After a sweltering hot dry summer, all we could think of was a beach-side holiday. Checking out various options, the Phuket beaches in Thailand were just what we needed. Travelling 8 hours with 1 stop-over in Bangkok, where we savored some piping hot Thai flavored mug noodles, we finally breathed the fresh evening air of Phuket. With lush green trees flanked on either sides, our van drove through meandering roads up the hilly terrain of Phuket. With vegetation on one side and the calming blue sea on the other, Phuket definitely is naturally blessed, thus making it a tourist hot-spot.
Motorcycles are the easiest mode of transport. It is easily available and most convenient and can be hired by the day. You also have the tuk-tuks to go around the city.
The Wat Chalong temple is a Buddhist temple first on our list. This ancient temple has frescoes and golden statues depicting the life of The Buddha . Once every few minutes, you hear the burst of fire-crackers from within an exposed brick structure in gratitude of a wish fulfilled.
Next we went up the Nakkerd hill, to visit the Big Buddha statue. This statue is made of concrete layered with Burmese white marble that glistens under sunlight, making it a symbol of hope. This site offers the most spectacular 360 degree view of the island. Amidst the tinkling of little bells, the soft dharma music in the background and the faint drizzles, we feel one with The Buddha. Take note, you need to be dressed in full or you can even borrow a sarong when visiting one of these places.
Phuket boasts of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, some where you can enjoy various activities and others where you can relax in solitude. Patong is one such beach ideal for fun activities during the day and bustling night-life after sunset. With restaurants along the beach side, you do not have to take a break from the tanning. The other beach we went to was Karon beach which was relatively less crowded. The clear blue waters and the white soft sand makes for a picturesque scene. Here one can play beach volley ball and on walking further down the beach, you can try snorkeling.
The hotel where we stayed was very close to the Patong beach. Just a stroll down the lane and we had a wide variety of restaurants. From Chinese, Italian, American to lip-smacking local Thai cuisine, we had it all there. The local eateries are nothing fancy, mind you, just modest places with small tables but really welcoming friendly hosts. On the menu, don’t be surprised to find the whole of insects and frogs and eels and what have you!
Walking down the streets anywhere in Phuket, you’d see young men and women calling you out for foot massages. The special massage oils and techniques is just what you need after a fun day.
The Ping Pong street in a must-visit to experience the bold night-life of Phuket.
You can dedicate one entire day to visit the beautiful islands, Phuket is known for. There are various packages to visit the islands, the bookings for which can be made at the hotel itself. We covered five little islands in a day. The day begins early and we are picked up from our hotels by the organizers. After a 2 hour long drive, we got off the vans where people from different places gathered. We got onto the ferry with our life jackets on. Food and drinks were on the house. With water endlessly in sight, and pockets of green islands and the sun-rays lending a glistening effect on the water, oh! it was a sight to cherish.
With sometime in the ferry, we reached one of the caves, where we got onto the kayak with 2 others and a guide to lead us through the caves. After crossing the dark, damp rocky caves, our kayak reached a spot amidst all the rocks where the rays of sunlight penetrated through a fissure in the rocks to reach the central water body. It was one magical place! We were allowed to walk around here and click the best pictures ever. It was indeed breath-taking! Getting back onto the ferry, we were taken to another island. This island was just unbelievable. It’s a tiny island called the Muslim village, standing on stilts. This island had people living there since centuries. The island was adjacent a Muslim burial ground, in the middle of the water. Here, the people have their own school, mosque, restaurant and hospital. They have their own market where they sell little trinkets and food to tourists to earn their livelihood. For their daily provisions, they travel all the way by boat to Phuket. There are certain plants that grow exclusively in the Muslim village, that are medicinal in nature. Their smiling faces and content look left an impression on us. Hopping back to the ferry, we headed to the next island. The sun was overhead and we reached the next island called the James Bond island (known so, for one of the James Bond movie’s scenes being shot here). The water here was clear and beautiful and the tourists got out their cameras to capture their James Bond moment.
Little shops lined the pathway and you could pick anythings from souvenirs to calculators to trinkets, which all carried for memories. Finally we reached the spot where diving was permitted. Most of us took a plunge into the blue waters. What an incredible experience it was! Everyone swam for a good 20 minutes and relaxed at the nearby rocky island, where we watched the beauty of the sea, far away from the city lights. On our way back, when we finally reached the pier, we saw our framed pictures clicked when we were making the most of the day.
Best time to visit Phuket:
Phuket being tropical, the weather is generally warm and pleasant with rains once in a while. The best time to visit would be from November to February. Since we visited in July, we experienced mild showers as its in the middle of the monsoons.