Thailand is one of those countries that can have your drooling just by mentioning it. There is plenty to do, but sometimes nothing to do, while lounging on the beach like a castaway character is also an option that will very much be a one you might want to include as the scenery calls for it, demands it, so you can do is sit still and have those shiny little marbles take it all it and gaze in wonder at just how amazingly beautiful the land is. Hey, don't be too surprised if your minds start questioning how the world can be so bad with all the crap your news feeds are inundated with, we have such flawless beautiful right before your very own eyes. Okay, I guess it's clear that I fell in love with Phuket and Thailand in General. So, if you have a spare flight ticket...I have no doubt I will be heading back to Thailand someday in the meantime I have take places on the Island that you need to check out when visiting Phuket. If your idea paradise is hoping from one palm-fringed island to the next then Thailand is the place for you! More precisely Phuket is one island you want to head to pronto! There is plenty to do so I will give you a run down of a few things you might want to consider adding to your itinerary.
1 Phi Phi Island By Speed Boat
Soft sand riggling between your toes as they disappear into clear crystal water that turns blue as your head rises from your feet into the horizon. This is truly a magical place. Tours here usually offload tourist in droves which would make any place lose its luster but not this place! You also do have the option to have a private rental boat, which works out more cost effective if you are in a small group to share the cost and you can stop at the popular stop before or after the tours leave with the crowds. Either way, a tour to Phi Phi island is a must. More on this and picture can be found on my post with tips on how to book the tours to Phi Phi Islands
2. Big Buddha
This is Phuket's most important landmarks. A 45-meter tall Buddha statue which can be seen from miles away sits atop of the Nakkered Hills. Visiting Big Buddha has another plus to it, the 360-degree views of the islands and its beaches can all be seen from the hill. Big Buddha is located in Chalong, the site is open from 8.30am to 7.30pm.
3. Phang Nga Bay
James Bond location scouts have made this into a star that would rival Bond himself(would that be Roger Moore as Bond). Another must do tour what you are on the island. This tour also takes yours around the hongs. You can have the day tours that make a couple of stops with your guided tour of the hongs on an inflatable row boat or you also have tours here that include a day and night visit to the hongs. More on my tour to Phang Nga Bay.
4. Phuket Fanta Sea
FantaSea is Phuket's Cultural theme park which showcases Thai heritage in an evening of dining with entertainment on a 60-acre carnival village. It is also the island's most extravagant shows. The carnival's village included stalls where jewellery, Thai silk products and other goods are sold but once settled into on of the 4000-seat buffet restaurant, you are in for a night of stage acrobatics, dancing, illusions and stunts bringing Thailand's legends in a 70-minute show. Tickets to FantaSea are around £40/$50.
5. Patong And Phuket's Other famous Beaches
Phuket has amazing beaches, from the quiet ones to the lively beaches with party-hardy types. One of my favourites is Mai Khao Beach where Renaissance is located. That beaches you want to add to your list at Patong Beach which is the most famous of them all. If you want a good party then party, then Patong is where people come out to play. There are hundreds of restaurants, bars, night clubs. For a quieter experience without going too far out, head to Kamala Beach which lies north of the lively Patong and offers a more relaxed feel surrounded by forested hills.
6. Old Phuket Town
This is where you will find old and unique Sino-Portuguese architecture. Check out Thalang, Dibuk, and Krabi Roads. They are lined with beautiful 100-year old shops and houses with oozing with European influences in a style which include British and Portuguese influence who came to the island to stake their claim on the booming tin industry wealth of a century ago.
7. Raya Restaurant
Although we didn't spot any A-lists when we drop nearby, Raya Restaurant is said to be frequented by A-list movie stars, prime ministers and royalty who come to lap up delicious Thai meals. It is housed in a mansion built in the early 20th century. If you like the food you can also sign up for Thai cooking classes. Located on Dibuk Road in Old Phuket Town. Open 10am-10pm. Worth a stop as the food is also reasonably priced.
8. Bike Tour
Check out Koh Yao via a bike tour that takes you to less explored parts of the island that take you through fishing villages, rice paddies, unique mosques and natural beauties. The tour included a lunch as well while you cover 30km of land. The tour costs about £80/$90 and runs for about 10 hours, with an English-speaking guide.
Having been in Cambodia before flying to Thailand I was already a massage addict by the time I arrived in the country. Going cold turkey was not an option so the only option was to continue with this feel-good ritual or spreading yourself in your birthday suit and allowing the Thai ladies take you to heaven. Hold your horses! There were no "happy ending" on my menu, thank you very much! I would gladly head back to Cambodia or Thailand for those massages. For $5-10, can you see why they made it onto this list of things to do in this part of the world? Trust me, you will thank me. Your body will thank you. If you do get a happy ending, keep that between you and the hands that get you there...Jesus
For such a small Island it does have enough markets to keep you busy with bargain hunting. Most open after the heat of the day has passed and closed late in the evening. Check out Phuket Weekend Market. It's the largest of all night markets on the island. It's very popular which means crowds! For something a little less crowded, check out Phuket Walking Street Market which is set in the Old Town, selling handcrafts, clothes, and other apparel. For a local touch check out Ind Market which is local bring their own goods for sale, a little different to professional peddlers. Indy Market is also a lot quiet compared to Weekend Market. Malin Plaza Patong also has a market which is popular for its food stalls. Within the same area is also where you will find Royal Paradise Night Market which is a collection of 100 stalls selling a range of goods from clothes, mobile phones, accessories and many other items.
Where to Stay
As I was in Phuket for some time I opted to stay at a few places to suit my plans for exploring the island with minimal travel time between where I was staying and parts of the island I was going to be exploring. If you are budget conscious then you can check out Gold digger's resorts. I must admit I was a bit suspicious about the kind of place it was going to be but still chose this place because of the name. I wasn't disappointed. I actually liked it. You are not going to be swinging on Chandeliers but it's charming little places to chill out without breaking the bank. You can have a look at my linked post for details. If you fall into the mid-range budget, then check out Ikon hotel. It's a new hotel which I actually haven't managed to review yet. I highly recommend getting a room with the sea views, its perfect for watching the sunset or sunrise depending on when in the year you visit. Breakfast was great, lovely pool and service to much. Also, a plus was the fact that there are restaurants across the street in addition to the massage place that is across the street so that you can get that daily massage right before bed. I think I became a little addicted because I was in there every night!!! If I wasn't straight, I tell you I would have married them just so I can get a lifetime of massages without paying... For those with a budget that can stretch without too much panic, you can check out Renaissance which comes with quiet beaches, private little villas with your own little pool to skinny dip in while your lover watches from the bed. That was not a confection by the way...I am merely inspiring ideas in you. I shared a couple of posts from my stay at Renaissance. The majority of the hotels are along the eastern part of the island with a variety of options from backpackers budget to big rental homes that would satisfy Brad and Angelina if they each wanted a wing to themselves. The only question is what budget you have.