Phuket has a bit of a reputation for being the wild, party animal of Thailand. A place where backpackers go to shun all worldly responsibility and drink until dawn. Whilst this may be true in some parts, this island is full to the brim with culture and history and Phuket is more than worth a visit on holiday, even if you haven’t got a back pack and a wrist full of friendship bracelets in tow.
If you are coming here to party, Patong is the place to be. The bright neon lights and the loud music just scream out that this is a fun place to be, even if it is a bit of a culture shock! Be prepared though as the entertainment may not always be as it first appears. Don’t go to a Ping Pong show expecting to see a game of mini-tennis and that woman with the envy inducing figure wandering down the street, well there might be a bit more to her than meets the eye.
If the crazy streets of Patong aren’t your cup of tea though, roll with the jet setters and snorkel in the clear Andaman Sea or take a deep sea diving course before learning to cook some real Thai food. There are also plenty of sweeping beaches to top up your tan, watch the sunset and just generally enjoy the more laid-back side of Phuket. If there’s one thing guaranteed about this place, it’s that it certainly won’t disappoint.
Phuket is already known for the spectacular seafood which can be found throughout the island, in recent years though the street stalls selling freshly made produce are quickly becoming some of the best in Thailand.
If you’re on a bit of a health kick, sample the bite size chunks of fruit from a beach vendor. Pick what you want and the stall owner will create a customer fruit kebab for you right in front of your eyes! They’ll even give you a little bag of sugar with a hint of chilli to liven it up a bit! If you’re not on a bit of a health kick, (you probably won’t want to be when you see the variety of food around!), street vendors sell spring rolls, chicken or beef satay, soups and vegetables and that’s just for snacks!
Be aware as well that in Phuket, food is often ordered for everyone to share. An assortment of delicious meals for everyone to have a little taste of what’s on the table. A variety of fish, chicken, noodles, rice, vegetables and soup are usually ordered but just pick what takes your fancy and be prepared to share!
Wander through the streets of Phuket town among the peaceful monks and chilled out cafes and stumble across the Shrine of Serene light. There are a few temples in Phuket Town but this is the most vivid. Hidden down a small alleyway, the restored temple is awash with bright colours, incense smoke marks the ceiling and fresh flowers adorn the building. It’s a not-to-be-missed example of one of the finest temples in Phuket.
One of the main reasons to come to Phuket is because of the beaches. The wonderful, magazine-cover style, white beaches. Hail down a tuk-tuk from the town of Patong, or hire a scooter for a bit more freedom and make your way down to Kata. The perfect beach if you’ve always fancied yourself as a bit of a surfer dude or dudette, learn one of the coolest sports around and hang ten down at Kata Yai. Boards are available to rent and instructors are always there to help if you need it!
Head further south on Phuket and land on Karon Beach, a three mile long stretch of sand fringes the coastline and is the ideal place to get away from the hordes of people in the busy towns. If you’re lucky enough to be here for sunset, walk up to the viewpoint and take some stunning shots for the photo album back home!
Staying on the theme of beaches, (sorry, it really is the best thing to do here apart from practising Muay Thai and visiting the Big Buddha, both of which just happen to be by a beach), take a boat ride out to Krabi and Phi Phi where you will again see some of the world’s most beautiful shores as well as the film location from The Beach.