Monday, April 27, 2015

The Phi Phi Islands - Day Six Diving

I love nature and after seeing it all around me I was ready to dive in literally - take me to the ocean the wide beautiful glistening waters and the lush islands I had been seeing. The film The Island with Leonardo Di Caprio impressed upon me all those years ago - take me there. If Leo was lucky and still there he might get to spot me in my bikini.
I had a clutch of pamphlets that I had read through and explored trip advisor but was still unsure of what tour might be best, so I headed to the tour desk at the Pullman Phuket and was advised me to take the  Siam Adventure World Tours Phi Phi Island tour. Transfers were included and the hotel packed a gourmet breakfast to go ready for the 6.20 am pick up. With an ample supply of sunscreen my wide brimmed hat I was off! The Royal Marina Phuket was a real surprise it is well disguised and is a complete contrast to the outer surrounds. Manicured and opulent grounds open onto the marina and a series of high end residential complexes and homes. The tour group was friendly and has us on board the speedboat before we knew it.

After a pretty uneventful hour in a speed boat it happened - it all happened. I will let the images speak for themselves.
This was our first stop and yes it was where The Beach was filmed I took the option of the short inland walk and discovered what was at the end of this steep ladder and this tiny hut shrine it resembled a dolls house in size.
The view was worth the short climb
A traditional long tail boat
Why do we lock ourselves up in offices and houses all day when there is so to much see? A family of sharks swam past me beautiful to see. Strange how safe these waters felt compared to Australian oceans where you can be gobbled up or stung by all manner of things on our chilly waters.
This was a great tour for many reasons the size of the group the uncrowded beaches - the respect for wildlife and the environment. The food... I will never forget eating fresh pineapple pieces in the lagoon, the Thai buffet with divine fish sauce we enjoyed on the beach, the heart shaped watermelon pieces to refresh the palate afterwards and all the while stopping off to dive and swim in the warmest ocean water I have ever experienced. The zero footprint, the fact that these guys collected rubbish and debris from the ocean floor whilst working. Nothing was disposable on this tour apart from the drink containers, the company used real cutlery and plates etc. I have long made it a habit of cleaning beaches that I visit it is not hard and I saw an amazing lizard while doing so resembling a miniature Alligator.

This young guy stole my heart - he was made for his job as underwater photographer and assistant to the crew. The entire team was great and I felt envy for their lifestyle and occupation. I can't wait to dive again. 
 Siam Adventure World

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day Four - Patong...

Another gorgeous day in Phuket and I am looking for the more typical experience and am off to Patong. Busy busy Patong very tourist driven, lots of bars, shopping, entertainment and real estate for sale in tiny shop fronts that were more like cubicles, while it was great to see seeing Bangla Rd once was enough it was pretty hectic. I found it to be like Rye carnival on steroids.
There are lots of bars and entertainment I can see how this might appeal to a younger market. Groups of friends hitting the town out to have fun. The Aussie themed bars were something I chose to avoid. So yes I did the fishy feet thing and I loved it, while others squealed I blissed out. But as for riding elephants and watching animal acts I chose not to. If I were traveling with children I recommend a day visit and leave the after hours for the over eighteens. A quick visit then off to Juncelon for families I would say.
The large shopping complex called Jungcelon is in the heart of Patong that has numerous restaurants and offers both traditional and western options, of note was the Ramen Burger and the Almond Choco balls which I would imagine to be a lot like Nutella Nuggets. Nom nom!
Speaking of taste I did discover a new fashion store I fell in love with JASPAL tiny sizes though I just squeezed into the large. Lovely lovely accessories and well planned options and colours,very elegant great price point and as I found after returning to Australia a Thai company. I picked up some wonderful shorts but will have to wait a whole season for summer to roll around before I can wear them would have loved to have snagged this range and the quirky applique dress it's just perfect.   

So in a land of diversity I decided to head back to The Pullman Phuket for dinner where I indulged in a two course a la cart dinner. From food court to fine dining whats not to love? So back to the room for a quick shower and change then a cocktail before dining.
I packed light - new blog on whether my planning worked or not coming soon. This is the view from the C-bar - I recommend The Pullman Signature containing fresh mint apple and has a sweet and sour zing! Gorgeous and alcohol free very refreshing and hydrating after a long hot day. 

