Whilst you are planning your Thailand trip, the two top destinations which are bound to feature in every travelogue are Bangkok and Pattaya. However, my recent visit to the land of white elephants made me realise that there was another breath-taking destination which most people choose to leave out of the itinerary which is Phuket.
Bangkok and Pattaya aren’t bad but they’re like any crowded tourist city in any country of world with a few highlights to mesmerise you. However, the two cities didn’t offer much charm to captivate me enough to make plan a return trip anytime soon. The hustle bustle of the regular city life coupled with the crowded alleys wasn’t something I was looking for in my year-end trip. Thus, my request to everyone visiting Thailand would be to make a trip to Phuket to add back the much needed serenity in your life.
Reasons I strongly recommend you to visit Phuket are:
This beach is heavenly with pristine white sand giving way to the clean blue waves breaking on the shore. You could take a dip in the clean waters or merely sun bathe like most Europeans come to do here. While you are at the beach, you don’t need about going anywhere else as it is lined with small shops and shacks selling all kinds of food items, alcohol and trinkets. The beach also has a wide variety of adventure sports like parasailing, jet ski, banana boat and storm to offer if you are looking for an adrenaline rush.
I stayed very close to the Malin Plaza which was a great destination to avail all the food items that this relaxed city had to offer. You could get the traditional Pad Thai noodles for 50 baht or could go for more unconventional options like crocodile meat and mango with sticky rice.
What left me spellbound was the delicious and amazing range of colourful sushi the shops had to offer. While you are there, do not miss the delicious banana and caramel pancakes and the passion fruit shakes sold by carts at every nook and corner of the city.
For fine-dining experience, you could choose to go to Kan Eang @ Pier at Chalong or La Versace at Patong.
The most beautiful islands of Thailand are just an hour long boat ride away from Phuket. With a number of tour booking centres in the city, finding a day long one to the islands isn’t a difficult one. The Phi Phi islands has become a great tourist location after Leonardo DiCaprio shot the movie “The beach” there and James Bond island, as the name suggests is famous for the shooting of Bond. Khai and Racha islands located very close to Phuket are small but the perfect spot for all water babies to scuba dive and snorkel in. The variety of marine life and coral that you will find on the ocean bed is extensive. The coral island located 15 minutes away from Phuket is the most relaxing island you will visit as you could laze around on the white sand beach and tan evenly.
Old Phuket town
For a cultural understanding of the beautiful city, you should visit the beautiful Old Phuket Town which retains its old-school charm. This Old Town is historically and culturally very rich and adorned with shrines, Chinese and Buddhist temples, vintage cages, museums, tiny but pretty shophouses and printing ships. A visit to this part will give you a clear idea about how the Chinese colonisation in Thailand gave rise to merging of the cultures and how that impacted the art and architecture. While you are here, visit the Amulet market selling a wide range of amulets and Buddha images, Baan Chinpracha which is a Sino-Thai mansion built in 1903 and Shrine of Serene Light which is one of the most popular Chinese Shrine built in the latter half of 1800s.
Shopping haven and other services
Phuket is a great place to shop from as the all the stuff is inexpensive and durable. The best malls to shop from are Jungceylon mall and Central Festival, Phuket which have a wide variety of clothes, shoes and other accessories to offer at discounted rates. It would be a shame to miss out on the amazing street shopping destinations they have to offer which is why Phuket walking street and Karon Bazaar should be on your list. If you have the chance to, make it a point to visit Talad Tairod (Weekend market) which has a wide range of offers on all kinds of stuff for all shopaholics.
Another reason why Phuket is your ultimate tourist destination is the quality and variety of services offered like Thai massages, fish pedicure, hairstyling service, tattoos and escort services. Personally, I enjoyed the foot and Thai massages at Phuket way more than I did in the capital city.
Written byNiharika Nandi
Niharika Nandi is a media trainee who loves exploring the fields of photography and baking simultaneously. She’s a self-proclaimed professional bathroom singer and believes that caffeine runs through her veins. This adrenaline junkie loves to pen down a million thoughts gushing through her mind at any instant and is very vocal about LGBTQ rights.