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Bluebells (and baby) in Thailand Feb 09

Old Feb 8th, 2009, 02:42 AM
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Bluebells (and baby) in Thailand Feb 09

We are finally here and such a lovely escape from the snow and frost of Southern England! Two days ago, I was pushing the buggy through piles of grey slush in the sleet taking my eldest to school. We picked her up on Friday afternoon, whizzed off to the airport and with relative ease (considering we are travelling with a 4 year old and a 9 month old), we are in the absolutely divine Indigo Pearl on Nai Yang beach in Phuket.

Check in at Heathrow airport was a dream - I think we queued for about 5 minutes tops. We met someone on the next counter who was flying out to get married - at the same resort we married at in Ko samui in august 06, Rocky Resort. They looked really excited.

That was where the Heathrow dream ended!! We had our hand luggage searched and I couldn't understand why - everything liquid etc etc was in little plastic bags but BAA had told me I could take baby milk in cartons through security - but NO I could not. So they took my baby's milk!! I could only keep it if opened the cartons so that it could be tasted. They let me keep the baby food and luckily I could get her milk airside but - grrrr!! In the hullabaloo with holding onto two wiggling children whilst the bags were being searched, John put down the bag with the camera in it (and equipment - worth nearly 1000 pounds) and then left it!! OMG - when he realised about 15 minutes later, he just ran! Luckily, luckily, the security guard had picked it up and not some lightfingered traveller. I was by this point very over Heathrow - and beginning to question the whole trip. Things picked up when we got to the gate. EVA let us pre-board, i.e. before anyone else, and the stewardesses were lovely and fitted the baby's car seat into her seat, took our bags for us. This was EVA economy and I was presently surprised - we had a middle row of four and it worked very well for us. The seats had quite a lot of leg room, well they would do as I'm only 5'4", but it was not bad. I've just lost two stone as well so the seat felt quite roomy too!! The baby went to sleep even before we took off and we all managed to get some sleep. We left late around 10.30pm and landed 11 hours later at BKK. The food was definitely better last time we flew in premium economy but we were sat towards the back of the plane so by the time they got to us with the first meal, it was very late and there was no choice left but it was okay. Service was very good - I really can't say enough about how kind the stewardesses were and how helpful with the baby. I had heard lots of stories from flyertalk etc of parents having difficulties with airlines accepting car seats for use on the plane, well, no arguments with EVA - as I said, they even fitted it for us! Also, they let us use the seat on take off and landing which we had also been told wouldn't happen - most airlines make you use the lapbelts during takeoff/landing which I have to say strikes me as absurd as Emilia was definitely more secure in her car seat (Bebe confort Iseos II in case anyone is wondering what we used - good for economy seats as the seat can be narrowed to fit in those teeny economy seats...). In essence, from the moment we left British soil, everything got much better! Also, my baby was such an angel on the flight - I was a very proud mum. I could see people getting on and realising they were near a baby and rolling their eyes. Well - more noise disturbance from the man behind us who snored like a steam train for 11 hours!! My little baby was a complete star - slept or smiled for the whole flight, didn't even cry on landing, bless her!

We flew into Bangkok and cleared immigration with ease, DH and I just smelling the Bangkok air, aaargh, we are back! EVA had checked our luggage straight the way through to phuket (our second flight was Thai Air and even though our tickets were booked separately - EVA with lastminute.com and Thai Air with Eddie at Seatours - they were able to check our luggage through. I overheard someone on the next counter not being allowed to do this for Air Asia and the check in lady saying she could only check through for Thai or Bangkok Air.

We flew Thai down to Phuket and by now we are getting quite tired - I just kept saying to DH, it will be worth it when we get there and don't have to do anything for days! At Phuket, we had to cross over to International Baggage claim from domestic to get our luggage as it had been checked through from London. This was because we had to clear customs still. Still all very easy and then we were met by the Indigo Pearl representative and ushered into a very swish smart black van - plush leather seats and jasmine scented cold flannels. I just sat back and smiled

I will have to post more tomorrow - from the free wifi place at Indigo Pearl - as I have to go and get ready to go to the beach for supper. I can smell the barbecue and garlic already - yum! So until tomorrow when I will fill you in on the absolutely GORGEOUS Indigo Pearl and our trip to Phuket Bangkok Hospital...

BB

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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 02:53 AM
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BB-glad you made it with all of your gear. I'll bet that was an exciting 15 minutes to recover your bag.

We have the same feeling when we deplane in BKK. A sense of being at ease. Wonderful, each time.

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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 05:42 AM
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great start lucy....anxious to read more...
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 05:59 AM
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I am enjoying the start of your trip. I have had my own weather hassles at OHare in Chicago, so I know how you felt about getting away from the sleet and slush.

I totally agree about stepping off the plane in Bangkok and smelling the air. It's a sort-of fishy exhaust smell... sounds awful, I know... but when you smell it, you think... "Aaaaah, I'm home."


Enjoy your relaxing visit to Phuket and the Indigo Pearl!

