Article written by Joëlle SMANIOTTO
@My Healthy Bangkok 

Moving to Thailand 3 years ago was a decision we made based on my husband’s career. But as a devoted yet picky partner, I had my own preferences and “week-ends getaways to the beach” clearly weighed in the balance.
As a kidless couple, we loved exploring more underrated beaches and islands, but as we started traveling with a baby, our whole vacation dynamics changed to say the least. It made us rethink our priorities when planning our trip. Every holiday option we consider now has to include the magic words hassle-free and baby-friendly.
Traveling from Bangkok, Phuket remains ones of our top destinations. A short 1h30 flight and over 40 flights available per day: that leaves plenty of options to start organizing a somehow hassle-free and enjoyable trip.

First family trip ever to the beach & Husband’s business trip

We went to Phuket twice as a family. Our son was just 6 months old when we travelled to Phuket, and that was his first time stepping on a sandy beach. As new parents, this Phuket stay was a well-deserved relaxing time out of the city. Also, we tested ourselves as new parents being out of our usual environment and in the most anticipated situation: on a plane. It turned out to be a good rehearsal a month before our 12-hour flight to go back home for Christmas (the real deal!).
Our second time, our 9 months-old teething baby and I tagged along Mr’s business trip, to get some sun, more beach time and be supportive of daddy’s work.

Choosing the right accommodation by the beach

Although these 2 trips were at different seasons, of different length and with different purposes, we planned them with a similar checklist. To keep for 2020!

#1 Proximity to main area of interest
Coming from Bangkok, the last thing we want to do is spend our precious holiday time in traffic.

#2 Room by the beach, please!
There is no better view than a beach view, with a bonus of fresh air when baby wakes up at his usual 5.30 am.

#3 Baby cot available
A hotel with baby cots is a good indicator of their level of kids-friendliness. Always safer to check upon booking.

#4 Balcony, to tan & read a book while baby naps
Yes, baby can nap by the pool or the beach in the stroller, but what about the noise and heat?

#5 Baby / kids club
And why not a baby-sitting service too?

#6 Room with easy access (to beach, F&B)
Strollers and stairs are not great friends, are they?

#7 Plenty of space for long walks
Especially if the resort is a bit secluded.

#8 And well, a beach bar
That has always been a criteria, and still now 🙂
Parents all deserve a good cocktail in the pool I think.

Make the best out of the Hotel’s restaurant

For both our stays at Marriott and at the Westin, we chose the beach vibe over conveniency of being close to main city activities or F&B venues.  
The Westin though was “only” a 30 minute drive from Central Floresta with okay roads.
We had most meals in the hotel, which means we had to make do with what was offered.

When options are limited, or when nothing on the  menu seems right for you or your kid, it is alright to ask for special orders, so you are happy, and the Chef must be happy too to please a customer. Right?

For baby, I kept asking for steamed veggies, steamed rice, steamed fish or meat that I would season myself with healthiest options available. I ordered steamed food over purées to avoid hidden ingredients and mash to food with a fork if necessary.
For a teething baby though, pizza crusts worked wonders!

At any time of the day or night, a fresh juice, a fresh coconut or a plate of fresh seasonal fruit is possible in a hotel in Phuket, let’s not forget that nor feel shy to ask for it!

Thailand beaches in November: Timeless memories and outstanding Seasons Greetings cards

As new parents, seeing the expression of your child’s face when trying something new is priceless!  Splashing around in our condo’s pool was one thing, but holding baby in front of the endless immensity of the sea, and having his little feet touching the sand for the first time is something we are glad to have on camera.

We liked going to Phuket in November for its weather and also to get some vitamin D before going back in our cold Paris for Christmas. As a bonus, family pictures by the beach make exotic unconventional Seasons greetings cards for your entire family.

Phuket Central Floresta’s top stores

Daddy’s work appointments were in the area of Central Floresta, and that is why we picked The Westin Siray Bay, a good compromise to be close to the beach and not to far for his daily meetings.
Baby and I got to explore the mall, and as habits and routines are always reassuring for first-time mom me, I was happy to find similar options as in Central Bangkok in terms of any baby supplies I could need (from diapers to baby toys). And also, a comfy baby changing room and nursing room.

In Central Floresta, these are the places I believe are worth a visit: 

The Shack Organic Cafe
A health food cafe where you can have strong and delicious bulletproof coffee. 

Happy kids Club
Indoor children’s playground with trampoline, kids workshops, library, a party area, and a separated play space for babies and toddlers.

Elephant poopoopaper
That was something new to me! I am not sure if that store (was it a pop-up?) is still there today, but if you haven’t seen that brand and project before, that is one funny and sustainable one, that will make out of the box gifts for Christmas!

What are your special places in Phuket?

If you liked reading about Joëlle’s Phuket tips, you might like Frey’s expat tips about the island too. You can find it here

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