After a celebratory glass of champagne to toast the end of my degree my friend asked, “so what now?”, and to be honest I had no idea! After the anticipation of finishing university it all felt a little anti-climactic. I had a month before I started my job and, due to awful planning on my part, I had nothing planned. I had always told people that if I had more time I would go traveling on my own – but I never did. All of a sudden I had a month all to myself and no excuses left not to make my dreams come true so I decided to stop doubting and start doing! That very night I booked a flight to Thailand and started planning my solo adventure…
As I stepped off the plane at Phuket Airport I was hit with the humidity of Thailand’s weather in May. I jumped in a car and travelled along the west coast of the island. After around thirty minutes we pulled up at a perfect palm-lined white beach and the driver announced we had arrived at my destination – Manathai Surin Hotel.
The high ceilings and airy room made it a lovely place to retreat to after a day spent travelling. My favourite thing about the room was the patterns weaving across the floor – it added such an authentic touch to the room. The hotel was built on Surin Beach, one of the area’s most popular celebrity beach spots, but political disputes in the area mean the shops, stalls and beach bars have all been torn down this year (you can read more about that here).
Now the beach is less busy so if you’re looking for a hotel near the nightlife of Phuket then this isn’t the place for you. The spectacular scenery, stunning tropical sunsets and warm blue sea all still await you though. I had lovely strolls along the sandy beach and compared to busier beaches in the Patong area it was much more serene and peaceful. I mean…look at how clear the sea is!
For me, holidays are all about balancing adventure and relaxation. I spent my first day at Manathai indulging in a little ‘me-time’ – I had a Thai massage at the hotel’s spa, swam in the pool, read my book and enjoyed cocktails for happy hour! By day two I was raring to go and explore more of the island so I decided to plan a day trip…
From Phuket there are amazing boat trips to the surrounding islands. Phi Phi is particularly famous for its clear blue water but I chose to venture off to Khao Phing Kan (also known as James Bond Island) to see the limestone rocks jutting out of the sea. There are also walking tours of historic Phuket Old Town, watersports on the beach, canoeing trips to sea caves and sunset cruises available. The staff at Manathai can arrange guided tours and transport but there are also vendors along the beach if you’re looking for a bargain. These day trips will ensure your holiday is unforgettable and maybe even make people a little envious – when I posted pictures on Facebook my friends and family got very jealous indeed!
On my final evening I got changed for dinner, poured a glass of wine and stepped out onto my private balcony to enjoy the gentle breeze as the sun set. Holidays are just the best aren’t they! The restaurant at the hotel is called ‘Pad Thai’ as their recipe originates from a local recipe that has been passed down over time through the expert chefs at Manathai. Pad Thai is one of my favourite Thai dishes so I knew I had to try it and this one was exceptionally fresh. There was also a wide selection of ‘kway teow pad’ (stir-fried noodles prepared the traditional way) to choose from which were very yummy.
Breakfast was equally delicious with pancakes and french toast served with tropical fruits and syrup – perfect for my sweet tooth! It was with a heavy heart that I packed my bags and checked out of Manathai Surin. Every request I had was tended to quickly with a smile and the luxurious touches in my room made my sleep full of sweet dreams – oh and did I mention how blue the sea at Surin beach was?!? I took my final photos, waved goodbye and headed to my next hotel to continue my adventure in Thailand!
Shop My Travel Wishlist
If you’re holidaying in Thailand, then you need a suitcase full of stylish summer pieces to match the spectacular scenery and stunning tropical sunsets. I embraced the summer heat in floaty fabrics, bright colours and bold prints from the John Lewis Botanical Brights Edit. My favourite purchase was this colourful pair of espadrilles which brightened my outfits by the pool – aren’t they cute! You can shop the full edit here.