Travel Journal: Bangkok Phuket, Thailand

Seen through the eyes of Parker & Mandy Ewing

We went because: My company, Ewing Aquatech, was invited by our swimming pool manufacturer, Zodiac. They planned everything and covered all expenses.

Hotel recommendations: In Bangkok we stayed at the 5 Star Peninsula Hotel for three nights. It was a wonderful spot on the river with large plush rooms. Accommodations for our five days in Phuket, called The Pavillions, was special. It included our own private villa with its own vanishing-edge pool and covered daybed….. all overlooking the Andaman Sea. Since the villas were situated on hills, the staff would stand by to transport us around on golf carts.

Where to eat: In Bangkok, we ate at Vertigo—a very chic open-air restaurant situated on a 65th floor rooftop. Unlike in America, there were no high safety walls so we could peer over the side. It was the most unique setting in which we’ve ever dined.

Item of clothing you shouldn’t leave home without: Both places have large open air markets. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.

Favorite historic landmark: We toured the Bridge over River Kwai. This infamous bridge was built by allied WWII prisoners. It was very sobering to too stand on it and see the nearby war cemetery housing the victims that perished there.

Local attraction worth a drive by: The Patong night market in Phuket was a wild combination of shopping and Bourbon street type of nightlife…all right off the beach.

A great experience off the beaten path: The Lagoon in Phi Phi island was a stunning  site. Featured in the movie The Beach, it was a stunning enclosed lagoon a quarter mile round. The ice blue water was only 2 feet deep in the middle but much deeper around the edges, allowing us to swim and lounge. One could also feed the small monkeys that walked up to small beaches situated on the edge.

Worth the splurge: Business class flight on Singapore Airlines. Each seat was a cubicle that actually dropped down to a full bed. It allowed us to get a full-nights sleep, watch lots of movies, and make the 16-hour flight in complete comfort.

Something surprising we learned on the trip: Custom made clothing can be done very inexpensively in Thailand. We showed tailors pictures of what we wanted, selected fabric, measured… and it was ready the next day. All for a fraction of the cost we would pay in the States.

We would suggest this trip to others because: This was a true adventure. It was such a rare and unique travel destination. We are thrilled to have experienced it.