Phuket is known as the Pearl of the Andaman, the paradise of Thailand’s South. It is the largest island in the country which boasts of numerous beautiful beaches, sparking island-dotted seas, great hotels/hostels/resorts to choose from, friendly locals, and such a rich and diverse culture to immerse oneself in.
I have been there twice and I have yet to see its beauty in its entirety. This only pinpoints the fact that Phuket has so much to offer.
When to Go
The best time to travel to Phuket is during the months of December to April so one can enjoy the surrounding islands to the fullest.
The island has a tropical monsoonal climate. It’s pretty much warm all year round, but the two periods of April-May and September-October are the hottest. If you would like to avoid endless rainy days, you may want to stay away from the island from September-October as it is also known to be the wettest period due to the southwest monsoon.
High season is from November-April and Low season is from May-October.
At the end of the day, it really depends on your budget and your personal preference.
How To Get There
The easiest option would be to fly directly to Phuket. Coming from Manila, you can book a flight with Cebu Pacific or Air Asia. I opted to book with Philippine Airlines though, which brings me to the second option (head over to Bangkok first).
Book a flight to Bangkok and then head over to Phuket by:
- Bus – This takes about 12-14 hours. Take the daily bus from Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal on Borommaratchachonnani Road to Phuket.
- Transport Company Limited – www.transport.co.th
- Bus Express Company Limited – 076221736
- Phuket Central Tour Co – 076214335
- Phuket Travel Co – 0762221079
- Phuket Bus Terminal – 0762221079
- Rail – As there are no direct train services to Phuket, one must get off at the Phun Phin Railway Station in Surat Thani and continue by regular bus to Phuket (www.railway.co.th).
Now that we’ve gotten the what, where, and how to out of the way. Let me share my diverse experiences in Phuket.
My First Trip in 2014
The first trip I had about two years ago was an I’m-going-to-turn-30-years-old-solo-celebration of sorts, which pretty much means I had no plan prepared at all. I ended up going to Patong, Ko Phi Phi, Railay, and Kata.
I got exactly what I wanted during that trip. Beautiful islands, fun activities, and great company.
Patong refers to the beach and town on Phuket’s west coast. I stayed there for only a night. It was my quick stopover from the airport before heading to Ko Phi-Phi. With only night spent there, I can’t really suggest much to do except explore the streets and the beach.
This area is often described as an ideal place to party and play. Based on what I witnessed, this is indeed an accurate description. The nightlife is centered around Bangla Road/Soi Bangla. Restaurants, beer bars, go go bars, and night clubs are conveniently found within this strip.
Be sure to arm yourself with the right expectations when going to Bangla Road as it is dubbed as the red light district of Patong.
Ko Phi Phi
It’s very easy to head over to Ko Phi Phi from Patong. You can even coordinate with the hotel you’re staying in for them to fix your commute for you. That is exactly what I did. From my hostel in Patong, I took a van ride over to the port and then a boat ride over to the beautiful Ko Phi Phi.
As the boat came closer to the island, I completely fell in love. Mind you, I’m a true-blue tropical girl so it’s pretty hard to win me over when it comes to beaches.
This island, though, is beautiful, almost magical. Ko Phi Phi is often called the darling of the Andaman Coast, for obvious reasons.
Beautiful beaches and everything else that you would need – places to party at, good restaurants, and great accommodation as well.
If you would rather be in a serene island though, this place may not be for you as Ko Phi Phi is also known for its loud and lively nights of endless partying.
Three days there was enough for me and by the end of it, I was ready to explore another island.
I ended up in Railay.
Still, quiet, and serene. In contrast to the strip of bars and restaurants in Ko Phi Phi, Railay is all about beautiful beaches and high limestone cliffs which makes it a perfect spot for rock climbers from all over the world.
I was able to go to Phra Nang Beach which is absolutely gorgeous. This beach remains my favorite in Thailand.
Kata was my last stop for my 2014 Phuket trip. I spent two days there to chill before heading back to Manila. Chill is the perfect word to describe this area. Based on what I experienced, this is perfect for couples and families. It has spectacular beaches to offer, great accommodation options, and still a few places to party at should you wish to do so while there.
Now that I’ve shared the route of my first trip to Phuket, I’ll move on to my most recent getaway there.
My Phuket Trip in August of 2016
This was the opposite of what I experienced two years ago. To celebrate the Queen’s eighty fourth birthday, the Tourism Authority of Thailand had asked eighty four bloggers/vloggers, and media representatives from all over the world to head over to Thailand.
We, the representatives of the Philippines, along with Teams Singapore, Australia, China, Korea, and Hong Kong were designated to explore the beautiful southern area – Phuket!
Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center
Our first stop was over at Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center. This definitely is one of the highlights of my trip there. Why? It was great to know that aside from enjoying all the tourist spots, we were also able to make a difference in the conservation of marine life in Phuket.
We took part of an initiative led by Her Majesty the Queen which aims to help in the conservation of sea turtles. They are kept within the center and released during the right time of the year and when they are ready to go into the deep blue sea.
We donated to the center (2000 Baht) through TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand). By doing so, we each were able to pick turtles which already had tracking devices placed in them. After which, we released them to the sea together.
It was a beautiful moment. Knowing that, somehow, we were able to help in this meaningful initiative. I picked sea turtle no. 5 and named her Monina.
As the Queen once stated “Man and nature live together in harmony.”
I salute the team at the center and the Queen for knowing that this matters.
Bang Pat Fishing Village
Our next stop was over at Bang Pat Fishing Village. It was interesting to walk through the area and see the locals and their way of life. The food they eat, the products they sell, their houses.
We were treated to a great musical and dance number. Additionally, we got to release crabs before heading over to the other side to plant mangrove trees.
In line with the theme of the day from the Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center, it was truly a day to remember, a day we got to give back and help out a little.
Here’s a video of the place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Yuoml1x83E
Ko Yao Noi
Ko Yao Noi or Small Long Island is found in between Phuket and Krabi. It is just a 30-minute speedboat trip away from Phuket. There we got to try our hand at batik painting and we also got to visit and eat at Ko Yao Noi homestay.
The Ko Yao Noi homestay program is a great way of immersing oneself in the culture of the local people. If you choose to take part of this program, you will stay in one of the rooms of your host family and they will organize most of the activities for you in the area.
Phuket Thai Cookery Class
Ask anyone what they love about Thailand and I guarantee, most of the answers you will get is Thai FOOD! So you can just imagine how delighted we were to be given the chance to learn how to cook some of our favorite Thai dishes, Pad Thai and Tom Yam!
I have to say that their chefs/teachers are friendly and entertaining. I thought it would be difficult to learn, but they definitely made it easy and so much fun!
Now, I don’t have to scout for good Thai restaurants back home, as I can whip up my own Pad Thai (thank you very much! ;)).
To book with them: www.phuketthaicookery.com. For 2,900 Baht/day, they will teach you how to make five Thai dishes. They’re open every day, except for Wednesdays. The daily course starts at 9am and ends at 3 pm.
The Chinpracha House
Located on Krabi road, this house was built in 1903. Ban Chinpracha is the 1st building in Phuket with Sino-Portuguese architecture.
It was a wonderful experience to walk through the hallways of the house and see the vintage furniture and old pictures up on the wall that weaved many stories of the past, their family’s past, and even a bit of Phuket’s history through their family’s memories. We also got to wear Peranakan clothing as we explored the house.
The admission fee is only 100 Baht and the house is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm.
We were lucky enough to have stayed in such beautiful hotels.
Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa
The first of which was at Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa. Each of us had a pool villa to enjoy for a night. Spacious room, comfortable bed, big pool right in front of your bedroom, glass windows, and a tub outside…Spell romantic!
Sharing my video of the place for you to see for yourselves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncprLAbWwpk
If you have romantic/family getaways planned in Phuket, I suggest you check this place out.
For a girl who loves painting and music, I was completely won over the minute I walked into this hotel. Artsy, fun, creative, great vibe. I utterly enjoyed staying there.
Spacious rooms. Quotes on the wall. An art gallery to enjoy. An infinity pool on the rooftop, an area to lounge around in over there as well, watching the sunset/sunrise, good food, and best of all – such a great location!
Foto Hotel has everything a traveler, like me, needs. Here’s my tour and review of the hotel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDDw6jV7GE0
In A Nutshell
Whether you’re a solo traveler looking for some good fun or a traveler in search of stillness or culture to enjoy, Phuket is one of the best places to visit.
Rich, vibrant, diverse, and full of places and sights to see and enjoy. This beautiful island never runs out of places and sights for you to explore.
I definitely will find myself there again, exploring the many islands I have yet to visit.
There’s a reason it’s called the south’s paradise, Pearl of the Andaman, and I’m lucky to have witnessed and experienced this twice.
A big thank you to Tourism Authority of Thailand for inviting us and letting us see the beauty of Amazing Thailand. I had the most wonderful week with all of you and the rest of the bloggers/vloggers.
If you like this blog, don’t forget to subscribe to my website. Also you can follow my adventures through the different social media accounts below:
Twitter: @_jamiefournier_ twitter.com/_jamiefournier_