Phuket is known as the “Pearl of the Andaman Sea” and as the largest island in Thailand. It hosts over 40 beaches and over 30 islets making it well suited for this title and a perfect tourist paradise.
It’s beautiful here.
Last year I wrote a travel piece for Nkwazi Magazine THE 5 Ps OF PHUKET, in which I explored the history of the island and highlighted how despite all that Phuket has to offer it is most commonly known for Patong Beach, it’s infamous party scene and sex tourism. As a result, many people don’t get to take advantage of all that Phuket has to offer. However, Phuket is more than just Patong and parties.
Having lived here for almost 3 years, I will say that the one downside to Phuket is that there are few public transport options which makes getting around difficult, dangerous and danm expensive. With that in mind, it is best to pick accommodation in the area that you most want to explore the most or split your trip accommodation up, so you can see the various parts of the island.
There are accommodation options to fit every budget; from beachside bungalows, countless hostels and backpacking options to global chain hotels, sprawling beach resorts, boutique hotels, luxury pool villas, and even both camping and glamping options; Phuket has it all.
For anyone looking to get away from the hype and party scene of Patong, there is Kata, Kata Noi, Kamala, and Karon beaches just a stone’s throw away. These beaches offer a quieter, more family-friendly environment, and are not too far from the action should you want to experience a more tranquil beach experience while being close enough to the party scene.
Further south you can focus more on the views from Windmill/ Sunset viewpoint, Promthep Cape and Cape Panwa or visit some of the more picturesque beaches like Ao Sane and Nai Harn. In the north of the island, where I live and work, you are surrounded by rubber plantations, national parks and some amazing beaches like Surin, Bang Tao, Nai Thon (my favorite), Nai Yang and Mai Khao where you can watch the airplanes land.
Food in Thailand is all about balancing the five flavours: spicy, sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. Phad Thai is probably Thailand’s most famous dish. It is made with soaked dried rice noodles, which are stir-fried with eggs, firm tofu, and is flavored with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp, palm sugar, garlic, shallots, and red chili. It is served with spring onion, lime wedges and often topped with roasted chopped peanuts.
While Phad Thai is delicious and easy to find at most street food stalls, don’t fall into the ways of most tourists who only eat Phad Thai during their trip to Thailand. There is so much to try.
Like with most of Thailand, the majority of the population is Buddhist. As a result, Phuket, like most of Thailand is adorned with intricately detailed Buddhist temples whose roofs are styled with serpentine adornments. These perfectly frame the picturesque blue skies or rolling thundering storm clouds, both guaranteed to leave you in awe. One of the most beautiful of Phuket’s over 30 temples is Wat Chalong which also happens to be the biggest and most visited temple on the island.
There are many attractions on the island, but be sure to do your research if you care about animal rights, fair pay of workers, or the sustainability of the planet, as like in most places, some people are just trying to make a quick buck. Be sure to visit one of the local night markets, I highly recommend the Thalang Walking Stree Market on Sunday evening in Phuket Old Town. You can take in the buzz of the market scene while catching glances of the Sino-Portuguese architecture and countless murals that showcase the diversity of the island.
Phuket’s people are truly a mixing pot of Thai locals and foreigners from far and wide. As a visitor, you can expect authentic hospitality, as people are attuned to tourists and if you stay long enough, you can be guaranteed some life long friends.