A night in… Phuket, Thailand

IF you want to lap up the warmth in the air and gaze at the crystal waves lapping against the gold sands, take a trip to Phuket in Thailand. Famous as a destination to soak up the serenity, Phuket offers countless opportunities to unwind whilst engaging in spas, water sports, nightclubs or just lying by the famous Patong beach and sipping a cocktail during a foot rub.

Best Way to Get Around
Once you have landed in Phuket airport, it is best to hail a taxi or board the airport bus. The bus is economical, air-conditioned and safe, transferring passengers from the airport to Phuket city centre.

Once in the city you opt for a motorbike ride that is cheap and quick. It is likely that drivers in a green or maroon vest will solicit you, offering to provide motorbike taxi services. Beware, however, that motorbikes are more prone to accidents than other forms of transportation.

As an alternative there is a bus that can take you from the city centre to the beaches. These buses don’t circle the island on the new ring road or travel from beach to beach.

Taxis and tuk-tuk’s are easily available. The iconic Thai Tuk-tuk looks like a small red van with open sides. Always negotiate the fare before starting a trip.

If you are confident about the roads and want to be independent, hire a car. Hertz and Avis car rental companies service most major hotels and there are also plenty of local agencies. The most expensive place to rent a car is at the airport.

Pic: thailandfamilyholidays.com

Where To Stay?
For cheap accommodation head to a backpacker guesthouse. My recommendation is Cheap Rooms Guesthouse and Bangla Guest House. They are both located at Patong beach, a convenient five-minute walk to the happening Bangla Road. The rates range from $9 USD in the off-season $40 USD during peak periods.

Cheap Rooms Guesthouse is also a good option for large groups traveling together as they have comfortable bungalows for rent.

A moderate yet luxurious choice can be Phuket Graceland Resort and Spa at the Patong Beach. Peak season rates are about 5,600 Baht (US$180)  for a superior room. However, advance booking and off-season rates may differ. Check out the above link for further details on activities and facilities.

High End
Taking luxury to a level of grandeur is the Trisara Hotel in Phuket. The fine interiors of the rooms and villas, the panoramic pools and the spectacular view form the epitome of lavishness. The property is located over a private bay just 15 minutes from Phuket International Airport on the Islands quiet, undeveloped North-western Coastline. During peak season, their simplest room is US$870 per night and during off-season it is US$695. Their 6-bedroom ocean front residence can cost up to US$7,245.

Find accommodation in Phuket to suit your budget on Agoda.com

Luxurious Trisara Pic: phuketpicture.com

What’s For Dinner?
Thailand’s tropical weather makes it perfect for eating outdoors. For instance, Chez Bernard is one of the few original and longtime beachfront restaurants in Patong. With simple decoration, mainly from driftwood, and wooden tables and chairs, Chez Bernard offers delicious Thai and western food at a reasonable price from breakfast to dinner. Similarly there is the Beachfront, Sabai Beach and Loma Restaurant in Patong as well.

For a high-end deal, Concaved is a good option. It serves mainly French cuisine, Thai and fresh seafood and offers a classy beachfront ambience. Baan Rim Pa is one of the most famous and exquisite restaurants in Phuket. It offers “Royal Thai Cuisine,” dishes formerly found only in the Grand Palace of Thailand.

It is located on a two-storey teak house overlooking the Andaman Sea. Baan Rim Pa is home to a piano bar featuring nightly live jazz, blues and Broadway standards. Needless to state, it is an expensive restaurant, however, its classic ambiance and delectable food is supposed to be value for money.

Food is generally not a problem at a tourist destination like Phuket. Just walk around Patong and Bangla Road and you will find a variety of cuisines ranging from cheap to burning a hole in your pocket.

I Need A Drink…
It is not difficult finding a drink on the streets of Phuket. Most restaurants serve alcohol and it is enjoyable sipping a cocktail by the beach. Nevertheless, my recommendation is the Coyote Margarita Bar. This two-story bar and restaurant is located right on the beach on beach road in thriving Patong with a large outdoor deck and glass walls. Coyote’s drink menu comprises more than 75 Margaritas including exotic concoctions like the Mint Chocolate Margarita, the Butterscotch Margarita, the chili-infused Cajun Margarita, the Black Forest Margarita and the Strawberries ‘n’ Cream Margarita amongst others.

Coyote Bar Pic: phuketdir.com

Culture Vulture
Take A Cruise: Discover the natural beauty of isolated islands as you sail on the translucent blue water soaking the warm breeze. Visit the Phang Nga Bay or James Bond Island and take pleasure in viewing a maze of mangrove forest, amazing caves, and a spectacular floating Sea Gypsy Village. Go to Phi Phi Islands to experience tropical beaches, sheer cliffs and shallow coral gardens. These islands can be a perfect day trip.

Catch A Show: Famous or infamous, the controversial cabaret shows performed by transvestites is a true display of talent and adroitness. Watch the glitz and glamour shake harmoniously at Phuket Simon Cabaret, Paradise Complex at Rat-U-Thit Road and Katoey’s ‘R’ Us on Bangla Road.

Water Sports: Snorkeling, Scuba-Diving, Para-gliding and Jet-Skiing amongst others. If you have the nerve for it, go ahead and enthrall in this adrenaline inducing activity.

Land Sports: Besides water-based sport, there is opportunity to engage in land-based activity as well. You could do an All Terrain Vehicle Riding to see parts of Phuket not accessible by foot or car and have a rusty and tough experience. My favourite, however, is the elephant trek. Ride on the back of the majestic animal through the groves of the forest for an authentic Thai experience, as the elephant is symbolic of Thailand’s culture.

Get A Massage: There are plenty of massage parlours and hotels offer Thai spas. Thailand is famous for it’s distinguished Thai massage with specialised techniques. It is indeed a relaxing feel, especially after undertaking the above activities. The maestros are adept at relaxing your muscles and sending you into a blissful nirvana of repose.

Transvestite Show Phuket Pic: phuket.com

Shop Til’ You Drop
Phuket isn’t a shopping destination. It is a place for sightseeing and culture. If you want to shop fly or drive down to Bangkok and splurge. Phuket is perfect for souvenirs to remember your trip and carry home a memorabilia.

Anything I Should Take With Me?
Carry plenty of sun block to avoid sunburn and also have an extra bottle of water to stay hydrated because of the dry weather. Also ensure you have a camera to capture the wonderful moments whilst posing by the beach and having a cocktail at one of the outdoor bars.

Anything I Should Avoid?
Avoid being deceived by taxi or tuk-tuk drivers. You can do that by ensuring that you have fixed a rate before the ride. Plenty of massage parlours are dodgy as they operate clandestine sexual services, therefore, make sure you always go to a reputed place. Also don’t get scammed by fake tour guides, bar girls and escorts.

Find accommodation in Phuket to suit your budget on Agoda.com