3 Day Phuket Thailand Itinerary – Part 2

Welcome back to our Phuket, Thailand, three-day itinerary! If you haven’t yet read Part One, where we cover our wonderful resort and the Patong Beach city center, then click here. This week’s post will cover the most spectacular beach with the clearest water, fewest people, and best snorkeling in Phuket, Thailand (and maybe the world?)!

My biggest fear is being eaten by a shark in the ocean. As irrational as it sounds, I even hesitate to dip my toe into the water, or a shark is going to just open its mouth and eat me whole. I don’t have severe phobias such as Galeophobia (fear of sharks) or Thalassophobia (fear of the ocean or deep dark water), but I won’t go in water if I can’t clearly see my toes. Knowing this, my hubby knew it was essential that we find the clearest water if I was going to enjoy snorkeling with him. He just didn’t want to be in a super touristy area and surrounded by people.

Just the day before, we had been in town near Patong Beach at the Jungceylon Shopping Center, and we stopped at a travel agent booth to book our tour:

  • Travel agent recommended: Based on our guidelines of clear water, few people, and great snorkeling, the SeaStar Andaman company is the only option that is willing to go the extra distance and take guests out to the middle-of-nowhere paradise. This tour literally takes you to the farthest south island of Phuket, meaning that it has to be an all-day tour because it is a long distance to cover.
  • What our travel agent said to avoid: She said most people ask for the famous Phi Phi Islands or James Bond Islands of Phuket. Although those are the most photographed, the water is brown because of the quantity of boats and people visiting daily. The fish avoid those areas because the water is so murky, and therefore there isn’t good snorkeling. The other companies jam multiple tours in a day by completing half-day excursions to these nearby mainland attractions.

I was wavering booking at first because I don’t like to make quick decisions, and it seemed so expensive at ฿ 2,315 Thai Baht. Hubby on the other hand can make more impulsive buys with the facts, so he quickly ran the conversion numbers for me. ฿ 2,315 Thai Baht equals $75 USD. That was a more palatable number for me, and with the conversion and travel agent recommendations in hand, we decided to book.

Day 3

I began my day at the resort’s beachfront restaurant breakfast buffet by downing my breakfast as quickly as possible as to not be late for our early shuttle pick-up. Hubby stayed in the room and didn’t eat breakfast, because he had a violent case of food poisoning the night before and his body was still in the process of rejecting the white seafood pizza that he had for dinner the night before. It was really unfortunate that he had to be sick on a day we were leaving the hotel, as opposed to a day that we were lounging around, but when you book a tour in a foreign country, it’s not easily possible to cancel for refunds, so we were going to make the most of our day.

The shuttle van picked us up first and we headed off-property to pick up more guests. The ride was about an hour and we stopped at one other hotel to pick up an English-speaking couple, then we rode to Panwa Pier by the Chom Thong Village.

Credit: SeaStar Andaman

Upon arrival, we were ushered into a holding room with many other guests where there were light refreshments being served and gear for purchase. We began our check-in process in that large room. We figured that everyone there was for the same tour as us, but receptionists began to come in and call guests out for two other excursions. Before we knew it, there were only four people left in the room: us and the other couple we had picked up in our shuttle van. We began to joke that they must have forgotten about us. We thought it couldn’t be possible that the whole excursion was going to be for just the four of us.

We got called next. The receptionist said that it was our lucky day because only four people reserved today’s excursion. Say what?!?! She explained that the day before they had 40 people on the boat, and today it would only be the four of us! We all got super giddy because we knew that besides the fact that we chose the farthest away and most remote beach possible, this was going to be SUPER exclusive because we would basically be THE ONLY PEOPLE THERE. Talk about a deserted island! It was seriously lucky. Had we picked just a day earlier, it still would have been paradise, but not the private beach type of day that we experienced.

They gave us our goggles and flippers, and we headed to our boat. Along the walk down the dock, they stopped and took a photo of us before we boarded. Besides us, there was a captain and three other staff members on the boat. We began to depart the marina and head out to the open waters.

I felt so bad for my poor hubby. As we rode, he just felt sicker and sicker. Poor thing was laying across a bench in the back of the boat with a towel over his head. He had hardly slept the night before, and he was still queasy. Not a great mix for a day at sea. While he tried to recover from the last hours of food poisoning, I took as many photos as I could. I knew he would appreciate looking through them later.

Thailand is the most gorgeous tropical place I have ever been to. Mountains and rock formations that blend perfectly into the ocean. Many islands, some inhabited by locals, some developed by resorts, and some totally pristine and undeveloped. The bluest teal and turquoise water I have ever seen. Like literally the stuff I had only ever seen in movies which I figured was photo-shopped.

I grew up on the east coast of southern Florida. I thought the water there was clear and perfect, but once I saw southern Thailand’s waters, there is no comparison. As we went farther and farther from the mainland, the water became more clear and more blue. As we rode through the ocean past each island, we got farther and farther away from civilization. The final island we came to, Raya Noi Island, was totally uninhabited. It was a good distance from land, which may be why it wasn’t developed. As we rode in closer to land, it became more and more impressive. It was a culmination of the most unbelievable sights: mountains and rocks going straight into the ocean, a lush jungle, white sand, the bluest blue water I had ever seen in my life, and not a person in sight for miles. In the moments before we got off the boat, I knew we made the right choice booking this excursion.

There was no dock, so they turned the engine off, opened the back door, and we walked down right into a foot deep of water and onto the beach. The white sandy beach looked small enough that it may only be exposed in low tide and totally submerged in high tide. The sand at Raya Noi Island is so white that the shallow water is crystal clear pale blue. The medium water is crystal clear teal, and the deep water is royal blue. Clear light blue water is my kind of water!

The four crew members exited the boat and immediately started setting up a picnic of snacks. The tour included a full lunch (to be served later) as well as bottled drinks, fresh fruits, and packaged goods like chips and cookies on the boat and on land. We were able to go back to the picnic blanket and help ourselves as much as we wanted while at this island.

The tour also included all the snorkeling gear we needed. We put on our gear and immediately jumped into the water. I initially stayed right at the water’s edge, and hubby swam out a bit. Even though the water was super clear, I was still terrified because I hadn’t snorkeled since I was a child. I didn’t see many fish in that shallow water, so I swam out a bit farther and saw some. Eventually, I decided to take off my gear and walk on a nearby rock formation and look for shells. We ate some snacks and went back to continue snorkeling. Hubby was way braver than I was and went out deep and found vibrant coral. I could have honestly stayed at this beach all day and been 100% happy with what we paid for the excursion, but this was only stop one of four! So after maybe an hour and a half, the crew packed up and we boarded the boat to move along to the next spot.

