Phuket, Thailand

This blog post is about 6 years overdue but its better late than never! I went to Phuket many many years ago (or at least it feels like many years ago) a long time before I began blogging about my travels and an even longer time before Instagram had become incorporated into our every day lives. Thus, I don’t have a terrible large number of photos from my trip but I do have some incredible memories. Phuket is much more than just beautiful beaches; it is a peaceful yet vibrant town full of historical buildings, buzzing markets and stoic monks gracing the dusty pavements.

Beaches

Phuket is definitely home to some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Patong bay beach resort is a popular go-to for hundreds of tourists every year, in particular the party-goers and with a very valid reason. With a huge array of bars, nightclubs and go go bars, this place can get seriously rammed at night. During the day however, the beach is slightly more relaxed although you’ll still find yourself surrounded by plenty of tourists. Kamala beach offers up a much more relaxed and tranquil environment and has some of the bluest waters I have ever witnessed. Just north of Patong bay, Kamala is a small fishing village surrounded by plush green forestry and surprisingly it has managed to maintain its status as a `hidden gem’. Suring beach, also known as the ‘millionaires row’ due to its luxury resorts housing celebrities from across the globe, proves to be very popular with tourists. With beautifully clear waters and some of the best restaurants in Phuket lining its sands, its not hard to see why. Its also a great place for water activities such as jet skiing, parasailing and surfing although make sure you barter with the prices where possible as you might get ripped off! Finally, Karon beach is another great spot if you love water activities. Karon is the second largest beach in Phuket and has more of a family-friendly feel to it, with a large golf course and plenty of activities for kiddies, it’s the perfect spot if you’re holidaying with youngsters.

Eat like a local

If you’re a fan of brightly colored fruits, big bowels of steaming hot noodles and freshly barbequed seafood then you will LOVE Phuket. Lock Tien is practically famous around town, with a steady stream of locals and tourists eagerly queuing outside at both breakfast and lunch time! It looks a little bit like an old-school canteen inside, no eye-catching décor or sea views but the yellow fried noodles with egg are the absolute bomb. Kopitiam by Wilai in Phuket town may not look like much from the outside but don’t let that put you off! They have a VERY extensive menu and were kind enough to cater to my not so spicy palate. Try the mango or coconut sticky rice, tofu stir fry, fresh sea bass or the sharp and tangy noodle salad if you can. If you’d prefer to take a break from the local cuisine for a while and hit up something more Western, then try Surf and turf by soul kitchen in Phuket town. With a mixture of French and European cuisine as well as some pretty amazing steaks and tacos, this if fine dining with a very affordable price tag. Pizzeria AGLI AMICI da Michele & Jimmy in Chalong has also received raved reviews for its authentic Italian pizzas. Wherever you chose to dine in Phuket, I recommend trying chicken satay skewers (my absolute fav), dumplings with either meat or vegetables and  khao thom- a kind of rice soup dish served with minced pork or prawn.

Shopping

If you get the chance, I would definitely recommend visiting Phuket town, which has some pretty incredible (and slightly bizarre) architecture! From colonial-style buildings to Buddhist temples and Portuguese architecture, the town center homes some crazy yet intricate designs. Every Sunday, the town hosts a market where you can find everything from locally-made clothes and food to souvenirs and sunglasses. The market is traditionally open from 4pm to 10pm however these times can change depending on the season. The town center quickly changes from a quiet and quirky little place in the day to a lot livelier at night, making it the perfect spot for a drink (or two, or three…).

Spa life

We all need a bit of TLC every now and then and I personally think there is no better way to truly show yourself some love than to get yourself a Thai massage! With so many different variations of the standard Swedish massage available and at such a low price when compared to the UK, you might as well make the most of it and get everything you can! Sweet Lemongrass in Patong regularly receives rave reviews from customers across the globe. Located opposite the Seeka boutique resort, Lemongrass offers professionally trained masseurs (who are also very sweet!) and a very good price (starting from just 11 for a full body massage). You can get everything from body wraps to herbal facials here. If you’re looking for something extra extra TLC (which also comes with a bit of an extra price tag) then check yourself into the Mandara spa at JW Marriott. With more than 40 treatments to chose from and extremely experienced staff who utilize techniques dating back more than 2,500 years, you will not be disappointed! Trust me, its worth the slightly bigger budget and you will also come out smelling like roses (literally).

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