Flew direct Sydney/Phuket with Jetstar - $600 return (purchased “on special” in March).
The wife couldn’t get off work this year (or maybe the 3 days in Takua Pa Hospital last year had something to do with it) ... so I went with a mate ... and before anyone asks … “separate rooms” thank you! :-)
Arrived Phuket about an hour late due to head winds and Braun Car Rentals were waiting outside to complete the paperwork for our Honda City (good car, good price, good service – same as the last 3 years).
Drove direct to Baan Krating Resort in Khao Lak (purchased a few supplies at a 7-11 on the way) and checked in around 10.30pm.
They had previously advised they didn’t have a private car park (but would have our car under 24 hour surveillance by their security guard), so on arrival, we were pleasantly surprised when they waved us into a small private area.
I’ve written separate reviews on where we stayed and where we ate, but suffice it to say our Baan Krating deluxe pavilion rooms were great. The views would have to be the best on the coast and overall, the place was magic … IF YOU’RE FIT (read the review)!
We spent four nights at Baan Krating, then 5 nights at Nang Thong Bay Resort. It was my second stay at NTBR1 and I’m now content to make it my “resort of choice” for any further visits to KL.
It was a very laid-back, relaxing holiday … plenty of beers whilst on the balcony/balconies gazing at the view, good food, reading books, swimming (only in the pool/s), more beers, more food, visiting the markets, the occasional sight-seeing trip to other beaches, plus Takua Pa … Phang Nga, Khao Sok, (visited the Cliff & River Jungle Resort at Khao Sok for a look-see), etc ... more beers, more food, and so on ... as I said “very laid-back”!
A bit of info … Chung beer was B27 a can at Nang Thong Bay Supermarket, Bacardi was just slightly cheaper than Sydney Duty Free price (taking into account the different size bottles). Chung ranged from B50 to B65 in the various restaurants we ate at … and we only ate at one or two restaurants that we wouldn’t bother going back to.
We had two days with about 50% rain, 6 days with about 30 minutes rain, and the rest varied between overcast/scattered cloud/sunny. Ideal weather and plenty of swimming and sun-tan time.
Our “find of the week” was the Orchid Café, 2 doors north of Boonyarat Kitchen (opposite the Book Tree). We were so pleased with the place that we ate there five times.
Many thanks to Arandora (and others) for background information and specifics previously received on KL … most useful.
KL was very quiet with many businesses closed and/or under renovation … very few people on the street, and very little traffic on the roads … Just the way I like it !
Unfortunately, due to “off-season” many recommended restaurants were closed … but we certainly didn’t go hungry and there were many great eating places still open during our stay.
Do yourself (and the locals of KL) a favour and pay them a visit during the off-season … It’s much more relaxing, they desperately need the business, are generally very nice people, they don’t hassle you or get in your face, and accommodation is usually 50% cheaper.
I lashed out and spent around B300 in total on souvenirs - the last of the big spenders :-) … but I made up for it by supporting the local community with my intake of beer and food.
NTBR1 was just as good this time as on my previous visit, and they very nicely allowed us a complimentary late check-out (4pm from one room) so that we could freshen up and change prior to our flight back to Sydney - ETD 10pm.
Once again, after check-in I headed up to the 3rd floor to the Thai Airways restaurant (take the escalator or lift up one floor from the main check-in area) … and we spent a comfortable 90 minutes there consuming a couple of entrees and 4 beers prior to our flight. Much better than mixing it with the mob in the departure lounge. And confirming that Phuket Airport Duty Free will still not sell you duty free liquor if flying direct to Australia (they will not deliver to the gate, so do not comply with Australian Government regulations).
Our Jetstar flight home was 90 minutes late arriving into Phuket (due to head winds), so left Phuket one hour late at 11pm, but made up time due to strong tail winds and arrived back in Sydney 30 minutes early.
The food on the flight going up was reasonably good, coming back was cr-p … probably the worst I’ve eaten in over 40 years of international travel.
Apart from that, the service/comfort on the flight was ok … no better or worse than you can expect from “cattle class” with most airlines.
Last year we flew “business class” with Jetstar (effectively premium economy) and whilst it was better, I can’t justify the extra expense compared to the extra service/comfort. Also be aware that Jetstar now has 2 levels of “business class”. Only the more expensive of the two allows you access to the Qantas Business Class Lounge … thereby costing many hundred of dollars more for a "free" snack and a "free" champers or two!
Also note: The Phuket Jetstar staff were policing the carry-on luggage rule - one item - 10kg max'.
And no water etc past the final security inspection at the ramp (even if purchased in the duty free secure area).
A great relaxing holiday … just what I’d planned … you can’t get any better than that!
PS. Feel free to pm me if you have any queries.