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  Life   Travel  17 May 2017  A long island enticing spree

A long island enticing spree

THE ASIAN AGE. | AMIT ROY
Published : May 17, 2017, 12:21 am IST
Updated : May 17, 2017, 12:23 am IST

Thailand’s islands are a joy to behold, and this couple found the Similan Islands a panacea to their soul even as they revelled at a Coldplay concert.

The serene Buddha statue
 The serene Buddha statue

Most people think of Thailand as a land of beaches, parties and lots of delectable food. While this might be spot on, Thailand can provide amazing experiences for everyone — adventure lovers, luxury holidayers, beach bums, shopaholics and foodies.

We recently holidayed in Thailand and experienced Coldplay live in concert in Bangkok. Since we were going so far, we might as well make a holiday around it, right? So we started our research as we did not want a typical holiday. My wife (Chaitali Roy) and I love trying out new experiences, and that is exactly what we were looking for on this holiday.

We zeroed in on Phuket as the destination choice (in addition to Bangkok where Coldplay was performing). Phuket offers a diverse variety of activities. We landed on a Sunday and drove straight from the airport to our hotel — Novotel on Patong Beach. We definitely recommend staying there as it close to all the hotspots and offers amazing azure ocean views.

Chris Martin at his best in BangkokChris Martin at his best in Bangkok

A large part of our holiday was spent taking a walk through the street markets in Patong Beach Road, exploring the numerous bars and restaurants. With waters so pristine, one can only stay away from the water sports activities for so long. Must tries on the beach are parasailing, jet ski rides and the famed relaxing Thai massages. 

The Phuket Fantasea Show is a must-watch for people who like theatre. What compliments this is the fantastic buffet that precedes the show. A wide spread of seafood and non-vegetarian will see foodies easily spend two hours  gorging on dishes like sushi, crab curry, tom yum soup, salads, shrimps, pastas, rolls, curries, rice… the list is endless.

Patong itself offers so many options to relax and unwind. The Bangla Walking Street is great for bar hopping. A super combination of live music, nightclubs, street shopping and bars to keep one occupied for at least three hours everyday. Red Hot Club,  New York Bar and Tiger Bar are the ones we loved. Yet, one definitely must not miss the Surf House Patong. We got to try our hands (or feet rather!) on surfing for the first time and it was a blast! We weren’t the most successful, but it was totally worth it.

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While at Phuket, I highly recommend a visit to Similan Islands. It is a full-day speed boat tour that one can take, similar to the ones that go to the Phi Phi Islands, only much better. It’s a 1.5 hour drive by road to the point where the speedboat takes off, and a 1.5 hour journey by boat. The water here is pristine, something that we in India can only dream of achieving.

The boat takes you to four islands of the Similan island group, and it needs a complete day of beach bumming. We spent our whole day snorkeling and swimming, seeing some awesome marine life — a variety of fish, turtles, octopus etc. We did the James Bond Island and Phi Phi island tour two years ago but believe me, this was like going to heaven and back. The local food and snacks served on the trip were simply superb! Clear waters, bright skies and super views!

We also hopped on a bumpy ATV Tour, which took us into the jungle, to gaze at the serene Big Buddha statue. Again, a must-do for the sheer thrill of the ride! We really wanted to try the ZipLine Jungle Tour and deep sea fishing, but unfortunately the weather didn’t permit.

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Jungceylon Mall is recommended for some label shopping, with stores filled with branded attire. Le Siam — A popular fine dine restaurants referred by someone was our stop for lunch. We had fresh lobster and amazing krapow pork with some good local beer. You could pick your own live lobster, and we chose garlic butter and herbs as the flavour, and it was cooked to perfection and served succulent and tender. The krapow with jasmine rice added to the spice and starch component, and we polished it with chilled beer. We flew back to Bangkok for the Coldplay concert. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and our ‘paradise’ tour continued, musically, of course! We also checked out a couple of bars — Maggie Choo, Sing Sing, Cest la vie, Mixx, Vertigo, Red Sky, etc. Getting back to Bengaluru after this was really hard!

— The writer is partner at THINKTANC, a world traveller and foodie with a penchant for cooking. His wife Chaitali is an avid traveller, fitness enthusiast and dog lover.

Tags: thailand, coldplay