So as the title of this page suggests, we actually went to Phuket really late given that we are from Asia, living very close to this wonderful and famous beach destination and which is usually one of the first ones for Asians would go to. Given that we went to Uzbekistan, Africa, Iceland and most of SE Asia including Bali, it has indeed been “news!!!” that we have NOT been to Phuket yet!
So ladies and gentleman, travel buddies and backpackers… yes, we finally made it to (arguably) the most famous beach destination of Asia – Phuket in 2014! Checked! Done! Been there! Marked!
To be fair (to us!), there had been a few reasons for us not going to Phuket for quite a while…
Then, we did a number of beach vacations in Mauritius, Singapore and Sanya already so beaches became a no-no for some time at least, which is why vacations such as to Yunnan, Iceland etc. became great alternate ideas.
Anyways, so with this, we presenting the awesome trip to Phuket!
Staying at – Marriot Mai Khao Beach
There are two major choices that one can make while staying in Phuket. If you like city life, want to be in the middle of all action, then stay near the Patong beach, its most popular beach, near the city centre and the airport as well. You wont find resorts obviously but there would be lots of great hotels. Right in the middle of the action!
Another choice is to stay north which is about 40min drive from Patong beach and city centre but where there are bigger resorts with amazing facilities for the kids and family hang out time together. We took this option, since Heena was expecting our first kid at this time and wanted a relaxed vacation. Also, given that booze was out of question for 66.67% of us, there was no major incentive to really stay at the city centre and drown myself with all the bitter juice.
Funnily, I never took any pic of the wonderful Marriott Mai Khao resort that we stayed in, but I did take some pics of the sister Marriott Resort, Phuket that was next door (there are two Marriotts there together) and also took one of another resort Anantara which was magnificent as well. Take a look below and agree with me.
Entry of Marriott Phuket Resort
Anantara Resort, Phuket
Anantara Resort, Phuket
Roaming around – public transport in city centre but need a car otherwise
So the transfer from airport to hotel for us was pretty smooth as Marriott arranged it for us. Else you can hire pre-paid taxis from the airport or also ask your hotel to send a car for you. Hiring pre-paid taxis is quite hassle free but if you venture out to take a taxi on your own to pay later, I think you can be taken for a ride.
Since we stayed far from the city and closer to the resort places, we booked a car for two days (it was around Bt. 1500 per day) and we got the car with 1/4 tank fuel and needed to return with such (a little lower than that also was no issue I was told and the main check was on scratches when returned rather than being fussy about fuel. FYI, we returned with close to half tank full as we didnt use as much as we thought we will but nevertheless).
Driving around the city for ex-Britain colony residents like us was never an issue as we are used to the right hand driving. Road sense was much better compared to India, but surely not the level of developed world so each has a different comfort. For me, ha ha! It was a breeze!
Road map is very handy, google maps are quite accurate and helpful as well. We visited the famous Wat Chalong temple, driving for about an hour from the resort, in peak traffic time. Great place to be on a sunny or partly cloudy day, if you love taking pictures.
Wat Chalong temple
Scenic Drive to Patong Beach from Mai Khao
One thing we truly recommend one and all staying far from the city centre is to definitely try and drive to the city centre through the scenic beach-roads instead of the main highway all the way to the city centre. The beach road is certainly more windy and slower to get to the city centre but it is much more scenic and beautiful. The mix of hills as well as beaches that keep coming along make it even more exciting, attractive and worth all the teeny-weeny bit greater efforts. Just like the shot below. Love it every time we see it.
Scenic road enroute to Patong Beach from Mai Khao
Close encounter – Phuket airport
I was just doing some research on Phuket and one habit I have is that while doing the research I just happen to go to Google Maps and start looking at the place with a satellite view. And while doing this for Phuket, I noticed one interesting thing – the runway of Phuket airport seemed very close to the beach and there was a road that was leading all the way close to the beach. And the spot where the best view for capturing airplane shots could be taken seemed extremely do-able.
So despite the heat (and don’t forget that Heena was pregnant!), we walked about half to one km on the beach to get to the perfect spot for taking the pics. It was well worth and it below is one of the better shots I took. Careful though, do not make our mistake of standing right behind the plane! The air jet blows the beach sand with amazing force and can fly your umbrella and caps as well! And your head will be full of sand! Telling you from sheer experience, the hard way! So you need a shower right after this. (psst… there is a resort next to that beach with infinity swimming pool next to the sea. No one asks if you use their shower next to the pool. Just saying!).
Mai Khao beach – great sunset for a romantic evening
With this, we conclude our experience of our four excellent days in Phuket! Highly recommended place and we are thrilled we finally made it there. Worth every bit of the wait!
For more on the Thai food we had there, click here.