Sawadee kaa everyone!! I was in Phuket for 3 days in Jul 2015, with my husband and in-laws. We had a tight schedule during our trip but it was so much fun with island hoping, amazing food and the lovely people. Phuket is one of the most famous tourist spots in Thailand. It is famous for offshore islands, clear water beaches, water sports, affordable accommodation and amazing food.
In this post, I will share my itinerary and some tips to help you plan your vacation.
Phuket being so popular, is busy almost all year round. It is advisable to book your tickets well in advance. There are lot of budget airlines flying to Phuket.
Once you are at Phuket Airport, there are many taxis available which will take you to your hotel. I would recommend using prepaid taxis just to be on a safer side.
Where to Stay
I stayed in Holiday Inn Resort at Patong beach. The location is so awesome, it is right at the beach, very close to the local market and restaurants. There are many other resorts around the beach you can check out.
Staff at Holiday Inn are so friendly and helpful, they will make your stay absolutely comfortable. The breakfast spread here is extravagant, it gets you full for a fun filled and hectic day. They also have dinner buffets.
What to do
As we reached around noon to our hotel, we decided to take some rest till evening. We roamed around the local market, had lunch and booked tickets for island tours for the next two days.
Visit the Tiger Kingdom
This is something we were eagerly looking forward to. And believe me it is as exciting as it sounds.
Tickets need to be purchased at the counter. You can choose to be with the little cubs, medium sized tigers or the large ones. Ticket charges vary as per the size of the tiger. The little ones costs the most, I guess becuase they are the naughtiest :P. They also have insurance coverage included in the entrance fee. Trust me! You get chills as you sign the insurance 😛
We opted for large tigers. We were escorted by 4 of the staff to cage where 4 of these huge beasts awaited to greet us. You can hear your heartbeat as the guys open the cage!! Inside is an open area where the tigers rest and play. The staff helped us click pictures and waled us around the tigers. The whole experience was so surreal.
Relax and unwind in the evening with a spectacular dance and music show at Fantasea. Enjoy a trip down the Thai history depicted in the form of an array of dance performances by dancers and elephants. Yes, I said it right. I was awestruck on seeing how coordinated the humans and animals were on stage.
You are asked to deposit all your bags and belongings including phones and camera before you can enter the theater hall, so I do not have any pics of the show.
But outside the theater, there are many other places, shops, children’s play are, restaurants, elephant ride and many other beautiful decorations where you can click pics.
Once you enter the premises, you will find everything is animal themed, even the toilets.
Phang Nga bay tour
We started off the tour with a drive to the Monkey cave (Suwankuha Temple)..
From here we were then taken to the pier where we got into a long-tailed boat which took us to James Bond Island. Beautiful waters and mesmerizing views are to look out for.
Later, we went for canoeing. It was so cool, sailing through the waters below the caves, under the open blue sky. Uff!! just mesmerizing.
Note: You will need to tip the guide who takes you on the canoe
Lastly, we had lunch at the Muslim village at Koh Panyee Island. We also had some time to go around the village. It is beautiful village and it was a different experience to see how these people had formed a lovely village on water and have a full life. There is a school with and ocean view behind the village. You can buy clothes and souvenirs from the village.
Phi Phi Island Tour
Our tour guide came to fetch us in the morning. It was a long 2 hour drive to the pier where we boarded our ferry. Coffee, tea and biscuits were complimentary on baord. As soon as the ferry started sailing, we got out and went click!! click!!
Unfortunately, for us, stop over at Maya bay (where the famous movie ‘The Beach’ was filmed) was not included in our package. If you want to go there, I would suggest taking a speed boat package. (PS: this is on my to do list for my next trip to Phuket)
Highlight of this tour was snorkeling. This was my first snorkeling experience and it was just so awesome. Although, the water was not very clear, I still had lots of fun. We got the snorkeling equipment from the boat. They also had clean water to wash off the salty ocean water once you are back. Psst! you can also go diving there.
Lunch was provided to us at a local village. After a lovely lunch we had a stroll in the village and then we were transported back to our hotel.
Note: 1) If you want to go for just one of the tours, I would recommend going to James Bond Island. 2) Also, be on time for the pick-up for the tours as the drivers come on time
If you have more time, you should go for relaxing massages at the salons next to the beach. you will also find parlors or booths on the beach itself where you can get your hair braided. Or maybe just go shopping!! Clothes, bags, shoes, souvenirs!!
What to Eat
Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, I have it all the time in Singapore. So, now I was in Thailand.. it was a party for me!!
This is the place where I was introduced to Phad Thai.. and I have become a fan since then.
Many restaurants around the beach offer fresh seafood, that is to die for. They let you choose live fish or lobster and cook it fresh for you, just the way you want it, barbecue, grilled or fried.
Green curry Chicken
Yet another Thai specialty, and you will not be let down. It was so fresh and full of flavors.
Vegetarian: Many restaurants will readily prepare there special dishes like phad thai or green curry in vegetarian, on request. Otherwise, there are vegetarian option available on the menu as well.
Most of our lunches were on tour, which were buffet spreads. If you have any special requirements, like vegetarian or any other, please specify it to your guide beforehand. Necessary arrangements are made, to the extent, that some tables are reserved for vegetarians only.
Area near the beach and the local market have many restaurants serving varied cuisines, including Italian, Chinese, Turkish, Indian, etc etc. There is McDonalds, Starbucks as well if need a snack.
- Visa: For Indians, it is Visa on Arrival, hence, we dint need any requisites. You will need to fill in visa form at the immigration and pay at the counter itself. Do carry your photographs for the form. In case you do not have photographs, there are instant photo booths available. Please check the visa requirements for your country.
- Hotel bookings: I have mentioned this above as well, Phuket is a very popular tourist destination, so please make your reservations on time.
- Booking the tours: I would recommend booking your tours from the local agents at the market instead of any online deals. These are much cheaper and do not hesitate to bargain!
- Seasickness: Many people, including me :), experience see sickness on board ferries and boats, especially when travelling post lunch, do carry necessary medication.
- Shopping: Well sure, Thailand is known to be a shoppers haven. Honestly, I did not find shopping in Phuket that cheap and some shop owners were a little rude as well.
- Many hotels provide towels to take during your day trip. Do make use of them.
- Do not forget your sunscreen as you will be sailing in open oceans.
When you have free time, just roam around the markets or relax on the beach or just in the swimming pool at your hotel.
Hope you had a glimpe of my fun time at Phuket and this post helps you plan your trip.