Like most people, I have been to Phuket several times before. All of those times, I stayed in Patong beach, did all the touristy stuff, and came home with hoards of elephant keychains and cute purses. That was over 7 years ago, when the Internet wasn't so full with reviews and blogs. If you have been to Phuket before, and can safely say you have "been-there-done-that" for most things, then perhaps it's time to venture into the finer sides of Phuket.
1. Rent a car
|The rented Honda Jazz for THB1000/day|
It is essential to get a car. You don't want to waste time haggling with taxis, tuk-tuks, songthaews and what not. With a good map, you can easily go anywhere - after all, it's just an island and you can't get lost. Since 2005, I have been renting from this company called Phuket Car Rent - http://phuketcarrent.com/. The cost for a Honda Jazz this time around was THB1000/day including insurance. Ms. Lee has been the person I dealt with for the past 7 years.
2. Stay at a nice resort
|Deluxe Pool View room at Metadee Resort|
|Every Deluxe room faces the pool|
For this trip, we decided to stay at Kata Beach because I remember the water to be more blue than in Patong Beach. True enough, it was exactly the case. If you have had enough of night markets and crowds of Patong, then the quieter side of Kata & Karon are just perfect. Not too quiet, not too loud.
This time around, we chose Metadee Resort located just off the Kata beach. It was a phenomenal resort with pool access rooms, and warm 33°C pool that doesn't close at night. Check out my separate review of Metadee Resort.
3. Visit Art Galleries
|This oil painting was selling for THB30,000 before bargaining. It was approximately 10 feet wide. Photo credit http://amazingdata.com/funny-version-of-the-last-supper/|
Phuket has what I call, an art gallery street. It is located off Patong beach, along Route 4233, also known as Thanon Prachanukhro. There are over 10 shops for you to browse around, and buy oil paintings to bring back with you in a scroll. Some are made to order and takes 4 days. Or you can even bring a photo and they will produce it for you in 4 days. Prices are far cheaper than those in Malaysia, and they have some wonderful talent in Phuket.
4. Visit the beaches
From thralling to the most remote of beaches, take your pick. Some are blue-er than others, some are more murky, some have higher waves. But no matter which, they all have really fine sand.
|Enjoying Karon Beach|
|Still at Karon Beach|
|We forgot to take a photo of Patong Beach - to show you how murky the water was|
|Directly in front of Movenpick Hotel at Karon|
|I'm so relaxed!|
5. Go Shopping
I have always loved shopping at Central Festival Mall. It used to be the largest shopping mall in Phuket, but I believe the newly opened Jungceylon at Patong beach is now the biggest. Apart from these 2, also check out the Premium Outlet located down the road from Central Festival Mall. We managed to secure some good bargains.
|The Hello Kitty shop located along Paton Beach Road|
|Walking along Bang La Road at Patong|
If you're really into boats and feel really relaxed just watching them, then this is the place to go. There is something so serene in watching boats docked at the harbour, with the wind blowing in your hair. You may choose to stay at the resort of Boat Lagoon as well, but I just like to drop by for a visit.
|Can you spot Ashley?|
7. Enjoy the sunset
There are many spots famous for sunsets in Phuket, the most popular being Cape Pronthep. But having had enough of sunset on the beach, we decided to find a place to dine in with the best sunset view. We headed to the After Beach Bar, which is located on up the hill from Kata Beach Road. Getting there at 6:20pm was just nice to settle down and wait for the sunset. The food and experience was my favourite from the trip
|The After Beach Bar restaurant is built on stilts on the mountain|
|Be careful not to let anything drop!|
8. Go for massages and fish spa
You can find a massage parlour at just about any corner in Phuket. Some are luxurious spas, some are your neighbour hood chair on the street. The going rate for a 1 hour Thai Massage is THB300. We picked Oriental Massage located nearby our hotel, based on the good reviews. I enjoyed the massage, and felt therapeutically bruised the next day.
For those who have not tried fish spas before, have a go for THB100 for 15 minutes.
9. Visit a temple
Though not a must, I dropped by this temple as it was along the way and looked majestic from afar. Once I entered, I remember visiting it way back in 2005 and boy does it look so different now. Say a silent prayer before leaving.
|This is Wat Chalong|
|You may climb to the top level, to have a good view of the Big Buddha|
|Can you spot the Big Buddha in the picture?|
On this trip, we found 3 restaurants we really loved.
Lucky Tom's, 67 Taina Road
Nearby Kata road, had the best fried king prawn in vermicelli (THB390) and stuffed pork omelette. Our total bill was THB1475 for a meal for 5.
|Fried king prawn with vermicelli - my favourite! THB390|
|Hor Mok Thale - Seafood steamed otak otak THB180|
|Stuffed pork omelette - super good!|
|Their signature fish balls in green curry served in coconut THB280. We thought it was average|
|Fried crab meat in masaman curry - also very yummy THB180|
After Beach Bar, Route 4233 GPS: 7.815426,98.300514
A place to go to enjoy a great sunset and good food. The seafood vermicelli salad is something we'd always remember of Phuket. The total bill came up to THB1300 - very reasonable
|I would fly back to Phuket to eat this again!|
|Tom yum kung|
|Steamed Chili Lime fish - minus the chili|
|Pork omelette again - very good, but not as good as Lucky Tom's|
|Fried beef - like chewing rubber? :)|
Chili Restaurant, Route 402 opposite Boat Lagoon
Because restaurants at the Boat Lagoon were on the very upper scale, this restaurant is the place to hang out for seamen and visitors alike. It had my favourite curry from this trip - red curry with duck!
|Red curry with roast duck and pineapple THB150|
|Masaman curry with chicken and potatoes - THB130|
|Pad Thai THB60|
For 4 Days & 3 nights, we spent a total of RM800 per person inclusive of airfare, hotel, food, car rental and massages. And I feel totally relaxed!