The island north of us was Raya Island. This time, there was no beach, so they stopped the boat about 20 feet from the rocky cliff going into the water, and we were expected to hop into the middle of the sea to snorkel. Now I was really terrified! I probably would have been more comfortable if there were more people in the water with me (you don’t have to out-swim the shark—just the other people with you haha!), but it was just the four of us and another neighboring boat with a few people in the water snorkeling. From this spot, you had to jump off the back of the boat into about 20-feet-deep water. I only did it because the water was so crystal clear that I could see the bottom. Otherwise, I’d have been sitting back taking pictures of my husband enjoying himself. The area had large coral reefs and lots of colored fish swimming around. There was also a lobster in the reef. Hubby used his flippers to swim deep and capture the coral and fish with our GoPro camera. The underwater photos are awesome! I recommend anyone who does a water excursion to either have a GoPro or other underwater camera so you can cherish the memories forever! We didn’t stay in this spot as long as the first beach, because you had to swim the entire time and it does become exhaustive after a bit. So about 45 minutes later, we boarded the boat and moved along.

The next stop was for lunch being served at Siam Bay. We had worked up a mighty appetite snorkeling, and I was looking forward to a proper meal. This time, we pulled up to a more developed island called Ko Racha Yai. It had a restaurant right on the water, as well as several other buildings and resorts. There was no dock, so we pulled up the boat as close as we could to the sand and hopped into the water to walk to shore. They sat us at a four-top and paired us up with the other couple for a family-style lunch. By this point on our six-week honeymoon, hubby and I didn’t mind the company. Of course, we would have also enjoyed eating privately, but the company was welcome! We ended up having a lovely time connecting with them while we ate.

My hubby was still feeling unwell from his food poisoning, so he didn’t eat anything, but boy did he miss out! The food was delicious. This ended up being my second-favorite meal in Thailand (first being a cooking school in Chiang Mai where they let you customize your dishes). They served Thai classics—a lot of the same dishes we cooked at the cooking school—and the portions were plentiful.

After we ate, we had some time left on the island. We used the restrooms then separated from the other couple so we could explore a bit. We made our way to the water and took some time strolling down the beach and taking a few more pictures. Even though the island was more developed, it still felt like our own personal paradise and not too over-commercialized.

We were heading back north towards the marina and made our last stop at Maiton Island, a spot notorious for spotting wild dolphins. When they cut the engine, there was another boat nearby. Both captains began to blow a high pitch whistle to capture the dolphins’ attention. Soon enough, we were audience to a small school of dolphins that swam by to visit. I think we were really lucky that they happened to be around that day. The guides do say that dolphin-spottings are not guaranteed, so we felt even luckier about our already perfect day.

After the dolphins, we made the final leg of the trip back to mainland. After docking, we departed the boat and were handed a small framed photo as a parting gift. They had printed the photo we took at the beginning of the day and put it into a branded SeaStar frame. What a nice, unexpected touch! It was rare on the honeymoon we got a photo of the two of us that wasn’t a selfie, so this photo is really special! We boarded the van and made our way back to the two hotels for drop off.

When we arrived back to the Tri Trang Beach Resort, we were exhausted. The long day of swimming, saltwater, and sun had taken a lot out of us. We went downstairs to the resort’s beach-side restaurant and enjoyed our last dinner in Phuket as we listened to the sounds of live music and waves.

Day 4

We began our day with a final breakfast buffet at the resort’s beachfront restaurant. We savored every bite as we enjoyed the final ocean views. We went back upstairs and packed up our massive hotel room. This task actually took longer in Phuket than other cities, because the room was so spacious that we had really spread out and unpacked.

We schlepped all our bags down several flights of elevators and stairs leading to the front desk. The only thing worse than carrying our bags down all that way was actually leaving Phuket. We had really come to fall in love with this city. The front desk called us a taxi, and we made the hour-long drive to Phuket International Airport arriving at 11:30am. Next stop on our trip was Bangkok, Thailand, which is a domestic flight. We allotted ourselves two hours to go through security for our 1:25pm flight. Ends up, security at Phuket International is very fast. There was a quick curbside bag scanner and magnetometer walk-through, then we were inside the airport.

We are Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card holders, which gives us access to Priority Pass airport lounges around the world. Normally, most airports only have lounges in the international terminals, but Phuket had both domestic and international lounges available, so since we still had almost two hours to spare, we headed to the Coral Executive Lounge. We noshed on snacks and beverages and utilized the WiFi to get a little work done and FaceTime our families. Soon after that, we boarded the flight and were on our way to Bangkok.

Environmental Damage

In recent years, the Thai government has decided to close certain beaches and public waterfronts due to environmental damage. I remind everyone to be respectful of the places you travel to. Never litter, do not anchor boats to coral reefs, and do not disturb the wildlife. I recommend before you travel to Thailand that you look up the beaches and islands that are restricted. This may affect the location you pick to stay. Below you can read articles about the closure of Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi Leh island (as of August 2019):

Upcoming Development

Though it may seem backwards, with the closure of beaches for environmental remediation and recovery, the country has approved plans for a new Phuket airport that would open in 2025 and bring in an additional 10 million tourists a year. Having experienced the original airport, I will say that an upgrade would be nice. It would definitely make visiting a tad easier if the airport was located more centrally or in the southern area, which would cut down on travel time from the north to the bulk of the southern hotels. Location has not been announced yet, but keep your eyes open for the opening of this airport if you plan to travel to Phuket after 2025.

Our beachfront resort was more than we could have hoped for. Our excursion to a private beach in the middle of the ocean was literally paradise and our favorite day of the six-week honeymoon around the world. Sometimes I look at my husband and just groan, “Ahhhhhhh… Take me back to Phuket!” We love to visit new countries before we revisit others, so it may be a little bit before we visit Thailand again. But the beauty of Phuket’s water is something I will never forget. To me, it really can’t come back soon enough. Stay tuned for our next Amarvelous Honeymoon post that will cover our final city in Thailand – BANGKOK!

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Men’s Suit Styles and Accessories – Part 2

This week’s post is for the grooms and was written by the Amarvelous Event “hubby” and guest-blogger, Mikael. Last month, we discussed men’s suit jackets and pants, plus a few important questions that need to be asked before the men in a wedding party can choose the style, formality, and colors of their outfits. Click here to read Men’s Suit Styles and Accessories – Part 1. This month, we’ll be covering the rest of the outfit and accessories that complete a man’s look on the most important day of his life: his shoes, belt, socks, dress shirt, tie or bowtie, and watch—plus others like his cummerbund or vest, handkerchief, cufflinks, shirt studs, tie bar, and suspenders.


If you’re getting married on a beach in the sand, then you may be barefoot during the ceremony. Otherwise, you’ll most likely be wearing shoes at your wedding, and in most cases they will be the nicest pair that you own. This post will cover dress shoes only, so if you’re wearing cowboy boots, sneakers, or any other casual styles at your wedding, then scroll on down to the Belts section!

