3-days for vegetarians in Phuket, Thailand
Highlights: Beautiful limestone islands, Massages!
Day 1 — Arrived in Phuket and transferred to our hotel Kamala Beachfront Apartments. Taxi services are available at the airport with standard rates. After check-in, we had a late lunch at Lillo’s restaurant in Kamala Beach. This place was right next door to the hotel. The green papaya salad was spicy but awesome. The yellow curry was custom made for us without the fish sauce. The restaurant was willing to make dishes without fish or oyster sauce unlike the other restaurants close by.
We booked a private car for 4 hours and went to see the Big Buddha. On the way back, my husband found an amazing Vegan restaurants called Yo Green in Patong Beach for dinner. Patong Beach is a happening neighborhood especially at night. It is like a mini-Las Vegas. The restaurant was fantastic and Satay (Which was spelled Stay on the menu :)) is a must try. I had the hot noodle Soup bowl which made me sweat (temperature not spicy) but was fantastic.
After we got back to the hotel, we went to the massage place next door. We took turns as our daughter slept in the hotel room. I got the Thai message overlooking the beach which was next door to Lillio’s for an amazing THB 300 for 1 hour! I returned another day to the same place as did my husband. I was so sore from the massage but it was completely worth it.
Day 2 — After much research, I decided to book a tour with Phuket Excursions who had very good reviews online. I decided to skip the tour suggested by the hotel which was offered by Sea Angel cruise which had terrible reviews. We decided to do Phang Nga bay first as it is a bay and would be less bumpy since my daughter and I have terrible motion (sea) sickness. I was originally concerned about the Sea Canoe part of the trip where you get off the speed boat into a “small” sea canoe and go through the caves but they are not exactly caves in a claustrophobic way. The Sea canoe was the highlight of our trip and was completely safe even with our active 4 year old onboard.
Phang Nga bay did not disappoint and the limestone islands jutting out of the Andaman Sea is truly unique. We saw the famous James Bond Island where the James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ was shot. When I booked the tour, I told the tour agency that we were vegetarians and requested vegetarian food in advance. They accommodated us and our lunch was pretty decent with lots of veggies considering we were eating on an built-up island with no soil space for any vegetable to grow.
After lunch, we were taken to an island with a large cave for a short 15 min hike. Again not claustrophobic at all. Lots of stalagmites but nothing unique inside the cave.
We returned late in the evening around 6pm and decided to just eat at Lillio’s again. The papaya salad was much more spicy and my daughter wanted a vegetarian pizza which was not good. I wish we had ventured a bit farther into town.
Day 3 — Since the Phi Phi islands had such good reviews, I booked this tour with the same company. They gave us a good deal since we booked again. Unfortunately our experience was not the same. For starters, the boat was completely full and we barely had much space. We took a spot towards the back of the boat per the guide recommendation the day before to lessen sea sickness.
The tour guide for Phi Phi suggested that we all take Dramimine which they provided. Turned out to be a good idea. I gave Raaga and her dad half but I took a full one. In fact on the way back I started to feel a bit sick so I was glad that I took a full one.
Our first stop was Monkey Bay which had very few monkeys, followed by snorkelling near by. This is my second attempt at snorkeling in the open waters and I was extremely uncomfortable. Even though I can actually swim now without any problems unlike the previous time, I still couldn’t get over the weird feeling of being in such deep ocean waters. I kept trying to let go of the ladder on the boat but couldn’t and so eventually got back into the boat. Anyway, I think there was just a bunch of fish and no one really raved about what they saw.
I requested vegetarian lunch again and the food at Phi Phi Don was actually tastier than the day before. There was guy guarding the vegetarian buffet food and didn’t let the meat eaters eat our food! Ha ha! I hate people touching the utensils on the meat items and dipping it into vegetarian food. At least the guy made an effort to prevent it. Of course, some people ignored the advice and did it anyway getting a nasty stare from me. When it comes to food, I am not afraid of making enemies.
After lunch, they took us to Maya Bay where the movie “The Beach” was shot. It was very hot, the beach was over crowded with barely any shaded spots. We took a spot only to be joined by a bunch of smokers, nasty stares was not helping so we left the spot. We were dying to get out of there.
Next stop was Khai Island, which was the same as Maya bay but much worse, much smaller, smellier and more crowded. People were swimming every where, right next to boats and there was trash and terrible smell everywhere. My daughter had a melt down from the heat and the guides had no understanding of the situation. The guides just sat around and did nothing to help us. Finally one of the girls who were helping the guides gave me the water she was drinking which I poured it on my daughter’s head to cool her down and calm her. I would think about the fact that the girl was sipping on the water later. I was in emergency mode! Then we forced some juice into her and just sat her down. We got in to the boat as soon as they boarded and ready to go.
Phi Phi Islands were massive compared to Phang Nga bay but Phand Nga was much prettier. If you had time for one, I would suggest Phang Nga bay.
We got back to the hotel and decided to walk in the other direction of Lillio’s. We stumbled upon Sun wing beach resorts, a family friendly resort. Dinner was expensive compared to Lillio’s but kids had a free buffet when adults order, and they provided standard pasta and french fries for kids. Raaga didn’t even eat that. Our dinner was made vegetarian friendly, menu said that all items can be made vegetarian which was nice. Our appetizer of spring rolls never came! I made a mental note of the resort as the resort seemed like a good place for families!
Day 4 — We decided to spent the day at the hotel since we were hardly there to enjoy the beach right on our door step. I went back for a foot massage while Venkat took Raaga swimming in the pool and beach. The beach was rough and swimming was not allowed but it was fun to catch the waves. They offered surfing lessons (next time!) After massage, we switched places. I enjoyed both the pool and the beach with Raaga.
We ate a late breakfast so decided to eat lunch outside Kamala beach. We rented a private taxi for 6 hours and went to Bollywood restaurant in Phuket town for a late lunch. The Indian food was tasty, service okay but fairly expensive for what we had, around US $30. The food was vegetarian friendly.
We explored a view point in Phuket and then to Phuket old town for some shopping where we got some good T-shirts for around US$3. Then we went to Wat Chalong, a beautiful Thai temple. Most of the temple shrines were closed, maybe we got there late around 6pm.
I was checking my phone as we were leaving from the temple and found a vegan place just 6–8 minutes away. So we went to Pure Vegan Cafe which was awesome. The Thai curry, Fried rice and Smoked BBQ didn’t disappoint. The hostess were very friendly and dotted on our daughter as the food was being prepared. After dinner, we headed to the airport for our late flight back to Singapore.
Strangely at the airport, the security girls were dotting on our daughter and when they asked us where we were from, we replied USA. They said “Wow, the land of Lady Gaga!!”
Good bye, Thailand!