We just got back from Patong 23 June - 06 July - Sorry a bit long..couldn't stop
Flew Strategic BNE - HKT direct. Have flown with other airlines and also with VAustralia direct last year. I would rate them on the lowest end of the scale. We travelled with 2 kids 4 and 7 yrs. The seating is 2 4 2 we sat in rows 10 and 11 A B. So both kids had a window. I found it very hot on the plane, but when I walked down the back of the plane many passengers had blankets over them so I think it varied where you sat. I found the service quite poor. We were 1 hour delayed going to Phuket and over 2 hours delayed coming home. The childs meal on the plane is a very dried out pasta which was the same meal as my VGML meal I ordered. My children did get hungry on the flight and I asked for a biscuit or something for them to eat. They only had nuts and rice pieces in a packet which they handed out at the start of the flight. I also asked for lemonade (ran out) and she could not offer me either. Too bad if you have a nut allergy. I told her the nut mix was not really suitable for kids so they stayed hungry.
I would not fly with them again. If you are flying with them be prepared for them to be delayed as they are relying on the one/two planes that do this service. Older tired looking planes, seats worn and my husband tv screen didn't work and it was not fixed on the flight back as the people in those same seats were complaining the tv did not work.
If you are flying with them from Phuket and are delayed 2-3 hours I would reccommend paying for the coral lounge. It is 900 baht per adult and half price for kids. We unfortuneately realised the location of the coral lounge too late. Otherwise we would have definately paid the money. Watched the sunset and had nice food and drink whilst waiting the long wait for the flight. The food is very expensive at the airport if you are buying dinner as the plane is not leaving until 9pm. Buying food and drinks for a family of four ...well worth the coral lounge and it is right next to gate 8 which is the old VAustralia gates.
Holiday Inn Patong - We stayed in Superior Room one night and then the Kids Suite for the rest of the time 12 nights. I also looked at the Family Suite and don't really think it is worth the extra money. The kids suite is just the right size. Enough room for everyone and it is bigger than the superior rooms.
I could not fault anything at this hotel. We used the babysitters a lot as the kids got very tired from the heat. Baby sitting 250 baht per hour for 2 kids so about $8.00 an hour. Who wouldn't take it up. The babysitters are the cleaners often from the floor that we were on. 2nd Floor
We even had a babysitter watch our kids in the kids pool and have lunch at the pool, my son ordered lunch and signed. We would have no hesitation with any of them. They loved the kids and would hug our daughter the next day when we passed them in the corridor when they were cleaning other rooms.
My son thought the kids club was a little boring, and it was a lot smaller than it looked on the internet. Not a lot in the room. He is 7 yrs...if they have friends there age they may enjoy it a little better. We often had breaky and then took the kids to the pools then they swam and cooled down for a few hours, went up to the room and ordered toasted sandwhiches for lunch for the kids and then the babysitter came to the room. The kids would then keep out of the heat of the day watch a movie and play video games, it worked well ... we would then shop when everything opened after lunch.
Not really happy with Daj driver, Booked him for a airport pickup.. he shook my husbands hand said I'm Daj and then someone else drove us to the Holiday Inn. I did'nt bother using him for any tours and I cancelled him on the return transfer. The driver he palmed us off could not speak much English as we asked him to drive carefully as our son was very sick from the flight and gets car sick..he did not understand.. but did say he was same same as Daj book Daj and you get him for day tour same price..
I do not understand why these private drivers ask so much 1800 for a day tour. We found a lovely Tuk Tuk driver..my son does not get car sick in them and they are more fun. He was out front of Jindas Shop his name is Dang and older driver. He was an excellent and safe driver. We got his mobile and used him the whole 2 weeks for all of our day trips. I don't understand why you would pay 1800 baht for a day trip. We told Dang where we wanted to go and he took us. They get there money from where they take you. We went to Big Buddha, Phuket Shooting range for the tandem go karts for the kids.. shot some guns...went for lunch and then to Kok Chang Safari. He would ask in the morning if we would like to go to monkey show...gem factory etc but we just said no and what we wanted and he was happy with that. My son was looking a bit hot and bothered when we were feeding the elephants, He sat in the shade with Dang and Dang went and got him his own popper drink out of his esky and gave it to my son to drink. We always paid more that what was asked as we felt he was very safe and we did what we wanted. His number 086 942 1499
We went to Chez Bernards as it had such good reviews, we went at about 2:00pm for a late lunch whilst kids were in kids club.It was the worst meal. The shrimp cakes were frozen in the middle not cooked and hot on the outside, the prawns in our soups were off, I took one bite and spat it out. Didn't bother eating their again.
The best meals were the hot noodle soups from the carts. I just asked for no meat as I don't eat it and they were 30-40 baht per bowl..delicious!
Jindas Shop....She now knows us very well. Not worth going anywhere else. She is a lovely Thai lady and son. Her prices start low and no need to barter which is lovely. Some of the shop owners (particularly the Indian owners ) start off at such riduculous prices it would take you 1/2 hour to get down to the "right" price and then you are too hot and bothered to buy the thing. Jindas prices billabong togs ladies 200 bht, mens singlets 100 baht, kids clothes 100 baht, billabong shorts mens 300 baht, ladies shirts nicer ones with glitter etc 150 baht, sarongs 100 baht. Such a nice lady and her son...they were so kind to our kids and had such a nice manner.
Did James Bond Island with Phuket Sail tours and was not really that impressed. I enjoyed Phi Phi with them a lot more last year. I found the tour very rushed and not that relaxing. James Bond island is a let down the shop owners hound you as soon as you hop off. So not really relaxing. The village was okay but again more people asking you to buy things and after hearing that at Patong you sort of want to get away from it on a boat trip. The village lunch was excellent very yummy but the walking on the 'bridge' to the village was very dangerous for kids,,just sticks.
My son did not want to go into the cave at the start of the tour as he was scared. My husband went on with our daughter and said it was very claustrophobic. We would have enjoyed the tour more if it was just us. To be honest I think Phi Phi is better for kids as it is more relaxing and more swimming. You only swim at the very end of the day on the Phang Nga Bay tour. We were well and truly ready for a swim at the end of the day.
..We had a fantastic holiday. Lovely last night at the Tipsy Prawn on the beach good food..cold beer the kids playing in the sand and we all said our wishes and let off a lantern that they sell on the beach.
We wish to come back next year.. Fantastic Holiday!!
Way to long I know..sorry Nicky