The resort we were staying at, Mai Khao Lak, backed onto the beach. You basically walk out the back of the resort and hit the beach. The resort ‘owned’ a section with it’s own bar and deck chairs. They held a few yoga and boxing classes there too. I never did manage to get to any of them, although watched a few while the kids were playing in the sand. The length of the beach running either direction from the resort was full of massage, laundry and hair braiding set-ups. There were also a tonne of beach restaurants to eat and drink at. Some restaurants doubled as laundry, hair braiding and massage places too!
Astrid likes nothing better than a beach visit. Despite spending most of our time in the pool, swimming directly from our room, she did request some beach visits. It was far more effort to pack up towels, buckets, spades, drinks and children and walk the 300 odd metres down to the beach, but we went down a few times for a play. Luckily we often had to deposit some laundry or get hair braided, or beach crepes so there was an excuse for a beach trip.
Despite Astrid having her own sandpit at home, and one at preschool, digging in the sand is one of her favourite things to do. Soren is also partial to some beach digging. Luckily the beach was flat and full of sand and shells. So much to keep them occupied. We usually went down in the morning before it was too hot and busy and let them have a good run and dig.
Soren is always a bit iffy about whether he likes the water or not at the beach. He was a bit unsure at first but it wasn’t long before he was sitting in the shallows letting the water wash over him. The waves were oh-so-huge (non-existent) and pretty much how both Astrid and Soren like it. The water was also a balmy 28 or so degrees. Pretty kid friendly. Not much excitement for Anto, who likes waves, but the kids loved it. I still vastly prefer pools due to the lack of sand but it was hours of fun for the kids.
We had a couple of included dinners at the resort but all the other nights we headed down to the beach. There were plenty of beach restaurants to pick from and we tried a few out over the week, with a favourite getting a few repeat visits. As a vegetarian (who does not eat fish/seafood) it was often slim pickings and we sometimes needed a translator to make sure there was no fish sauce or oyster sauce in things but as long as I liked spring rolls and green papaya salad I was right. Lucky the cocktails were cheap and plentiful! The meat eaters always did well and Soren and Astrid are fish and lobster fiends. Cheap on the beach in Thailand, not so much at home so they had better curb their expensive tastes.
Both kids loved being able to play in the sand during dinner. We tried to restrict that to after dinner, but it was very hard to convince Soren that the giant sandpit wasn’t for mid-dinner entertainment. On the upside once we had got sick of wrangling them we could let them loose on the beach for some play time while the adults finished their dinner. As far as the kids were concerned, dinner at the beach and post dinner running around with sticks, sand and shells couldn’t be beat.
The sunsets were certainly impressive. We tried to get to dinner quite early as the kids lose the plot if it gets too late. This gave us plenty of opportunity to watch the sun go down. Most nights there was a brilliant orange or red sun, and being so close to the equator it would disappear very quickly. Literally there one minute and gone the next. It certainly wasn’t the worst view in the world while eating and drinking.
We might have been well and truly back at the hotel, with kids showered and in bed by the time most people were heading out for the night, but we got nice quiet restaurants, spectacular sunsets and the undivided attention of the restaurant staff. Winning!
*This blog post may have been written and edited under the influence of alcohol……. dinner involved Long Island Iced Teas, the waitress informed us ‘I made them myself, they are very good, lots of alcohol’. She wasn’t kidding!*