This was my second visit to Phuket and probably my last. It’s very touristy and very expensive (by Thai standards) although still cheaper than Australia. My friend and I stayed in Karon, about 15min tuk tuk ride (300baht) from Patong and a lot quieter. Unfortunately, due to wet season we didn’t have the greatest weather. When it was sunny, Karon beach and our resort was absolutely beautiful but when it was windy and rainy it was pretty miserable. Fortunately, the rain rarely lasts all day so you can usually get a few hours of sunshine. During the rainy periods, massages, naps and cocktails got us through!
- Karon Temple Markets are open on Tuesday & Friday.
- A beautiful Slow Loris in Karon, this will set you back 100baht to hold and get a picture with.
- Majority of restaurants in Phuket cater for Vegans and Vegetarians so I never had an issue with food (in contrast to my time in rural north Thailand – next post)!
- Some restaurants display prices that exclude Tax and Service charges so you can get a little shock when the bill is 17% more than you expected.
- It’s better to spend a bit more (50-100baht more) and go into an actual day spa for a massage and not some seedy room with shower curtains. Beware…you may get lured in off the street for a cheap massage and nekminnit they are taking you down an alleyway where you are lumped in like cattle to lie next to an array of sweaty foreigners on mattresses, on the floor.
- Tipping isn’t essential, but I always do anyway. A few dollars can go a lot further to a Thai than in Australia.
- For those who haven’t had one before, a traditional Thai massage involves lots of stretching and requires a bit of flexibility. Some people can find it a little intrusive, especially if you’re just expecting to lay there and have your back rubbed. I’ve had all sorts of strange encounters including my fair share of bare tummy, inner thigh and boob massages which I must admit, I wasn’t 100% comfortable with! If being stretched and kneed in the back isn’t your thing, opt for an oil or aromatherapy massage.
- Don’t fly AirAsia. I’ve now added it to my blacklist of airlines along with Jetstar, Ryan Air and Cebu Pacific due to extremely poor customer service and a vast array of hidden fees and costs. I will always pay extra to avoid flying with these airlines.
I’ve travelled to a number of Asian islands before and I find Phuket, Patong and around Bang La Road in particular, a seedy, overpriced city and not a true reflection of Thai culture and hospitality. There are plenty of amazing resorts in Phuket that have their own private beaches, swimming pools, restaurants, bars and even mini golf, so if ping pong shows, street hawkers and go-go bars aren’t your thing, opt for a large resort just outside of Patong or somewhere near Karon or Kata beach.