Our trip to Australia began with a side trip to Phuket to celebrate Bron’s birthday and a special event in the lives of our dear friends, Monica and Jo.

To offer a little history. Bron and Monica have been friends for 20 years since Bron first went to live in the Riverland. After Bron and Bob met we all remained friends and were very excited when Monica and Jo met up – on Bron’s birthday in 2005. A month earlier in that same year, Bron and Bob got married in Juneau Alaska – on Monica’s birthday. So when they agreed to have us share a celebration of their commitment on Bron’s birthday, we were only too happy to detour to Phuket.

We arrived on the 18th August a little tired after the flight from Birmingham via Dubai. By happy coincidence, we met up with our friends in the hotel lobby at about 10.30 at night, just after we had arrived and as they returned from a shopping expedition to nearby Patong Beach. After a long awaited catch up we retreated to get some much-needed sleep before reconvening the following morning over breakfast. We very much enjoy the breakfasts in Sout East Asian hotels and this one was no exception.

A lazy start enjoying the hotel pool and then a trip to Patong Beach for a look around and a little shopping was the order of the day. So many tourists! So many things to look at!

We also decided to take an all-day boat ride to Phi Phi Island the following day so after a delicious buffet dinner, we had an earlier night in readiness.

The trip to Phi Phi Islands started with a bus ride to the port followed by a briefing of how the day would unfold and of course the standard safety briefing. Then into our boat with about 16 other passengers and off out to sea. We visited several significant tourist spots – some crowded, some peaceful – enjoyed some snorkeling and swimming, and a magnificent lunch on Phi Phi Island itself. Tired out on our return we had a quick happy hour drink and snack, and said goodnight.

We started the following day with a birthday breakfast for Bron and then all four of us went to the spa for a couples 2-hour body scrub and massage. Everyone felt renewed after that fabulous experience, if a little spaced out. One of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

We returned to our rooms to get ready for the commitment ceremony and celebration and Bron was surprised to have a special birthday cake delivered to the room. The staff there really knew how to make guests feel special. And they did not let us down in creating a beautiful space to hold the ceremony overlooking the bay.

The celebrant that Monica and Jo had secured, led a lovely ceremony witnessed by Bob and Bron as well as the resort manager, Day, and a few of his staff that had worked tirelessly to make this a very memorable occasion for our friends. After lots of photos (set up by Jo as he is an award-winning wedding photographer but taken by Bob) we toasted the happy couple and enjoyed the beautiful ambiance. The staff also gave us a stunning table on the balcony of the restaurant to celebrate further that evening.

All too soon we said our farewells because Bob and Bron had to leave at 6.00am to catch their flight to Adelaide (via long stopovers in Singapore and Melbourne).

What a stunning way to start our visit to Australia meeting up and celebration with our dear friends, Monica and Jo – thank you both.

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