[Travel Advice] Phuket

Random Observation/Comment #516: A productive vacation is one where you’re not thinking about being productive. I actually need to teach myself to relax sometimes (or at least justify that it’s good for me).

on the beach

Things Phuket does well

  • Reasonable prices – one can live very comfortably here with average $3 meals
  • Spices (specifically curry and Tom yum soups) – I love everything about the complex layers of tastes
  • Island hopping – Phi Phi island and James Bond island tours were great (see below)
  • Pharmacy care – good job on this one. Ibuprofen for $1 is good.
  • Massages – hotel ones are more expensive, but there was a crazy good package for $100 5 day, 60 min massages
  • Tour guides – everyone has been attentive and friendly
  • Thai sense of humor – their broken English makes it really funny and I think it adds to the charm

Things Phuket can improve

  • Bugs that leave huge welt marks – I haven’t been bitten this bad since the green fly incident of Long Island childhood. I think Thai people eat enough chili and lemon grass to ward off mosquitoes.
  • “hawking” on Patong beach – I don’t need a suit, Thank you.
  • Taxi mafia – some hotels are remote and don’t give you any other option for taxi costs. There’s only one taxi company in all of Phuket, so they have a monopoly and control the rate.
  • Less Thai culture and more beaches – Phuket is touristy and less designed for the temple tours. If you want to see more Thai culture, go to northern Thailand.

Lessons learned

  • Stay at the Avista Hideaway Resort and Spa again. I really loved our hotel even though it was slightly confusing to find our place around this massive place. They need to better name the floors because the 3rd floor connects to the 1st floor of another building. I also love the breakfast buffet and Sizzle. Chef Tim was our new best friend for 6 days. He fed us well.
  • Wear more sunscreen. I can’t emphasize this enough. The sun is pretty harsh and it’s easy to get burnt.
  • Be careful of jellyfish. It doesn’t happen often, but there are jellyfish in the water and you may be unlucky enough to land on one when jumping off the side of the boat and get stung 7 times (sorry, babe).
  • Only take out 10,000 baht cash for 7 days (2 people). This should be more than enough for food, drinks, and taxi rides. Everything else was paid by credit card for the tours or paid at the end charged to the hotel room. I think I have an extra 4k baht, and trust me – I really tried to spend it.

Things to do in Phuket

elephants

  • Ride elephants – we went with Siam south Thailand. I liked the half day 4-in-1 tour where they taught us about water buffalo, rice production, coconut oil, Thai tea, rubber production, and overall elephant riding. It’s a little sad that the elephants are drugged, but I hope they treat them well. Really fun experience if you haven’t done it before.

phuket

  • Phi Phi island hopping tour – we went with Phuket Adventure for this trip and we found it to be gorgeous. The company is fairly larger and established, so they had a much nicer meeting spot with provided food and seasickness pills. The phi phi islands, however, are very crowded. We had maybe 30 minutes at each spot and just moved on from there. I personally really liked cocktail island, but that’s just for drinking alcohol out of fruit containers.

james bond

  • James Bond island tour – we were extremely happy with Phuket Sail Tours with Captain Mark. It wasn’t as crowded as most of the other tours and they had a lot of great activities. We first walked through the low tide of a cave to look at these exposed mangrove trees. Next we took a kayak to see the flooded mangroves. After that we visited a few islands and got a private beach to ourselves (only 1 other group came by the whole time we were there).

spat day

  • Massage spa day – this is the best way to relax. Get a few Thai massages, drink a lot of fluids, and then order room service.

beach

  • Eat yummy seafood and drink cocktails by Patong beach – when in doubt, be lazy when you’re on vacation. Turn off the phone and chill. There’s a seafood restaurant we loved on Patong beach during sunset, and you can always buy a beer from 7-11 and just have a few on the beach.

I highly recommend Phuket as a honeymoon location. It was an amazing deal for the full week packed with activities, and I think we were pampered like royalty. It was truly the first vacation where I ordered room service, took Jacuzzi baths nightly, and took naps like it was my job. Maybe I’ve been doing vacations wrong all this time (just kidding, I love being a bear).

~ See Lemons Love Thailand

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