Author Topic: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old  (Read 16094 times)

Offline morgs

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2014, 10:02:18 AM »
I'm a family of 5 also, and really should type s/t up from our trip.
I'll try to use this as inspiration.

How did you access the KD lounge?
For the tr I may be your inspiration, but I get inspired from anyone who goes on trips past Miami w/ anything more than 2 kids-I hope to follow suit  :D!!

I flew El AL business which gives you access to the KD lounge

Offline Drago

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #31 on: September 13, 2014, 01:37:26 PM »
For the tr I may be your inspiration, but I get inspired from anyone who goes on trips past Miami w/ anything more than 2 kids-I hope to follow suit  :D!!

I flew El AL business which gives you access to the KD lounge
Dang! I've flown LY Biz a few times and never knew about the lounge access.
But I've only returned to Israel w/ them, never departed.
Great to know, thx!

Offline morgs

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #32 on: September 19, 2014, 09:19:19 AM »
THAILAND                            ($1 USD=32 THB)
PHUKET
Sorry for the long wait-things got a bit hectic around here, but we are back. Monday morning we took Thai Airways direct flight from HKG to Phuket. The flight was great and even after a slight delay we arrived a bit early. When we approached immigration the line was pretty long-nothing crazy maybe 20 minutes or so-but that was too long for our patience at that point after a short night sleep. Fellow DDFer  chuchem was on our flight with his family as well and upon seeing the lines there he asked if we would like to see what a corrupt country Thailand was. He approached some really official looking officer and asked him quietly how much it would cost to bypass the line. He said for 100 baht ($3 US) per adult he would get us out quick. We happily agreed even though the price was a bit steep ;D and were all promptly escorted to some cordoned off area that was special for diplomats and large organized tour groups and we were in the baggage claim area in about 4 minutes!!  While waiting for our luggage I headed over to the true move sim stand there and picked up a free sim which I loaded with 300 baht at the 7/11 outside the arrivals hall. That was enough for a week in Thailand including calling the states a few times, local calls, and internet.

As soon as you get outside the Thailand stench hits you in the face immediately :P-it is rather unpleasant at the beginning but you get sort of used to it pretty fast. There are tons of private taxi drivers hanging around outside trying to get you to use them to go to your hotel. However, during my watching the news in Thailand in the weeks prior to our trip (“monitoring the situation there” :D) I noticed many articles about the army uprooting the taxi mafia that was controlling the taxi situation there and instituted an official metered taxi service monitored by the army in its place. So, we chose to go with one of those-there are flat rates, that you prepay to the stand operator, to the different parts of Phuket. The taxi stand is located outside the arrivals door and all the way down to the right. In our case it was 550 THB ($17 US) to the Anantara Phuket Villas in Mai Khao Beach area. The taxis are all new Toyota Camry’s and are air conditioned and clean-the drivers speak very decent English as well. The drive was about 30 minutes and we were at the Anantara hotel.

This hotel is an all villa hotel with private pools outside every one.  It was originally posted on Jetsetter for a bit less than half price off. The original price was $440 US per night and they were offering it for $260 US per night. Even though it was back in January we decided to grab it. I booked 2nights using my Barclay’s Arrival card and promptly paid for my purchase using my Barclay points so the total came out to $20 for the 2 nights (as they only let redemptions in 2500 point increments). As our trip got closer though and we were making all the final planned we decided we wanted an extra night at the Anantara so we booked the 3rd night directly through their website for full price at $440. To our luck, however, the week before we left the Anatara went up on Jetsetter AGAIN and I cancelled my other booking and booked the 3rd night at $280 US and paid for that using Barclay points from my wife’s credit card. So in essence a stay that at full price would have coat above $1300 US ended up costing $25 out of pocket-That was probably one of the best values we got the whole trip.

Anyway, we arrived at the Anantara at about 1230 pm and they seated us in the outdoor reception sala overlooking the lagoon while a someone came over with all the necessary paperwork, keys, etc, and cold towels and a welcome drink. After getting checked in (and making sure our kid didn’t decide to jump into the lagoon while trying to see the ducks there) offered to take us to our villa on a golf cart but since we were the first villa after the bridge that crosses the lagoon from the front desk to the villas we opted to walk. Although we ckecked in early the villa was ready already.  The villas are absolutely magnificent!!! It was perfectly spotless and was very well laid out. The fellow who checked us in then gave us a full tour of the villa showing us every little detail we needed to know. The entire villa/ pool area is entirely surrounded by a 10 foot tall wooden fence providing 100% privacy. The villa is accessed by a large door in the wooden fence and the hotel only uses only old school keys (not electric ones) so that is great if anyone wants to stay there for Shabbos.

