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One of the water activities in the islands off Phuket is to feed the tropical fish. Those fish are "spoiled" by all the visitors who feed them bread. When you soak a piece of bread in the water, they come to you within a couple of seconds, and I'm not talking about a dozen of them, it's like several dozen of them. You will be surrounded by the colorful fish.
Off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, in the Andaman Sea, a string of small islands plays host to a series of spectacular sea caves. Your guide will assist you, navigating your kayak between towering stone walls through a maze of narrow rock passageways, high ceilinged caverns, and mangrove rooted pools. Float through fantasy-formations of stone into yawning chambers dripping with stalactites, mossy walled grottoes, as you paddle from island to island beneath a rain-forested canopy of foliage. Monkeys swing through the treetops, sea eagles soar, and the paradise is yours to explore.
Wat Chaithararam (commonly known as Wat Chalong) is a stunning temple area on Phuket island in Thailand. There's not much known about the original building of the Wat. It's at least a couple hundred years old and apparently was relocated at one point and has been renovated, so no telling really what parts are new or particularly old. Regardless, it's beautiful - the colors, the architecture, and the grounds. Visit it if you go to Phuket...just remember to dress appropriately if you go inside any of the structures. :)
Located in a secluded valley on the west side of Phuket, Thailand, the Naka is the ultimate tropical hideout. All 94 villas have private pools. From $640.
Phuket Town’s biggest and most boisterous weekend market takes place from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Shoppers will find plenty of items to browse, from fresh local fish and produce, to clothes, accessories, electronics, and DVDs. Grab some corn on the cob or deep-fried insects to nibble on while you peruse the wares. Photo by Thomas sauzedde/Flickr.
Our driver Khun Kob brought us to this place, and we really appreciated his recommendation! It was a delightful restaurant tucked away somewhere near Phuket town. From the minute we set our sights on the overgrowth of vegetation at the entrance, we were delighted and charmed. Our 3 families with kids set off to explore the many levels of the place and thankfully, nobody wrecked any of the owners' eclectic collection of knick-knacks. These ranged from CDs on the walls to antiques, curios, an old Apple computer turned fish tank, and many more. Each level had its own seating space but was predominantly sporting lush foliage. On to the food. We ordered almost everything and amongst the 6 adults, made short work of the yummy Thai morsels that were presented. My favourites were the Pad Thai (fried noodles), the spicy steamed fish paste (which brought tears to our eyes) and the grilled pork. There were also non-spicy kid-friendly items on the menu, which were equally yummy. While not exactly cheap (especially the drinks), we felt the quality and presentation of the food definitely deserved a return visit.
Inspired by the island’s tin-mining heritage, Indigo Pearl boutique hotel in Phuket delights in its industrial-inclined decor, care of American designer Bill Bensley. You'll be mining a rich seam here, with super-luxe suites and villas taking pampering to new heights, dreamy dining, a cocooning spa and a blissful beach in reach.Charter a yacht to go island-hopping, deep-sea fishing or rom-com sunset cruising, with trips tailormade for you. Butlers will hop onboard to pamper you with snacks, drinks and gourmet meals, and spa therapists can pummel you as you sail.
Named after the 'heaven of heavens' in Sanskrit, Paresa boutique hotel in Phuket perches high on the cliffs of Kamala Bay, with sandy beaches within easy reach and god-given views of Andaman Sea sunsets from all of its contemporary rooms. Relax in the seductive day spa, learn Thai culinary tricks in the smart cooking school or just chill out by the jaw-dropping infinity pool. Overwater dining day-beds put the 'I do' into proposals.Don't miss the twice-weekly Recipe by Ryan dinners in the cooking school, where you can watch the chef up close.
Take the plunge at Thai boutique hotel The Bell Pool Villa Resort Phuket, where 16 Indo-chic villas flaunt breezy alfresco spaces and slinky, ink-black pools. Home-from-home comforts and neat kitchens are enhanced by luxe extras such as round-the-clock butlers, lavish in-villa dining and spa sessions on tap.The round-the-clock butler service means you need never leave your pad, as a sigh-inducing procession of spa masters, yoga instructors, cocktail shakers and chefs cater to your every whim.
Elegant, exclusive and child-free, The Pavilions, Phuket hotel is perfect for a romantic escapade. Ensconce yourselves in the seductive confines of a luxury pool villa where you can eat, sleep and skinny dip in total privacy. Should you decide to come out, there’s a fine restaurant and must-visit bar, plus the thrills of Phuket on your doorstep.Although it's tucked high in the hills, the Pavilions has a spot of Layan Beach designated solely for its guests. There's a free shuttle bus to and from Layan throughout the day.Phuket is an adventure island and the concierge at the Pavilions can organise activities such as snorkelling and diving, sailing, elephant trekking, horse riding, golf, quad biking, helicopter rides, market and temple tours, and private yoga. You can also take your pick from a soothing menu of in-villa spa treatments, including specialised traditional Thai and Western rituals drawing on Aromatherapy Associates products.
This quaint café has an almost high-tea English ambience, but the menu is totally Thai. Located at the intersection of Yaowarat and Ratsada roads in Phuket Town, Anna’s menu mainly features recipes popular in Thailand’s middle region. Beautiful natural light floods the two-story building during the day, and the indoor tropical garden provides a lovely backdrop. Try the Massaman and Geng Som curries, and Banana Banoffee Pie—delish. Photo by Stephanie/Flickr.
