Recently, a friend of mine suggested we should travel to Phuket, Thailand for our birthday. Although it doesn’t seem as popular as Bangkok, I was still thrilled about this idea. Ecstatic even! Phuket turned out to be a great introduction to Southeast Asia. This province, consisting of one large and 32 smaller islands, is not too crowded, it offers diverse activities and its beaches are a heaven on Earth.
As soon as our tickets were booked, I tried to get practical. Of course, the first thing I did was research the area and relying on the methods I suggested in my previous post. I put together an itinerary for the entire group, even though it was a loose one, it was quite challenging, as most of the people in the group are flight attendants and their schedules are hectic! Traveling from the US travel time approximately last two days, plus two for going back home. Yet, we found a way to maximize our time in Phuket/Patong.
Read Travel: How To Use Social Media To Plan Your Next Trip
For all of you, who are heading to Phuket soon, here are some tips and tricks to seize your vacation the best you can.
Prices may vary depending on the season. Try to explore different options online and find the best deals. Here are some suggestions to start with.
-Aspery Hotel (3 stars, 5/41-51 Patong Beach Road, Patong): One of the cheapest options and great if you don’t care about luxury. The prices are a bit above $20. More info here.
-Deevana Patong Resort and Spa (4 stars, 43/2 Raj-U-Thid 200 Pee Road, Patong, Thailand): With the price range of $50-60+, this place offers a very cozy accommodation.
-Diamond Cliff Resort and Spa (5 stars, 284 Prabaramee Road, Patong, Thailand): A deluxe option featuring a private beach! The prices go over $100 per night. More info here.
Amari Hotel (2 Meun-Ngern Road, Patong Beach, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand)
More info here.
Indochine Resort and Spa
Read my full review here.
Phuket (HKT) Arrival
If you are traveling from the US, you will most probably arrive late. Use that first night to accommodate and get a good dose of sleep. Trust me, you’ll want to have all the energy you can the next day when you open your eyes and see all the beauty of Phuket.
Landmark Tour Day (7.30 am)
We were lucky enough to get familiar with the island through a Landmark Tour with Phuket Tours wit Jo. The group gathered at Indochine Hotel and heads for 9 hours of touring. Here’s what we saw and enjoyed on the tour:
–Karon Viewpoint: This place is like a teaser trailer for the beauty of Phuket.
–Promthep Cape: Perhaps the best-known location for a great view in Phuket.
–Big Buddha: It’s not big. It’s huge. It’s spectacular!
–Wat Chalong: This is one of the most important Buddhist landmarks on the island.
-A stop for local lunch after sightseeing in Phuket Old Town: This was a unique opportunity for trying authentic Thai specialties in a historical environment.
Our tour guide, Jo, was amazing. She wasn’t only well-informed but she was also open to the group’s suggestions. Yes, we could customize our adventure! Read the full review of our tour!
Shopping and Beach Day in Patong
Patong is a shopping paradise even for the most avid shoppers. In fact, it can be an adventurous experience. Sharpen your negotiation skills to get a good deal, and don’t look to eager to buy. This little game is traditional in a way.
When you are done with your shopping and bargaining, you can have a relaxing time at the Patong beach. It’s the most famous beach here, meaning that you’ll meet lots of tourists here. It’s great if you want to meet new friends. With a rich nightlife, this beach never sleeps, so avoid it after sunset if you don’t like noisy environments.
Also, you could try to fit in a short ziplining tour at 3 pm. Check out the Hanunman Rainforest.
Phi Phi Island or Phang Nga Bay (James Bond Island) Tour Options
Try to make your third day an adventure. There are some pretty well-organized tours that will make your day very active and relaxing at the same time. Most tours begin at 9 or 10 am and end at 3 pm Check your options on Siam Adventure World or Phuket Snorkeling.
Here is how your third day could look if you choose Phuket Snorkeling (price – 3500 bacht).
-7.30-8.30 am: Hotel transfers
-9 am: Departure
-10 am: Arrival at Phi Phi
-10-11 am: Snorkeling, swimming, relaxing
-11-12.30 pm: Sightseeing around Pileh Cove, Monkey beach, and Viking cave
-12.30-2 pm: Gourmet picnic lunch on a quiet beach
– 2-3pm: Snorkeling, swimming, relaxing
-3-3.30 pm: Sightseeing around Maya Bay
-3.30 pm: Cruise back to Phuket
-4.30 pm (approximately): Arriving at Phuket and transfer back to the hotel.
Here are some suggestions on how to spend your fourth day and the rest of your stay.
THINGS TO DO
–Massage: In Thailand, massages are super cheap. Jo recommended us some awesome options at Let’s Relax on 3rd street. You receive a discount if you book online. We paid in person and did the amazing Heavenly Relax package which is about 2 and a half hours.
–Fish pedicures: You’ll find them virtually anywhere and if you are not ticklish, try one.
-Thai cooking class: Bring some practical knowledge home. Try Kata Thai classes, they are affordable and fun.
–Phuket Seashell Museum: A unique museum where shells became art.
-The Chamber of Secrets at Baan Teelanka: A place that will challenge your perception, as everything in it is upside down!
-Phuket Racing Kart: If you haven’t tried this form of adrenaline, you can do it in Chalong.
PHUKET FOOD OPTIONS
-Higher Rooftop Restaurant and Bar: Besides a great view, this restaurant offers Italian food, sushi and, of course, Thai specialties. You can check out their menu online.
-Tandoori Flames: One of the most popular restaurants in Phuket, offering mostly oriental food. Here’s how to get there.
-WAI Thai: The best of Thai and seafood is served at this place on the beach.
-La Gritta: If you want a taste of Europe, La Gritta should be your stop. They serve Italian and Mediterranean food.
PHUKET NIGHTLIFE OPTIONS
There are a ton of options on Bangla Walking Street in Patong from live music bands, hip-hop clubs, karaoke bars, and around 40 top clubs. Some of these places have a bit of Vegas vibe. Here are some spots you don’t want to miss:
-Seduction Nightclub: It is a complex of over 5 venues including Higher rooftop restaurant mentioned earlier. Open every night.
–Gossip Boutique Supperclub: A modern club for dancing the night away.
-Bangla Boxing Stadium / Muay Thai Boxing: Not a typical but an exciting choice for a night out. The fights are held on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. You’ll find more info here.
-Tiger Bar: This bar satisfies even the most avid clubbers. It’s totally wild.
-Simon Cabaret: If that’s your jam, you’ll be lucky to be here! They have three shows daily.
NOTEWORTHY ANNUAL PHUKET EVENTS
If you are lucky to find yourself in Phuket at a specific time of the year, you might have a chance to visit some of the cool events organized every year:
-Annual Vegetarian Festival (8th – 17th October): This event is more about a spiritual experience than food and it’s known for its extreme celebrations.
-Songkran Festival (the beginning of April): It’s the celebration of Thai New Year, which includes street “wars” with water guns.
-Loy Krathong (23rd November): It’s also known as the Festival of Lights and it includes different rituals in the streets and temples.
Have you been to Patong/Phuket and have any places to add to the list? Feel free to share some of your memories in the comments below!