Entrance to the villa(up the stairs to the left)(notice our bike outside-more on that later)


 There is a very large wooden deck outside with pool chairs and an umbrella surrounding the surprisingly large pool (it’s long enough to do 6-7 strokes across it and the deepest part is deeper than 5 feet!!). The corner of the deck has a furnished Sala area where the mini bar is kept and it has windows that you can open to see the lagoon area. There is a small garden area at the back with an outdoor shower as well. There is also a piece of the pool cut out with a massive terrazzo tub in its place which the hotel will fill for you at turn-down if you wish with rose petals, bath salts, candles, etc. The room was very large and spacious with a canopy bed in the center, this opened to a very large luggage storage area with place for multiple suitcases, drawers, shelves, etc. This area is separated from the bedroom area with a sliding area so we put the crib for our kid in there so it was almost like having a suite. That area opens into the bathroom/shower/changing/ area-the shower is large with a rain head shower. This area has a sliding door that opens up to the outdoor tub and another door that opens out to the garden/outdoor shower area. There is also a large sliding glass door that opens from the bedroom area and drops off right into the pool-make sure to ALWAYS keep this door locked if you have kids with you as even if it is a tiny bit open they can get through and fall in to the pool c"v.

View of outside area of villa taken from the entrance


View of outside area from behind the pool looking towards the bedroom


Canopy bed


Pool/Outdoor area through the sliding doors in the bathroom area


Luggage storage area (where we put our kid to sleep-there is a separate a/c vent in there so it stays cool there too)


Bathroom/sink/shower area


Outdoor garden/shower area


Outdoor Sala area


It is amazing how many different types of employees the hotel has-housekeeping, pool, gardening, etc. and each set has a different Thai style outfit they wear. Also each villa has a specific housekeeping girl so she is the one who takes care of all your requests and knows all your preferences by the second day. The service in this hotel is really something amazing!!!

Local fruits replenished every day by housekeeping


Personalized message from the housekeeper every night


 We really came to Phuket just to relax and did not plan anything for our time there. We were thinking of doing elephant riding there but the only place the concierge recommended (because the rest are all cruel to the elephants or something like that) was 1 ½-2 hours away depending on traffic so we decided to save that for Chiang Mai which she said is the elephant capital of Thailand. She did offer us though a slot to go to a presentation the hotel gave about their new time share properties they built across the road and they would even babysit our kid for us during the 90 min. ordeal. There is no obligations at all and they were giving a free massage in the spa or $100 US to spend at the turtle village shops. We said we would think about it and by the time we decided that it doesn't hurt and then we'll get 2 massages for the price of 1 we missed that days and the next morning was already full so we missed out on that. So we really did not do much except swim, eat, and sleep. For food we ordered from Chabad and had them deliver it to the hotel (extra 1000 THB for delivery to that area -$30 US so we decided to order twice instead of fresh every day). We ordered basically one of everything on the menu and stored it in the large mini bar fridge. The food was really tasty even after being in the fridge overnight. (Word of caution-they send ketchup, mayo, etc in containers along with the order. One of the condiments looked like a spicy mayo so we tasted it and it turns out it was some spice something and we could not get the burning in our mouths to stop no matter how much we drank and ate after for a few hours).

Our food delivery from Chabad


 The hotel provided us with a microwave which we kashered to use to heat up our food. Every night we requested the hotel to set up dinner for us outside on our deck which they did very nicely. Make sure to ask for as much anti mosquito treatment as possible (spray at night, plug ins to put in the wall, some type of something they light outside that lets off a scented smoke, and lotion for your body) and you are really fine. We ended up with one or two bites each.

Dinner set up on our deck by the hotel


View of the outside area at night


Next door to the hotel is a small shopping plaza with some high end shops called turtle village and to the right of the plaza downstairs is a large grocery with everything from junky sunglasses to Hagen Dazs to PB & J (with an ou from the states). They carry many products from the states like Lays chips, etc.  with a hechsher-so this is a good place to stock up on snacks and drinks (about a ¼ of the price of anything from the hotel). We visited there once or twice during our stay.

