Officially back from the honeymoon (hence my new name above!) after a long break from reality... and the blog. Joe and I had the absolutely best time on our trip, and I can't wait to share my favorite parts of each city we visited.
Phuket, Thailand is technically a larger island (although rather than an island, it's technically considered a province), connected by the Barasin Bridge to Phang Nga province to the north. Thailand is such a popular place for twenty-somethings to visit because you'll find picturesque beaches that actually look as beautiful in person as they do on your favorite travel blogger's Instagram AND the exchange rate to the USD is pretty unbelievable. In town, you'll be able to get a nice dinner (with 1-2 drinks, an appetizer, and an entree) for about $10-$15 USD, a custom made suit for $140, or a thai massage for $10. This makes it the best vacation spot because you can do everything you want to on vacation without worrying about your budget!
outfit details here
You can get to Phuket by ferry or plane. Phuket has a relatively big international airport, which you can fly into from any major city in Asia, or get a flight with a short layover from the US. Most resorts offer airport transfers, but you can also arrange a shared van to your hotel or snag a taxi at the airport. Since the island is pretty large, we actually had an hour drive to our resort. It's also about an hour away from the ferry port, which is helpful to keep in mind if you're taking a ferry from one of the smaller islands back to Phuket to catch a flight home. Our hour taxi ride from the ferry port only cost about $20 USD.
*Pro tip: when you arrive at the airport, purchase the sim cards available for sale - they are about $7 for a week and give you unlimited data + some minutes, which will allow you to iMessage your friends back home, snap chat, call local businesses... the works. Definitely worth it. Unfortunately it doesn't work if you have an AT&T iPhone though, since they are locked.
WHERE TO STAY?
As the island is pretty large, there are a variety of places you can choose to stay, but here are the most popular ones:
-Patong Beach: touristy/party area where there are lots of bars, crowded beaches, beach parties, markets, shopping, shows, and lots more to do.
-Karon Beach: known as Patong's 'little sister' with lots of things to do, but a bit less wild compared to Patong.
-Kata Beach: generally favored by families and honeymooners (this is where we stayed!) with lots of restaurants and a decent night life - definitely more tucked away and quiet. Kata is known for its white beaches year round.
-Rawai Beach: a very quiet and relaxing area where you won't find any crowds or many tourists - you'll find a lot of locals here as well as the ability to hire long tail boats to take you to neighboring islands.
*Pro tip: it's good to make sure you have cash on hand, as a lot of restaurants and vendors outside of resorts don't take credit card. Also remember that gratuity is included in your restaurant bill at 10% (which is standard in Thailand), so no need to worry about an additional tip. Aside from restaurants, where gratuity is included in your bill, tipping is not common, so for cabs, boat rides, hotels, etc. you are not expected to leave a tip!
Phuket was probably my favorite leg of our honeymoon, mostly due to our amazing hotel room. We stayed at The Shore at Katathani, a really nice adult-only annex to Katathani Phuket Beach Resort. Those staying at The Shore can access the sister resort's amenities like pools, fitness centers, restaurants, activities and bars.
Check out me modeling this hat on ShaesofPinkBtq, where you can purchase any custom beach hats - perfect for summer vacations!
outfit deets (and similar styles) here
I've never felt more like a celebrity anywhere - they have the most amazing staff and service. If we wanted, we could take a golf cart around everywhere, even to the little restaurants in the town next to the resort. We got breakfast served to us in our pool villa overlooking the ocean every morning and it was truly one of those places that made you never want to leave! By far the nicest place I've ever stayed. I highly recommend this spot for a romantic vacation! PS: did I mention the exchange rate above!? I've yet to see a country where you can get more bang for your buck than Thailand.
One of my favorite things that we did in Phuket was rent a scooter for the day and ride around to some of the tourist attractions in neighboring towns (for $7).
We saw the Big Buddha, Chalong Temple, and Phuket Town. In Phuket Town, you'll find a bunch of cool, hipster coffee shops, a colorful little street called Soi Rominee with a lot of history, night markets, and even museums. If you're heading out to the ferry port, you can even stop in Phuket Town beforehand (bags in tow), as there's really only about 2 blocks that you'll likely walk through. It's worthwhile to grab breakfast or lunch there, then catch your ferry afterwards! It's only about a 5 minute taxi ride from Phuket Town to the ferry port.
You can find custom tailors in any of the towns. There are more of them than there are Starbucks coffee shops in Seattle. Happy to refer you to our new pal, Deepak, who hooked both Joe and me up with some pretty sweet custom shirts, as well as a suit for Joe! They are able to make them in 2 days, and you'll need to be able to go back for your fitting 1 day after they take your measurements. The awesome part is that they'll keep your measurements for 5 years, so you'll be able to order more items that can be shipped if you decide to get more down the road!
A few of my favorite things to try in Thailand were fresh coconut juice (cut right in front of you typically by a man with a machete), local pad thai and curry dishes, swimming in the clear blue waters, taking a local yoga class, and simply RELAXING (for once!) I urge you to steer clear of the elephant excursions in Phuket, as the elephants are known to be treated poorly there - used only for tourist attractions like elephant trekking, which is really harmful to them especially considering they are now endangered. If you're interested in visiting places where elephants are treated more humanely and with kindness, I did my research and am happy to share this with you. Unfortunately, none of those elephant sanctuaries are located in Phuket!
Since we only made it to 2 places in Thailand this trip, I'll definitely be heading back there at some point! Thailand has so much to offer. Stay tuned for my Phi Phi Islands post coming soon!
My Phuket To-Do List
download it here!
Things to see and do:
Bookhemian – cool, hipster coffee shop that has an entire wall lined with books you can read while you sip your coffee and snack on delicious baked goods.
Gallery Cafe by Pinky – a cafe with great sandwiches and unique artwork on the walls, all available for purchase and created by local artists
Rent scooters and drive around the city - you can find them available for rent on any main street.
Chalong Temple – the most important of the 29 buddhist temples in Phuket
Big Buddha – one of the island’s most important landmarks, sitting 45 meters high in the Nakkerd Hills. The site also has a wonderful 360 degree view of Phuket and is ~15 minutes from the Chalong temple
Take a yoga class with a rooftop view of Karon at CC’s Hideaway
Hike up to Karon View Point
Take a surf lesson or go paddle boarding at Skyla's Surf & SUP School - they are so nice here! Make sure to a sign up in advance.
These were my favorite restaurants in Kata Beach
Cafeopera Live – great local Thai food with live music
Try the street food outside of Palm Square
Try a banana pancake food stand! They are more like crepes – and very delicious!
Siam Smile – great little wine bar with delicious Thai cuisine (be careful – the spicy dishes are very spicy!)