Cruise Specialists hosts Steve and Wendy Bodenheimer are taking us along on another amazing journey. We hope this series shows you what you can expect on a Holland America Grand Voyage. Here are previous peeks: Grand voyage send off, what to expect at sea, Polynesia, New Zealand, Western Australia and Singapore.
Once again, we only had one short day, this time in Phuket, Thailand. How to make the most of it?
- Many of our fellow Guests were going to the Siam Elephant Camps for a day with the gentle giants.
- Others went to Phi Phi Island, a world renown tropical paradise for swimming and snorkeling.
- Quite a few small groups headed toward some of the beautiful resorts for an afternoon of Thai massage or other spa treatments.
- Others just took taxis or tuk-tuks into Phuket Town.
We hosted our third cocktail party last night. Around 175 people attended over the two hours set aside for us.
We met some of our new Cruise Specialists Guests that joined the ship in Singapore and Hong Kong and had a good chance to visit with many we just don’t see much on a normal day. We were also happy to see the Guests meeting each other for the first time.
Several went off to dinner with new found friends! That’s what our group is all about.
Our next stop was Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. When we visited here in 2016, we did a city tour with lunch at the Galle Face Hotel right on the Indian Ocean. It was brutally hot at around 100 degrees. We remember walking along the Galle Face Green, a seaside promenade that runs in front of the hotel and although it is beautiful, there is no shade and we were melting.
This visit, we had an all-day tour to the Millennium Elephant Foundation. It was a 2.5-3.0 hour air conditioned bus ride on a rather non-scenic, very heavily traveled road with one lane in each direction.
The privately owned Foundation we visited provides medical care and facilities for local elephants. There are currently 10 elephants living there and we got to see, feed, and walk with 5 of them. One of our Guests went into the water to help bathe one of them, even though our guide suggested the stagnant water this time of year could be a source of multiple types of infections.
We had a buffet lunch of typical Sri Lankan Curry and Rice. Their local beer, called Lion, comes in a gigantic bottle and was more than enough for two to share. They did serve tea (the preferred drink) but we didn’t get a chance to taste it.
We also took a tour of the Maximus Elephant Dung Paper Factory located on the same grounds. Yes, you read that right.
They use the elephant poop, which is mostly fiber, to make paper and decorative paper products. They seem to be a big employer in the area and part of their profits go to the Elephant Foundation. Most of us purchased something from their store.
Stay tuned for the next stop!
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