Making the Most of your Time in Phuket, Thailand

We took a trip for 10 days to Thailand in honor of our dad’s upcoming 50th birthday. We made pit stops in Bangkok and Nakhon Phanom, my dad’s birth place, before heading for the southern coast of Thailand.

While Bangkok is bustling and Nakhon Phanom is idyllic and I loved both cities, Phuket has been at the top of my travel bucket list for the last few years. It’s been filling up my Pinterest feed for awhile, so by the time we landed in Phuket the building anticipation was definitely about to overflow. Luckily, Phuket did not disappoint. Here’s what I recommend doing if you’re planning a trip to Phuket soon.

Disclaimer: *Pictures do not do this place justice.

Disclaimer #2: Not all of Phuket (dirty streets, masses of people, crazy drivers) is depicted in the pictures below.

*All images are mine unless otherwise credited.

1. John Gray Sea Canoe Tour

John Gray Sea Canoe Tour

Things to do in Phuket, Thailand

Kratong Phuket

A highlight of the trip! The tour starts at noon and goes until 9 PM. Expect a day full of delicious food, beautiful landscapes, and exotic day explorations of sea caves that were discovered by John Gray himself. You top the night off by floating your own self-made flower “kratong” in a spiritual, natural light show.

2. Scuba Dive

Scuba Dive in Phuket Thailand

Photo by: Heather Goodie

Something I SO badly wanted to do, but, unfortunately didn’t have time for. Snorkeling was amazing off of Krabi (another Thailand coastal province), so I can only imagine how fantastic the scuba diving would be. I would recommend booking your tour with this company – they were super responsive and have amazing reviews on Trip Advisor. If time allows for more than a “Discover Scuba” trip, get certified over the course of three days. Even Aussies, who have the Great Barrier Reef at their fingertips, rant and rave about the marine life in Thailand.

3. Get a massage, or two.

So cheap ($10 for an hour), so good, so relaxing. If you’re not into the typical Thai massage, opt for a facial or traditional oil massage. Go here if you’re staying in Patong, but beware of “special” massages at places you may come across randomly on the streets.

4. Watch a Muy Thai fight.

When in Thailand, do as the Thai people do! Recommended for anybody who’s into contact sports, boxing, and the adrenaline that comes from the rush of witnessing up-close combat.

5. Stock up on mango smoothies.

Things to do Phuket Thailand

Sold on the street for $3 or less, this stuff is liquid gold. Don’t be afraid to barter down if you’re getting multiple, as Thai people are always willing to negotiate on a deal. #doublefisting

6. Phi Phi Island Hopping Tour

Phuket, Thailand

Phi Phi Island Hopping Tour, Thailand

Photo by: Martha Kirby

There are so many of these tours to choose from, I would recommend choosing a high speed boat tour so you have more time spent soaking up the turquoise blue waters and the white sandy beaches, and less time at sea getting from island to island. Not to mention, the high speed boat tours offer a complimentary buffet lunch on a private island, and free snacks/drinks all day. My favorite was Monkey Beach, Phi Phi, and snorkeling near a sand bar in the middle of the sea.

7. Elephant Sanctuary

Photo by: Troy

The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary offers a refuge for retired, overworked, and injured elephants. It’s a place where you can observe, feed, and interact with elephants in a safe and humane setting.

Pro tip: Choose the morning session to avoid the afternoon heat.

A few tips while planning your Phuket trip:

We stayed in a big resort on Patong Beach. If I had to do it again I would definitely stay in a different part of Phuket, something more relaxed, and less “spring breaky.” The nightlife is popping, but as retired-from-the-nightlife married women, it wasn’t our scene, or our ideal oasis. Patong Beach is also pretty busy. Luckily for us, we could still catch some R&R and some rays at one of the five private pools provided at our hotel.

Sunset on Patong Beach | Phuket Thailand

Phuket is a big city, and the pictures you see above are mostly from the many islands off of the coast of Phuket. We were anticipating a remote location filled with bungalows and a few resorts. If you want to experience that, I’d suggest flying into Phuket and then island hopping from there. It’s much harder to do this though if traveling with a bigger group, so also keep this in mind if you’re planning something outside of a couple’s trip!

No matter where you go in Thailand, bring baby wipes. A lot of public restrooms in Thailand only have a “water sprayer” attached to the toilet to rinse off your bum after using the restroom, with no toilet paper in sight. This is when having your own baby wipes come in handy!

Always know the address and phone number of the place you are visiting. You can’t expect all taxi drivers to know where everything is and the language barrier can be tough, so just show them on your phone and you can rest assured you will get to Point B just fine.

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