Michael Taylor embarks on his first press trip as a travel blogger. He is flown to Phuket, Thailand, where he joins several other journalists and travel writers as they explore the tropical paradise.
If you have ever wondered what it is like to be a travel writer, here is your chance to travel vicariously through me as I embarks on my latest adventures – if, of course, you consider staying at 5 star resorts, dining at restaurants serving haute cuisine, imbibing vintage wines, and spending afternoons on yachts or having spa treatments “an adventure”.
Early last month, I was one of seven journalists from Hong Kong and two from Singapore that boarded Dragonair flights headed for the Southern Thai island of Phuket for a familiarization trip to check out the the beach resort’s newest luxury offering, Andara Resort & Villas.
A photographer and a model accompanied the entourage. For me, the three hour flight was more pleasant than usual.
Rather than being seated next to love-sick newlyweds or fidgety kids or someone playing computer games with annoying sound effects or a businessman typing madly on his laptop, I found myself seated next to a charming Filipino couple, who had spent 42 years living and working in New York City.
Because they were Asians that had spent most of their lives in the United States, and I was an American that had spent much of his adult life in Asia, we quickly found common ground. We chatted the whole way over.
Before I knew it, the pilot was advising the flight crew to take their seats for landing.
The time had quite literally flown by. If only I could get seated next to such nice people more often, I might not dread air travel so much!
I enjoy traveling, but for me, getting there is most definitely not half the fun – unless, of course, I have been upgraded to Business Class.
(My favourite part of flying Business Class is getting to board first and sit comfortably sipping champagne while the teeming masses are hurded past me into Cattle Class.)
VIP Treatment on Arrival
Upon arrival, we were met by a young lady in a smart uniform. She took us to the VIP lane at customs. But it did not really make much of a difference. This was the off season so the queues were not very long.
But it would have been a real plus if this had been peak season, when immigration lines at Phuket International Airport can be daunting.
A van awaited to whisk us to the Yacht Haven Marina, where we boarded one of Andara’s two customized Italian designed yachts. Our bags, meanwhile, were transferred directly to the hotel. If only every trip to get off to such a stress free start!