Deysy Lamas, her husband Jesus, and their children Andreina (13) and Oscar (6).
The ten-night package cost RMB 14,400 per adult and RMB 8,700 per child. The package included flights, accommodation and breakfast for the whole family. In Phuket, Fantasea tickets for the family of four cost RMB 7,200. The ticket includes admission to the park, dinner, as well as various street and stage performances. Parasailing cost RMB 220 per flight. The grand total came to roughly RMB 54,000.
Looking for a tropical change from the freezing temperatures in Beijing, the Lamas family headed to Phuket in the winter. The plan was to relax at the beach and the pool before heading to an island off the coast of Phuket. Their itinerary included the cultural theme park Fantasea, dirt biking, driving all-terrain vehicles through the jungle and spending a day at the Splash Jungle water park.
The vacation package was organized through Sunflower Travel Agency. The family flew with Thai Airlines.
The family stayed for two nights at Novotel Bangkok Airport and eight nights at the Courtyard by Marriott Phuket. At Courtyard by Marriott Phuket, they stayed in a nice large bedroom with two beds (the hotel added an additional spare bed to fit the family of four). Clothing markets as well as the beautiful Patong Beach, were located just down the road.
The family aren’t fans of spicy food, so they didn’t eat any Thai food. If you can tolerate the spice though, it is worth the culinary adventure. Instead of Thai food, the family enjoyed all their meals at the hotel – the hotel buffet was their go-to spot for breakfast. Located within the hotel, Hard Rock Cafe was the family’s favorite restaurant. They even celebrated Christmas there with a live band and great, upbeat service. Then, they went up to their room and watched fireworks from their balcony. Another plus of their hotel was the two pools with poolside bars, where swimmers can order drinks without having to reach for their towels.
Instead of sightseeing, the family sought out lots of fun activities. On a one-day trip to the Phi Phi Islands, the Lamas swam in turquoise-colored waters. While they couldn’t see anything at the bottom, they were excited to snorkel and play on the beach featured in the film, The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio.
The nighttime park Phuket Fantasea (www.phuket-fantasea.com) is definitely worth a visit. There are elephant rides as well as a small “zoo” (located within a clothing store) that includes snakes, pelicans, antelopes and tigers. Outside the store, visitors can get their picture snapped with a parrot on their arm. There is also a great buffet with sushi, Chinese food and a range of international cuisines. Afterwards, the family crossed the street to the Elephant Temple where they watched a mind-blowing performance with elephants and tigers.
The thrill seekers of the group, Jesus and Andreina went on a dirt bike tour through the jungle. The next day, they tried out the all-terrain vehicles. With a helmet and fingerless gloves, Andreina tried to qualify as a rider, but after a small crash, she opted to ride as a passenger with her father.
Upon her return to Patong Beach, Andreina went parasailing. She was treated to an amazing bird’s eye view of the beach. Jet skis whizzed beneath Andreina feet, as their drivers looked up and waved at her.
Courtyard by Marriott Phuket features Kids World with activities for kids ages 2 to 15. The hotel restaurant also has a very good kid-friendly menu, and of course, Hard Rock Cafe is always a favorite. A tour guide office within the hotel arranged all of the family’s tours on the island and it was easy to find people who spoke English.
The Courtyard by Marriott Phuket near Patong Beach is a great location if you want to explore the area. Try the fish massage therapy: Dip your toes in a tank while tiny fish clean away the dead skin.