Friday 20 February 2015

Phuket Day 2: Elephant Riding & Bamboo Rafting Day Tour

We booked the Khao Lak Adventure Day Tour package for all of us so that we could enjoy some interesting activities that we had never done before. It costs us 1200 baht per adult but we managed to negotiate for 1 child free because we had 4 adults.

Breakfast at Alfresco Hotel only started at 7am so it was a mad rush to eat our meal before the bus arrived at 7.30am. To make matters worse, just before we left, we were told by the hotel reception that we had to quickly pack up our things because the hotel staff had to switch our rooms while we were gone (they were running on full capacity and therefore needed the rooms for other guests). Now why can't they say so earlier?!?!? *grrr*

We had to rush to our rooms and pack frantically while the driver waited very impatiently! This was not a good start at all!! After we had boarded the minibus, it continued to pick up more passengers from various hotels. Took us quite a while before we were finally heading to our first destination.

I thought I could finally relax but it was not to be because the road was extremely bumpy and the driver drove like a racecar driver as we were way behind schedule. Added to the extreme heat of the sun beating down on us and the lack of air conditioning in the minibus (not sure if the driver was trying to save money or what?!?), my girl got carsick for the first time and VOMITTED all over the seat and my brother-in-law! The hubby and mum-in-law weren't feeling too good either so it was up to me and my brother-in-law to clean up. Obviously the smell was so bad that the minibus had to stop at the side of the road for people on the bus to get off for "fresh air" and for the driver to spray air freshener. And just like that, we became that irritating family that was hindrance to everyone else in the tour group *sigh*.

We changed my girl into her swim suit (just in case she puked again, it was easier to clean up) and switched places such that she was seated in the front row (less bumpy). We also got plastic bags ready and she seemed fine after puking a few more times into the plastic bag *sigh*.

Daddy going to the side of the road to puke but couldn't;
Girl still looking very queasy after the long and winding journey

As we were too busy feeling unwell and cleaning up respectively, we didn't really care for the pineapple plantation that we were brought to for our first stop. They all looked like the kind of plantations we see in Malaysia all the time; nothing special.

Pineapple plantation
Fresh pineapples

Our next stop was the famous Monkey Cave, which we had visited with our friends previously in 2009 after we just got married. Now we are here with our kids! Feels like we went full circle. Brought back a lot of great memories with our friends! =)

Monkey Cave

Its name came from the many monkeys that inhabit the hill surrounding the cave. Although we had seen a lot of them when we were here the last time, this time we only saw one monkey hiding up in the trees. So much so that all the bananas that the tourists bought were useless because there were no monkeys to feed them to. I thought that was extremely strange. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining; I'm not a fan of monkeys, not at all.

Baby Boy took a nap on the minibus so he was in a good mood
Thai temple

We proceeded to the next destination, a Mini Zoo. I thought it was ironic that my girl was so fascinated by the animals that she saw even though she has been to so many bigger and better zoos before. Perhaps precisely because it was on a smaller scale that she was able to appreciate the animals a lot more.

"Look ma, so many birds!"
Peacock showing off all of his glory
Big fat crocodile
Black gibbons (one lost an arm)
Black bears

We proceeded to the waterfalls next, which was about 30 minutes away but felt like 10 minutes because the driver was driving so fast!

At a small bridge
Halfway up to the waterfalls
There were many, many steps.
May not be suitable for elderly (don't forget to hold on to them)
It was time for Baby Boy's feed so we thought we would quickly feed him while my girl and her daddy tread in the water

The waterfalls were really tiny. It was still a great way to introduce my girl to the great outdoors though (she likes it as much as me, i.e. don't like it! *laughs*).

Next up, elephant riding! My mum-in-law was the most excited as she had never ridden an elephant before! Come to think of it, neither has the rest except for the hubby and I (our first time was during our first trip to Phuket in 2009).

Elephants waiting for their riders
We got to pat this cute little elephant before our ride =)
(Baby Boy slept most of the ride except at the end!)
Helping my girl to get on the elephant
Carrying my sleeping boy, balancing on the seat of the elephant and taking photos at the same time. Multi-tasking at its best! =)

The guide helped us to take a lot of photos and then asked for 200 baht as a tip. We decided to give it to him as he had saved us from buying the hardcopies (which were more expensive).

Walking through the jungle
Our elephant was much smaller than all the others =(

The journey was pretty exciting, with a lot of ups and downs literally! When the elephant was trekking down the hill, we had a hard time keeping our butts in our seats! But it was fun! I really love riding on an elephant. They truly are gentle giants =)

We actually didn't need to buy the hardcopy photos since we already had the soft copies but my mum-in-law liked the hardcopies and bought both at 250 baht each (comes with a cute frame).

