Inexpensive Thailand is already a popular choice for honeymooners, so narrowing down the abundance of choices for places to stay can be very difficult. But if you’re looking for something that combines culture and class with just a little bit of craziness, I think I’ve found just the spot!
Patong is the beating epicentre for entertainment in Phuket, but just a few kilometres south is Kata – which is perfect for honeymooners (in my humble opinion!). We recommend Sawasdee Village, because from your first contact with resort staff – your driver – you realise Sawasdee Village is setting the standard of service in Phuket very high. If it is your first time to Thailand I recommend arranging private transfers from the airport until you are more accustomed to bartering and the local transport.
Sawasdee Village is owned by an Australian businessman who really knows what travellers want – to relax. Incense, lush tropical gardens, a swim-up bar, comfortable bed, friendly staff – all wrapped up in a classy combination of traditional Thai culture and architecture and comforts from home. In terms of price, Sawasdee Village is above average, but worth every penny. If you’re looking for something cheaper, try a hotel in the Centara chain or some of the smaller places along the esplanade of Kata. For something more upmarket, Movenpick, the Hilton or the Marriott looked like excellent choices from what we could see.
In Kata, you don’t have the constant craziness of Patong or Bangkok, but there is still plenty to do to fill your time. Generally, shops and restaurants are a little slow to get going, but are open until around midnight every night. In terms of shopping, the best advice I can give is to get started when the shops first open (around 10 am). Thai people believe the first sale of the day will bring good luck, so it’s an opportune time for travellers to barter hard and bring them this so-called “good luck”. Word is you can barter just about everywhere, but we didn’t bother in the large shopping centres and restaurants. If you’re looking to pick up cheap clothes, accessories and souvenirs, stick to the street markets and stalls instead of the shopping centres. There are also fabulous night markets in Old Phuket Town.
If you want to keep your food and drink costs down too, peruse the menus of the different restaurants around your hotel until you find something in your price range – they will all haggle hard for your business anyway! You can also buy cheaper alcohol from 7-11, such as a $1 bottle of beer!
On most occasions, I opted for Western-style foods such as pizza and club sandwiches because I don’t like spicy food and didn’t want to risk it. In saying that, my husband ate a lot of traditional fare and commented at how mild they were. Outside of the three dining options at Sawasdee Village, we can also recommend the Two Chef restaurants and a Japanese restaurant at the Central Festival Shopping Centre called Zen. Wherever you go, you will find a variety of foods to choose from. My only warning – there isn’t much wine or champagne to choose from and it is often very expensive compared to what we would pay at home. I started to have withdrawals and ended up splurging $30 for a Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay!
Culture is very important in Thailand. It is polite to say hello to everyone, particularly if they have said hello to you first. As a female, to say hello to anyone is “sawadee-ka”, and for males, “sawadee-cup”. Joy, the Pool Bar Waiter at Sawasdee, is always up for a chat and can tell you a lot about the Thai culture, local customs and some good stories. He loves to hear new English words (“serviette” really threw him!) and is collecting foreign currency. He told us it is very impolite to say bad things about the King or Queen of Thailand, so it is best not to comment on politics or the Royal Family. If you visit a temple (known as a “Wat”), women should show respect by wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants, and not stare or look at the Monks. Be sure to make a donation if you visit a Wat.
If you’re wanting to do some looking around, you can book a tour through reception or you can go and barter with the tour operators on the street. Moped/motorbike hire is really cheap but unless you are an experienced biker I would advise against it – I saw a lot of painful-looking gravel rash! Phi Phi Island is gorgeous as they all say, and if you stay at the Phi Phi Island Beach Resort and Spa, be sure to listen out for the amazing acoustic band that plays at the cocktail bar during the evenings. Their rendition of Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is breath-taking.
Some good resources to help with your trip are the Lonely Planet guides, particularly the Phuket book. According to the Travel Doctor you should have Hepatitis A and B vaccinations, as well as Tyhoid, Pertussis (Whooping Cough) and Diptheria, and the Measles, Mumps and Rubella shot. To avoid getting sick, don’t touch the dogs (no matter how much you miss your own!) and avoid drinking the water unless it has been boiled (that includes the ice). Having said that, I drank many, many cocktails with ice and the only time I was sick was from my hangover.
Wishing you an excellent trip to Thailand for your honeymoon!
Katie is a 24 year old ”wifey” currently working in public relations for the Queensland Government. She has (not so) secret ambitions to be a writer. Katie currently resides in Brisbane with her hubby, two dogs, two chickens and now, for some ungodly reason, a kitty cat. Her favourite cocktail is a genuine Pina Colada.
Ms Gingham says: Thanks to Katie for not only sharing her honeymoon snapshots with us but also giving us some handy knowledge for planning our trip.