Phuket Travel Guide
Thailand was the perfect holiday destination that both Massimo and I were dreaming of after months of work. I already put together some mini videoclips of our trip that I posted on my Instagram Stories. If you missed them, don’t worry you can still watch on my profile as I saved them under the highlight “Phuket”.
Now it’s time to write down my best Phuket Travel Guide with all my dos and donts, yays and nays of Phuket and Phi Phi Islands.
PHUKET TRAVEL GUIDE
We spent 8 days in Thailand. The first 2 nights in Phuket, then we moved to Phi Phi Islands for 3 days and we came back to Phuket for the last 3 days of holiday. A week or so is a good duration. The holiday is long enough to let you switch your mind from work to relax. However, living in Dubai makes much easier for us to reach Thailand. We travelled with Emirates on a direct flight from Dubai to Phuket and it took around 7 hours. If you travel from Italy, I think you might need two weeks.
WHAT TO VISIT / WHAT TO DO
The first beach we visited. I read that some of the best beaches are in Kata: Kata Yai and Kata Noi. There are many local stands along the beach where you can eat and drink. At the end of the holiday we realised that we spent most of the time under the shadow of palms and trees. We are probably getting too old for sun, lol. If shadow is also important for you but you don’t want to stay on a private beach, you will be happy to know that Kata beach is surrounded by a lot of trees that give you the rest you need from the hot sun.
I personally didn’t like Kata town very much. It’s very chaotic, not at the level of Patong, but still too much crowded for my standard. Kata is definitely a good choice if you want to have fun but you don’t need thousands of pubs and locals. If you are looking for a relaxing holiday, this place is not for you.
We had our first massage the fist day we spent in Thailand. After that other 4 more massages followed by! Massages are ridiculously cheap in Phuket (300 bath for one hour of Thai massage) and the ladies are really really good. I highly recommend to try any place you find along the streets or even at the beach. You don’t need to go to any exclusive spa where for sure you would spend more and more to get the same treatment.
THE BIG BUDDHA
The Big Buddha is only 30 mins far from Kata and it’s a must see. It’s a giant, impressive statue of Buddha that looks over the entire island of Phuket. In fact, it’s also a great pointview where to take photos and see Phuket from above.
We loved Kamala SO much! It definitely has the best panorama. Most of the hotels are located a little bit above the sea so the scenario is amazing. The beach wasn’t our favourite but it’s quite peaceful. There are good places where to eat, as well as massage points. We went twice at Rita where we got an hour of foot massage in a dreamy location, just in front of the beach. Very relaxing.
The best beach we visited in Phuket. The color of the water is incredible, a turquoise blue that looks unreal. I had the feeling that here the beach is a little bit wilder than other places. There aren’t many restaurants or bars. However it’s full of local stands that sell food and beverage. So, you are covered!
One evening we went to Patong, which is quite close to Kamala. We visited the night food market and then we stopped by the first restaurant that inspired us along the beach. For the small that I saw, Patong is a total mess lol! The nightlife of the island certainly happens in this town.
This was the most incredible experience of the entire holiday. Phuket hosts few elephant sanctuaries, places where elephants live free from cage or chain. We went on tour with Anda Adventure. A bus picked us up at the hotel and we spent the entire day feeding, taking care and washing elephants. You can literally hug them. I think this is my MUST TO DO number one.
-PHI PHI ISLANDS-
Maya is the popular beach from Leonardo Di Caprio’s movie “The Beach“. There are no doubts that Maya Beach is a “hidden” paradise on earth. Unfortunately, since the movie, it has become a must-to-see destination for everyone who visits Phi Phi Islands so it’s ridiculously crowded. Normally the visit to Maya Beach is part of a touristic tour, so you rarely spend there more than one/two hours. However, arriving when the beach is totally packed by people let you miss all the beauty of this place. If you are based in Phi Phi Islands my suggestion is to book a long tail boat and to visit Maya Beach very early in the morning, like before 7am. It’s worth the early wake up, I promise you!
*There are many other spots to visit at Phi Phi Islands: Viking Cave, Monkey Beach, Shark Viewpoint (if you love diving), Khai Island, Loh Samah Bay… Unfortunately the day we booked the boat we found rough water so we couldn’t reach these destinations.
VIEWPOINT 1 & 2
There are two viewpoints where to admire Phi Phi Island. One follows the other so you can easily reach both of them by walk, starting from the town. It will take you around 40 mins to reach the highest point. The view is spectacular!
HOW TO MOVE AROUND PHUKET AND PHI PHI ISLANDS
BUS / TAXI: From and to the airport, as well as from and to the pier (where we took the boat to Phi Phi Island) we moved by bus or taxi. Bus is the cheapest option and they are very well organised. Taxi are always available. They are more expensive but still very affordable. In general Thailand is very cheap, either if you come from Europe or Middle East.