Selecting men’s dress shoes can get surprisingly complex. If you’re wearing a tuxedo or other formalwear, then you’ve got it easy, because patent leather is the most common way to go in those cases. Otherwise, you’ve got a few important decisions to make: Do you like closed lacing or open lacing? Do you prefer an oxford, a derby, or another style? Do you want cap-toe, plain-toe, or wing-tips? And more! The infographics below summarize the traditional dress shoe styles, colors, and matching to suits pretty well:

Source: Ties.com

While there are certain color and style combinations that are generally accepted, as seen above, a fashion-forward groom knows that you can choose a traditional dress shoe and change out the laces for a splash of color, or the dress shoe itself could be a unique color or design.

Whatever you pick, your shoes will be among the most visible parts of your outfit (more so than cufflinks, let’s say), and in some cases shoes are the first thing that people notice about a man, so although the sky’s the limit here, don’t take the decision too lightly.


The sky’s the limit here, too, but you’ll generally want to match your belt’s material and color to the material and color of your shoes, as well as your belt’s buckle metal to the metal of your cufflinks, shirt studs, tie bar, watch, and/or other metal accessories. It probably goes without saying, but you wouldn’t want to wear a brown belt with black shoes, or a silver-buckle belt with a gold watch.

Even more subtle, though, if you can match the exact grain, color, contrast, hue, and tone of leather between your belt and shoes, and if you can match the exact polish of the metal (meaning how shiny versus how brushed), then these are the small details that can make an outfit go from good to outstanding. Some high-end brands sell exactly-matching belts and shoes, but you also have the option of bringing your purchased shoes from store-to-store to compare them to prospective belts in person.

Some wedding suits do not require a belt: With certain tuxedos, for example, you may notice that your pants don’t even have belt loops, and in that case you may wear a cummerbund instead of a belt (important note for tuxes: if your pants do have belt loops and you are wearing patent-leather shoes, then try to get a patent-leather belt to match the shoes).

The Art of Manliness website has a comprehensive Guide to Men’s Belts here.


Here’s where we get funky. While it’s always acceptable to defer to the traditional solid-color, crew or knee-high dress socks, modern grooms are using this piece of the outfit to express their interests and fun side. You could have yourself and your groomsmen in different colors…

Source: Bold Socks

Or you could have the colors match another part of the outfit or match the bride and bridesmaids…

Or you could wear socks depicting your favorite superheros, sports teams, or another passion of yours…

At my own wedding, for example, I decided to be a huge nerd and wear matching Darth Vader socks and cufflinks, while my awesome and supportive groomsmen wore Stormtrooper socks.

Source: Dreamlife Photography

Believe it or not, socks are optional! While I sometimes think about that skit where the comedian makes fun of people who don’t wear socks with dress shoes (“What, are you never planning on wearing those shoes again?”), it is a conscientious but increasingly acceptable fashion choice to go with the sock-less look.


In addition to the suit and the shoes, your shirt is going to be one of the most visible parts of your outfit, especially if you plan on taking off your jacket later in the evening to dance. While your socks allowed you plenty of creative freedom, there are some general shirt shape and cut tenets that should be followed for a clean and cohesive look: the collar, the buttons, the cuff, and the cut of the shirt generally change to match the formality of the event and the shape of your face but also your personal preference.

A tuxedo with a bowtie will allow the wing-tip collar, an altogether different type that only bends at the front in order to allow the bowtie fabric to show around the circumference of the neck. Note that a bowtie can also be worn with the other collar types however.

In the two images above, you can also see the pleated (left, above) and bib-front (right, above) shirt cuts on the chest, both of which are only really appropriate for a tuxedo or other formal suit. The stud-style buttons down the front and on the cuff are also visible on the above two images, though tuxedos do not require the shirt to have these features. The reason why shirt studs are a good option for tuxedos, though, is that wing collars should be worn with a bowtie only, leaving the chest exposed, while a necktie will cover the buttons on the chest. If you do have stud-style front and cuffs, then you now have the option of customizing the studs and cufflinks. Additionally, the above two shirts have French-cuff sleeves, which is required if you want to wear cufflinks.

A regular white dress shirt will have visible and sewn-in buttons on the chest and the cuff (left, below). However, for a more formal event like a wedding, you might opt for the hidden placket look (right, below), where the buttons are hidden below a layer of fabric.

You’ll also want to think about what fit of shirt looks best on your body type:

Source: Macy’s

And although all of the images above were white cotton shirts, various shades of off-white are also fairly common, and even colorful shirts are increasingly seen. Cotton, however, is still the tried and true fabric, but it is admittedly not the only option at your disposal either.

The white or off-white cotton shirt is probably the way to go, though, since there are plenty of other ways to get some color and personality into your outfit. One way, for example, is your tie or bowtie…

Ties and Bowties

Ties and bowties come in a dozen different materials (even non-fabrics) and millions of colors and patterns. Just make sure to choose a material, color, and pattern that match the rest of the outfit, the bridal party, or the theme of the wedding while also representing your own tastes.

You also have non-traditional options when it comes to bowties:

Setting colors and patterns aside for a moment, there are still a few basic rules regarding what type of tie to wear with each collar style…

Source: Tie a Tie

…as well as a few basic rules regarding how casual or formal, trendy or traditional, certain tie styles are…

Source: Tie a Tie

…and of course there are several ways to tie the knot:

Source: Ties.com


Your wedding day is going to fly by. Before you know it, you will be officially, legally married to the love of your life and heading up to your room, and your watch won’t be lying: it’s the end of the best day of your life. There’s not much to say in this section except that time is the most precious resource of all, so the watch that you wear on your wedding day should be meaningful to you or at least a watch that you love. On my own wedding day, I wore my father’s watch. If your watch’s band is leather like your shoes and belt, then you can try to match the color and grain for all three accessories, ensuring to also match the metal of the belt buckle to the watch’s metal frame.

Cummerbunds and Vests

Cummerbunds and vests are worn below your jacket but above your shirt. As mentioned under Belts, the cummerbund can take the place of the belt for formal suits like tuxedos, especially if the pants lack belt loops. Cummerbunds should be worn only if you are wearing a bowtie, not a long necktie, and the material should match your jacket lapel if possible. Unlike a cummerbund, a vest can be worn with a belt. You would not wear a vest and a cummerbund together however. Here’s a useful guide on when and how to wear cummerbunds.

Vests are also a great option to dress up or dress down your wedding. A three-piece suit (pants, jacket, and vest) can make a look more elegant, while a vest and pants combination, with no jacket, is a more casual look. You may choose to have the groom wear a full suit while the groomsmen wear only vests and no jackets, as the below photos show.


