This week we have the pleasure of having a guest blog from Caz and Craig from yTravel Blog. Caz and Craig Makepeace love to use their expertise to help people travel more and create better memories.
You can download free videos from their website or connect with them on Google, Facebook and Pinterest. They were lucky enough to recently visit Phuket for the third time and have provided us with their "Best Of" to help you get started with planning your Phuket trip.
Caz and Craig Makepeace love to use their expertise to help people travel more and create better memories. They were lucky enough to recently visit Phuket for the third time and have provided us with their "Best Of" to help you get started with planning your Phuket trip.
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island destination boasting an international airport allowing for direct flights from Australia and the Asian Pacific region. It's also the gateway to many of Thailand's other famous islands, beaches, and dive sites.
Phuket island has a rich cultural history, and a range of activities and accommodation styles to suit traveller's of all types year round.
We recently visited Phuket as a family of four, our third visit in total, and below are our "Best Of" to help you get started on planning your Phuket trip.
Looking for your own piece of paradise with crystal clear water, soft white sand, and a super chilled vibe? Then head to the northern end of Bangtao Bay and Layan Beach. Take your pick of beach chairs in front of a few quiet restaurants and relax, read, swim, drink coconuts (or a beer) and enjoy Thai bliss.
A long straight beach, great for walks, with white sand and nice water for swimming. Several resort developments and restaurants call Karon home, but it’s not overdeveloped like Patong! Great vibe and plenty to do whether you're a family, couple, or a solo traveller.
One beach further south from Karon. A scenic cove shaped beach with the island of Koh Pu just offshore and a nice tree lined street running adjacent to the beach which provides some nice shady spots. Plenty of accommodation options, restaurants and another relaxed vibe, again, perfect for families.
Small and scenic, packed with beach chairs and umbrellas. Enjoyed our day on the beach here including a great Thai massage, delicious cheap lunch from the street carts nearby, followed by a sunset seafood dinner right on the beach at "Pla Seafood".
Phuket's main tourist beach and the place to go if you're looking for tourism on steroids: tons of accommodation, loads of shopping and restaurants, and endless bars and nightlife. The beach is packed by day and Soi Bangla (the main strip) at night time is something else.
Wat Chalong is the most important and most visited temple of Phuket, but nothing like the crowds at the temples in Bangkok. The Grand Pagoda dominates the temple grounds, and the pagoda walls depict Buddha’s life story. Immense golden statues of the various Buddha poses sit in the main halls, richly decorated with beautiful colours and countless images of Buddha and icons from Thai and Buddhist mythology.
For a glimpse of the island's life over a century ago, check out Old Town. Best explored on foot early in the morning or late afternoon once the heat has subsided, Phuket Old Town offers shrines, temples, preserved Chinese shop-houses and examples of Sion-Portuguese architecture. For nice views over Old town, head up Rang Hill, a popular visited viewpoint with a cafe and small (deteriorating) kids playground.
We didn't quite make it to see the 45 metre high Big Buddha, but a visit comes recommended. He sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and has 360 degree views of Phuket. The Buddha’s body is layered with Burmese marble which shines in the sun, making it a symbol of hope and a guarding force of protection.
We love Thai food, so taking a traditional Thai cooking class was high on the list, and one of the best places to learn is through Pat's home cooking school. First opened in 1996 in Phuket Town and has since been featured in many print media publications and TV programs.
Your experience begins in the local market gathering the supplies, before returning to Pat’s open aired kitchen attached to the side of her home. She never has more than 8 people per class, maintaining that small, homely feel.
One of the best things about a visit to Thailand is that you can afford, if you wish, to get a Thai massage everyday! Ranging from $8 - $12 on most beaches you will find the friendly Thai ladies with their set up in the shade offering full-body massages, foot massages, or neck and shoulder. Of course every Resort and Hotel has the "Spa" added to it, but you will pay more!
Phuket's location has many benefits as far as offering access to some of southern Thailand's premier Islands and activities, most merely a few hours by boat.
James Bond Island, made famous by the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” is very picturesque and photo worthy. Our full-day tour of Phang Nga Bay took in several of the islands in the Bay area, including James Bond, a floating Muslim village, plus a spot of sea kayaking and the dramatic limestone mountains.
Maya Bay, that place made famous by "The Beach" movie staring Leonardo DiCaprio, still remains one of the most stunning beaches/bays I have ever seen. But I've heard how it can be overrun with boats there now (try the low season). And snorkeling trips out of Phi Phi are a definite consideration also.
Another amazing location with towering limestone cliffs sheltering stunning beaches. Great place for swimming or chilling out, and a popular rock climbing destination. Accommodation ranges from cheap bungalows to incredible 5 star resorts.
The Similan Islands are a group of islands in the Andaman Sea about 85km north west of Patong, and are noted as one of the top ten dive destinations in the world according to the National Geographic Society. With stunning beaches and natural rock formations these islands are a definite bucket list item.
For islands a bit closer to Phuket, yet ones that still offer great swimming, snorkelling, and stunning white beaches, consider chartering a boat from Chalong, Rawai or Laem Ka beach and exploring Raya Island, Koh Khai, and the Coral Islands Koh Yao Noi, accessed from Bang Rong pier in the NE of Phuket, comes highly recommended for it's laid back, under-developed nature.
Either rub shoulders with the cool people at Catch Beach Club on comfy sofas drinking cocktails whilst listening to tunes, or do as we did and have dinner at a restaurant on the beach, such as "Pla Seafood" and get the same sunset views!
The After Beach Bar on the hill behind Kata Noi is legendary for sunset drinks and a relaxed vibe. Sit back with a cold beer or a cocktail (don’t order a mojito – they were awful) and watch the sun go down over the Andaman Sea. Just don't do what we did and choose the cloudiest day of your trip!
One of the most popular places to see the sunset with scores of locals visit it every day at 6pm. It is the southernmost tip of Phuket Island and with an elevated view, the scenery is gorgeous even without the sunset.
Another great way to see the sun go down in Phuket is jump on a sunset cruise on Chalong Bay. Enjoy a few cold beers, some Thai food and relax away the last moments of the day!
These are our pick whether you are solo, a couple or a family. In Karon we stayed at the Hilton Phuket and had a fantastic family holiday.
As mentioned, Patong is the main tourist beach and is also an option. One Resort that comes highly recommended and is just outside Patong Beach is the Amari Coral Beach Phuket.
You can visit Phuket year round, however, there are benefits and negatives to each season.
Peak season is January to April which co-insides with the northern hemisphere winter and Australian school holidays. This is when the beaches are most crowded and prices the highest. However, there is low rainfall, lots of sunshine, and sea conditions are good for swimming and diving.
Low Season is generally May to October and is supposedly the rainy season which basically means a daily downpour, but most of the days are actually hot and sunny. The rates are lower and the beaches are less crowded, and it's a great time for a tropical holiday.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of Cover-More Insurance.