There have been a lot of trips that have been happening lately, so I’ve been running behind on the trip reports. Last year, I had booked myself one of the cheap fares to Tokyo, which allowed me and Shipra to travel to Japan during the Cherry Blossom season.
Earlier this year, over a meal, I and my friends discussed that we needed to resume our once-a-year buddy trips, which usually ended up being over the Indian Independence Day long weekends at Park Hyatt Goa. However, much had changed. Many people had moved from India to other parts of the world, such as Singapore and Australia. So, we agreed we needed to lock in a location which was largely one-flight away for everyone, given many had young kids, even toddlers. Also, with an international group now, Indian Independence Day did not count for much, so we moved the dates to the Easter long weekend.
Bangkok would have usually been a good choice, but we wanted to be somewhere by the sea. So, we figured with flights to Phuket being launched by GoAir and IndiGo, it might be a good place to explore. Most of my friends booked up very quickly on the GoAir Mumbai – Phuket – Mumbai flight, given they had only one consideration, non-stop flights. But I did not like the return timings of the flight, taking off at 8:30 AM on a Sunday from a beach vacation was not my idea of fun.
Shipra and I looked at Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways to see what other options we had, but nothing came in at less than 8 hours in terms of travel time. So, eventually, we did not see an option but to book the GoAir Mumbai flights as well. We booked the GoAir flights using my HDFC Bank Diners Club Points, using them for their INR 1 value each.
Once the flights were booked, we looked for hotels. Phuket has a tonne of hotels, and all the prominent chains are present, and so are boutique hotels. Marriott International had a large number of hotels there, 13 to be precise, and I started exploring their range. My friends researched the Novotels of the world. Eventually, we settled at a Marriott which had it’s own beachfront, was not very expensive, and was able to offer us a good deal when we asked them for about 10 rooms at their hotel.
After we made this call and booked up everything, the Thai government decided to extend the free Visa on Arrival for 21 nations as well, including India, so that saved another 4,000 to 8,000 baht for everyone.
Watch out for the review of the GoAir flight(s) and the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach in the coming days.