Handkerchiefs are a subtle but necessary accessory for your wedding day. They can be worn in your jacket breast pocket or your vest breast pocket–either way, it’s strongly recommended that you wear one.

Source: Tie a Tie

Cufflinks, Shirt Studs, and Tie Bars

Cufflinks are worn on your wrist to hold together a French-cuff style sleeve cuff. They used to indicate that the event was formal, but because they come in a variety of novelty and funky designs now, they have started to become more common even in casual weddings. They are also an opportunity for a groom and his groomsmen to subtly wear a themed or fun matching outfit accessory that won’t be obvious to the larger wedding guest list without close observation.

If you opt for a more traditional cufflink and your shirt also has studs, then luckily those accessories can match to create a more cohesive look:

In the photos above, you can see the two types of cufflink backs or fasteners: the swivel and the fixed back. My personal recommendation is fixed-back, since this type is more durable. You can also personalize cufflinks with initials that are meaningful to you.

As mentioned above, shirt studs are worn with, usually, tuxedo shirts, and can also match your cufflinks. The shirt studs that come by default with your shirt are usually cheap plastic and not meant to be worn during the event, so it is recommended to get a set of your own.

Finally, tie bars are accessories that add a bit of form to your outfit while also serving a function: a tie bar can up your look while also holding down your tie from lifting off of your chest. Below you will see a matching Batman tie bar and cufflinks.

Credit: Kenneth Wood Design on Etsy.com

And, as with everything else, there are some basic rules to follow with tie bars:

Source: Tie a Tie
Source: Tie a Tie
Source: Tie a Tie


Suspenders can be worn in lieu of a belt to keep your pants suspended on your hips. Interestingly enough, even though a cummerbund replaces a belt for a formal outfit (in form, not in function), suspenders can be worn together with a cummerbund because they take over the “suspending” function of the belt, whereas the cummerbund is only meant to conceal your waist. There are a few options when it comes to suspenders style and countless options when it comes to patterns and colors. If you choose leather, then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try to match the material and color of your shoes with your suspenders, as you would have done with a belt.

Source: Ties.com

There are two ways that suspenders connect to your pants: buttons (left, below) and clips (right, below).

Source: Ties.com

And there you have it: You’re now able to select and customize the components of the outfit that you’ll wear on the happiest day of your life! Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

3 Day Phuket Thailand Itinerary – Part 1

Phuket is a true paradise. If I had to pick one destination in the world that I have already visited that I would love to go back to, it’s Phuket. Some of my favorite honeymoon memories are from this city. In these two posts, we’ll cover the awesome beachfront resort we stayed at, Patong Beach and shopping area, and a snorkeling excursion to the most gorgeous beach I have ever seen.

Travel and Accommodations

We flew domestic from Chiang Mai, Thailand, to Phuket International Airport. We knew we’d be hiring a taxi to transport us from the airport to the hotel, so, initially, proximity was important to us. But then we started investigating Phuket and realized proximity to the airport isn’t realistic. Just south of the airport is a large park space. Then the west coast of Phuket is scallop-shaped down the coast, with a beach in each scallop and hotels along each beachfront. We found that hotels farther north and closer to the airport were expensive brand-name resorts or small luxury boutique hotels that were more expensive and included less of the amenities we were looking for. So we opened our minds to taking upwards of an hour taxi ride in order to find the perfect hotel.

Picking a beachfront resort was the most important thing to me. I wasn’t going to visit a beach town and cheap out and stay a few rows back at a hotel farther inland from the beach. That makes literally no sense to me. If I was going to the beach, I was going to wake up and see the view, and sit at my hotel with my feet in the sand. I was willing to pay. We wanted to stay on the west coast of Thailand to be on the open sea, as opposed to the bay side. As Floridians, we know the difference between east-coast Atlantic Ocean water versus west-coast Gulf of Mexico water. Both are nice, but open ocean water is our preference because it is usually clearer and not brackish, like gulf or bay water can tend to be. In hindsight, that didn’t matter too much, because the scallop-shaped beaches have the same effect as the bay area, and seaweed can get swept up into those areas easily. I am really afraid of the ocean and will not go in if I can’t see my toes. Unfortunately, the water wasn’t clear enough for my intense standards, so I didn’t go in much. Hubby loved it. I tanned on the beach and reserved swimming for the pool.

Photo Credit: Tri Trang Beach Resort

We stayed at the Tri Trang Beach Resort just south of Patong Beach. This was a three-and-a-half star hotel, with 544 reviews on TripAdvisor.com. They offered a lot of awesome amenities which aided to the decision of picking this resort.

  • The resort has an in-house restaurant and bar that was located on the lower level right along the beach. The menu was diverse with foods from around the world. Having the ability to eat all your meals on-site was super convenient. We did stop by a convenience store in town to pick up snacks and bottled water for lounging poolside, but we ate all (but one) meal at the hotel restaurant. There was also a second bar in the lobby area that overlooked the ocean, and the hotel offered room service.
  • The stay included a daily breakfast buffet. There was an abundance of items to choose from including cold, hot, and cooked-to-serve options like omelets. We LOVE hotels that include breakfast, because it allows us to fill up and then either have just a snack for lunch and a full dinner, or an early dinner, and save money on a meal for the day.
  • They had organized morning entertainment of yoga, volleyball, darts, and frisbee. We didn’t partake in these activities, because we were on island-time and wanted to relax and be less structured, but it was nice that the hotel offered these activities.
  • The resort also had nightly entertainment. One night, we saw a musical group perform on the beachfront patio. You could be serenaded while having dinner and drinks overlooking the ocean. Even though we were in Thailand, we knew a bunch of the songs they played. Maybe they were catering to the Western taste of the crowd? No complaints over here! On other nights, they offered karaoke, retro party, beach party, or a movie. You are provided a schedule upon check-in so you can plan your days and attend the activities you want.
  • There was a spa at the resort. It’s not very fancy, but it was clean. My aunts had gifted us a couple’s massage to enjoy on our honeymoon (P.S. everyone deserves a couple’s massage on their honeymoon). That was both of our first times having a Thai massage. The ladies may be small, but they are mighty strong. I recommend you get a massage before you tan. Hubby got a little sunburned and then the excess rubbing of the massage hurt. I loved it.
  • The hotel is a drive from Patong Beach, so they offered a daily complementary shuttle service into town and back.
  • Tri Trang has multiple places for you to cool down in the water. They own a long stretch of private beachfront property. They also have two swimming pools on the property, and towels were provided in the lobby building. Swimming pools were a necessity for me in the hotel search. Literally searched for a beachfront property with a good-looking pool.
  • The resort was built on the side of a mountain, so it is multi-level. This was awesome for us, because they had two buildings, and, although they were all ocean-view rooms, the ones farther back and higher on the mountain were cheaper. Our upper building was a little farther walk from the beach, but we had our own pool, so we didn’t need to go far to get to water. It was a couple minutes’ walk through the property to the lower buildings’ pool and to beach access. I didn’t find it a bother at all getting up to our room. And our room had the most spectacular view, with a big balcony for a fraction of the price!
Photo Credit: Tri Trang Beach Resort
  • The room was HUGE! This was the second-largest room and bathroom we had on our six-week honeymoon. We didn’t even need all that space, but it was a very relaxing feeling to come back to a room with all your bags and clothes put away in storage and a ton of open space.
  • The room had a mini-fridge that we used to put our drinks in to keep cool. It was so hot outside.
  • We didn’t end up doing it, but they sell a romantic dinner for two on the beach as part of the honeymoon package. They set up a small table and all these tiki torches around you. It is private and romantic. However, they have beach dining on picnic tables with votive candles already included, so we decided against paying the extra fee.

