Phuket is quickly becoming the new Bali for Australians, with cheap, direct flights with Jetstar, it is easy to get to for a quick trip away.
There are several areas in Phuket with the main being – Karon, Kata Beach and Patong. Patong is the main tourist area, and is a great spot to be if you are after a busy, but entertaining place to stay. The further south you get the more relaxing it gets. I chose to stay in Karon which was a 10 minute drive from each other area.
There are plenty of great hotels in Karon – The Hilton, Movenpick and Novotel are all great named hotels, but we managed to get a great deal at Karon Phunaka Resort and Spa. This hotel was a little bit further up a hill, but provided stunning views of Karon and the beach below. The infinity pool (left) and quite hotel makes up for the hard beds.
What to see and do:
Massages: The massages in Thailand are to die for, they are a quarter of the price compared with here in Australia, they are also relaxing as anything and a great way to escape the heat.
One of the best massage parlors I found was where I spent my last day in Phuket – Frutta Massage and Spa, they use organic products and will give you a great apple tea at the end of the massage.
Nin massage and also Oasis is great, but pretty much anywhere you go will give you a good foot massage.
Sally’s Thai Cooking Class (right): This cooking class was a highlight of my trip! You must learn how to cook Thai properly when you’re in Thailand, but this tour doesn’t just do that, it takes you on a great tour of one of the street markets.
We started the tour by going to a local market and seeing all the meat and fresh produce that is sold daily, we also got to try some great street food ranging from amazing fried chicken, coconut desserts, to snails and krill!
We then started our cooking class, at mine we made three dishes – pineapple fried rice, green chicken curry and cashew nut chicken! The dishes were amazing, and it was incredible to learn how to cook it all properly, plus you got a long list of recipes post-class emailed through.
Karon Beach: Enjoy one of the quieter beaches in Phuket, there is still plenty of places to get a beer or drink from, but you will enjoy a bit of quiet and space at this beach that is also clean compared to Patongs main beach.
Day trip to Phi Phi Islands: We did a great day snorkeling trip to Phi Phi Islands with Phuket Sail Tours, they run several tours but this was a great one to start with. It went for the day and took us to several stops along the way including Bamboo Island, Maya Bay, the Viking Cave and Phi Phi Le. There was a lot of time for snorkeling, which was great for me and my friend, who were there to snorkel. The tour also stops at Phi Phi Don for a great lunch, where we were able to try plenty of the local delicacies. Our last stop of the day was the famous Maya Bay from the movie the beach. This was the one stop that was incredibly busy, and full or tourists, but as it was our last stop it was great to lie down on the beach and watch them slowly depart the crystal clear water. A great tour and a reasonable price too.
Look how clear that water is (left)!
Wat chalong: is the most important of the 29 Buddhist temples in Phuket and is where many practicing Buddhist come to pray and say thanks. There is three floors to explore the beautiful architecture and also paintings.
Big Buddah: this is exactly what it sounds like, a great Big Buddha that overlooks the rest of Phuket. Climb up the hill and take in the incredible view.
Where to eat:
The Pad Thai Shop: This is a hole in the wall restaurant in Karon is worth the trip and will involve the best Pad Thai of your life! An authentic Pad Thai shop, this is where you will experience the best pad thai of your life, for a tiny 50THB. Cooked on the spot, the food is amazing! Full of locals, don’t be scared away by the worn decor, lack of air-con and geckos on the wall.
Elephant Cafe by Tan: we got some great starters here – spring rolls and chicken skewers. These were great to start with, the highlight however was the ice-cream sundae and the mango sticky rice. Whilst the food was not incredible, it was cheap and very yummy.
Mr Coffee Phuket: This is where you need to go to get your coffee and danish in the morning. There aren’t many places like it anywhere in Phuket. Enjoy!
Mama Jin Restaurant: This is a great restaurant for just about anything Thai! I had the pineapple fried rice (left) which is a must to order. The presentation is incredible, and the taste is incredible. The green curry is amazing, as are the cocktails and fruit drinks. Pretty much anything and everything here is great.
Mom Tris Kitchen: The place where you can come to get a yummy dinner, expensive, but also one of the best you will experience in Phuket. Be sure to book in advance.
Istanbul Restaurant: I couldn’t get in here, make sure you book in advance, but it was always busy, and had a great menu and reviews. It is the best spot to get Turkish food in Phuket.
Scroll Ice-cream: Make sure you stop at one of the roadside shops for Scroll ice-cream, yummy yummy in my tummy.
Banana Pancake: Make sure you stop at a Banana Pancake roadside stall too. They are like a crepe with fruit inside, my favourite was with honey, but the chocolate was also incredibly yummy.
Red Duck Restaurant: when we couldn’t get into Istanbul, we walked down the street and came here. They had great curry, and even better stir fries. The restaurant has yummy authentic Thai food, whilst a bit more expensive than most restaurants serving Thai food, you at least know you wont get food poisoning from this restaurant.
EAT bar and grill: If you are for some reason craving some western food, this is the place to get it. There is a large selection of burgers and steaks at reasonable prices.