Turtle village


Turtle mart grocery next door


On our second evening there my wife decided she wanted to take family pictures on the beach( as the hotel is located in Mai Khao which has a beautiful beach that has no chairs on it so it is basically deserted) at sunset. So I asked the concierge if the hotel has a photographer that could take pictures of us using our camera. She told us that she took a photography course  recently and although she was not a professional photographer she would be happy to follow us for an hour and take pics of us throughout the hotel grounds and on the beach for FREE!! This was like a dream come true for my wife (and me of course because it made her happy ;)) and she did just that. She took about 500 pics of us on our camera (Canon EOS rebel T3) and you could not tell the difference between her and a professional (so I guess that makes her professional?!?!?). The photos came out MAGNIFICENT with the sun dropping behind us into the ocean and she ws great at getting our kid to smile/laugh as well. When she finished I tipped her 1000 THB ($30 US) (anything like that in the US/Israel would have burned a huge hole in my pocket so $30 still seemed like a steal) and she just about bent down and kissed our feet and told us that was like 2-3 weeks pay for her!! There is really nothing like the sunset there (although we have not been to Hawaii yet-we’ll compare it when we do!). Every night the hotel also has a torch lighting ceremony where a guy with a big torch goes around the property lighting all the smaller torches all over the grounds followed by a small band playing all kinds of weird instruments.

Professional pics on the beach for FREE!!!!!


Sunset in Phuket


Torch lighting ceromony


View of the back of the hotel that over looks the beach(notice they were setting up for a wedding there and we saw the bride & groom taking pics on the beach too )
 

The hotel also provides free bikes to get around the resort and for use outside the resort as well. They only have 6-7 that have a baby seat attached to the back and they go on a first come first serve basis so you gotta keep checking with front desk if anyone returned one (we did not get one until our last day there). It’s nothing special but it is still a fun way to get around the resort and down the road to the turtle village and other resorts in the area. We got really lucky that the weather was amazing during our entire stay here (it poured for like 20 minutes one day) as I hear that the weather in the summer there is really hit and miss (it can rain for 3 days straight)-not only did it not rain but the sun was out bright and strong!!!!  After 3 AMAZING days in Phuket we reluctantly loaded our stuff into a metered taxi ordered by the hotel for the return to the airport (500 THB on the return $15 US). You really do not have to get here early for domestic flights as the lines are short and the gates are right behind the check in area so there is almost no walking required. One of the really annoying things we noticed about the airports in Thailand is that they make you go through a security check before you even come into the airport, then you check in, and then security again before getting to the gate so this is really annoying if you have a few pieces of luggage, a baby, and a stroller!!! They also put a security check sticker on all your bags-if you have a stroller, make sure they do not put it on any metal parts as it is IMPOSSIBLE to get off after (and it's this big bright orange sticker that says HKT SECURITY CHECK!!!! ::)) At 2:30 pm we boarded a Air Asia flight direct from HKT to Chinag Mai. I bought this flight about 2 weeks before for $50 per person. This is a typical low cost carrier-a comfortable new plane, good service and no frills. We got an extra seat for our kid so that was convenient to help us enjoy the flight and we landed at 430 PM in Chiang Mai after a safe and smooth flight.

Next Up….Chaing Mai

Offline efflpetzel

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #33 on: September 19, 2014, 12:14:17 PM »
Great stuff!! Keep it up

Offline Yaalili

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #34 on: September 19, 2014, 01:51:10 PM »
Great stuff!! Keep it up

+1, thanks for writing it up. Cool that you met up with a DDF'er on the flight, and love that $3 trick to bypass the lines ;)

Offline SavingsBigtime

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #35 on: September 19, 2014, 01:52:56 PM »
great TR !!

Offline rots5

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2014, 01:59:28 PM »
AMAZING!!
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Offline Chapshnell

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #37 on: September 19, 2014, 02:08:38 PM »
keep it coming, good job

Offline Dan

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #38 on: September 19, 2014, 03:18:46 PM »
Love your writing style, great TR.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #39 on: September 19, 2014, 06:17:52 PM »
Great installment. Nice tip about customs. Can't wait for the rest.

Offline htg123

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #40 on: September 20, 2014, 05:35:29 AM »
Complete awesomeness

Offline morgs

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2014, 02:02:49 PM »
Thanks for all the compliments!!!

Offline avadah

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #42 on: September 20, 2014, 03:45:34 PM »
Great TR!
I thought hotels don't let you stay with children if there is a pool. I think it's a problem in the Maldives with OWBs.

Offline rots5

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #43 on: September 28, 2014, 09:35:42 PM »
Great TR!
I thought hotels don't let you stay with children if there is a pool. I think it's a problem in the Maldives with OWBs.
Not where i stayed there were kids
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Offline M

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #44 on: September 28, 2014, 10:04:24 PM »
Really awesome and enjoyable to read!  8)