Our western hotel standards are higher than other regions of the world. I would recommend that, if you are visiting Asia, you try to stay in a minimum three-and-a-half star accommodation so you are comfortable. Something that we observed with hotels in Asia is that four-star and five-star hotels are very affordable! You can have the luxury accommodation for a fraction of the price. If we had to rate the Tri Trang Beach Resort on a site like TripAdvisor, we would for sure give it five stars. We absolutely loved it. I felt some of the reviews on TripAdvisor are one star for all the wrong reasons. For example, someone gave a negative review because they only offer the free shuttle into town two times a day. Upon check-in they provide you with the schedule, and they explicitly have it in writing. It’s easy enough to follow a a schedule. If you can’t, then you just have to pay for a cab. Some reviews are unfair, so take that into consideration when reading reviews. Most other hotels in Asia we stayed at four-star or five-star accomodations, but because some of these negative reviews were bogus we gave Tri Trang a chance. So happy that we did!

If you are looking to save some money on accommodations, then I would recommend that you avoid all the common hotel franchise names you find in America and elsewhere around the world. Not trying to knock them at all, because I am sure they are spectacular, but these brands are all over the world so that Westerners can go to that country and feel comfortable knowing it’s a brand they trust. However, those rooms can run upwards of $200 a night. That’s basically the same price as if you stayed with them in America! You are paying for a name, not necessarily because they are better than the other options available. In Thailand, you should be spending less on a higher-end hotel than in America. A quick Kayak.com search shows that the cheapest four-star hotel you can find in Phuket is $18 USD a night. We didn’t go that cheap, but we decided to save money and stay at a locally-owned resort, and we had a wonderful time. So, in the end, we were glad we didn’t go with what we knew and decided to take a chance. Reviews like mine from this post, and other sites like TripAdvisor, should be considered before booking any hotel.

Day 1

We spent the morning of Day One flying from Chiang Mai into Phuket, traveling from the airport to the hotel, checking in, then exploring the hotel grounds.

Upon arrival at the hotel, we checked in at the lobby building. Unlike some of the other hotels we stayed at in Asia thus far, everyone at the front desk spoke English which was really nice. We were given a cold refreshment while we were signing in and doing paperwork. They had bellman available to assist with bringing our bags to our room. As I mentioned before, we picked the upper building, so we left the lobby, carried the bags up a flight of steps and across a small bridge ramp (over the street below), then by the pool area of our building, up a few more steps, then we were at the elevator for our building. The only time it was difficult being in the upper building was upon arrival and departure with all our bags. We were so grateful the bellman were available to help! Haha

When we opened the door to our room, we were blown away!!! The room was humongous. Coming from one of the tiniest rooms of our honeymoon in Chiang Mai to one of the largest rooms in Phuket, we were giddy with joy over the space. The whole room seemed to have been newly remodeled. There was plenty of closet, hanging, and storage space to fully unpack our bags and then stow them away. The bathroom was a great size, although it did not have a window like you may see in photos online. The view was breathtaking. We were in the upper building, so we had a more elevated view of the water and mountains. We saw the roof-lines of the buildings below us, but our building was so much higher than theirs that it didn’t take away from the scenery.

We unpacked quickly then threw on bathing suits and went out to explore the property before dusk. We firstly went down to the restaurant to grab a bite to eat for lunch. I ordered grilled chicken over pasta and hubby ordered pasta carbonara. This was the first time in Asia that we had the option of eating Italian food, so we jumped on it haha! We also ordered mango smoothies, which were absolutely heaven. They were so refreshing and the perfect drink for the extreme heat. We loved them so much that we ordered them daily. A necessity to try if you stay at this resort.

After lunch, we spent a little time at the beach then went to lounge by both pools. We tested out each pool to see which one we preferred. The pool on the lower level seemed a little nicer or more newly renovated, but it was smaller. The one on the upper level could probably use an upgrade, but it was a lot larger than the lower level pool and was nice enough for me. Both had lounge chairs available.

At this point, the sun was beginning to set and we noticed the sky was changing color a little so we ran upstairs to grab our camera. By the time we got to our room, the color was stronger, and by the time we got back down to the beach, it was even stronger. We walked down the beach to these big rocks protruding from the water and took a mini photo-shoot. The sky went from a crystal clear blue during the day to yellow, then orange, then red, then pink, then purple, and finally black. I had never seen a more beautiful sunset. While watching the sunset, I was really grateful we chose Phuket. The pictures below speak for themselves.

Day 2

Buffet breakfast was served daily from 6:30am-10:30am. We began our day at 8am with the most yummy breakfast overlooking the beach. We knew it was a hot-and-cold breakfast, but the abundance of food was really impressive. Even in America and Europe, our buffet breakfasts don’t include so many options. We had Western-type foods as well as Thai and Asian foods. We left with full, happy bellies.

The resort included a daily shuttle service into town at 9:30am and 3pm for free. Then at 12pm and 5:30pm they have an extra fee shuttle for 50 Thai Baht ($1.62 USD). Free shuttles back to the resort are at 12:30pm, 3pm, and 6pm. This was awesome, because we had planned on visiting town and thought we would have to pay for the taxi. We finished breakfast and got on the first shuttle out. We hadn’t known this when we picked the earliest shuttle that morning, but at 9:45am when we arrived at the mall they weren’t open.

So we walked around and explored town. We stopped at a convenience store and picked up snacks and bottled water. We walked over to Patong Beach and passed a bunch of bars and restaurants along the way. That was definitely the downtown area that would be poppin’ if you were looking for nighttime entertainment. We also came across a few happy-ending massage parlors. After the fact, I read online that Patong Beach has the highest amount of happy-ending massage parlors in Phuket! We didn’t partake, but this was something I’d only ever seen in movies, so it was funny to see them exist in real life.

