There are actually direct flights from Penang to Phuket on Firefly, but as there were 6 of us travelling (including Hubby's niece), we took Malaysia Airlines transiting in KLIA as it was around RM100.00 cheaper per person. It may not seem much for one person, but x 6 we saved quite a lot! So we left Penang at 10 am and arrived in Phuket around 2.30 pm as they are an hour behind us. The transport was waiting for us on our arrival and it took around 15 minutes drive to the resort only.
Upon arrival, we were ushered to the reception desk and they gave us welcome drinks and bracelets. They then escorted us to our 2-bedroom villa apartment. We chose to upgrade the room to one with a private plunge pool for an additional USD30 per night, and it was worth the upgrade :) In the master bedroom there was a huge king size bed (which could easily fit all 5 of us I think) and in the 2nd bedroom there were 2 queen-sized beds. So all of us slept very comfortably. There were also 2 bathrooms, and both bathrooms had bathtubs - the one in the master bathroom was huge! The kitchen came fully equipped with fridge, microwave and all sorts of pots, pans, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery etc. And best of all, there was also a washer and dryer with laundry detergent. I think I made use of this the most so I had hardly any laundry to do when we got home :)
Here are some pictures of the apartment:
I had done some research before we came to see what was around the resort, and found out that there is a small shopping area just next to the resort called Turtle Village, where there were some restaurants and also a small supermarket where we could buy stuff to cook in the hotel. Incidentally, we were given the room just right next to the entrance to Turtle Village which is this:
Bill Bentley Pub - green curry chicken, pad thai and pork fried rice:
The Coffee Club - baked eggs, pancakes and green curry chicken (again!):
Swensen's Ice Cream:
The girls' choices:
Hubby's choice - durian ice cream with sticky rice! He said it was quite delicious :)
There is a turtle shaped fountain there, which the girls found quite fascinating:
Besides this, we also tried some local food. There was a stall selling sticky rice, grilled chicken and papaya salad (som tam) just opposite Turtle Village. We bought some back to eat in the hotel and it was really delicious.
From my research, I also found out that there were some local restaurants near the beach serving authentic Thai food. So we tried 2 different ones on different nights for dinner. This was at Singh's Seafood Restaurant.
We had fried kangkung, mango sticky rice, stir fried vegetables, tom yum kung and green curry chicken (yet again!).
Apparently it's also recommended on TripAdvisor.
The next night, we tried JJ's Bar which I personally preferred compared to Singh's.
Here we had (no surprises) green curry chicken, stir fried vegetables, tom yum kung and deep fried prawns.
We also ta-paoed their fried rice to eat the next morning for breakfast since we could re-fry the rice in the kitchen.
We also indulged in some of the hotel's pastries at their in-house deli called Delights. The nice lady working there told us that if we bought the pastries between 6pm to 9pm, it would be on 50% discount :) This is the interior of Delights:
Okay, so enough about food (we actually had green curry chicken every day of our trip!), here are some photos of the resort surroundings:
This was Sala Thai, where they had classes for Thai boxing, zumba and also movie screening:
Walkway outside our room:
Our resort is not directly on the beach, but there is free shuttle which took us to the neighbouring sister resorts the JW Marriot Resort & Spa and Marriot Phuket Beach Club (which share the same facilities). Mai Khao Beach is beautiful, but because of the strong waves, swimming is not allowed. Perhaps that is also why it's quite deserted.
We found a safe inlet for the kids to play in:
My little sunburnt mermaid!
Love this one - it's now my wallpaper on my desktop :)
There were also these nice cocoon swings which we took a lot of pictures in haha.
So what else did we do in Phuket? We didn't leave the vicinity of the resort at all because there was so much to do! Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday for the kids without swimming! Besides swimming in our own private pool, they also thoroughly enjoyed the kids' pool where there was a slide and main pool where there was a shaded shallow area for the kids to play in.
Oh, and we were quite fortunate to able to catch a fire ceremony show which is held by the poolside every Tuesday only.
This resort also had a Kids' Club which had activities the whole day to entertain the kids. Most of the activities are free, so the girls did spend quite a considerable time there, when they weren't in the pool!
Chocolate dip surprise (which was essentially bananas dipped in chocolate and then rainbow sprinkles) :)
And fishing! Hannah was thrilled to actually get one fish (which they then threw back into the river).
So all in all, it was a good and fun trip. We did not sign up for the Vacation Club membership at the end of the day, just to allow us more flexibility in choosing our hotels and resorts whenever we want to go on holiday. And not to mention, it is definitely not cheap! Haha.
Goodbye, Marriot's Mai Khao Beach. We hope to be back again :)