I recently decided to substitute the winter blues of Hong Kong for the tropical blues of Phuket. Although my passport has seen the Thailand stamp many times, this was my first jaunt to the popular island and I was excited to see what it was like.
While most of the four-day trip was spent at the beach or by the pool, I did manage to unearth a few gems during my time in this tropical Thai paradise…
Where to stay
If you read my Seoul review, you’ll know I’m a massive fan of airbnb. The accommodation site has listings covering everything from el cheapo units to luxury condos. Once again, it came through with the goods. We stayed at The Residence Kalim Bay in Kathu (close enough to all the action, without being in the heart of it). The apartment we booked was exactly what we were after: spacious, modern, comfortable, clean and located in a complex that had a nice pool (and pool bar). With restaurants, shops and the beach all within effortless reach, we couldn’t have been happier with our holiday digs.
Despite being a bit of a tourist trap, the Phi Phi Islands are exquisite and definitely worth braving the crowds for. We did a day tour (pretty standard and very easy to book); it included lunch, some island hopping and snorkeling. Make sure your camera has a full battery – it’s a truly breathtaking corner of the world.
If you have access to your own transport, zipping up to check out the Big Buddha is easily done. The monument itself is well-maintained and the views allow you to take in all sides of Phuket. The road leading up to the Big Buddha is pretty steep and windy but does pass by a couple of elephant retreats and a bird park if you’re keen to capitalise on the drive.
There are lots of watersports outfits (offering jet ski, banana boat and ski biscuit hire) along Patong Beach. Parasailing was something I hadn’t done before so was keen to give it a go when I saw it was on offer. So glad I did – it was a total rush and a lot of fun. Worth doing if you’re keen to get the pulse racing.
For hassle-free beach time, venture to Kata Noi Beach. Tucked over the hill from busy Kata Beach, Kata Noi has less bells and whistles making it perfect for relaxing.
Eating and drinking
Pan Yaah came recommended to us by our airbnb host. Perched on a cliff edge overlooking the water, the location is gorgeous. Combined with a delicious selection of Thai food, a comprehensive cocktail menu and good service, you have a combo that’s sure to please. Worth swinging by for a bite to eat if you’re in the area.
Baan Rim Pa is a Phuket institution and, if you’ve ever been to this award-winning joint, it’s not hard to understand why. Everything about dining here is enjoyable; the staff are helpful and friendly, the open-air setting is superb (like eating in an upscale tree house), and the food really is exceptional. A culinary highlight for me was the tom kha gai served in a coconut. Insanely good and worth making the effort to get to.