When the Jungceylon Shopping Center opened, we walked around and found a travel agency booth. We explained that hubby wanted a isolated and private spot that wasn’t too touristy, and I wanted crystal clear water. The woman recommended a snorkeling tour that only one company (SeaStar Andaman) does because the island is the farthest south and most tour groups go to the northern more popular islands (which end up being more crowded). After looking at the brochure and seeing how perfect it looked, we deliberated for a while then booked our tickets for that next day. We purchased tickets for around $70 USD (over 2,000 Thai Baht) each. That seemed expensive for an excursion in Thailand, but in my next post you’ll see how incredible it was and why it was worth every penny.

We spend half the day exploring that area of town. We walked around so much that we got really hungry while we were out and ended up stopped at Burger King in the mall to grab some chicken nuggets as a snack. After that, we took the 3pm shuttle back to our resort.

We lounged poolside for hours and just relaxed and enjoyed the amenities. We had dinner again beach-side. Tonight, I had the pasta carbonara that hubby ate the day before, and hubby got a white sauce seafood pizza.

Pro Tips:

  • Investigate if your hotel offers a shuttle from the airport or not. The one we picked did not. Our taxi seemed expensive, but with the exchange rate from Thai baht to US dollar, it wasn’t bad for the 20-30 miles and an hour to an hour and a half that we covered.
  • Westerners should avoid tap water in Thailand. This doesn’t only mean drinking bottled water though. Consider that ice, washed fruits and vegetables, and cold deserts are all made with the same tap water. You are better off purchasing a cold refrigerated bottle or canned beverage to avoid the ice, ordering a food like a burger and holding the lettuce and tomato, skipping salads altogether, buying whole fruits and rewashing it with bottled water, and eating hot deserts. If the water has been boiled, it’s safe to consume. Sometimes drinking the water is unavoidable, so be prepared with medicine for light food poisoning or queasiness.
  • Consider playing it safe when selecting food options in Thailand. Hubby got a serious case of food poisoning while in Phuket. He had ordered a creamy white sauce seafood pizza, and that night and all the next day he was violently ill. Not sure if it was the cream sauce or the seafood that did him in, but it was bad. Ask your doctor to prescribe a backup antibiotic pill that will help in case of serious food poisoning. Our doctor prescribed hubby and me each two 500mg pills of Azithromycin, which is the generic for Zithromax. It’s a heavy-duty antibiotic, so he warned that it will kill both the good and bad bacteria, but it would clean you up if you caught a bad bug.
  • Never leave luggage or electronics under in-room air conditioning units. Our hotel room had one of those long, narrow units installed in the top of one of the walls. It was really hot in the room, even at night, so we slept with the A/C on, but it created condensation and started to leak! We had our luggage and laptop in close proximity along the wall. Had hubby not woken up during the night and turned on the light, we may have wrecked our possessions by morning. In the morning, we called the front desk and they sent someone to look at it.

Our time in Phuket is only halfway done, and the best is yet to come!! Visit back next week for a post on weddings, and in two weeks we’ll finish up Part 2 of this Phuket, Thailand, itinerary with a review of the beach with the clearest water, fewest people, and best snorkeling in Phuket, Thailand!

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Men’s Suit Styles and Accessories – Part 1

This week’s post is for the grooms and was written by the Amarvelous Event “hubby” and guest-blogger, Mikael.

To my fellow grooms: You got the ring, you popped the question, and now you’re planning the most important day (thus far) of your life with your blushing bride-to-be—picking locations, and dates, and colors, and menus, and so much other stuff that it suddenly makes total sense why weddings are a $50-plus billion-dollar industry in the United States. No doubt, it’s a lot of work (this is why many couples happily choose to invest in a wedding planner), but admittedly it’s usually fun work, especially the food and cake tastings, and at least you don’t have to do anything regarding your bride’s dress. You do, however, need to worry about your own outfit, and that’s where this week’s post comes in.

In a traditional American wedding (or let’s even say most Western weddings), the groom generally wears a suit or a tuxedo with all of the accessories for a business or formal event: your nicest shoes, a matching belt, fancy or funky socks, a dress shirt, a tie or a bowtie, and your best watch—plus sometimes a cummerbund or a vest, a handkerchief, cufflinks, shirt studs, a tie bar, suspenders, and perhaps even more. Counting them out, it’s almost like the groom’s outfit has more decision-points than the bride’s outfit does! Kidding, kidding…

Before you choose any of these items, though, let’s start with two questions about the event itself.

How formal is your event?

Is your wedding a formal black-tie affair? Is it a hyper-casual beach wedding? Or is it something in between, like a business-casual or business-formal event? Before you decide anything else about your outfit, the question of how formal your event is needs to be answered. A bride can wear any sparkling, white dress and almost always still fit in with her wedding’s vibe, be it casual or formal, because, let’s face it, she’s the bride. However, a groom who wore a tuxedo for a casual wedding, or who wore slacks with no tie for a formal wedding, will stick out like a sore thumb.

These groom-focused posts will cover everything from business-casual to formal black-tie outfits. For casual weddings where you and your fellow male guests might be wearing short sleeves, no ties, and denim, check out this post on The Knot: Tuck the Tux Away: Casual Groom Styles Are In!

Image Credit: Catering on the Move

What is the color scheme of your event?

The decision of the color scheme(s) for your wedding is usually something that the bride will have strong opinions about, but if you’re lucky like I was then your bride might be flexible. My wife (at the time, my bride) said that I had total control over the color of my own suit (gee, thanks), irrespective of the color scheme of the rest of the wedding. Our wedding was supposed to be white and gold, and her bridesmaids were supposed to wear gold or champagne-colored dresses.

When my wife saw and loved the color that I had picked for my suit—a pale shade of blue-teal to match the ocean and the sky (we were married on the beach)—and probably aided by the fact that she couldn’t find the perfect shade of gold for her bridesmaids, and by the fact that our venue’s color scheme was mostly shades of blue and teal, my wife decided to incorporate more blue and navy into our wedding.

Long story short, my wife apparently would have been okay with whatever colors I chose for my outfit, but it could also look really good if everything is cohesive. Here’s us and our bridal party in shades of blue:

Image Credit: Dreamlife Wedding Photography

Now that you’ve chosen the color scheme and how formal your wedding will be, you’re ready to start choosing the details of your own outfit. This week’s post will cover the basics: the pants and the jacket.

The Suit: Pants and Jacket Options

Your pants and jacket will comprise the majority of what people will see you wearing for the day. Yes, the shirt’s important, and the socks and shoes are an opportunity to make a statement or show your fun side, and little details here and there can make or break the outfit when observing it close-up. Realistically, though, the suit itself will cover more than 90% of your body during the wedding ceremony, which will likely be the most-photographed segment of the day, so it’s one of your more important choices for the outfit.

