Aaah Phuket… a top destination of Thailand for the honeymooners, the party-chasers and the tropical life! Other than chilling on the beach in this humidity, here’s what you can do…
1. Big Buddha
Of course, before you enter the temple you are required to cover up out of respect. They do provide sarongs upon entrance to hire. I always carry a summer scarf in my bag to wear in cases like this and I wet the scarf when it’s unbearably hot to put around my head and shoulders. So good!
…And the pineapple addiction was real there!
Out of all the Buddha statues I’ve seen, this one is my favourite. Located at the top of a hill between Chalong & Kata, this historic and massive 45m high & 25m wide statue is a must-see if you do go to Phuket!
They were renovating this time (beginning 2016), building stairs that lead all the way from the entrance to the top area where the statue is located. The view from up there is amazing and you get a full 360 degree view of the island!
The statue is made of Burmese white marble and each brick, stone and piece of marble was carefully and intricately put together one by one by hand, mosaic-like. It glistens in the sun and is just beautiful to witness. You can enter the statue where there are other gold statues of the Buddha, shrines with burning incense. There’s such a sense of stillness.
Watch the video here.
2. Day Tours
Day Tours are great if you’ve never been to Phuket, you have limited time to be a tourist and would prefer a tour-guide. The only problem is that there are SO many day-tour companies and travel agencies, where do you begin? Well, I learnt by going to a travel agent and not a private ‘kiosk-like’ shop alongside the road.
I used an agency called Crystal Tour, near Patong Beach. The staff were really helpful and organised everything for us. They write out vouchers/receipts with all info for when your taxi comes to pick you up. Important, as you would need to show the taxi driver.
You can choose what packages you like, what suits your situation and/or family. For example, I went with River Rafting, Zip Lining, Spa Day, Phi Phi Islands, Monkey Caves and Elephant Trekking*.
*PS: I personally do not recommend going on the Elephant Trekking. Rather splash with them in the water at a Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Chiang Mai where the Elephants are free to roam and well looked after. I did not enjoy my experience and wish I knew then what I know now. I was so upset and emotional when the mahout hit the elephant on the head because he was going to slow. Poor thing was exhausted and I told them I wanted to get off. Never again!
3. FantaSea Show
If there is one thing you have to do in Phuket is attend the FantaSea Show! It might seem a cliche activity to do, but there’s a reason why it’s been going since 1996.
It’s a mini cultural theme park with elephants to ride instead of roller-coasters, if you wish. There are curio shops, toy shops, jewellery, art and craft items, ushers and entertainers all in traditional style Thai uniform and beauty. Make sure to arrive a few hours before the show starts so you get to enjoy the whole experience.
You can purchase tickets to see the show only or include a surprisingly large and tasty variety of food at the buffet dinner in the beautifully detailed hall room. Transport services are available too.
The show is called Fantasy of a Kingdom and is remarkable, honestly. This short show is so different and the story line tells of a traditional Thai story similar to the story of Romeo and Juliet. Full of the art of illusion, the lighting is insane, the acrobats, trapeze artists, animals, costumes, props, dancing, makeup…Everything was perfect and the attention to detail was out of this world.
They are highly strict when it comes to digital devices or mobiles into the theatre. Please also bear in mind that theatre manners always apply! This isn’t a movie 🙂
What an experience! I was like a kid in a candy store!
4. Monkey Cave / Reclining Buddha Temple
This ancient cave and temple is definitely one of the “to-do’s in Phuket”. I am so grateful I got to see this piece of history on our day tour. It is still used today as a place of prayer. Don’t forget to feed the monkeys!
For nightlife there is the infamous Bangla Road which is party central full of bars, clubs, live music and entertainment. The vibe is intense!
6. Patong Beach & Kata Beach
Patong Beach is one of the more popular known beaches of Thailand and is very busy during the beginning of the year.
Ps: You will be asked to rent a chair and umbrella on Patong beach. Kata Beach is less busier and very pretty. The Kata View Point has the most stunning view of Phuket and you can see Big Buddha on top of a hill in the distance.
7. Phi Phi Islands
I would not recommend going to Phi Phi Islands with a day-tour as it is very rushed and crowded and there isn’t enough time to see the whole beautiful island. Rather take a private ferry to the islands and enjoy it for what it is and take your time. It is picture-perfect and I wish I had spent more time there!
Krabi itself is the busiest during peak season December to April. So many tourists and loads of curio and art ‘n craft shops. The islands are also more expensive than inland Thailand, but it’s all worth the experience.
You will go past Maya beach where one of my favourite movies was shot, ‘The Beach‘. When I go again I will go privately and will spend a sufficient amount of time there to explore.
Not trying to sound negative here but it’s pretty funny to share on my first attempt at snorkelling. Sadly, I had a really bad experience. I was so seasick and the weather wasn’t too great. There were so many people, it looked like the ending of Titanic with all of us floating in the water attempting to see the fish. We had to wear life jackets while snorkelling? I was so claustrophobic, my anxiety went through the roof and I threw up everywhere (how embarrassing!)… so the fish came to me instead of the other way around! They were pretty, from what I could tell! LOL. Good times…
So abort snorkelling missions when the waves are choppy…tour groups and ferry’s don’t care about that so do your homework before you go. Next time, snorkelling will be done at a smaller more private island such as Ko Phanaeng just off Koh Samui🙂
I’ll be back, Phuket… with more money and more sea-sickness pills, of course 😉 ,