STAY TUNED FOR TOMORROW! The final travel guide from our adventure- Bangkok! (Until then, you can get a sneak peak in the vlog ^)
What to expect:
Ok so here is what I have to say…I am very grateful that I got to go to Phuket and there were some parts that I really liked of course. But I would highly suggest to manage your expectations because Phuket is very third world and just wasn’t what I expected. The beaches weren’t clean white sand, the water wasn’t clear and blue, the phi phi islands were very beautiful but good luck getting a photo without the hundreds of other boats/ tourists in the background. It was definitely the most adventurous city we visited during our trip and like I said, I am very happy that I went and saw but I probably won’t be going back. We stayed in Patong beach which seemed online to be the happenin place in Phuket with lots to do, the best beaches, and most restaurants. While yes, there was a lot going on, it was just not my cup of tea. Just like tons of scummy bars and ladyboy bars and people holding up signs trying to get you to nasty shows. I am not saying that you shouldn’t go to Phuket, but unless that is your type of scene, maybe pass on Patong Beach and find a different area of Phuket because it is a big place.
Getting around Phuket:
So there are two ways we got around- taxi and tuktuk (pronounced too-k-too-k). Tuktuks are basically little open air taxis that are decked out in lights and giant speakers. So they are much more fun to ride at night! Plus they are literally everywhere. And then, taxis, you know the drill. Just make sure they have a meter in them because they will say they don’t have one and then give you some random price and they are ripping you off. If they don’t have a meter and you don’t wanna deal with looking around, just negotiate a good price so you aren’t a chump.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at Amari Phuket and it was actually pretty nice…that purple picture ^ is literally the view sitting on our balcony. We stayed in a Deluxe Ocean View room. Again, keep your expectations appropriate a la my first paragraph, but it was a nice resort right on the beach with a pretty lobby, two pools and two restaurants (their green curry was soooo yum…I’ll about that more below). The rooms were tiny but like I said, you are literally right on the beach so that was cool (however, it’s not a beach you can actually go on since it is rocky and small but the view is nice). And on the last day, they brought us macaroons and a fruit platter and cookies and taro chips so bonus points for free snacks! My only qualms were that the infinity edge pool that they advertise is only for club members who stay in the villas (false advertising much), our “king bed” was two twins pushed together, and on the last day we had an AC leak but that’s probably because we were CRANKING that AC because, you know, Southeast Asia heat.
What we did:
Cooking Class & Market Tour: This was so so so fun and I would highly recommend it if you’re in Phuket. We went to Kata Thai cooking school and the whole experience took a lot longer than expected but still, so fun. We chose the Sunday experience and the guy, Jim, met us at our hotel and drove us to the market and we got to sample all kinds of crazy fruits and see where the locals get all their goods (I’m a little scarred from the raw meat stalls…I’m not vegan or anything but that was just a lot of meat…and a lot of flies). Then he drove us to their cooking school, Kata Thai, and we spent the next 4 hours cooking everything from scratch — panang curry, green curry (my new fave), chicken satay, peanut sauce, mango sticky rice, and shrimp pad thai. Needless to say we were very hungry by the time we were ready to eat and VERY full by the time we finished. I highly recommend this class…Jim and Sally are a husband wife team who have had this school for years and the food was so delicious, they were so funny, and it was a really fun way to spend our morning.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary: Ok so I feel like if this isn’t one of the reasons people come to Thailand in the first place, it is definitely something that a lotttt of people do once they’re there. First and foremost, don’t go anywhere where the elephants are tied up at all, chained up, or where they let you ride elephants. That means the animals are being treated badly and they are not free to roam. Elephants are so gentle and aren’t going to hurt you unless you are hurting them. The sanctuary let the elephants roam around in an open space where you could go up to them and pet them and take pictures. Then we spent some time preparing their food, feeding them bananas, and just you know, casually hang with giant elephants. Then you could go in the shallow mud baths to bath them (and yourselves) in some cool mud. THEN you go to the pool and wash them off before finishing off in the clear water shower. I opted to pass on the mud bath and pool for reasons that you might see in the video. But Alec is such an animal lover (how do we not have a pet yet!?) so he was loving every minute of it. To finish off, the sanctuary prepared a really nice meal with fresh fruit, pad thai, and more. The sanctuary picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel and they had lockers, free waters, and a gift shop of course.
