles in the area. The turtles at the shelter were saved and rehabilitated by the foundation to be released into the wild when they are ready.
Each turtle there had a story behind them (e.g. how one was found trapped inside an abandoned fishing net) and visitors, while having the opportunity to feed the turtles, could learn about how to protect the turtles and make donations to the foundation. We bought T-shirts for the boys, where the proceeds would go to the foundation.
As we were finishing up our feeding session at the turtle shelter, it began to rain again. MF went back to the Kids Club while MY and I went to do some leaf origami.
The boys spent the whole rainy afternoon in the Kids Club. They never seemed to get bored of it.
We had signed them up for the Turtle Warrior program for kids, but because of the rain, the staff couldn’t bring the kids to the turtle shelter, and they completed an activity sheet inside the Kids Club instead.
In the late afternoon, they went for the much-anticipated Ninja-Warrior program – which was like a mini obstacle course.
Since it was raining heavily, we settled our dinner at the resort – opting to dine at the Japanese restaurant (because there is only so long I can last without having Japanese food.) To say it was expensive was an understatement. Maybe we should have curbed our Japanese food craving and called for Kin Dee delivery. :p
Awww… are we halfway through our trip already?? We started the morning with breakfast (after learning our lesson the previous day that only early birds get the mangoes) before sending the boys to the kids club for their activities.
This time round, instead of getting Doraemon and Hello Kitty cupcakes like on Day 2 morning, the boys were treated to kawaii Tiger donuts!
After breakfast, we headed to the Kids Club where the boys had their Thai drumming lesson.
We checked out of Marriot’s Phuket Beach Club and transferred to Marriot’s Mai Khao Beach. Yeah, the one just 5 minutes down the road. “So near change hotel for what???” you may wonder.
If you know me, hotel-hopping is my travelling style. Weird I know. Who likes to keep packing and moving like a refugee?? Well, I do.
I like trying out different hotels for the sake of it. It gets stuffy eating the same food and looking at the same room after a few days.. no? If you have ever consulted me on Japan travel, you know how I would tell you, “You should change ryokan to experience different onsens and different food!” It’s the same here. I need to change resort to experience different facilities and different food.
Once we arrived at Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach, the boys ran into the Kids Club which was right at the entrance. They were pretty happy to try out a new Kids Club.
After they had their fill of balloon sculpting and gaming at the Kids Club, we went to check out our
room apartment, which was rather similar to the one at Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club except this – we had our very own plunge pool!
The best part about this plunge pool was that it was mostly sheltered. Only the far end was not sheltered. So we could soak in the pool even when it was raining. PERFECT for monsoon season!
Somehow, we managed to find stomach space for lunch. Maybe it was the rain making us hungry. So we had a light meal at Zest within the resort.
It was raining all afternoon, so the kids rode out the rain in the Kids Club as usual.
There was a pool table right outside the Kids Club. So while the boys were playing inside the Kids Club, the husband and I played pool right outside.
The rain stopped later in the afternoon and we quickly changed to go swimming.
But because it had been raining all day, the water was quite cold so the kids didn’t swim for long. They went back to the room to bath while I continued to soak in the plunge pool. It was Happy Hour and I grabbed 1-for-1 cocktail from the pool bar and brought it back to be enjoyed by our personal pool side! #ThisisLife
In the evening, we walked out to Turtle Village for dinner. We had dinner at the pub called Bill Bentley. “What?? Did you bring your kids to a pub??” I hear you ask. Yes we did. But this pub was totally kids-friendly. I mean.. they were giving out candy floss at the entrance!! Plus kids dined free here. Muahaha… #Cheapo
They even had a free shuffleboard, which the boys spent half an hour playing after our dinner.
We started our morning with breakfast at Zest, which was kind of anti-climatic considering the fare we have been having at Marriott Cafe the past 3 days. But it was about half the price, so no complaints.
After breakfast, it was back to the Kids Club where the boys learned to fold towel animals.
It was still raining, but MY kept wanting to go cycling. So he just cycled around the little sheltered area right outside the Kids Club.
When the rain stopped for a while, the husband rode a bicycle out of the resort to explore and came back with lunch from roadside stalls. Let’s face it. Some of the best food in the world often comes from roadside stalls. The grilled chicken that my husband came back with was so good!
We seized the pocket of dry weather to play floor shuffleboard.
Then it started raining again, so it was back to the Kids Club for more games and activities after lunch.