TUK TUK: You can’t visit Thailand without trying the famous Tuk Tuk. It’s the local version of taxi and it’s perfect when you want to reach short distance.
MOTORBIKE: To rent a bike is really cheap. You can rent one daily and it’s around 250/300 bath a day. You just need to be careful on the roads, there is traffic.
LONG TAIL BOAT: Basically you can move from one point to another via sea using the traditional long tail boat. Especially on Phi Phi Islands where there aren’t roads! Normally it costs around 1,700 bath for 4 hours.
WHAT TO EAT
Thai food is delicious. Don’t judge street food stands for their appearance, food is really amazing even if it’s not a five stars restaurant. Probably it’s even better and fresher at these stands. They literally cook the meal in front of your eyes.
I personally loved the fruit smoothies, prawns cooked in all the ways, pad Thai, rice with vegetables and shrimps. Massimo and I had a real addiction for Mango Sticky Rice. It’s a typical dessert and if you don’t try it you really miss out most of Thai food!
Here some places where we ate and it’s worth to name:
TONSAI SEAFOOD RESTAURANT in Phi Phi Island: you eat local food and it’s WOW!
GRAND P.P. ARCADE in Phi Phi Island: it’s modern and trendy place that serves Thai food.
Breakfast is also really really good.
ITALIANO RESTO in Phi Phi Island: in case you need a break from Thai food, this Italian restaurant is good.
CIAO BELLA in Phi Phi Island: my favorite on Phi Phi island for the location, it’s just next to the beach. You can order Italian food, but they also serve Thai food. We went there for lunch so we ordered something light, a bruschetta.
THE MANGO GARDEN in Phi Phi Island: best Mango sticky rice!
THE DECK at Kamala, in Phuket: a pricey restaurant but the food was stunning and the atmosphere really beautiful!
WHAT TO PACK
Another post will follow this Phuket Travel Guide, more focused on my outfits. However, I found Phuket (and Phi Phi Islands) very chill. I packed only flat shoes and I didn’t feel I needed high heels.
You basically need: swimsuits, sunblock cream (a lot!), sunglasses and hat (but you can also buy hats in Phuket, there are many and very pretty) and cover-up for the day. Shorts and t-shirts in case you do any trip around. Flip flops, sneakers and flat sandals. Maxi dresses for the evening. I packed a denim jacket for the evening but I never wore it, it was quite warm. You can bring from home or you can buy there, but you also need an anti-mosquitos spray.
WHERE WE STAYED
SUGAR MARINA RESORT SURF at Kata: the hotel is pretty cool. We had a fabulous room with a direct access to the pool from our balcony. With direct access I mean we could jump directly to the pool from the balcony lol. However I found it a bit pricey. We spent nearly the same amount for Cape Sienna but you can’t even compared the two of them. Cape Sienna is on another level. Maybe the high price is because of the location, which was perfect, in the centre of the town and a walking distance from the beach.
P.P. CHARLIE BEACH RESORT at Phi Phi Island: the resort is amazing and it offers fantastic facilities. Breakfast was great. There is an infinite pool which looks to the beach. It’s stunning. The location is also good, few steps from the beach and the Main Street. But be aware that the Main Street, which practically is the only street on the island, is where the nightlife happens. Our room faced the street and we barely slept for the noise. The resort includes two hotels, Charlie and Princess. From what we saw from outside the second looks better. If we went back we probably checked in at Princess.
In general if you want to avoid all the crowd and noise you should book the hotel on the other side of the island. We went there once by boat and it was so peaceful. The beach and the sea are also better.
CAPE SIENNA at Kamala: so far, this is the best hotel Massimo and I have never stayed at. We also got an unexpected upgrade to a studio with jacuzzi on the balcony, facing the sea. What really makes this hotel amazing is the location. It’s a bit above the sea so you have this never-ending view over the ocean. Hard to describe with words. Breakfast was excellent and we also ate twice at the restaurant located next to the pool. We didn’t try the spa. Normally we always treat ourselves with a day at the spa, but as I said before, in Phuket you don’t really need to pay triple the price to get a good massage, just walk till Kamala beach, go to Rita and enjoy the view and the relax for maximum 500 bath!
THE MAGIC OF THAILAND
I couldn’t end my Phuket Travel Guide without mention Thai people. If I describe this holiday as a magic experience is also because of the people we met and we saw. I absolutely love Thai people because they are extremely friendly, gentle and they always smile. Poverty is around the corner, you can see it everywhere, you can touch it. But people smile, a warm fiendly smile that shows how much welcome you are.