NO! This cannot be the last day in Thailand! Fortunately, our flight was not until 8 PM, so we had until about 6 PM in the hotel to relax and soak up the sun which was out in all of its glory. No monsoons today!
We had a delightful breakfast, grabbed some beach towels, and hit the sand at 9 AM. There were very few people on this beach, much unlike the tour beaches on our two previous days, and we had a great time walking about a mile down the beach exploring the sand.
We found bunches of hermit crabs, jelly fish, minnows, and cool shells along our walk. It was so peaceful. The sun was very strong so we got a nice tan as well and the water temperature was perfect! The current was quite strong so we didn’t venture out too far but we did have some great body boarding waves.
After a few hours, we decided to grab a drink at a place right outside of our hotel. Drinks in our hotel were 300 BHT ($10ish USD) and drinks outside of the hotel were 150 BTH so it was worth doing. We sat down facing the water tanks that held the freshly caught lobster and crabs. There were two huge crabs the size of bicycle tires in a small tank that were just caught that day and they kept boxing each other for room in the tank! It was super entertaining to watch, especially with a yummy margarita in-hand.
After our drinks, we went and hit the pool at the hotel for some fresh water. We ended up at the hotel bar, which made some of the best margaritas I’ve had in a while, and played Jenga at the bar until we needed some lunch.
We walked back (probably not in the straightest of lines) to the restaurant where we had our first drink and had a very good lunch! The outside restaurants proved over and over that their food was just as good as those in our hotels. I had a curry with yellow noodles and Ryan had a super spicy Panag curry – gosh it was good! It had a coconut introduction to the palate, a savory middle, and a kick of spice at the end which was promptly soothed by the coconut in the next bite. So good!
We were filled to the brim and decided to walk off lunch by strolling to a massage place about half a mile up the road. $10 for an hour-long massage? Yes, please! Talk about a relaxing day.
After the massage, we went back to the room and hung out / packed our bags for our 4 PM check out. We rolled our bags to the reception area and chatted with the front desk people about our flight status. We were supposed to get into Bangkok at 10:35 PM and had about 2 hours to hop through check-in, security, customs, and then onto our flight from BKK to Tokyo. The front desk told us we would be cutting it close and that they usually recommended arriving 3 hours prior to an international flight at BKK. At this point, I was getting pretty freaked out that we wouldn’t make our connection and I tried to see if we could hop on an earlier flight. We couldn’t change our Thai Smile flight and would have to buy completely new tickets at the airport. At that point it was about 5 PM. We decided to go to the airport early, talk to the information desk about different flight options, and see if we could get on an earlier flight if needed.
We talked to 3 different people in the airport and 2 of the 3 said we were fine; the 1 holdout was due to a language barrier. It was an extra $100 per-person to buy an earlier flight, so we decided to risk it and wait until our origional flight. After double checking the tickets, it turns out our flight was at 9 PM, not 8, so we had a 2 hour wait until check-in and another 1.5 hours until boarding – uggghh that was not fun.
Once we finally boarded, the flight from Phuket to Bangkok was easy and the 2hours went by quickly. We were getting really nervous about timing but landed 10 minutes early, calming our nerves slightly. Instead of taxiing to a gate, the pilot parked the plane far away from the terminals so we had to take a bus to the gate. That took a while and we were trying not to panic. We eventually got off the bus and walked, just a pace shy of running, to the 4th floor check-in desk for ANA.
With a huff and puff trying to catch our breath, we gave our passports to the check-in lady and told her we were on the 12:30 AM flight. She started to type on her computer and a confused look crossed her face. She asked to see our itinerary and I showed her. She pointed to the page, where it clearly said our flight was at 6:50 AM, not 12:30 AM, meaning we had 4 hours until check-in. Oh no! I thought I had booked the 12:30 AM flight but had booked the later and, for some reason, 12:30 stuck in my head. I was so bummed and Ryan was not happy with me. How could I have done that?! Fortunately, Ryan had my back and rallied for me. We found the information booth and he asked about sleeping pods/ in-airport hotels. While the hotel would be $131 for both of us, there was a Boxhotel in the airport where we could rent one-person rooms with a bed for 4 hours at $30 a pop per-person. The Boxhotel was cute and clean so it was an easy choice to stay. Each room has an alarm set to go off 15 minutes prior to the end time of your stay, so I slept pretty soundly until that woke me up at 3:30 AM.
A bit rested, Ryan and I walked back to the check-in counter. We had about 5 minutes before it opened for our flight, so we people watched until then. There was a huge group of people with luggage carts carrying 50 inch flat screen TVs, computer monitors, and tons of other gadgets. It was weird to see such lines of bulk purchased goods like that in an airport. I have no idea how they got all of that back without any of it breaking.
Anyway, the check-in process was relatively painless, there was no one in the security line (literally it was just us) and the passport stamp area only took about 30 minutes before we were in the international terminal. It is huge and has every shop / duty free item you could ever dream of buying. Ryan had gotten a sandwich for dinner at the Phuket airport and I had 200 BHT left to get something, so we stopped at a place and I had just enough cash to get one last dish of pad thai before leaving Thailand. Very satisfying if you ask me. We wandered through the shops for a bit to kill time and then went to the gate. To give you an idea of how bit the airport was, I had walked 1.35 miles on my pedometer from the Boxhotel to the gate! Crazy huh!
The waiting area was spacious and clean and our time there went quickly. We hopped onto our flight ready for much-needed sleep. The flight to Tokyo was painless and the 11-hour transition from Tokyo back to Houston was just as easy. We watched movies and Ryan declared that he was on a “noodle strike” after eating so many during our trip. We landed in Houston early, met Ryan’s family to pick up our dog, and then embarked on a 4 hour drive to Dallas. Before we knew it, our wonderful Thailand adventure had come to an end. What a trip!