Even though the hubby and I have ever fed an elephant before, the in-laws and my girl had not and wanted to give it a try. It cost us 100 baht per bag of bananas to feed the elephants, which we bought. We all had a blast!

She was really scared to feed the elephants at first but after she had done it the first time, she was all excited to do it again and again!
One of the baby elephants even did a small performance for us

On hindsight, I think we spent too much money on tips and photos at the elephant place. Nevertheless, we all got really nice photos and lovely memories of the experience. Definitely will be back again when Baby Boy is 3 or 4 years old :D

We were supposed to go for bamboo rafting before lunch but as we were already late and very hungry, they brought us for lunch first. I've had a lot of tour food and man, this was really good!

Clockwise from left: Guess where the rice is? Under the bowl! Haha;
Not very spicy but super tasty Tom Yum soup;
Fresh and sweet pineapples for dessert (yum!)
Clockwise from top left: Not-spicy-at-all chicken curry (I think meant for tourists' taste);
Fried egg omelette; Sweet and sour chicken;
Super crunchy and springy spring rolls

At first we didn't want to eat too much for fear of vomitting it all out on the trip back but we ended up finishing all the food because it was so good!

We went for Bamboo Rafting after lunch, something the hubby and I had never done before (we had previously done white water rafting). Baby Boy could join us on the ride as well since it was a pretty smooth route and the river was shallow.

Phototaking while waiting for our turn
Boarding our bamboo raft
Our guide pushing a stick in the water to move our raft
(reminds me of our experience with punting in London)
Carrying an umbrella and shielding her 2 precious from the beating hot sun

Just as he didn't enjoy punting in London, Baby Boy did not enjoy the ride on the bamboo raft. I was quite surprised because it was not bumpy at all. My girl, on the other hand, loved it!

The brother-in-law bought a souvenir photo of him and his brother

Our final stop was the Sea Turtle Conservation Center to learn about sea turtles and see them up close!

Sea Turtle Conservation Center
A green turtle, just 3-4 months old! So small and cute!

Not only did we get a chance to see baby sea turtles, we also got to hold one! Very cool!

The hubby was unusually excited to be able to carry a sea turtle
(my girl was very hesitant and refused to even pat its shell)
The brother-in-law and me
The biggest turtle in the conservation center, about 10 years old

Finally, we have finished our tour and were on our way back to our hotels. We were excited to go back to our hotel and have a good rest. Unfortunately, on the way back my girl PUKED AGAIN (you'd think we would have learnt our lesson)! This time, the driver was so mad that he shouted at us and insisted that we pay 500 baht to have the seats cleaned. I was ok to pay because it was only right but I really hated his attitude! He had a super black face from the beginning of the tour, which made me change my mind about giving him a tip. I ignored his outburst, calmly handed the tour guide the money and walked off without even looking back.

When we finally got the rooms that we had originally booked, I thought to myself, "maybe once we got our suites, we can finally stop experiencing so many road bumps!" We were tired, sweaty and smelly and were looking forward to a relaxing bath in the bathtub of our suites.

Alfresco Suite with king-sized bed
Amenities corner
Large size bathroom with bathtub
Heart-shaped swans to welcome us

After our long relaxing baths, we were lazing around the room, thinking that we could finally rest. Of course, that was not the case. I think we were too tired to keep up with a very active baby (my kids tend to be more energetic at night) because next thing we knew, the baby had fallen off the bed and cut his lip on the corner of one of the white side tables!!! (I later found many sharp corners in the room, which was NOT SAFE FOR BABIES at all!).

Photo of the baby on the bed before he cut his lip on the white side table (seen in the top right corner)

As his lip started to bleed a lot, I used a towel (which we ended up having to pay 200 baht for *pfff*) to wipe away the blood and gave him his pacifier to stop him from crying (he was freaking out as well). We were worried that the wound might get infected or that he might need stitches so we rushed him to see a doctor just in case. The nearest doctor was at Patong Hospital, thankfully just 15 minutes away. The doctor checked and said he didn't need stitches, by the grace of God! Thank you Jesus! *whew*

We paid the bill, which cost us only 600 baht (cheaper than the 200 baht/trip taxi to and fro from the hospital in my opinion), collected some antibiotics and panadol and headed back.

To say it was a day of adventure for us is an understatement. I'm just glad that our road bumps were still considered minor hiccups and all of us are well.

We ended the day eating takeout from the seafood restaurant from the day before and hoped that the "curse of the Alfresco Phuket Hotel" will end once we transferred to our next hotel tomorrow *cross fingers*.

Continue to >> Phuket Day 3: U Zenmaya Phuket Resort 
<< Back to Phuket Day 1: Alfresco Phuket Hotel, Patong


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