As far as the style of your pants and jacket goes, you have four basic options:

1. Mismatching Informal Pants and Jacket

The least formal* of the four options (not a bad thing), this is when your jacket and pants mismatch each other in either color or material or both. You could have a green tweed jacket, for example, with burgundy corduroy pants, like in one of the images below. Although you’re not wearing a matching suit, you can still look like you’re well put together by dressing-up the outfit with a bowtie or a vest. I’d say that this style can be pulled off at certain weddings only though, maybe something outdoors and rustic in the woods.
*Least formal unless you’re royalty—see below.

Image Credit: Esquire
Image Credit: Chic Vintage Brides

2. Matching Pants and Jacket

Probably the most common style for modern American weddings, this is when your pants and jacket match in both color and material. This is the type of suit that you might wear to work in an office environment—still completely acceptable for your wedding, of course, and I personally encourage this option out of the four. It’s probably also the most versatile option out of the four, since it would not look out of place whether your wedding is outdoors, indoors, casual (as long as the outfit is dressed down), or semi-formal (as long as you also wear a tie or bowtie).

Image Credit: The Knot
Image Credit: SLR Lounge

3. Mismatching Formal Pants and Jacket

We’re getting slightly more formal here. Think James Bond’s infamous white dinner jacket with black tuxedo pants. This option is a good combination of classy and smart while still remaining fun and interesting. This option would not really be worn outdoors but is totally appropriate for a cocktail-style wedding and after-party. It’s different than the 1. Mismatching Informal Pants and Jacket option and more formal than the 2. Matching Pants and Jacket option in that the jacket and pants, on their own, are each one half of a tuxedo-style suit. If you’re going for the James Bond look, then the jacket should be white, but there are a range of color and material combinations that this option can utilize.

4. Tuxedo

The most formal and classic out of the four suit styles, tuxedos are traditionally black but do come in a variety of colors if that’s what you’re looking for. They are notable by a satin or silk (or any other shiny material) lapel on the jacket, with a matching material on the buttons, on the waistband, and down the outseam (the exterior sides) of the pants. Keep in mind that tuxedo does not automatically equal bowtie, since a silk or satin necktie that matches the lapel material can be worn instead. Tuxedos are also the option where you will more commonly find rounded (“shawl”) lapels and single-button jackets, which you can see in one of the images below.

Image Credit: GQ
Image Credit: Heather Jowett

Other Considerations

Other than one of the four suit styles, you will also need to consider your suit’s material, pattern, thread count, color, lapel shape, lapel width, jacket button quantity, jacket exterior pockets, sleeve length, pant length, and a few other items. Each of these aspects of your suit has a range of options of their own, ranging from hundreds of options (in the case of suit color) to only three or four options (in the case of button quantity). Each of these choices can change how formal your outfit is overall—so be sure to ask your tailor or sales associate when purchasing or renting your suit.

Image Source: Style Sample Mag

You’ll also want to think about whether your groomsmen match your suit identically or whether your own suit, as the groom, will have any defining characteristics such as a different:

  • Color (I personally wore a lighter shade of blue than my groomsmen did)
  • Cut or style (I wore three-piece matching, while my groomsmen wore two-piece matching)
  • Lapel style (my groomsmen had a more modern cut, while I had an older-style cut)
  • Level of formality (maybe you wear James Bond-style while your groomsmen wear tuxedos, or maybe you wear matching jacket and pants while your groomsmen wear mismatching)
  • Material (maybe your groomsmen wear a more affordable material, while you wear a nicer one)
Image Credit: The Unstitchd

If you do diverge from your groomsmen on any of these options, then it’s strongly recommended that your outfit have the nicer, higher-quality (albeit possibly more expensive) choice between the two suits.

And there you have it! You’re now able to select and customize the basic components of the suit—the jacket and the pants—that you’ll wear on the happiest day of your life! You might choose to take off your jacket after the ceremony, later in the day or evening, especially when you are eating or dancing, and in that case you might be wearing a vest, a cummerbund, or suspenders underneath (I personally chose the vest option, making my outfit a matching three-piece suit). While this week’s blog post only discussed the jacket and pants, check back in a few weeks for Amarvelous Event’s style guidance on shirts, shoes, socks, ties, and all other accessories and outfit components.

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3 Day Chiang Mai Thailand Itinerary – Part 2

This post begins our third and last day of our Chiang Mai, Thailand, itinerary. If you haven’t read about our adventures on days one and two yet, then click here. In this post, we’ll be discussing temple tours and three of the most famous ones to visit while in Chiang Mai: the stunning White Temple (pictured here), the ornate Blue Temple, and the eerie Black House.

🇹🇭 🕉️ 🛐 📿

Quick note: Our trip to Thailand includes photos that some may find offensive. Lots of phallic imagery in this country: soaps, sculptures, paintings, and more. If you don’t wish to see these images, then check back in next week for a new Amarvelous Wedding post instead!

Day 3

We began day three with breakfast at our hotel before we were picked up by our tour bus. Since we were spending the day at temples, I needed to have covered knees and shoulders. I wore my new long wrap skirt I had purchased in Thailand on day one and a white t-shirt. Hubby wore a t-shirt and shorts. For shoes, I wore flip-flops that were easy to take off in and out of temples. Hubby wore sneakers he had to re-lace when he left each temple.

Once on the bus, we began our ride north outside of the center of town towards Chiang Rai (yes, “Rai,” not “Mai”). This was a long trip, so the tour company broke it up with several stops along the way. The first mini-stop was to a natural hot spring. It was a small watering hole that had been developed into a few stands to buy souvenirs, a convenient store, some bathrooms, and a relaxing sitting area shaded by trees with warm hot springs nearby. It was very touristy and felt like all bus companies used the same pit-stop. There were areas you could get pretty close to the hot spring for a photo op, but the water is too hot to touch, so don’t get too close! We spent a half hour here using restrooms and picking up a few snacks and cool drinks in the store. Then, once everyone was back on the bus, we continued on our journey.

Our first stop was Wat Rong Suea Ten, better known as the Blue Temple, although the name literally translates to House of the Dancing Tiger. 100 years ago, there was an ancient temple that stood in this very same spot, but over time it had deteriorated. The land had been known for wild tigers that would frequently roam the temple’s six-acre property. The town decided in 2005 that they wanted to rebuild a modern-day temple on the old property and began construction. Although the main hall is complete, there were parts still under construction (we visited in 2018), but that did not detract from the beauty. The first temple we had experienced in Thailand (on day one) was very traditional with simple coloring and style. In comparison, the Blue Temple is exploding with color and extravagant statues. The temple colors are primarily shades of blues, with pops of neon colors and many gold accents. The main hall has an underwater effect with blue from floor-to-ceiling. Something to note about this temple is that admission is free, but there is no public transit here—so instead of booking a tour, you could rent a car, or hire a tuk tuk or taxi, but I’m not sure if it would save you money in the end. For us, the convenience of being on a schedule and seeing all the temples in one day really worked well for our short trip. Once everyone made it back to the bus, we headed off to our second location.

