After a nine hour flight from Brisbane Australia we arrived in exciting Phuket Thailand. Arriving at night we were met by a member of the Phuket Shuttle team which we had pre booked prior to our departure. We were quickly escorted to our car and whisked through the busy streets to our destination the Patong Marina Hotel our home for the next 2 weeks.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for further information.
Where to stay in Patong Phuket
The Patong Marina Hotel is an affordable hotel with friendly helpful staff and clean comfortable rooms with the enviable position of being located directly across the road from the beautiful Patong Beach and its restaurants and bars.
Exploring Exciting Phuket
After checking into our hotel we quickly hit the streets to explore the vibrant nightlife of the Patong Beach area. Strolling the streets we were met by hawkers selling anything from sunglasses, massages, tours to Tuk Tuks, something I’m sure all tourists to Patong can relate too. We finally made our way to Bangla Road, this loud, brash, in your face street, is an explosion of neon, music, girls, street performers and bars, an exciting street which will have you coming back night after night.
For those who like a quieter more romantic night, there are a myriad of restaurants overlooking the beach with a price for every budget. We spent many peaceful afternoons with a cocktail watching the sunset over the beach, it was magic!
Getting to know Exciting Phuket
Waking early the next morning we were excited to get out and explore the beach, we were rewarded with our first glimpse of a brightly painted long boat and fishermen casting their nets to catch bait fish in the shallows. We bought a grilled fish from one of the street venders along the promenade and sat on the beach and enjoyed our breakfast.
Patong Beach is a mecca for sun worshipers and you can spend the day leisurely basking in the sun reading and relaxing, enjoying a quick dip or if you are more physical you can hire a jet ski, take a ride on a banana boat or for the adventurous take a turn at paragliding, the choice is yours and it’s an easy one to make.
Shopping in Patong
Patong is a shopper’s paradise from market like stalls selling beach gear, bags and sunglasses and electrical goods to the impressive Jungceylon shopping mall upmarket brands of clothing, cosmetics, electrical goods and Thai arts and crafts are among the many items on sale here. Jungceylon is diagonally across the road from Bangla Road and boasts a Cinema, many eateries and the Big C supermarket to pick up all those holiday essentials.
Exploring Exciting Phuket
Wanting to explore other areas of Phuket we chose to take the blue bus (songtheaws), this bus took us from Patong Beach to Ranong Road in Phuket Old Town. From here you can catch blue buses to other Phuket beaches, the destination is written on each bus. We walked diagonally across the street to catch the bus to Rawai and Nai Harn Beaches. The buses don’t seem to have any set timetable but come around every 20-30 minutes and can be flagged down along the route. Some locals call it the “Turtle Bus” as the journey can be quite slow, but we had plenty of time and found it interesting to see a more authentic Phuket.
Ranong Road is part of Phuket Old Town, this bustling road has many shops that sell anything from slithering eels and turtles to fireworks and clothing, a fun and interesting street to explore. We were fortunate enough to see a Buddhist festival taking place while visiting, amid the jangle of cymbals, we watched as flower bedecked floats with golden towers transport Monks down the street to the hum of the chanting crowd. Such an exciting event to see.
Our bus driver dropped us off at Rawai Beach, this area has a beach and a pier, here we saw signs advertising long boat trips out to the many Islands. Rawai Beach has many restaurants and bars and a large Expat population. We found it to be a lot quieter area than Patong and we were not bothered by hawkers at any time, which was refreshing, people were friendly and the prices much cheaper than Patong prices.
Nai Harn Beach
The next day we took the bus to Nai Harn Beach, another location popular with Expats, the journey took us around 40 minutes from Phuket town. On arrival we passed a small lake and the striking Wat Nai Harn, this Buddhist Monastery is situated between the lake and the beach. Alighting the bus we walked along a road bordered with small shops and restaurants, surrounded by lush tropical forest. Finally we caught our first glimpse of the scenically beautiful Nai Harn Beach. With its crystal clear water, white sand and gorgeous views it is less crowded than many beaches in this area due to the Monastery which has prevented excessive development making Nai Harn Beach a more tranquil, family friendly beach.
Visiting the Islands around Phuket
No trip would be complete without visiting some the many Islands around Phuket. We chose to visit Phi Phi Island. You can get to Phi Phi Island by Ferry, long boat or like us take one of the many tours on sale at Hotels or tourist information kiosks on the street. Our tour started early in the morning with a shuttle bus pick up and drop off at the Terminal where we boarded our speedboat for the 2 hour journey to Phi Phi Island, where we spent the morning snorkelling.
The water was clear and we saw many different varieties of fish, it was an exhilarating morning which was followed by a buffet lunch. After lunch we explored Monkey Island where we were greeted by many monkeys of all shapes and sizes which kept us amused with their cheeky antics.
We continued on to the exquisite Maya Bay. Although Maya Bay was the location for the movie The Beach which starred Leonardo Di Caprio, I think Maya Bay is a star in its own right, with its inviting luminous turquoise waters and white sand beach, I don’t think I have ever seen a beach quite as superb as this one.
Our 2 weeks in exciting Phuket sped by and we were sad to leave, with its excitement and charm I can understand why Phuket is one of the top tourist destinations in the World. The neighbouring area of Krabi is also popular as a beach side getaway for those looking for a destination without the hustle of Phuket. To read more about what Krabi has to offer click here.
Have you been to Phuket? What is your favourite part of the Island? Feel free to leave a comment.