Phuket, Thailand by Carmela Villegas
posted by Stephanie in Gypsetters Guide
Why go: Because you want to go to Thailand and avoid the overwhelming craziness of Bangkok. From Buddhist temples to island hoping and even finding playmates in baby elephants Phuket island has many things to offer!
What to pack: Phuket has a very chill, relax vibe. Wear comfortable clothes since it’s warm and most of the time you will be riding tuktuks or boats. High waisted shorts, light crop tops and bathing suit cover ups for the ladies. Men can spend their days in board shorts and t-shirts. If you plan on visiting a temple or two, pack clothes that reach below your knee and cover your shoulders. A nice full length skirt with a lovely linen top or a wrap-around dress for the women. Men should opt for linen pants and a Polo for example.
Love / Lust: I loved my Watercolor Cami dress from Forever21 which I found perfect for those beach days and summer nights… But was truly lusting for Kate Moss for TopShop kaftans which are perfect for day to night use. It can be used as a cover-up during the day and dress is up with wedges, earrings for a night out.
Stay: Agoda.com has a lot of great resort deals in Phuket. We decided to stay at the Avista Hideaway Spa which is located up in the hills of Phuket, far from the busy streets of Patong Beach that it’s quiet and peaceful but close enough to access the restaurants, bars and the sea.
They have rooms that have access directly to the swimming pool. One set out of the balcony you will find yourself toes in the water.
Their Spa is set in a relaxing environment and all you hear are the water fountains.
Eat: Love the food! So fresh, bursting with flavors, comforting, Thai food is really something. The best part about it? You find your tummy heaven literally every street corner. For a romantic dinner, Avista Hideaway Spa’s Sizzle restaurant is situated at the top of the resort looking over the lush Jungle Hills of Phuket. If you reserve ahead of time you can enjoy a dinner in one of their private huts. The menu is mostly continental items with an Asian twist. Such as the Lobster bisque with lemon grass or seared tuna served with wasabi mayonnaise.
For cheap eats, Number 6 Restaurant in Patong beach serves a wide range of Thai food. If you can’t handle your heat, they serve milder versions of famous Thai dishes. Side Street Stalls in Phuket town have a variety of great dishes but specialize in Hokkien Style Duck Noodle Soup, Crab Noodles and Crab Fried Rice. The night-weekend market has food for everyone. My favorite stall was the fried fish cakes “Tod Mon Pla” which is served with fried basil leaves, fresh cucumber slices, lemon grass and coriander.
Drink: It’s rather hot and humid so my favorite way to cool down is with Iced coffee and Thai Iced Tea. For cocktails, we preferred to have our sunset drinks poolside in our resort. Phuket is known for its crazy nightlife (a.k.a. ping-pong-banana shows) which you may want to avoid when you are on a romantic getaway. We did find however one really nice and classy place called The Speakeasy for some chic, well-made cocktails. The interiors are beautiful but far from the beachy vibe.
Do: Visit old Phuket Town, this old town used to be the heart of the island before Patong beach attracted all the tourists. Visit Gallery Café. Many old buildings are restored and are home to gallery cafés or cute boutique stores. If you like visiting temples but are limited in time, the temple not to miss is the Big Buddha which is located on top at 45 meters high. Take advantage of the beautiful 360 degree view from this site.
Shop: Phuket Town, there are lovely clothing stores and antique shops along the heritage road. The night-weekend market carries a wide range of products perfect for your souvenir shopping or ‘pasalubong’.
OST: The soundtrack of The Beach, it was filmed in one of the lovely islands around Phuket. Specifically the song called “Pure Shores” by All Saints… It’s perfect for the sunset!
Reading Material: “The Beach” by Alex Garland of course! It illustrates the paradoxical worlds between the beautiful paradisiac islands and the crazy nightlife and overstaying tourists that Thailand is known for.
Season: Best to travel to Thailand before or after the monsoon season which runs from late May to October.
In the know: Thai Airways has the best connections from Bangkok to Phuket, their Economy class is super comfortable and the food and service excellent. Next time around I would stay one or two nights in Bangkok first before heading out to the islands.
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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.
We are The Gypsetters.