Phuket, Thailand

 We arrived in Phuket at 12 am after an hr flight south of Bangkok. We planned on heading further south in the morning, therefore we only needed a place to crash for the one quick night. Lesson learned that they will not allow 3 people to stay in a room even with 2 beds. So the boys checked in and I walked up separately. We stayed at the Panphuree Residence, Sa Khu which is just a 10 min walk from the airport. We chose this hotel in order to save money. It was clean, small, with 2 twin size beds. Had a tiny gym, rooftop pool and breakfast that was subpar. For an 11hrs stay and $66 a night which included breakfast for two, I think it did the job just fine. We checked out and  took a Grab (their Uber) 30 mins south. 

Using Airbnb we arrived at our condo for the next 3 days in Surin Beach, Phuket. Costing us $75 a night it was set up like a hotel having a front desk receptionist, gym and of course the signature Thailand infinity rooftop pool. One bedroom, one bath condo with a pull out couch for Nesmith, as well as a much needed washing machine!

We spent our first day in Phuket at the one place I was eggered to get to, the beach! Just a few mins walk from our place was Surin Beach, a cute beach town with a seaside bar and resturant. The beach side was lined with vendors selling clothing, food, beach goods and of course cheap massages. J and I spent all day just being beach bums and meeting some new peeps.

We weren’t sure what was in the water but it looked liked little clear strings of fish eggs that had a slight sting to them. The ocean was full of them! It wasn’t unbearable but every few mins you would get a sting. The drunkness made us not care.

Day 2

Cooking class!! 

Phuket Thai Cooking Academy was such a fun experience. Starting off with a quick tour of the market that allowed us to learn more of the culture as well as the food Thailand has to offer. We made a total of 5 dishes!! More than any other class I’ve taken before. They explained each ingredient and had just the right amount of hands on cutting and cooking. The end result was the BEST thai food we’ve ever had!! This held up the rest of the trip. It honestly was the best meal in Thailand. We had a blast and would highly recommend to take a cooking class in every country you visit! It’s one of my fav things to do! Click the link to watch us become chefs 3

open air market
photos by Nesmith

3. Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

When we decided that we wanted to see elephants we knew we needed to do our research to find where they were being treated right. Many places claim to be sanctuaries but in actuality they are just tourist traps. Any place that allows you to ride, bath or has them perform like circus animals of any sort is NOT A SANCTUARY! The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket is the first and only in Thailand. Their mission is to protect & care for mistreated elephants rescued from the tourism and logging industry. Some places will say they do not offer riding but still bathing. This may seem harmless but in fact still causes stress. 

Elephants love to swim, cool off and splash in the water, and to cover themselves with thick mud. They like to do so alone or with fellow elephants. However, if people crowd around or interact with them during this bathing ritual, it becomes stressful for the elephants, preventing them from displaying their natural behavior.

Asian elephants are an endangered species. There are less than 2,000 wild elephants living in Thailand with population declining rapidly due to loss of habitat.

Illegal capture and trade for use in the tourism industry is also a big problem. Paying good money for the privilege to ride an elephant, this industry thrives because of foreign visitors. But the fact is those wild elephants need to be tamed before they can be ridden. The taming process is not the same as with a wild horse but much more brutal and is accomplished when the elephants are very young.

 Tortured as a baby to completely break its spirit. The process is called Phajaan, or “the crush”. It involves ripping baby elephants away from their mothers and confining them in a very small space, like a cage or hole in the ground where they’re unable to move.The baby elephants are then beaten into submission with clubs, pierced with sharp bull-hooks, and simultaneously starved and deprived of sleep for many days. All of the elephants found in the sanctuary have lived a life of work and fear for 40-60 years. All have been raised in captivity and around humans their entire life. They show a video explaining the history of elephants and the mistreatment and I legit cried. They didn’t show graphic images but just the reality of what still goes on today. Wanting spread awareness was really important to us.  Watch more in my highlights here

To learn more about the program and the interaction offered at the sanctuary head over to the website.