If you’re looking for an alternative to your morning cuppa Joe, look no further than this organically focused juice bar. Whether you’re after passion fruit, lemongrass, or pineapple, Juice Raw has an appetizing menu of fruit juice and veggie combinations. They source their fresh produce from the Phuket Downtown Market, and sell sandwiches and salads, too. Photo by Yosomono/Flickr.
Choose from multiple restaurants on the beach and drink/eat the best Thai and Seafood you will ever have and it is cheap! It was right down the street from our awesome hotel Andaman which had its only private beach and was super reasonable! Eat with your feet in the sand and experience the culture and people. Not only was this the best food I ate in Thailand, but you really got to experience Thailand out of the tourist traps. The people were also beyond nice, we stayed too late and cabs were not running so they took us back to the hotel 5 min away and would not take any money. We could have walked but they did not want us to. One place once Coconut Tree Bar and Restaurant and Madagascar Bar.
This shop is tiny, but make no mistake, you’ll find some of Thailand’s best silk fabric here. Most of the silks, cotton textiles, and sarongs at Ban Boran are made by hand, and they offer ready-to-wear clothing and bags, too. The co-owner, Wandee Keawtawee, is usually in the store to answer any questions. Photo by Brian Jeffery Beggerly/Flickr.
Phuket Town was once a major trading hub that made much of its money from tin mining. Take a stroll through the historic part of the town along Thalang, Dibuk, and Krabi roads. The beautiful Sino-Portuguese architecture reflects the Hokkien Chinese and European influences on Thailand from the 19th century. Soi Romanee, a side alley, used to be Phuket Town’s red light district (romanee loosely translates to “naughty with the ladies”) and is a great place to take a stroll. Photo by Dan Costin/Flickr.
Hundreds of amulets line the market in this alley off Rassada Road in Phuket Town. These Buddhist charms are made from various metals and gypsum, and are worn around the neck to protect from harm or bring good luck. Some amulets have been blessed by monks, and prices range from a few hundred baht for the more common designs, to over 100,000 baht for rare antiques. Photo by Mattes/Wikimedia Commons.
My own opinions of Phuket vary every time I visit. For me, it’s a place that can be magical and frustrating, full with as many trappings as it has sensational selling points. Phuket Town is certainly one of my favorite features on the Thai island, with a sense of history and culture that beaches can’t provide – no matter how pristine they might be. My latest musings are about the old town as I take a look at what makes the region stand out.
Sunset in Phuket is a beautiful blend of the colors yellow, pink, blue and purple. THe waves are perfect and the only view better than on the beach is a night swim in the ocean.
There is nothing better than a fresh pina colada in carved coconut. The bartender on Coconut island brings them to you while your on the beach all day long!
If you tire of walking in Phuket, take one these awesomely-named open air taxis: They really are their own experience. A tuk tuk can carry about six people, and if you want a ride on the cheap, it’s best to flag one down on a main road. Tip: For best results, negotiate your fare before you get in. Photo by binder.donedat/Flickr.
This charming 90-year-old former shop house is famous for its traditional Southern Phuket food. Braised pork belly with black pepper, and crab-meat curry with rice noodles are just some of the favorites that will get you salivating. Very popular with locals, this place is packed every night. Photo by Navin Rajagopalan/Flickr.
Tucked away on Soi Romanee you’ll find Glasnost, an intimate joint filled with jazz-themed artwork and antiques. If you’re feeling musically inclined, sit down at the drum set or piano, or pick up a guitar—the instruments are regularly used in the evenings by local bands. Glasnost's owner is a huge jazz fan and happens to be a big-name lawyer, so if you get into fisticuffs over whether Coltrane swung better than Ellington, he can set you straight in more than one regard. Photo by Percita Dittmar/Flickr.
Similar to indie markets in the U.S., Phuket’s Indy Market is where the hip kids can hang out, sell handmade clothes and crafts, and see some live music. On Limelight Avenue off of Dibuk Road, the market is only open Thursdays and Fridays from late afternoon until 10 p.m. Unlike Phuket’s Weekend Market, the Indy is most popular with Thai teens, and few tourists visit. For more flavor, get your nails done or have your portrait drawn by a local artist. Photo by Adam Wise/Flickr.
My personal favorite destination on Phuket Island for spending a few good hours having good food and a decent walkabout is Old Phuket Town. It's not unlike other Straits Settlements, like Penang and Malacca, and is not always on mainstream tourist travel itineraries for Phuket. What you get is a quaint, vintage Chinatown, which you could cover on foot in 3-5 hours. There are more than enough great local restaurants and coffee joints to provide respite from the heat and humidity. The main draws are Raya Restaurant (for great Thai cuisine) and Kopitiam (a traditional coffee shop).
If you want to see Phuket up close and personal and don’t mind getting a little dirty, take an ATV tour north of Phuket Town. Strap on your helmet and gloves, and get a basic demo of how to drive the ATVs before you head out. You’ll pass rubber trees while speeding through jungle and mud puddles, along the mangroves, and then onto the beach. Photo by Greg Strosaker/Flickr.
Located in the former governor’s mansion, Blue Elephant opened its doors as both a restaurant and cooking school. Known as the unofficial ambassador of Royal Thai cuisine throughout the world, their sophisticated menu offers fresh ingredients with artistic presentation. Try the Lamb Kurma dish, a Muslim wedding delicacy.
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