PHUKET AND PATONG CITY
We stayed in Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort & Spa in Hat Karon Noi. This grandiose resort just few kilometers from Patong City is perfect choice for families and couples to retreat from very popular and busy downtown. The Patong city with all the restaurants, bars and clubs is just few dollars away with tuk-tuk, or a shuttle from the hotel. For more information and images from Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, click on link HERE
Through our hotel we booked a snorkelling tour which includes the visit to famous Phi Phi islands. It is the most touristy tour we ever took, and it was definitively not worth the money (app. $250 for 2 adults and 1 kid). This was a rather horrible experience- every island and every beach was packed with tourists - 50 boats times 30 tourist each, with every inch of the shade filled with desperate tourists who are waiting on the beach for 30 minutes for their boats to pick them up and take them to the next, equally crowded location.
One thing worth doing while in Patong is riding an elephant. This is a controversial topic because of animal abuse that elephants suffer to get trained, however that is also a source of income for the families who work in this very modest facility. The Amazing Bukit Safari is really a large farm with elephants in a very poor area, and we opted to support the people and their business. The cost for 2 adults and 1 kid was app. $100 for entrance and 30 minutes ride, and the whole excursion takes around 2-3 hours door to door.
The most interesting New Year celebration we experienced was here, in Patong City during the Songkran of Thai New Year. This is very unusual but extremely fun way of celebrating this important Holiday, as people participate in the tradition by splashing water on each other. So be prepared to be soaked wet and get armed with water guns. Sunglasses help protect your eyes from water guns, so it's worth having them even at night.