The island of Phuket has long been misunderstood. Firstly, the ‘h’ is silent. Ahem. And secondly, Phuket doesn’t feel like an island at all. It’s so huge (the biggest in Thailand) that you rarely get the sense that you’re surrounded by water, which is probably the reason why the ‘Ko’ (meaning ‘island’) was dropped from its name. Dubbed the ‘pearl of the Andaman’ by marketing execs, this is Thailand’s original flavour of tailor-made fun in the sun. —LONELY PLANET
We visited Phuket on the second week of November 2011. Just in time for the Loi Krathong Festival.
We arrived early in the afternoon via Air Asia. It was our first with them. The whole flight was pleasant. Upon arrival from the airport, we rented a taxi to take us to our hotel.
From the hotel, we decided to explore the Patong beach area. We used the hotel’s shuttle service.
I didn’t swim because the water looks murky. I’m not sure if it was the time of the year when, sea water goes through a “phase” which gave it a brownish color. I was expecting clear blue water. There’s lots of beach activities available like para-sailing, jet skiing etc. I’m not sure about the prices and whether it’s negotiable.
There are markets, tour agencies, tailoring shops, spas, hotels, restos/eateries etc. near the beach. Prices varies according to beach proximity. Prices are higher if establishments are near the beach (my personal opinion). That’s why our hotel is cheaper. Thinking about it now, made me wish that I booked a hotel near the beach. I hate haggling for a tuk-tuk (2011 price was 200 Baht one-way to our hotel).
For shopping and mid to up-scale dining, Jungceylon Mall is a short distance walk from Bangla road. Fast food joints (KFC, Burger King, Subway), Starbucks, bistros, cafes and fancy restaurants are available. ATM machines are available inside as well.
Good to Know Info:
- Many locals can speak English. It’s easy to communicate especially when asking for directions.
- The tuk-tuk ride usually costs 200 Baht per tuk-tuk NOT per person. If you can get it lower than 200 Baht, well good for you. (This is the 2011 price)
- Shopping in Phuket is expensive. This is in comparison with what Bangkok shopping has to offer.
- Money changers are all-over the place. Not all establishments accepts credit cards. Better to have cash at all times.
To be continued…