Phuket is like seeing a woman who is wearing six-inch heels, bright red lipstick, and a glittery shirt who you then are surprised to find out has a day job painting houses, rides dirt bikes on the weekends, and studies philosophy in her free time. In other words, you have to look beyond the neon lights and the blaring music to see Phuket’s true self and all that it really contains.
If it is nightlife you are after, then you will find it on Soi Banga in the area of Patong Beach. Most all the bars are open air, so you can do lots of people watching by just walking down the street without even entering a bar. It is very lively, but also very noisy and touristy and for me, wasn’t the type of scene I enjoy. I prefer to get away from the crowds to the isolated spots of beauty, to the places where the locals go.
Nai Harn Beach was such a place. There were very few tourists, and the beach was gorgeous. There was a saltwater lagoon at one end of the beach, and I had a great time playing with the local children. There were also a few restaurants right on the beach, so you could easily spend the day there. It is not a common spot for tuk tuk drivers to stop, so I recommend making arrangements for your driver to come back and get you later in the day. In general if you get out of the Patong area, you will start to see Phuket’s natural beauty, the crowds dissipate and you can find a few quiet spots to call your own.
You do have a wide choice of things to do in Phuket. You can go scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, elephant trekking or even kite surfing. I really enjoyed just walking the streets, eating the street food, and just watching people.
I stayed at the Rayaburi Hotel Patong, and it definitely became my sanctuary from the busyness and noise of Phuket. The bathtub in my room was incredible and was my oasis at the end of each day. Check out The Travelling King blog for more ideas of where to stay in Phuket.
Patong is the most touristy area, though, so if you are looking to spend most of your time off the beaten path, I would recommend a different area of Phuket. Phuket also has its own airport, so it is very easy to get to. I do highly recommend Mom Tri’s Kitchen for dinner. The food and the views are astounding.
If you are looking for a choice of many activities, to shop in Phuket, a busy nightlife, and fast pace, then Phuket is for you. If you are looking for a quiet island hideaway, then you may want to choose one of the other islands that Thailand has to offer.
To read more about my experience of Phuket, go here.