I chose an a la carte two course dinner at Elements restaurant.
'All Day Dining will showcase fusion delicacies and the fine traditions of Thai and Western cuisine.'
Can I just say everything did taste as good as it looks. The appetiser was a standout for me Chicken Beef and Prawn cooked three ways, don't get me wrong the Fish in Mango sauce was incredible as was the Curry Chicken. I live in Melbourne the unchallenged food capital of Australia and as such I eat well every day - this place does not fail. The Food Court was fun but...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day Three Phuket Paradise

Morning coffee here at one of the infinity pool seating areas and a nap in the cabana chair before choosing how to spend the day. Nai Thon Beach which is literally minutes so I finally decided to wrench myself away from the resort to see the actual beach and what a sweet sight it was. This is a snap shot from here you can see the resort on the hill.
These nifty little doorless cars make a lot of sense in this place!
It is quite warm here and the Pullman Phuket offers free shuttles to Nai Thon beach which is a little back water dotted with massage and food offerings, diving from a traditional long tail and lovely white sand and pale turquoise ocean. Seconds later I was stepping into the warmest ocean water I have every experienced swimming was divine and grabbed a meal from one of the local street traders.
These women are using a mortar and pestle more herbs and nuanced flavour than a lot of restaurants - just wonderful. Lovely accommodating people too ensuring we had the right drinks despite the language barrier. This food was purchased opposite the green money exchange store front on the beach where the shuttle car dropped me off - it was a lovely way to wait for the car to collect me.

Back to the Resort shower and refresh with some snacks and a Rose before dinner.
Then off to Vero the Italian Restaurant on the upper level for the first time.
Very cool romantic place with illuminated menus. The food was divine I has scallops with truffle oil and then buffalo mozzarella cheese, tomato and basil stack. My partner had the Gnocchi with mushrooms which was a whole other taste journey.
Gorgeous food and atmosphere polished off with a glass of Lemonchello and that was how my day drew to an end just sublime.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day Two Phuket Pullman - Thailand Redefined

There is a difference between a #hashtag and a face, a label and an icon and I think I may have just found both at The Pullman Phuket Arcadia Nai Thon Beach where we experience life face to face and icons are created. There is just so much about this place that impresses me.

The resort is 40 - 50 minutes away from Patong but is a world away. This is Thailand re imagined and I think it is a beautiful elegant redefining of a tranquil paradise that the world has been waiting for this is Phuket and Thailand at its best.
My morning started with a personal Yoga class on the roof top of the gym surrounded by an incredible vista of the rolling hills and the bays, whether my head or tail was up or down every view was phenomenal - that was day two at the Pullman Phuket it looked a little something like this...there were two of us and the instructor nice and private.
Then onto breakfast the award winning breakfast buffet - delicious and caters for every taste from pastries and traditional offerings to exotic fare - unbelievably good!
Then there is the view - day two and no desire to leave this resort its sprawling natural beauty just keeps offering more up at every turn.
I can see the beach but at present it can not compete with this place - perhaps tomorrow I will make it there. There is so much to share and I can only speak from experience and from the heart when I say this place really must be experienced to be believed. More tomorrow x

Monday, April 6, 2015

One Day in Paradise - Kuala Lumpur and Phuket Pullman

There is something between booking a trip and the experience it is the unknown. Within that space may lie anything from unarticulated expectation to inaccurate marketing messages and overblown promises. I recently booked a trip on line through a third party better known as webjet.

Hotels usually come with a reputation many of which precede them. One knows what to expect when booking at one of the Hilton or Sheraton Hotels where a certain level of service and luxury is an expectation that is almost guaranteed. They promise to deliver and in my experience do. This is one of the key reasons I have chosen them as a preferred brand for my accommodation stays. Which brings me to my recent choice of establishment The Pullman Phuket Arcadia.

I have never been to Thailand and was perhaps a little cynical about the destination after all it is a very common holiday choice for Australian travellers. With little expectation and a little research post booking I set off for my 8 night Thailand experience. Like I said I was a little cynical - I couldn't picture myself doing the typical Thai experience but the package was perfect for my requirements and I took the plunge via Kuala Lumpur.

