With this island, you have everything from dramatic-whirlwind nightlife to lazy, relaxed beach towns, to an art-filled and culturally rich city, to Sirinat National Park, all in one province. From deep-sea-diving to an incredible array of world cuisine, there are so many options in Phuket.
Here are some things to keep in mind while visiting Phuket:
While it is marketed as a luxury-shopping haven, it is actually the land of the knock-offs. While the luxury-vacation set has brought in some legitimate brands and stores, most of the clothing you see will be fake designer items. Don’t pack an extra suitcase for your shopping spoils here, save your money for the experiences.
Getting pampered in Thailand is notoriously easy. There are legitimate, clean professionals all over the place in Phuket just ready to pamper men and women alike. Massages, manicures with free wifi, foot massage, tiny-live-fish-pedicures, skin treatments, aromatherapy, and more. Phuket is just brimming with personal services. Make sure that you go into a place with air-conditioning, because most services are walk-in, and you may have to wait.
The food is incredible, but you’ll actually find more Japanese, Turkish, Chinese, Korean, and Persian food than you will find Thai food. You’ll want to ask and look around, because the authentic local Thai food isn’t always easy to spot, depending on your neighborhood, but it is almost always worth it.
Sites to see:
Make sure to visit Wat Phra Thong, Phuket’s ‘Temple of the Golden Buddha’. The statue is half-buried, so only the head and shoulders are above-ground and visible. There is a legend that anyone who has attempted to unbury the statue has fallen severely ill or encountered accidents. Visit the museum here too.
Don’t forget kayaking! There are some incredible tours into caves around the island supposedly filled with diamond crystals.
Phuket’s only working distillery, Chalong Bay Rum, has a 30 minute tour and a handcrafted mojito upon arrival.
Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife & Forest Reserve is protected virgin evergreen monsoon rainforest. It’s royal status means that it is pristine and untouched. And while the largest animals that used to inhabit the forest are no longer there, there are everything from wild boars, to monkeys, slow loris, langurs, gibbons, civets, flying foxes, cobras, pythons to be found in this rainforest.
Wat Chalong is a three-story high pink temple, full of 36 golden Buddha statues, covered in elaborate decoration, and surrounded by lotus ponds.