The next stop wasn’t an actual temple but the Baan Dam Museum, literally translating to Black House. The famous Thai artist and architect Thawan Duchanee designed this property, and it was his architectural masterpiece and home until he passed away in 2014. Although mixed with gardens, the large property has a dark feeling with 40 mixed-size matte black buildings. If there are other colors mixed in, they are colors of nature, creams, and brown shades. The buildings house a very unique collection of artifacts from around the world. The two themes you will see over and over again are animal bones and parts and phallic objects. Vegans and children beware haha! Our tour guide had said the property was representative of death, suffering, human desire, and cravings. Art is subjective, so I am sure others have different interpretations than mine, but I saw natural beauty represented at the Black House. Death is a part of life, and Duchanee does well to honor the animals that came before us. There is an entry price for this museum around 100 TBH ($3.25 USD). The price was included in our tour fee.

By the time we left the Black House, I was famished. It was a super-hot and humid day, and by now we had spent a few hours either on the bus or exploring at each stop. I was so ready for lunch. We all got back on the bus and headed to our next location. Lunch was conveniently located across the street from the final temple. Sure, it was included in the price of our day, but I did not care for the lunch choice. Being so hot outside, my body could have used a retreat into some air conditioning. However, the restaurant was totally open walled and exposed to the outdoors. I hate nothing more than being hot, so this was already a bad start. We all sat and ate family style, and I was underwhelmed with the food offerings. We had the best Thai food at the cooking class on day one, so when comparing this food to that, day three was inferior. The restroom situation was also not that great. Overall, I wouldn’t go back to the restaurant. The area had a bunch of places to eat, and I would have selected a place with air conditioning if I had a choice.

We crossed the street and were standing in front of Wat Rong Khun, the famous White Temple. Opened in 1997, this was the oldest property we had been to. The original Wat Rong Khun had also been deteriorating and in bad shape when local artist Chalermchai Kositpipat decided to rebuild the temple with his own funds. A great portion of the project is completed, but there are still portions under construction that aren’t expected to be completed until 2070! This was my absolute favorite temple of the day. Every structure is white on a backdrop of the blue sky and green grass. The super-white buildings and statues look almost angelic from a distance. Some structures to note are “the Bridge of the Cycle of Rebirth,” which you use to walk up to the temple; the Gate of Heaven guarded by two statues, one representing death and the other Rahu; Ubosot, the large white building with fragments of mirrored glass embedded into the façade; and the Golden Building for restrooms. You’ll see a slew of stunning exterior photos below, but the artist doesn’t let guests take photos inside the temple, so we don’t have any photos indoors. At first, we thought that was due to a sign of respect for the place of prayer, but after being inside, we felt the paintings may be the reason why. Upon entry, turn around, and you are greeted with an incredible colorful mural sprinkled with well-known cartoons and superheroes. Just my own thoughts here, but maybe the no-photography rule has something to do with copyright laws? We purchased these thin sheet metal ornaments that you are supposed to hang on the property to add to the newest artistic walkway. However, we collect Christmas ornaments, so we figured we could use that as a memento. I felt I could have stayed at this property all day. Every turn you saw something new and beautiful. Even the bathroom area was beautiful! Based off my pictures below, and my rosy cheeks, you can probably tell how hot I was feeling. By the end of the visit, I was doing everything in my power to cool down: I had tied my hair into a top bun, had a wet towel around my neck, a cold-water bottle on my forehead, heavily utilized my paper fan, and purchased ice cream to consume while we were waiting for the rest of our party to make their way to the bus. Heat stroke, anyone? Definitely plan ahead if you are visiting in the hot season. Admission fee is a minimal 50 TBH ($1.63 USD), but they do accept additional donations. Again, the fees were included in our overall fee for the excursion.

We rode the bus back towards town and were exhausted! We got back to our hotel and took a break to wash laundry while we lounged poolside for a bit. When the wash was done, we hung it up then changed to go out for the evening. We headed to Rachadamnoen Road for the Sunday night street market and walked around from tent to tent and purchased a bunch of souvenirs for family and friends. If you are ever purchasing multiple items from one vendor, then try to work a deal into the pricing. They are usually flexible to throw in something for free.

I stopped along the way and got a foot massage while hubby kept exploring nearby. There are so many massage shops to choose from, and they are all priced similarly. I’d recommend to just pick one that doesn’t have a wait. After such a long day walking around, it was rejuvenating, and a 90-minute massage for 461 TBH ($15 USD) was expensive for Thailand but well worth it. Massages in Thailand are much cheaper than the US though! I should have gotten one a day. Don’t make my mistake.

On the bus ride back from the tour, we had run into some other Americans who told us they had been in Thailand for a couple of weeks so far and ate a lot of street food without getting sick. They recommended purchasing something directly off the grill and not to purchase something that looked grilled but had finished cooking and sat out after. As New Yorkers, we already play street food somewhat safely when in the States. Of course, we were going to play it even more safely on the streets of a night market in Thailand. We hadn’t intended on eating dinner at the market that night, but keeping in mind our new friends’ advice we felt more confident to eat some grilled snacks along the way. We didn’t end up getting sick, so I was glad that we took a chance and tried some grilled meats.

We got back to our hotel, brought our newly-washed-and-hang-dried clothes back to our room, and, after such a long day, just crashed.

Day 4

With all of our clothes cleaned and a bunch of new souvenirs to pack, we had an alarm set to wake up early and pack up the room. It didn’t take too long, because we were basically living out of our suitcases. We brought our bags downstairs for the front office to hold while we crossed the street to enjoy breakfast for the last time. We took our time while eating, because although we have airport lounge access they only had a lounge in the international terminal. Our next stop was to Phuket, Thailand, and it was a domestic flight, so we only needed to be at the airport an hour in advance. Our flight was scheduled for 11:35am. The front desk called us a taxi. We left the hotel around 9:45am and got to the airport by 10:00am. The airport is super small, so we got through security and to our gate very quickly.

Pro Tip: Domestic flights within Thailand are super cheap! With flights being so affordable between cities, you should take advantage of seeing more than one city while in Thailand. There are other options to take a train or a bus between cities, but the flights are so quick that it’s the most time-efficient option.

Our first two days in Chiang Mai were spent exploring town, taking a cooking class, and enjoying a day with rescued elephants. Our final day in Chiang Mai was jam-packed with temples, each one more unique than the next. Overall, I think it is possible to see Chiang Mai in a minimum of three days. There were many other tours or activities you could do while in Chiang Mai, but I feel we experienced a great mix of shopping, food, temples, and nature. Stay tuned for our future Thailand blog posts on Phuket and Bangkok!

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