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Topic: Tasting The Spice Of South East Asia Day 15

  1. #1
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    Default Tasting The Spice Of South East Asia Day 15

    Even though we had not set an alarm, we were awake just before 7. We did not get up straightaway, but decided to see if we would fall asleep again. This did not happen. We were treated to a nice sunrise and decided that if the sun was awake, then maybe we should be as well. We got up and ready. We then went to get some breakfast.



    We decided to head up to the Windjammer. It was not particularly busy, and we had no issue finding a table. Graham decided to start with a healthy option and had fruit and yoghurt. I gravitated towards the soup noodles and had egg noodles and won ton. I also managed to find some barbecue pork buns. Contrary to what they served last year; they were very nice. Graham then had a traditional cooked breakfast with scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and fried bread. I continued to Chinese theme and had congee, some more barbecue pork buns and some sausages. We both had coffee and orange juice.





    After breakfast, we went back to our cabin to get organised. At one stage, we had wondered if we would get off the ship at all. It had been a pretty intense holiday and we were starting to run out of steam. There was also nothing that particularly captivated our imagination. Phuket has a big buddha statue and some interesting architecture, but definitely nothing we had not already seen in Hong Kong, Singapore or Penang. There are two very famous snorkelling areas that are accessible from Phuket: Phang Nga Bay and Phi Phi Island. Both require a bus ride and then a lengthy boat trip. They also have the reputation that they are pretty overrun by tourists. We were not keen on either of this. Graham suggested we should still take our snorkelling gear in case there is a local beach that offers some snorkelling. I was not overly keen, but agreed.

    Once we had sorted ourselves out, we headed downstairs to Bolero’s to meet our concierge Christopher. Phuket is a tender port and one of the perks of staying in a suite is that you get priority tender privileges. When we got to Bolero’s, there was nobody there apart from Christopher. He asked if we were ready to go and we went downstairs to the tender lobby. It looked like half the ship was down there. Christopher told us to stay close to him and walked us straight to the front of the queue. A tender was just docking, and we were first on. It did not take very long until we were on the way.

    I had wondered how they would handle the tendering process. Some of the lifeboats on this class of ship are suitable for use as tenders, but considering the capacity of the ship I wondered how this would work. Although we had done multiple cruises on this class of ship, we had only ever visited ports where we were able to dock. It turned out that the port authority was providing the tenders. They were quite big and as tenders go, pretty comfortable. It took about 10 minutes to get across to the tender port. I managed to get a photo of the ship.



    When we got off the tender, we stopped for some photos. We then walked along the beach. What we saw did not exactly fill us with joy. There were a lot of jet skis around. I really did not fancy getting tangled up with those. There were also a lot of very pushy taxi drivers in this area trying to sell us tours. We were basically ready to head back on the ship, but decided to carry on for another block or so. This turned out to be a good decision. The beach had not become any more tempting, but the crowds had died down quite a bit. When we were approached by somebody selling tours, we were ready to listen. He was offering boat tours to various beaches and islands. We told him that we enjoyed snorkelling, but did not want to go too far. He suggested Freedom Beach, which was about 20 minutes away by boat. This sounded good to us. We were quoted 1400 Baht for the return trip. This is about £35. He pointed us in the direction of the closest cashpoint. Once we came back, he assigned us a boat. The boats they use are traditional Thai long boats. We had to wade out into the shallow water to get into the boat. The boats are quite fast, and the ride was both exhilarating and quite scenic.







    Freedom Beach is in a secluded bay. You can only get there by longboat or via a strenuous hike. This meant that there as hardly anybody there we got there. This is so pretty with white sand, blue water and a jungle behind the beach. We had arranged to be picked up a couple of hours later, but our skipper stayed and waited for us. We found a spot to leave our stuff and headed straight into the sea. The water was a lovely temperature and there were plenty of fish around. When we started to feel somewhat waterlogged, we got out of the water. Some more people had arrived, but there still only about 20 people there. This was definitely £35 well spent. We collected our stuff and went to find our skipper. We headed back to Pa Tong Beach. He dropped us right by the tender dock. We did not have to wait long for a tender either. We had about a 10-minute wait to see if there were more people who wanted to get back to the ship and about a handful of people arrived while we were waiting. Then we headed back on the ship.






















  2. #2
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    Once we arrived back, we headed back to the cabin. We got showered and changed. When we had cleaned up the snorkelling gear and hung it up to sry, we headed up to the Windjammer to get some lunch. We had timed our return perfectly. Just as we sat down, some very heavy showers passed through. The rain was so heavy that you could not see anything out of the windows. It would not have been fun to be out of this. Graham had some nachos and I had some sweet and sour pork, Korean chicken, pork belly, chips and potato gratin. We both had some fruit punch. I had some peanut butter cheesecake and some chocolate mousse for dessert. Graham passed and he had made the right decision. Dessert was nothing to write home about.







    After lunch we briefly headed back to the cabin to grab some odds and ends before heading back up to the pool deck. We found a nice round lounger and settled down. Graham watched the world go by and I read for a while. We had a lovely lazy afternoon. We went back to the cabin shortly before happy hour started to get changed for dinner. Then we headed to the concierge lounge to chill some more, but this time with some drinks.

    At 18:30, we quickly went back to the cabin to drop off some stuff and then we went to Coastal Kitchen. This evening we had the same server we had for lunch the first day. I had the seasonal fresh fruit medley for my starter and Graham had the escargot. For his main course, he had the crusted fillet of pollock with a shrimp and crab crust with Jasmine rice, baby bok choy and creamy coconut sauce. I fancied something fairly simple and went with the pappardelle with veal ragout, roasted garlic and parmesan shavings. This was really nice. Neither of us fancied dessert.









    After dinner, we did the rounds of the photo opportunities and then we headed back to the cabin. Graham watched TV for a bit, and I read until we were ready for bed.














  3. #3
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    Wow! What an incredibly lucky break that you found that tour. The bay is beautiful, especially with the jungle backdrop. Score!

    I love the idea of some regional dishes, and I would have been all over that soup noodles and won ton. Yum!

    Your towel animal is adorable.












    Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not messing around, use the gifts you were given.”

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    What a find, that beach is beautiful. Glad you managed to escape the hordes of tourists. For the pair of you I would count this as a "Chill out" day.

  5. #5
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    That sounds like a much more relaxed day. The beach looked lovely.
    7 Trips to Florida, Christmas in LA, Disneyland Paris twice and odd days here and there.
    All my trip reports are now HERE.

  6. #6
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    Sounds (and looks!) like a real breath of fresh air after all that hectic city touring!

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