Jun 14, 2015

Travelogue: Things To Do In Phuket Thailand

places to visit in phuket thailand

This was an impromptu trip.

I have to admit, I am a last minute holiday planner - but I think I plan well under tight timeline - and things almost always turned out the way it should be. This time round, I decided to head to the beach, which also meant that not much pre-planning was needed, I will be stuck on the beach most of the time afterall. That said, I will be shying away from water activities, clearly for all the wrong reasons of a beach vacation.

Remember to watch my Phuket vlog! You will literally see me spin!

I booked my air ticket via Air Asia, 10 days prior to departure. A return ticket for 3D2N costs RM196, a pretty good last minute deal. It's off-peak season in Phuket nevertheless. There're plenty of online portals offering cheap accommodation. I booked mine via Booking.com. So if you'd ask me, I don't see much point in pre-booking a year before. The rates are just about the same!

The Malaysian-Baht exchange rate at that point in time was about THB100=RM11.

Tourist Tip - Best time to visit Phuket
Peak Season: April to November. Great weather, crowded, especially in April during Songkran festival.
Low Season: May to October. Possibility of rainfall, less crowded and cheap! Best months are May or October. 
More on Phuket Holiday Weather Guide here.

Tourist Tip
A 45 minute taxi ride from Phuket Airport to Patong Beach (town) costs THB800, standard rate. The road to Patong Beach is not tuk-tuk friendly, I would advise against it. There is also a shuttle bus which heads into town, at about THB100 per ride. I'm not entirely sure on the drop-off points and this option is not not available at night. 

I arrived at Phuket Airport at about 9pm, took a cab to Bangla Road (aka Party Town), got there at slightly pass 9.30pm, and checked into Capsule Hostel Patong (THB400/night), where I will be staying for 2 nights. The taxi dropped me off at the entrance of Bangla Road (Patong Beach) and Capsule Hostel is merely few minutes walk away. Watch out for KFC on your left, it is right below it.

Just a short review on the hostel.

Staying in Capsule Hostel was like staying in a cave - calm, noiseless and not affected by the havoc from the pubs above. The hostel is great for solo travelers, females especially. You'd get a huge individual capsule, hence personal space to yourself, without feeling overwhelmingly secluded. There're about 10 female shower rooms and all amenities are provided. While I was there, the hostel was barely occupied, I literally had the whole place to myself!

Despite that, I felt that maintenance of the hostel could've be better - I found tiny cockroaches. I was also told that the male toilets were unkempt. Apart from that, it could be a little gloomy in the living room, though that really didn't bother me much. The air conditioning could get really cold at night, so remember bring an extra blanket!

Capsule Hostel will be undergoing major refurbishments from January-March 2016.

Phuket Holiday transfer rates I got from the hostel. For those who have plenty of time to spare, book a bus ride to Krabi island. It's only 4 hours away and it's cheap! Now why didn't I think of that? On that note, these are not tour rates but merely transportation rates.

I hit Bangla Road right after dropping off my luggage. It was hustling and bustling.

With all honesty, Bangla Road felt a little dodgy to me - loads of scantily clad Thai women (maybe shemales) and pole dancers everywhere. Families with young children, I'm not too sure if this is the type of family vacation you're looking for. That said, the party scene here felt much more civilized compared to the rowdy bunch in Kuta Bali, which I've also visited in the past.

Supper time! But of course I was craving for some Thai street food!

However unlike in Bangkok, I noticed that there're simply not many Thai street food stalls around, plenty of Western restaurants however. I settled for a Thai seafood restaurant located just around the block. There're a handful of similar 99 Seafood Restaurants further down the road. Food was delicious. The meal costs about THB500. 

Tourist Tip
Food in Phuket is not cheap - local and international. I suggest budgeting at least THB300 for a decent meal. 

After some late night pad-thai, I went to bed on a full stomach and had a great nights sleep. With no alarm set for the next day, I surprisingly crawled out of bed at 9am. 

Rise and shine! I woked up feeling pumped! I think it's the Phuket vibe! 

I didn't exactly have a designated holiday plan for the day. All I wanted to do was to explore Phuket town a little, go to the beach, eat, sleep and repeat - no rave. Exactly the type of no-fuss holiday that I had in mind. 

For breakfast, there're loads of kebab stalls in town. Grab a kebab for THB100! 

Patong Beach is just a stroll-down Bangla Road, few minutes walk from where I stayed.

