Phuket is the largest island in Thailand just off the south western coast in the Andaman Sea. Phuket is a microcosm of Thailand, offering a little bit of everything Thailand has to offer from interesting cultural finds, the glory of nature, tasty food, and just relaxing by the beach. Here are few things you need to know before you travel to Phuket, Thailand ( Book Top Things To Do In Phuket, Thailand )
You could easily spend a week or more exploring Phuket or just relaxing on the beaches, but the bare minimum needed to explore Phuket is three full days.
The first day to arrive and relax on the beaches to recover from travel. The second to explore all of the natural beauty Phuket has to offer, whether that is SCUBA diving, snorkeling, mountain biking, or one of the many other activities being offered around the island.The final day can be used to recover from your excursions and soak in the unique Thai culture to be found on the island.
Arriving in Phuket
Phuket currently sports one airport on the north side of the island, 45 minutes from Phuket city. The airport is well maintained and easy to navigate even if you are flying in late at night and half asleep.
Perhaps the most convenient aspect is the transportation kiosk just outside the baggage claim. The kiosk arranges a taxi to wherever your hotel is, even if it is late at night. My hotel in Phuket was the Pearl Hotel, and let’s just say it’s not terrible, but it’s not great either.The prices are reasonable, but you do get what you pay for.
Beaches in Phuket
Anyway you came to Phuket to at the very least see the beaches, and if you want the hustle and bustle of a resort area, head over to Patong Beach. Patong is on the ocean side of the Island 45 minutes by bus (300 Bhat) from Phuket city. ( Book Day Trips & Excursions )
Gorgeous but busy, and commercialized is the name of the game in Patong. It is also the place to be if you want a really booming nightlife. If you prefer the sedate side of things and real Thai food, stay in Phuket city on the gulf side of the Island.
The beaches a moderate 20 minute walk south of the city are small but secluded, letting feel like you are part of nature. There are a small park, mining monument and Buddhist temple, at the far end giving you other things to see along your way. These are all listed on the maps you can get from any of the local tourist information centers.
I might be a little biased as my only other SCUBA diving was in old quarries in Pennsylvania, and my only other experience in a coral reef was snorkeling in Okinawa, but the reefs in Phuket are amazing.
Reefs in Phuket are a must-see experience for anyone traveling to Phuket; my personal favorites are the Phi Phi Islands, and the reefs are shallow enough for snorkeling in some spots. Mother Nature has used her brush to the fullest extent in the Phi Phi Island reefs creating a feast for the eyes like none other.
You can even swim with some of the larger creatures of the sea.
Black tip reef Sharks – Don’t worry they’re harmless
If I had one down side to the SCUBA diving, it is the time it takes to travel out and back to the dive sites. It’s not the fact that it is an all-day affair; I loved getting to take three 45 minute plus dives, and a Thai lunch. It was the ride out and back which didn’t sit well with me, due to some moderate seasickness, the bane of my existence. Thus I highly recommend Dramamine for anyone who gets even a little queasy riding in a boat.
The Thai culture is as vast as it is ancient, dating back thousands of years, through various empires, ruling over Thailand and the surrounding countries at one time or another.
A prime example of Thai culture are the Buddhist temples that can be found across the countryside. An eye-opener to me was just how opulent and ornate the temples were, which was in stark contrast to the more subdued look of the Buddhist temples I visited in Japan.
Even my untrained eye could spot the Indian influence. Another unique item you will see all across Thailand, but were prominent in Phuket, are Spirit houses, a religious artifact that is a mix of Hindu and local shamanistic traditions. These are placed outside the house and are meant to protect it from various spirits.
Come on, if you came to Thailand and you didn’t eat the food then, you really are missing out.
Yes, Thai food is spicy, but not everything is spicy and there are levels of spiciness. The green curry is hotter than the red curry, but there are many other dishes besides curry. My personal favorite is the beef with oyster sauce. It is a perfect mix of beef, rice, vegetables, and salty goodness. The best place to get any Thai food is the night food market, and frankly it is better and cheaper than many of the restaurants.
The other benefit of the night markets is that the food is very affordable, and you get a nice little place to sit down. It might seem a bit meager at first as the portions sizes can seem a bit small, especially if you are a big guy like myself, but you can get multiple meals without breaking the bank. Less than 10 dollars American lets you eat like a king, sampling several different stalls in a single night. I highly recommend that you sample as many different dishes as possible even if it looks a little different; you really can’t go wrong with Thai cuisine.
If you like food and or cooking, there are a plethora of places to take Thai cooking classes, where you can let out your inner chef and make some tasty food. Many of the classes have you make three dishes, a curry of your choice, another dish such as beef with oyster sauce, or spicy chicken with basil, and some kind of dessert. If you have the time, I highly recommend it.
Pound That Thai Curry
Well that is Phuket, and as you make your way to the airport, you can enjoy the countryside, and reflect on the fun relaxing time you had during your stay in Phuket.
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