Carol
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 06:01 AM
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BB - i am GREEN with envy!!! cant wait to hear more...
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 06:22 AM
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Congratulations on making it there in good form - but a trip to the hospital??
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 06:51 AM
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Carol- It is a complex smell. I too feel like I'm home when I smell Thailand
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 07:20 AM
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A trip to the hospital? Already?
Still, sounds like you are having a good time. Looking forward to hearing more.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 09:33 AM
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Enjoy your trip -- we'll certainly enjoy reading about it.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 10:13 AM
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Glad you came back !

I think we all know what you mean about arriving in Thailand when you know it, you know that somehow things will be great - whatever.

Last year we went to Australia and whilst the family were quite happy I was honestly just itching to get back.
I still feel 'something' as those wheels thump the ground. Australia was great, but "another world" to what we are used to.

Have a great time!



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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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Wonderful, Bella !!!
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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Yipes! some scary snags at the beginning, but hopefully all will go smoothly now. I hope the trip to the hospital was quick and for something very minor.

One of the disadvantages of flying Air Asia (or any low-cost carrier) is that they will not transfer luggage from one flight to another - not even their own flights. This makes transfers take much longer (that person you overheard at Heathrow would have had to go through immigration, pick up their luggage, go through customs, re-check their luggage at the Air Asia desk, then go back though passport control to their Air Asia flight.
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 02:41 PM
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Rise and Shine, Bella! ... (Thai time) ...

... so glad you enjoyed EVA ... now (and you know what's coming), for next year's holiday, perhaps a certain Singaporean airline, LHR-SIN-BKK (with yes, that 'FS stop over') in supreme comfort, with those sensational Girls, tending to your every need ... (within reason, of course) ...

... should you end up finishing this year's break at one of our mutual Bangkok honeymoon hotels, the Peninsula, well, as of ~ ten days back, it was as special as ever.

(Actually, this latest Peninsula business related visit was truly memorable: something to do, in part, with a (briefly) mistaken case of identity involving yours truly, a rather prominent and 'happily married' UK businessman, and yes, his rather lovely Thai girlfriend. ... (Do hope his rather regal and 'titled' wife back in their rather posh London neighbourhood is hip to his 'SEA lifestyle'. ... (Oh yes, Bangkok business travel still has its occasional heart warming and uplifting moments.) ...

... suspect the mrs. and I will miss seeing you and your family this Valentine's weekend 'down by the river'. ... (Guess the venue; it's her call, as always.)

Joyous Thai times to you, Bella. (And do remember those late-night, in-room massage treatments.) ...

macintosh (robert)


... "We know it's your favourite." ...

(My all-time cherished Bangkok Peninsula 'Lobby Hostess', 2_.01.09)






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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 07:53 PM
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More later but have just posted first photos on Smugmug for my mum - and for you all!

http://johnnycoco.smugmug.com/galler...70292062_aETFK

Hope it works!
btw - hospital trip, baby had high fever and cough, a cold that had worsened on the plane journey over. She is fine and dosed up on various medicines now - loved the hospital!! oh but the NHS hospitals were like that at home!
more later
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Old Feb 8th, 2009, 09:23 PM
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Thanks for sharing the photos. It's always nice to see the people who are writing. The resort looks lovely and the b&w photo of your little one is darling.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 04:47 AM
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Lucy
Thanks for sharing your lovely photographs. The Indigo Pearl looks fantastic! Enjoy...

(oh, and keep on posting)

Carol
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 04:55 AM
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Lovely photos. Our world is covered in snow and ice so how delightful to be where you are! Enjoy and may all stay well.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 06:47 AM
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Nice photos! Thanks for sharing.

I'm glad the hospital trip was nothing serious. I know what you mean about wishing the medical care back home was more like Thailands!
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 08:42 AM
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Thank you for all your comments - I am glad I am not the only one who finds the Bangkok smell intoxicating!