Melbourne to Kualar Lumpur 9 short hours a fantastic 9 hour stop over there where I managed to very easily store my hand luggage, jump on the express train, get a metered cab to The Petronas Towers, had a tour of the towers and may I say to my delight KL really offered up some really interesting architecture a mix of brutalist, 60's modernist and wonderful 70's delights, tucked underneath the Petronas Towers is a fabulous blend of shopping that is world standard - the Chocolate dipped potato chips particularly caught my eye in the lower good court along with some fabulous shoes and boutiques.
Petronas Tower

Fascinating mix of architecture in Kuala Lumpur
I had some amazing Malaysian food and then headed to the Lake Symphony’s dancing fountains and KLCC Park (a free family friendly water park) to lie on the grass and watch families at play. May I say I found the Uniforms very dapper and impressive in KL might have to capture them on my way back home. I meet so many lovely people in that short time - a very friendly city.
Walking from Petronas towers to KLCC park I am dwarfed by the towering trees of the park
Back to the airport collect hand luggage an hour and 15 minutes later I landed in Phuket...wardrobe Tropical Pack Hack working thus far - but that's a blog for a later date.
OH MY! I knew my transfers were organised and that I had chosen a really lovely place to stay full stop - I have done all that before and it is pleasant but usually a pretty pedestrian experience but not this time. I was greeted by an elegantly dressed woman warmly and professionally and so the journey begins. A very short car ride that includes ambient music, drinking water and captivating scenery that is like a fast forward of iconic imagery flashes before you as you are taken to the resort.

The entrance to the Pullman Phuket Arcadia belies not of its secrets tall dark walls and signage greet you and from there it is all just a little bit wonderful.

There is nothing like the disappointment of a film everyone has raved about so I wont rave too much, this really is a place that has to be experienced first hand. What I will do is tell you is a little bit about my stay. I have been here less than 24 hours and I think I have fallen in love and I think it's with this place.
This is called checking in here - seriously - no exaggeration required.

Loved finding beautiful surprises like lovely navy Chambray robes, Umbrellas and a gorgeous beach bag complete with sumptuous beach towels. the well lit space for your luggage and large mirrors - brilliant!

 I must say this space invites you - I am so looking to writing here and sharing this experience - stay tuned more tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Travelling to the Tropics - TROPICAL PACK HACKS

So I am off to Thailand where it will be warm and beautiful. I look forward to diving, swimming, sight seeing and soaking up some of the sights, food and culture. I am looking forward to the pristine oceans and scenery, meeting locals, savoring the cuisine and fresh air. Adventure seeking and a fair share of unwinding ahhh I can see it now.
Problem is it will also be hot and humid...
I recently spent some time in Queensland Australia I am from Melbourne, lovely grey cool Melbourne. Sure we get hit with the odd humid hot day but while in Queensland it was the entire two weeks. Needless to say I my hair was very Leif Garrett or Barry Gibb and my vintage clothing did not quite translate. Crimploline in humidity is not so great. This may sound trite but while experiencing this holiday I still want to be true to me, not Barry or Leif in a practical frock and sandals.

 I am thrilled to say I am heading to Phuket to stay at The Phuket Pullman Arcadia Nathion Beach elegant luxury.

But this time I am planning for the humidity, the swimming, the Gabe Kotter hair I get post swimming. So what am I going to do to counter the not so great effects of heat of humidity?

With the aim of swanning around looking like a vintage siren I am going to do it differently this time I am going to…


Wardrobe - mostly cotton frocks, two large cotton scarfs one mesh swim sarong and one cardigan.

Shoes - ridiculous heels to wear to and around the pool with my 'cabana' wear - from the room to the pool perfect! I do have one pair of comfy spongy rubber shoes and a versatile sandal. Some people can wear thongs/flip flops and look very cool - I alas cannot.
A mix of contemporary and vintage poolwear ensemble packed!
Skin care - Sunscreen with a matte finish for the face, hands and decolletage I have found the Cancer Council of Australia has a great one that I use. A general one that smells great and leaves you feeling like you have used a moisturiser. Always carry a handkerchief - not tissues, great for blotting and to take care of unsightly perspiration. The Japanese are very open about this and there are actual items designed for this which I love.

Hair - After swimming I will use a headband and or a hair tie, if I get enough height a quick flick with a hair comb into a french roll perhaps a scarf and some bobby pins but that's not likely I am too impatient to spend time grooming whilst I can be exploring. I won't be using any products to tame my hair besides contaminating any water, beach or pool I enter I don't think they work. Hopefully I will end up looking like one of these lovelies!
Jane Manesfield wearing a headband with her barely restrained bust.
I will let you know how I go what worked and was fabulous! 
Look out here for the review and keep an eye on my new instagram account - yes a late comer. 
See you soon from Phuket - photos to follow!