Thursday, July 17, 2008

Reflections on Thailand family vacation

This was our largest attempt at a Kinnison family vacation abroad. 12 of us (the three of us, Mom, Dad, my brother, his wife and 2 kids, my aunt, cousin and cousin's boyfriend) all traveled to Phuket in southern Thailand to enjoy a week at a resort. Unfortunately, several illnesses managed to make their way through almost everyone, causing at least one or two of us to be less than 100% every day of the vacation.

The last time I was in Phuket was 1997 and things have really changed. The main beach area (Patong) now has multiple Starbucks, as well as lots of higher end restaurants. It's also crawling with people, and this was the off season. We took a boat trip out to some of the outlying islands, including Phi Phi, one day, and I was stunned at the number of tourists zipping all over the place in large speed boats. It's still beautiful, but snorkeling with 20 people around you somehow lacks something (I think the fish are more aggressive these days, too; one nipped my aunt!). Part of that little tour was a visit to the beach where "The Beach" was filmed. I definitely recognized it from the movie, but any trace of the movie's mysterious, secluded island was long gone. I think you could barely have found a spot to lay down on that beach. Speed boats filled up the bay. Something about us Americans causes us to want to experience nature in a more solitary manner, and these parts of southern Thailand definitely no longer offer that.

So, being with family was fun, the resort we stayed at was nice (and more off the beaten path, thank goodness), but I'd have a hard time recommending Phuket to anyone looking to experience peace and quiet in a beautiful tropical setting. I guess you might find it if you went even further out to more rustic islands. You definitely have to look harder these days.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Family vacation in Phuket

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hanging out with elephants in Thailand