Phuket is a small island in Southern Thailand. With white sandy beaches and blue sea, it is the perfect getaway, especially after a spot of shopping in Bangkok.
Getting into Phuket from Bangkok
There are two options to directly travel to Phuket from Bangkok
The easiest and fastest way to get into Phuket is by air. It takes about one and a half hours from Bangkok, there are multiple flights all through the day. Phuket being a relatively small island is serviced by Phuket international airport or HKT.
It’s a twelve to fourteen hour journey from Bangkok to Phuket. Traveling by bus is not ideal especially if you are visiting only for a couple of days.
Getting around Phuket
In comparison to Bangkok and Pattaya, Phuket is not as well connected and is limited to a few transport options
Taxi: Regular taxis are available in Phuket. Uber isn’t available, however there is an alternative app called Grab Taxi which provides a similar service. It is also possible to hire local taxis for a day or a number of hours. We found this to be a better option to go around Phuket, than hail a new taxi after every destination we wanted to visit. In some parts of Phuket it can be difficult to find taxi’s so be sure to find a taxi that will take you to and from your destination.
Tuk-Tuks : The Tuk-Tuk’s in Phuket are the same as “Pattaya busses” in Pattaya, essentially a vehicle that seats multiple passengers, and resembles a converted pickup truck. These however can prove to be notoriously expensive. A short 10 minute ride from Bangla road to our Hotel in Patong cost us 150THB. Negotiate the prices before you embark.
What to see and do in Phuket
Patong beach is the most popular beach in Phuket and see’s hundreds of tourists visit.
Day trip to Phang Nga bay
There are multiple packaged tours available from Phuket to Phang Nga, but they are quite expensive with the average tour costing 3000-4000THB per person. I highly recommend avoiding them, and opting for a private long tail boat instead.
How to hire a private long tail boat
Drive up to Aor Por pier, it’s a one hour drive from the Patong area. There, right by the Pier you’ll find a counter with boat services, from where you can hire a private long tail boat. Price quotes are given depending on the number of places you want to visit. Visiting five spots will cost about 5000 THB, but we managed to bargain it down to about 4500 THB, the more skilled you are at bargaining the better deal you’ll get. (If you are willing to drive up till Phang Nga town you can get even better deals, about 1500THB for a boat)
A long tail boat can fit about ten people, and it has a closed area as well as an open deck. It is quite fast, especially in comparison to the tourist boats.
Our first stop was Hong Island, a barge with kayaks for rent was available there. It costs 500 THB for two people and the kayak comes with a person to row, so you can just relax and enjoy the experience.
Typically it is possible to kayak into some of the caves around the island, however as it was a low tide when we visited the kayaks couldn’t go into the caves. We circled the island instead which I thought was an incredible experience nonetheless, and I highly recommend it.
We also visited James Bond Island, saw a rock formation that our boat guy called James Bond Island two.
Then we were taken to another island (I can’t recall the name) where we were went through a dark cave, we needed torchlight’s to see, and waded through knee deep water to come out into the most tranquil mangrove.
It was breathtaking! With the forest looming around us! We proceeded to another island where we were given the option to swim, we decided to pass up the offer. The last stop was Khuk Khak beach, where there were some water sports on offer. The sun was setting as we made our way back to the pier, the purple and orange sky backed by islands rising from the water!
Tip: If you are visiting Phang Nga Bay from Aor Por pier, ensure that you have a taxi ride back to town. Ao Por doesn’t have any taxi’s going around like the main town.
It is the heart of Phuket’s nightlife with plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants.
Phuket Old Town
The following day I had to leave for the airport at about 11 am. There was only time for me to see Phuket Old town.
Phuket old town is an area filled with colorful, historical Portugese style buildings. It is an ode to Phuket’s days as a tin mining town. The best way to explore Phuket old town is by foot. There are plenty of shops where you can buy Thai Knick knacks and utensils, as well as restaurants to eat from.
This was where my week long Thai vacation ended. My family dropped me off at the airport before continuing their holiday. The remainder of this post will feature their perspective.
Celebrating Loy Krathong in Phuket
Loy Krathong is an annual Thai festival that falls in the month of November. The festival involves the creation of a krathong, a floater made with banana stem and leaves, decorated with flowers and incense sticks. They are lit and floated into water bodies.
Phi Phi islands
How to get there from Phuket
Catch a boat to Phi Phi from Rasada pier. The boat costs about 500 THB per person and takes about 2 hours to reach Phi Phi.
Snorkeling in Phi Phi
Phi Phi islands are one of the best spots for snorkeling in Thailand, owing to the crystal clear and calm waters. Again avoid the “tour packages” and go ahead and rent yourself a boat. It’ll only cost you about 700 THB and includes the cost of the snorkeling gear.
You can do a day trip to Phi Phi islands from Phuket or Krabi, however it is recommended to stay the night on the island to give you plenty of time to do activities or just relax.
After a day in Phi Phi, my family were back to Phuket, then Bangkok for a day before heading back home.
This concludes my series on Thailand. Khop Khun Kha!