We arrived at the Indigo Pearl at around 9.15pm – but it felt like the 2.15pm that it was in the UK, Bella found it really strange. She couldn’t work out what had happened to the day. So we were all quite wide awake – even the baby. We were sat down on a giant lounger with some iced tea for the adults and juice for Bella, more jasmine scented flowers. We breathed in the air again – different to Bangkok, sweetly scented, gorgeous.
The lobby in the Indigo Pearl is in open sided, as are many are on the beaches in Thailand, and the style of the structure of the building is typically Thai and made of wood. We could feel the sea breeze. The furniture and fittings are modern and quite unique – a feast of textures with splashes of indigo blue and orange. The staff is dressed not in a colonial style uniform or traditional thai dress but in almost utilitarian style dress – it very much suits the dynamic of the resort which was designed by Bill Bentley, the architect who is responsible for many Thai resorts including the Chiang Mai Regent. It has a tin mining theme (this being Phuket’s past) – and I have to admit, that almost put me off. I had visions of it being a bit like Disneyland and the ride there that I call the runaway train ride – I don’t know if it is still there, this is from when I was a child. So I was a bit unsure of a theme but the really positive reviews I read about on other websites persuaded me to try here, combined with a kids club and an excellent deal...the resort style really works.
Everything in this hotel has been thought about and chosen with care – we notice new little details in our room and in the resort every day. The design of the buildings is partly traditional in style – in the lines of the roofs and the wood used but the use of concrete and the colour of the buildings (which is what my friend calls greige) gives it a more contemporary feel. The clean lines of the design and neutral colour scheme could be harsh but for the lush verdant planting which softens everything and gives it an oasis like feel. Indigo blue, pink and orange are splashed throughout in the art, textiles and sculptural light fittings. It is really divine – a feast for the eyes.
We were taken to our room for check in, by buggy. The baby’s eyes were wide open - she normally goes to bed at about 6.30pm, I don’t know if she has ever been out in the dark and all of a sudden she is being whizzed around somewhere warm in a golf cart. We zipped down smooth concrete paths down towards the beach. On our left hand side, bright blue lights and dance music play, beautiful people stand laughing and talking by a cocktail. We pull around in front of this and then stop. It looks wonderful – but is it there every night I worry, will it keep the kids up more importantly? The lady accompanying us to check us in reassures us – it is a function, for tonight only and don’t worry – she can see my look of apprehension – we will not hear it in the room.
We walk up some stairs and down an open sided corridor with room doors on the left and sounds of the sea on the right. I realise that the corridor is beach facing and wonder why the resort has not taken advantage of this and built the rooms facing the beach. My question is answered later when I see that there is a path and beach restaurants between the resort and the sea – and whilst these are low build at the moment, it wouldn’t be within the control of the resort to keep it that way.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 08:42 AM
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We enter through the last door on the corridor, clad in brown metal, a rough hewn raffia star decorates the wall outside. We enter our room and I am delighted. If you imagine a rectangle, the sides from door to window being shorter than the width from side to side. Of that rectangle, a wall and giant sliding door divides the bathroom (1/3) from the bedroom and dressing room area (2/3). The dressroom is split off from the bedroom by the use of a diagonal wall. On one side of the wall is an irregularly shaped but large dressing area with drawers and hanging space and a good deal of extra space for storing bags (and in our case, car seat, buggy etc etc). On the other side of the diagonal wall is the bed, facing into the room at an angle facing a giant flat screen TV up on the wall between the bathroom and bedroom. In the bedroom area there is also a desk and two chairs, foot stool and a table. Rather incongruously of the chicly decorated room is a little cot ready for the baby – no uber trendy bedding for her, but sweet giraffes and elephants! Floor to ceiling glass doors look out over a huge balcony which contains a large day bed (room for the whole family!) and a table and chairs. The right hand wall of the room is covered in what appears to be roughly textured concrete and set into the wall is a giant sliding door made of planks of dark wood. I say appears to be roughly textured because later we notice that the textured lines of the concrete match perfectly with the planks of the wood – as I said, nothing is accidental hear as even if it appears to be rough around the edges, it is all perfectly chosen.
The bathroom walls are also made of this rough concrete and the floors entirely of smooth poured concrete, it feels lovely underfoot. To the right is the w.c. in – almost – a separate room save that is not divided from the bathroom by a door but by a giant curtain. In the main part of the bathroom there is a long unit with two circular wash basins. The taps are beautiful – flowers that tip and tilt to control the water temperature and flow. Opposite this is a long low bench, covered in grey silk – very useful, we are using it as the baby’s changing station...don’t worry, we have a mat. There is a giant walk in shower with both a rain shower overhead and a powerful shower head. All the fittings are sleek and modern. Floor to ceiling glass doors overlook the other part of the balcony – on a raised plinth there is a giant double ended black bath. There are drapes that can be dropped from the ceiling to give privacy if needed – Bella and her dolls haven’t bothered with those though. The view from our room is lovely – overlooking a serene infinity pool, tropical planting and green hills in the distance. We don’t miss not seeing the sea here at all. There are some photos of the views on the smugmug link I posted.
The room has the usual facilities that you would expect – DVD, safe, fridge, kettle etc. It is almost boring to talk about these things – mundane for such a lovely room! I will have to check the rate but I think we are paying around 6700B per night net, including buffet breakfast for the four of us. It is a steal for a resort of this calibre. The service has been excellent, the staff is really friendly and very well trained and incredibly helpful with the children. We are really pleased with our choice.
So on from our arrival. We literally dumped our bags, cleaned our teeth, had a quick wash and a change of clothes and headed out of the resort to the beach. Some had said that the resort was isolated and in the sense that it is far from Patong – hooray! – I suppose it is, but for us it is perfect. You walk our of the resort down a path lined with the inevitable tailors shops and about 25 yards from the resort entrance you hit the narrow beach road. Very little traffic on this, more like a wide path. Across the road are lots of little mom and pop style seafood restaurants, very local little fairy light lit places with formica tables and plastic chairs on the white soft sand of Nai Yang beach. The prices are very reasonable, the food fresh and delicious. This is not the place if you want chic restaurants – although you can find these at the Indigo Pearl. We are very happy though as this set up is perfect for us – we have a 5* resort with all the amenities we would like for us and the kids but on our doorstep we have the relatively cheap local restaurants on the beach that we love to eat at.
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