A Quick Trip To Phuket
"Phuket is a rain forested, mountainous island and so some of our favourite memories of the trip came simply from travelling to different areas on our mopeds and taking in the breathtaking scenery along the way."
After landing in Phuket, the next thirty minutes of our first Thailand experience probably went as stereotypically as could be expected. We were greeted by an excitable gentleman at the taxi rank who proceeded to show us a Thai ‘pop’ music video on his phone which was a little strange. He appeared to find it hilarious though, and we found his laugh hilarious, and so we all laughed as one. This led on to the taxi journey with a driver who spoke very little English, but who was obviously use to stringing the words together “you like ladyboy?”...we politely declined but we got the feeling we had been properly welcomed to Thailand!
WATCH GlobalGemz Team's Vlog Exploring Phuket..
Our villa was in the Surin Heights area of Phuket which we had already been informed was a very upmarket location on the island. Most people are aware that Thailand is very cheap anyway in comparison to many other countries and we had chosen to travel over during the rainy/low season, so although we were in luxury accommodation the price definitely did not reflect this. We had arrived in the evening when it was dark so it was only the next morning when we were able to fully appreciate the villa and its stunning views that were most definitely worth the wait!
One of the first jobs for those travelling to Phuket should be to arm yourselves with a moped as this is by far the easiest and quickest way to get around. As you would expect this doesn't require you to dig too deep into your pocket, at probably around £5 per day for most places it's a worthwhile investment. Phuket is a rainforested, mountainous island and so some of our favourite memories of the trip came simply from travelling to different areas on our mopeds and taking in the breathtaking scenery along the way. Thankfully we managed to stay accident-free but be aware the roads are very winding and when the heavens open they become super slippery so approach with caution!
Phuket has a diverse set of holidaymakers, from backpackers on a super tight budget to high-end tourists wanting to experience major luxury. This is very much reflected in the food, however mostly by the amount you are charged and not by the quality. Admittedly the evening of our friends birthday we had a meal at a very posh establishment where the food was sensational, and despite the perceived expensive bill by Thai standards, for most people coming from Europe it would be seen as well worth the money. On the flip side, regardless of our prior knowledge about the price of street food in Thailand, we were still amazed by the amount and quality of food available for around £3 per person. It allows for so much freedom to try different, local dishes without having to worry if you will particularly like it or not...although for the vast majority of dishes we experienced we were not disappointed.
For a taste of mini Bangkok head over to Patong which is classed as the main resort town. By day Patong actually feels somewhat relaxed with tourists shopping in the malls and locals more so getting themselves ready for the evening crowds. Patong by night steps up the energy levels and is totally alive with local market dealers lining the streets to try and sell you almost anything you can imagine. The roads are loud and busy with mopeds, tuk-tuks and open top lorries advertising live Thai Boxing events, whilst the neon colours from the clubs and bars light up the streets. This area of Phuket may well not be to everybody's taste, however, it is worth seeing for at least one evening just for the experience.
Phuket has always been a popular destination due to its variety and generally more lively vibe than a lot of mainland Thailand. Not only do you have the beauty of Phuket to explore but also the smaller islands that are dotted around its coast. Unfortunately, even some of the more remote islands now have a heavy footfall of tourists which inevitably takes away that much-needed feeling of tranquillity. There are however ways to minimise the effect of this on your own experience and we were able to do so by hiring a boat for ourselves when travelling out to the Coral Islands. Many of the excursions offer group tours so when you get off the boat on the said island, you get off with a hundred other people...not good! Pay a little more money with a small group, aim to leave out early, and you'll be sure to get a beach pretty much to yourselves for a couple of hours at least.
One of our personal favourite activities whilst in Phuket was quad bike (ATV) riding through the rainforest up to the famous Big Buddha landmark. Although some people get put off by quad bike riding when there is a guide involved, please don't be on this occasion. Our guides were a lot of fun and actually quite necessary, or otherwise, some of us would have never made it out of the forest in one piece. Our biggest regret besides not having a longer amount of time in Phuket to explore was only having one massage...professional full body for one hour thirty minutes at a price of around £20 is just ridiculous so make the most of it whilst you can!
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Global Gemz Co-Founder & CEO