Phi Phi Islands: The famous Phi Phi’s (pronounced pee-pee)! The waters really were incredible and the rock formations were insane. We booked our tour two days ahead of time through TripAdvisor and well, let’s just say we are currently disputing our charges because 1. They called it a private tour with a max capacity of 20 on our speedboat. There were at least 40 people crammed on there. Not cool. and 2. We found out that we literally paid double for our day trip compared to the other people on our boat who paid around $70 each. Our boat made five stops during the day to snorkel, walk around the main Phi Phi Island and have lunch (they served spaghetti lol), walk around monkey beach (I’ll get to that in a sec), another snorkel stop, and then finally this super small secluded island that apparently every other tour stops at because it was PACKED. We just bought some beers and parked it in the shade because at that point we were exhausted! Okay but the monkey beach, which was a super quick stop, was actually my favorite part of the tour, if not my time in Phuket! The sand was incredible, like baby powder and the water was SO clear and warm. It reminded me of Whitehaven Beach in Australia. Everyone was busy watching the monkeys on the beach and I was one of the only ones just floating around in the water, looking at the fish through crystal clear water and the crazy beautiful nature around me, and I really felt like I was in paradise.
Where we ate:
Palm Seaside Phuket: All these pictures are from this restaurant and even though it was about a 35 minute tuktuk ride from Amari, it was TOTALLY worth it. We got there before sunset so we had a drink and got to take in that incredible sky. The sunken dining tables are so cool I literally want them in my house and the food was fantastic! For sure get the lemon butter shrimp appetizer, California roll, and lemon beurre blanc sole. Considering how much food and drink we ordered, this place was a really good deal too! I DO have an important tip for you below though…
Rustic Eatery: I feel like our whole trip through Southeast Asia, if we weren’t eating satay, curry, or phad thai, we were eating pizza! There were actually a lot of Italian places everywhere we went so one night, we popped into this cute place by our hotel because 1. They had AC and 2. we had had enough pad thai for the next 12 hours. Their pizza here was pretty good but their chicken katsu sandwich was killer!
Rim Talay: This is one of the two restaurants at our hotel. Their breakfast buffet was just okay in my opinion. I mean, lots of variety but I’m not a big rice and dimsum at breakfast type of person. For lunch and dinner though they have a very extensive menu (think Cheesecake Factory) and their green curry was THE best!!
Kaab Gluay: This was a random place we found online while wandering around and it had the most delicious pineapple panang curry ever!! Poor Alec, we were all digging into his dish. Super nice staff too!
The Coffee Club: Okay these are all over Thailand but we went in and bought something so we could use their bathroom and ordered the iced hot chocolate and WOW it was so good that we went to Coffee Club a few more times throughout Thailand just to get it again. Super refreshing when you are literally melting from humidity.
- So if you are going to Palm Seaside Restaurant (which you should), it would be smart to either have a contact for a taxi or have your hotel set up a pick-up for you when you think you will finish your meal because it isn’t in a very central location and there were no taxis around for us. Thankfully there was a police nearby who was able to get one for us but I wouldn’t want you lovely readers to get stranded.
- This is where I got bit. A lot. Wear lots of bug spray or like I shared before, use the deet wipes before you go out (especially to the elephant sanctuary)
- I read somewhere before we left that it is a good idea to have Dramamine with you if you are prone to any type of motion sickness. Besides getting car sick, I usually have a pretty strong stomach. But I needed it driving from the airport down to Patong (SO WIND-Y) as well as on the boat to the Phi Phi Islands. It is about 2 hours just to get to the islands and even with the meds, I still felt sick for awhile (so did the people around us who were feeding the fishes…)
- Just another little reminder to manage your expectations. Thailand is a super popular tourist destination and tons of people visit so much so that 80% of the income in Phuket is from tourism. We went to Kata Beach one afternoon which we were told is the nice beach in the area and the pictures below show the umbrellas and chairs there. I mean it was fine, we just covered the chairs with the hotel towels we brought and spent a lot of time in the water (not as blue and clear as Phi Phi’s but very warm! Almost too warm where you couldn’t cool down lol) But in my opinion, if you are traveling all the way to Southeast Asia, I recommend going to Bali instead.