I have visited Phuket Thailand a couple of times now, and all I can say is that I want to go back!
I first visited Phuket with my family in 2009 and went back again in 2011 with my now-Husband, and it was his first overseas holiday. When you first arrive in Phuket, it is a real eye-opener. I remember my husband when we first landed and were driving from the airport to our resort was freaking out how they drive on the roads, especially the scooters when there is a whole family on board with no helmets!
Phuket has an array accommodation to suit every budget; you can stay in a shack for $40 a month or stay in a five-star resort with ocean views for a couple of hundred a night (I’m more of an ocean views type of girl myself).
I have stayed at two 5 star resorts and both are great to stay at, for their location and the choice in places to eat onsite. Le Meridien and Movenpick Resorts are previous places I have stayed at and both offer a variety of accommodation types to suit everyone whether you’re there for business, with family, or on a romantic couples holiday.
Activities wise, there is elephant trekking, local zoos, jet skiing, shopping, parasailing, hikes… the list goes on! I think there was almost a different activity every day we were in Thailand, so you are never bored. Take a tuk tuk down to Patong and shop at Jungceylon Shopping Mall – this place is huge! I kept sneaking back to the Disney section and bought a bunch of plush toys and towels (I am a big kid at heart) and was surprisingly cheap. The books here are also dirt cheap considering they are double, if not triple, the price back home.
If you’re after some knock-off handbags or clothes, then head to OTOP Shopping Paradise, no where better (in my opinion) to get that knock off Louis Vuitton or Chanel handbag from. I still have, from 8 years ago on my first trip to Thailand, a Chanel handbag and Louis Vuitton backpack and they look brand new, and have been used a million times, but, I also bought these from the “back room” when at the stalls. If you want the better quality (more expensive, but better quality) items, then you always go to the ‘back room’ to have a look. Any items that were purchased from the open stall basically broke the same day or not long after.
The people of Thailand are very friendly and welcoming, but don’t get too friendly in the marketplace. You will be harassed into buying items from every single stall, and especially if you have a lot of shopping bags, keep walking and do not stop unless you want to be guilted into buying stuff you don’t want or need (not everyone tries this tactic but it is getting more and more common).
While down in Patong, head to Bangla Road at night, it really comes alive once the sun sets. This is the perfect place to grab some cheap beers, to party, or if you’re curious like me, venture out to see how the nightlife in Thailand really is. There are people walking around everywhere, from tourists and locals, to ladyboys and everything in between. There are people walking around with iguanas and monkeys (beware, may look like you are innocently looking or touching these animals, but they spring a fee on you after you have done so!) and those trying to sell stuff or lure you to a nightclub or bar near by. It is something you have to witness at least once whilst in Phuket – though I have thankfully never witnessed the Ping Pong Show!
If you’re looking for adventure, then there is a tonne to do in Phuket, but be careful what you proceed with. Whilst it might look fun to hire a cheap bike to cruise around the streets or a jetski and ride around the bay, or book a parasail to have a view from above, it is not worth it. The amount of incidents I have seen whilst there in person, or hear on the news back home is alarming and frankly, don’t know why people bother putting themselves in that kind of danger when the risk is so high and insurance does not cover you if something happens whilst partaking in these activities. There are other ways to do something exciting whilst in Thailand, whether it’s seeing live shows, going for a hike, take a canoe/boat trip to untouched islands… I cannot describe how amazing some of these other activities are until you’ve been there in person.
Now for the important stuff – food! Thankfully, at both resorts I have stayed at there were so many restaurants or bars to eat from that we hardly ever had to eat off the resort. Both Le Meridien and Movenpick offer a range of different food options to cater every palate so we were more than satisfied, but there are some restaurants off site that are fine to eat at – always read reviews! One such restaurant we ventured to (and I loved) was Da Maurizio Beach Side Restaurant; the views are sensational and I have never had better gnocchi than here.
Any place you eat in any country can be hit or miss, but we are extremely cautious, especially now, about seafood, as my dad spent 4 days in the hospital whilst in Thailand after eating at a high end restaurant and was violently ill. Street food is another one which can be hit or miss – I’ve only eaten fried bananas from the street vendor as our driver bought them for us so didn’t want to be rude – but I have heard some horror stories.
Thailand is known as ‘The Land of Smiles’ and it is true, they are always smiling. Phuket is a great destination, whether it is for a family, a single who likes to party or a couple wanting a romantic getaway. As mentioned previously, I have already been twice, and would happily go a million times more.