In the afternoon, there was a kids dance session and of course, we went to check it out.
Never mind that it rained almost the whole day. There were so many activities to keep the kids occupied in the Kids Club!
In the evening, there were bingo sessions by the poolside for adults and in the kids club for kids. The boys joined the bingo session for adults initially and didn’t have much luck. Then MF said he wanted to go back to the Kids Club and he won the bingo there. He was SUPER happy and declared he loved Bingo.
For dinner, we called Kin Dee delivery again to save ourselves the trouble of going out in the rain.
We woke up and were greeted by warm sunshine outside our window for the first time in the trip!
I didn’t want to waste the good weather and was all ready to hit the pool once we were done with breakfast.
But the boys had other plans. They wanted to go to the Kids Club to make windmills first. You can tell they absolutely ADORE the Kids Club.
Okay, FINE. They can go do the windmills. While they were making their windmills, I went to join the adults Zumba class.
And we spent the rest of the morning playing in the pool! Yay sunshine!!
Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach had a pool volleyball net. The pool itself was too deep for our boys, but the resort had life vests that we could borrow!
So MF borrowed a life vest and was super happy that he could play pool volley.
MY didn’t dare to go into the deep pool despite having a life vest, so he stuck to the kids pool and wading area.
For lunch, we visited Delights, the deli at the resort.
Btw, check out the boys’ Thai outfit! We had a dinner appointment with a BonAppetour host that evening, so the boys were dressed for the occasion! haha…
The boys gobbled down their pizza at Delights and dashed back to the Kids Club – because there was a cookie-making session in the afternoon!
Just as the boys finished making their cookie, our driver from Chai Driver in Phuket arrived on the dot to bring us shopping. You may be thinking why we would choose to go shopping when it was so bright and sunny? Well.. Because I’m just suay (unlucky) like that?? The weather forecast said there would be thunderstorm. And since we were going out of the resort for our BonAppetour appointment, I thought might as well just go shopping along the way. Who would know the sun would go against the will of the weather forecast and come out when I had planned to go shopping?
Anyway, it started raining later on in the day. So the weather forecast was not all the inaccurate. Eventually it was a good thing we were shopping at Central Festival while it was raining outside.
The boys had a superb time playing with Selly’s daughter and having their little ice-cream party.
While hubby and I had an evening of great conversations with Selly and her husband over wine and the delicious homecooked FEAST that Selly prepared for us.
And it was the last day already! *sob sob sob* But we were not ready to go home yet. According to the weather forecast, this day was the most promising in terms of weather, so we had booked an excursion to check out Phang Nga Bay.
The tour company, Andaman Leisure Phuket, was scheduled to pick us up at 7.30am, so good thing the breakfast at Zest started early and we fueled up before our long excursion ahead.
Our day excursion to Phang Nga Bay was SO AWESOME! Even with the kids! I need to write a whole blog post on it.
I was frankly quite worried about how kids-friendly a speed boat + canoe tour would be initially. We mothers worry about everything. Worry about whether the kids would get sea sick. Worried about whether they would be terrified of getting into a canoe. Worried about the canoe capsizing. Well, none of that happened. The boys were FAR from getting sea sick throughout the day.
And our canoes came with experienced ‘canoe boys’ (that’s the term the guide used) who helped to paddle the canoe so we could just chill and enjoy the scenery, and even helped to carry the boys through the cave!
The trip brought us on two canoe trips, paddling around Panak Island and Hong Island.
And we also got the swim in the sea at not-sure-which-island.
If you are planning to do a day trip like this on your last day, please make sure that you request for late check-out or that your hotel has facilities for you to bath after the trip! After the trip, we went back to the resort to bath and had dinner at The Coffee Club (yes, again – I love it!).
And the boys went for one last round of fun at the Kids Club while waiting for the hotel shuttle to bring us to the airport (Our flight was at 10pm in case you’re wondering why we were still not going home).
While at the Kids Club on the final evening, MY asked if we could borrow a DVD back the room (something we have been doing every evening but I didn’t bother to mention) and I told him cannot because were going home already. You should have seen how his eyes filled up with tears. So drama!! Despite travelling so many times, this was the first time I saw him wanting to burst into tears when I told him we were going home. Oh well.. All good things come to an end.
But then again, Phuket is less than 2 hours flight from Singapore. I’m not so sure if Phuket has seen the last of us.
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