We had seen a lot of pictures and were flatly in love with Phuket. It was under our list “It is better to see a place once than to hear about it a thousand times” We planned our Thailand getaway keeping Phuket as the basis. We were delighted to see the same blue and green colour to the landscape as we had seen in the pictures & imagined it to be.
Our Phuket Itinerary
An itinerary is always subjective and based on your interests, We love nature, clicking picturesque frames, we adore heritage and old buildings, love to eat and we hate crowds. And here goes our Phuket diary :
Day 1 : Arrive in Phuket
We flew in from India to Bangkok. It is usually the quickest and cheapest way. We had booked a domestic flight (with additional baggage) from Bangkok to Phuket. There are many airlines giving several options. We had to reach Don Muang Airport from Suvarnabhumi . Read about the experience here. The flights usually run late. We finally reached Phuket at 10pm ‘ish and we surprised to find it not so crowded. There is an Airport Shuttle but its service gets over in the evening, so we were left with the option of Cab, Minivan or the Limousine. Our hotel was at Kata which was at least an hour’s drive away. Since it was late and with not so much crowd around, we decided to go with the first and ‘seems-a-bit-safe’ option of limo. A Camry dropped us to our resort in Kata. We had carefully chosen the area as we are not comfortable amidst crowd and typical touristy places and that turned out to be the best option.
Accommodation in Phuket
Phuket has accommodation choices for everyone. Whether yours is a budget stay, bachelor party stay, family stay or a couple getaway, there are a zillion hotels, resorts and accommodation options in Phuket. Choosing a perfect one can actually be a task. If you know what kind of holiday you have in mind, and a clear itinerary in place, hotels.com is a good place to fetch all the basic information about areas you are looking forward to stay in. We chose Kata for less crowd. We should surely recommend Chanalai Garden Resort as it offers ocean view rooms, an exquisite spread of breakfast, 2 clean and comfortable swimming pools and super awesome wi-fi. We usually like our stay on the based of these items and Chanalai scored perfectly well for us.
Day 2 : Fantasea Phuket
Phuket has this grand show in its 10th year now. Between to go or not to go, we decided on going and saved ourself from missing a grand extravaganza. Though not unmissable, this is indeed a rare experience. What we loved the most was the management of the Fantasea park and the ambience of the theatre. Cameras are strictly not allowed inside and the system to deposit and collect them is extremely efficient. Around 10 elephants on stage at a time, flying trapeze, LED and laser displays make the show interesting! Once you book this tour, you get picked up from your hotel and you also have an option of opting for the buffet dinner before the show. The dinner has a huge spread of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and you get a table in a gigantic hall, which has a sublime decor.
Day 3 : James Bond Island Tour
Island tours from one of the main ‘things to do’ in Phuket and there are lot of options to chose from. Your hotel’s travel desk might offer you a heap of options but if you go down the street you might get a better deal from some of the local travel shops. We decided on the James Bond island tour as we were excited about the canoeing experience which was included in this. We were picked up from our hotel and had an hour long drive to get to the Ao Po Pier from where the tour would begin. We were joined in by a few more people and after a long wait, finally our speed boat started towards the Phang Nga Bay. The James Bond island is called so because “The Man with the Golden Gun” was shot here. This is a super picturesque island and has a small trail leading to the beach in front of it. It also has a few souvenir shops and clean washrooms. There is also a vertical rock slide here which makes a cave. It is a stunning sight. Next we had the most awaited moment in this tour : Canoeing amidst the caves on Hong Island. The canoes were waiting for us as our speedboat arrived and we hopped into our pre-assigned canoe number. The natural sea caves formed out of the limestone rock are a nature’s marvel. The canoe easily slides in through them but we almost have to sleep horizontally to pass through a few of them. We canoed through a few caves and found ourselves in an enclosed water body surrounded by dense forested walls of the island. It is hard to express the excitement of this canoeing experience in words! This is an experience you surely should not miss when in Phuket. We hand lunch on an island called Koh Panyee. Around 2000 people live on this island. The houses are built on stilts by the fishermen families. They serve set vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The experience of having lunch on the backdrop of the sea was fantastic. We concluded our tour with a relaxing time on Naka Island on a pure white sand beach.
Day 4 : Phuket City Tour
Phuket’s area is huge and you can find many things to do if you stay for a longer duration. Unwinding at the beach and indulging in sea food is like an unsaid thing and you can do this as many times as your duration and budget permits. We booked a private cab (distances in Phuket are much bigger than you can expect) to see our choice of things around Phuket. We were not interested in the Elephant and Monkey Tour. So we didn’t take any of those standard packages. We stuck to the local travel shop that we found the first day and customised our city tour with a private cab. We started our day with the visit to Big Buddha. The stunning 45m statue of Buddha is a pleasing sight and the location offers extraordinary panoramic views of the sea and Phuket coastline. Being a sacred place, it is advised to go here in a decent attire. You have to climb a few steps to get to the top and you can see the Big Buddha looking straight at you. The uphill road that goes to Big Buddha is ravishing & gives you surprising glimpses of the ocean.
We continued our tour with Challong temple. This is one of the most important temple in Phuket and is a fascinating piece of art. Red and golden colours are prominent in the carvings and paintings around the walls of the temple. The complex is made up of a few sections of different temples and the climb to the top floor of the main temple gives a charming view of the complex. We were amused to see a unique tradition here. There was a closed mud structure inside which a personnel from temple would light some crackers after a certain duration. Everyone paused for a while to see this routine happening.
Next in line for us was Phuket Old Town. It is adorable part of Phuket with colourful houses and lovely lanes. The cafés and boutique shops give some of the lanes a typical European feel. The Phuket old town area is vibrant and full of amazing restaurants and souvenir shops. It can be easily explored on foot. The colourful old houses add a special charm to the surroundings. We wish we had known a bit more about this part of Phuket earlier and that we could give this exploration some more time. We roamed around the roads, finding perfect colourful frames and shopping in cute souvenir shops and had to rush back to be in time.
Eating out in Phuket
Right from street joints to fine dine, Phuket has tons of restaurants based on various cuisine (apart from Thai food) to satisfy your tastebuds. We explored street food on Kata market road, sea-side restaurants in Kata, cafés in Old Phuket town and also packed some frozen food from the nearest seven eleven one night. You can use all your energy and creativity to have unique lunch and dinner experiences every day. You don’e need to plan in advance for places to eat, you are bound to find one every 50 meters near your accommodation!
We also spend time enjoying our resort’s swimming pools and spa and our lovely ocean view balcony, Walks along Kata Market street, lunch at sea-side restaurants and Thai massage filled up our free time in Phuket. From Phuket, we headed to Koh Yao Yai – an island between Phuket and Krabi mainlands. Read more about it on our next blog.
We could manage 4 days in Phuket in our Thailand Itinerary. You can easily spend from a week to a month in Phuket, if you are a sea lover. Patong and Bangla road offer many shopping and Thai Boxing viewing opportunities (with heaps of crowd too). The Jungceylon mall is a wonderful place to spend a rainy day. What is your favourite part of Phuket? If you haven’t been there yet, read : 10 reasons to visit Thailand beyond elephants and massage
P.S. We live on a beautiful planet. Please do not litter. Be a responsible traveller.