Even if you only have a few days to enjoy Phuket, there are plenty of things to keep you enthralled. The island boasts a vast range of activities so visitors can strike the perfect balance between relaxation, active pursuits and retail therapy.
With direct connections to a number of cities in Asia, Phuket has become a popular short break destination and a choice of private villas makes it even more appealing for a swift escape form the stress of daily life. If you want to make the most of a three to four day trip to Phuket, it is best to sample a little bit of everything that the island has on offer. If you combine a trip to the beach with more energetic activities like snorkelling or sailing, and then enjoy a traditional spa treatment and some shopping at Phuket Town’s Weekend Market, you will really feel like you are getting the most out of the island.
Mixing it up also gives you the chance to sample a little more of Thailand’s traditional culture, rather than sticking solely to sun, sea and sand.
Energizing your travels
Many visitors flock to Phuket to explore the wonders of the surrounding waters, which are home to a stunning array rock formations, coral reefs and marine life. Popular day trip dive sites near Phuket include Shark Point and Koh Phi Phi, situated to the east. The best snorkelling spots on the Phuket are located away from the busier beaches and a number of operators also offer day trips by boat to take snorkelers to the best areas off the coast. If you are making your own way to a snorkelling destination, Banana Beach is a great place to start. It is tucked away on the north west coast and home to a modest local restaurant which is great for a quick bite. The three small coves of As Sane Beach are also a great place for snorkelers who want to catch a glimpse of Phuket’s exciting marine life.
Another outdoor pursuit popular with visitors is kayaking. It is best to book kayak tours in advance if possible, as limited places do fill up quickly. Kayaking is a great way to get up close to some of the natural eco-system that can be found around Phuket without having a disturbing effect. Kayaking tours also allow visitors to discover the nooks and crannies of the famous Phang Nga Bay, and often focus on more tranquil, unexplored areas of the bay that are not so popular with the tourist crowds.
Rest and Relaxation
One of the main reasons Phuket has become so popular with travellers from across the globe is because of the idyllic bays and beaches that line its shores, and a trip to the island would not be complete without enjoying some of the coastal scenery. Patong and Kata beaches are the most developed on the island, and are home to a wide selection of restaurants, bars and water sports options. Alternatively, they are a great place to just relax and soak up some sun. Situated just south of Patong, Karon Beach is also popular with visitors, although it is much wider and rarely becomes as crowded as Patong and Kata. Visitors should bring an umbrella and sun hat to Karon, as there is little natural shade, but the beach is widely known as one of Phuket’s best places for a good swim. Kamala Beach, 10 minutes from Patong, is also a great place if you want to kick back and relax, and is a little more peaceful and serene than some of the more developed beaches on the island.
If you are looking for the ultimate relaxing experience, you should make a trip to one of the island’s traditional spas a priority, whether simply for a soak in a steam bath or an intense Thai massage. The Sukko Spa is located 10 minutes’ drive from Phuket Town and treatments are based on the ancient art of Thai medicine, including traditional heat therapies and the application of indigenous herbs used to return your body and soul to harmonious balance. The Cheraim Spa Village is another popular stand-alone spa where visitors can indulge in a range of relaxing treatments. Cheraim is perhaps most famous for its 60-minute head massage, which focuses on balancing the chakras (energy centres) that are located between the crown of the head and the base of the spine.
For shopaholics visiting Phuket, the island provides a fabulous assortment of great places to browse and spend your hard earned cash. A great variety of outlets ensures every shopper is happy, whether haggling at the famous Weekend Market in Phuket Town, or souring for bargains at Jungceylon shopping mall in Patong or Central Festival Department Store in the centre of the island.
The weekend market is situated just outside Phuket Town on the Chao Fa West Road, and is an excellent place to pick up some gifts and knick-knacks before you leave the island. Shoppers can find pretty much anything here, from clothes and DVDs to traditional carvings and Thai handicrafts. The market is also a great place to try some of the islands delicious street food
For something a little more up-market, visitors head to one of the shopping malls. Jungceylon Shopping Complex opposite Bangla Road comprises over 200 stores in which you can find high fashion boutiques, sunglasses, perfume, cosmetics and electrical goods. The shopping centre also features a cinema and bowling alley, which are a great choice if you feeling the need to escape the heat.
Many shopaholic visitors would not be content to leave the island without splurging on some products made of world famous, colourful Thai silk. If this is you, the Jim Thompson outlet in Central Festival is a great place to go for a wide range of high quality silk products, as well as other top quality linens, cottons and pretty home décor accessories.
by MAX VEE