Rachael Finch

Honeymooning at Sri Panwa

I always wondered why a honeymoon was called a honeymoon. Some people believe the name is derived from ancient customs where newlyweds drank honeyed wine for a month after marriage, others believe it’s as simple as time with your ‘honey’ under the ‘moon’. Whatever the reason I’ve now experienced mine and I want to hit the rewind button.

Michael and I were born in winter months but our love for summer goes far beyond a dip in the pool. To celebrate becoming man and wife we decided to pack light, jump on a plane and head to Phuket in Thailand. Admittedly $10 massages were on the forefront of our minds and we hadn’t planned much beyond one of those every day for the next few weeks. But learning about new cultures by experiencing a different way of life is one reason I love travel so much.

After arriving into Phuket airport and wandering down a line of traffic that appeared to have no systematic approach yet an abundance of confidence, we somehow found our mini van amongst the sea of vehicles. Sri Panwa was our new home for the next few weeks, a stunning resort in the southeast of Phuket perched on top of Cape Panwa. Awarded one of the finest resorts in Thailand, it sits on 32 acres of tropical land with panoramic views of the Andaman Sea. There’s only 60 villas within the property and the resort has its own private beach. Honeymoons are pretty rare, right? We wanted to indulge!

Our welcome at the resort included a cold towel, cup of chilled lemon tea and friendly escort to our room with a guided tour. We should of brought the family along… Of all the places I’ve traveled for work, this was the most beautiful, luxurious & spacious places I’ve ever stayed. Our private villa included a 12 metre infinity pool, indoor & outdoor jet spa, rain shower, steam room, separate lounge & dining room, surround sound system and unlimited mini bar. I wondered if there was a program of events manual somewhere in the room?

Both my Dad and brother served in the military and always taught me the importance of attention to detail in service. Sri Panwa had it down like clockwork – every day we came back to fresh flowers, cold towels in the fridge, a quote card on our pillows placed next to miniature sea shells, a cute brochure on the dining table detailing local, seasonal fruits and even a preloaded iPod with music to suit any occasion. Any woman can appreciate the finer details!

Despite the in-room comforts, we’re a couple that can’t sit still for too long and new adventures are always on top of our to-do list. Sri Panwa have a private jet boat that can take you out to explore the surrounding islands. We cruised out to Maya Bay for some snorkelling, ate lunch on Phi Phi Don island, fed a group of wild monkeys on Monkey Beach and laid like lizards on Kai Island. I don’t drink much alcohol but I tried a piña colada for the first time which came served in a coconut and ironically tasted just like a coconut milkshake. I couldn’t have more than one. Mish enjoyed the Heineken!

I always say that next to love food is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Local restaurants in town did not disappoint serving up traditional pad thai and steamed ginger & garlic snapper with eyes and all, but we found the city catered to a lot of international flavours also. One day for lunch we sat in the middle of Patong and ate ‘Borscht’, a traditional Russian soup, at an Asian infused Russian restaurant. It was quite fitting considering the occasion. We ordered room service an awful lot but my favourite place to eat was Baba Pool Club in Sri Panwa. The indoor/ outdoor restaurant had an infinity lap pool, the occasional live performance of an evening and a menu the size of a small novel. One of my favourite moments from the trip was when Michael got me up to dance in the middle of the restaurant. We also dined at the Pool Club for breakfast in the morning and I really enjoyed having an abundance of fresh fruit and freshly squeezed juices. The grapefruit was pretty unreal.

We indulged in those delicious $10 massages we’d been dreaming about since before leaving, but actually questioned having too many by the end of the trip after feeling like spaghetti strings. We balanced our days and nights with a casual combination of street shopping, elephant shows, Thai boxing demonstrations, kayaking off Sri Panwa’s beach, shooting snipers at the shooting range and seeing one of Thailands cultural shows – Siam Niramit. It was interesting learning about the history of Thailand through phenomenal stage sets & costuming, but we really enjoyed the festival-like atmosphere before the show. Michael won me a huge teddy bear by landing rings on the top of coke bottles. It was too big to carry home. Something I really enjoyed getting up early for one day was a yoga class at Sri Panwa’s Cool Spa. I had a one-on-one practice at sunrise on top of the spas sky deck. Incredibly uplifting.

Spending time together on holidays any time of the year is a treat, but spending those first few weeks as husband and wife, drinking honeyed wine or not, is a truly unforgettable memory. It wouldn’t of mattered where we were.

Tips for travel in Phuket –
1. Don’t be shy to bargain! If you’re shopping at street markets always try talk your seller down to a lower price – they usually meet you half way and everyone does it.
2. Drink bottled water. To avoid any unnecessary obstacles on your trip always order bottled water and have some extras delivered to your room to brush your teeth with.
3. Practice a little lingo to impress the locals! “Sawaddee ka” means hello and “Khobkhun ka” will have you saying thank you in Thai.

Our top 3 activities in Phuket –
1. Island hopping. Get up early and spend a whole day exploring the turquoise waters. Hire a snorkel set with flippers and try a fresh coconut water on the beach.
2. Yoga at Cool Spa in Sri Panwa. Take an early morning class, then spoil yourself with a treatment afterwards. If you have a massage you can chose from a selection of yummy scented oils.
3. Bangla road. Simply walking down this energetic street in Patong at night is an activity in itself. You may not want to do it more than once but it’s an eye-opener.

We booked our holiday through The Luxe Nomad, who were the loveliest people ever and made everything SUPER easy! If you want any information please get in contact with them:

www.theluxenomad.com
www.facebook.com/theluxenomad
www.twitter.com/TheLuxeNomad

Our room

Our room

Outdoor showers are scattered throughout the resort. I had about 6 a day.

A variety of fresh fruit was served daily at the Baba Poolclub restaurant.

A variety of fresh fruit was served daily at the Baba Poolclub restaurant.

LOVED taking the kayaks out for an adventure!

I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to do a one-on-one yoga session on the deck.

I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to do a one-on-one yoga session on the deck.

Coconut water replaces normal water.

Enough said.

Common street food in Thailand. Misha tried some although I wasn't game enough to.

Common street food in Thailand. Misha tried some although I wasn’t game enough to.

Island hopping.

The view from the Baba Poolclub!

 

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