The sea breeze was great, the ocean vibe was good, the sand was alright. I didn't spend much time on the beach, merely snapping a few photographs before I cruised off. I guess I was subconsciously comparing the scene here with my Boracay trip not long back - Boracay was the clear winner.

Like I've mentioned earlier in this writeup, I will not be doing any Island Hoping activities this time round.

Tourist Tip 1
Be sure to book your island tours at least a day before departure - at the hotel reception or the many tour booths around town. The tours usually leave wee early in the morning.

Tourist Tip 2
There're plenty of Tuk Tuk's parked along the beach front. If you're looking for an unplanned day trip, come here. Be wary of unscrupulous tour guides however.

For massage addicts, like me, you're in for a treat! I can never get enough of massages.

A hidden street situated along the beach that was filled of massage parlors! Prices are much more competitive here, starting from THB200 for an hour of foot massage, to THB300 for a full body oil massage.

Jungceylon Shopping Mall is the main shopping mall here. You'd get some high-end and mid-end brands, not exactly the type of shopping you're looking for in a beach vacation I suppose. Restaurants are aplenty. 

Tourist Tip 1 - Must Try Restaurant In Phuket
Plenty of restaurants in Jungceylon Shopping Mall. Prices are very similar to the road side stalls - go figure. There is an affordable and authentic Thai fine-dining restaurant called Le Siam, which I didn't visit and regretted. Do try!

Tourist Tip 2 - Must Try Spa In Phuket
For those wanting to go for express facials in Phuket, the infamous Pimnara Spa takes up a massive block inside the mall. They even have their own boutique hotel!

A platter of morning seafood salad (THB200) was clearly not enough to fill my expanding Thai-petite

In search of a fulfilling Thai meal, I explored Phuket town a bit more and found this place - a hidden street tucked in a narrow alleyway along Bangla street, filled with local Thai food vendors! Time for some food!

Order from the menu or pick your own pre-cooked dishes (economy rice style). 

Tourist Tip
The meal I had was pleasant. The tab came to about THB600. Be wary of the flies!

It started raining halfway through my meal - stopped - then rained again.

Dinner at KFC wasn't exactly something that'd I planned, but it'd seemed like the only option I had at that time. Fast food in Phuket costs way more than what we'd typically pay for in Malaysia. Smaller the portion; Double the price!

It was drizzling throughout the evening but clearly didn't deter me from stepping out. I made my way to Bangla Boxing Stadium, with one aim in mind - what better way to watch Muay Thai live but in Phuket Thailand!

Bangla Boxing Stadium is located right behind Jungceylon shopping mall. You would need to walk through the shopping mall to get there.

Tourist Tip
Ask for better rates at the hotel reception! I was told that rates could go as low as half of what'd you pay at the door! Also take note of the fight times!

I was the first to enter the stadium, feeling exceedingly psyched up. How can you not?

The match was 2 hours long and there were 8 fights in total. A friend once told me that it takes a month-long of full time Muay Thai training before getting the opportunity to fight in front of a live audience - apparently it's not that hard to qualify. Each fighter is rewarded about THB10,000 in winnings - hearsay. 

It was an exciting match. I managed to capture some amazing footage on video. Watch it Here!

After the show, I wanted to drop by the Night Market to have supper, right opposite the stadium. But because of the drizzle, I decided to call it a night and revisit the next morning. Disappointingly however, there was no market or street stalls in sight when I came back the next day.

Tourist Tip
If you're keen on a stroll along the Phuket night market, it is located right in front of Bangla Boxing Stadium, behind Jungceylon Shopping Mall.

Also facing the stadium, Patong Fresh Market. You'd get to pick your own fresh seafood from the wet market downstairs, then bring it upstairs, to be cooked at the restaurants. 

The day went by without me doing anything, which means more time for massage and food!

My back-up plan was to hire a driver for half a day, chauffeuring me around major tourist attractions, like Karon View Point, Big Buddha, Wat Chalong Temple, Phuket Old Town

My initial plan however, was just to visit the Patong Shooting Range

Tourist Tip
The standard full day hire of a private driver would cost between THB1,500 to THB2,000. 

I didn't agree with the rates my hostel offered me, I decided not to go for my half day tour in the end. 

I paid THB1,000 for a ride to Patong Shooting Range (20-30 minutes from Bangla Road) before heading to the airport (20 minutes from shooting range). My flight was later that evening, at 9.40pm.

Now comes the second most anticipated part of my trip! Where else can you shot with a real gun, legally?

There're numerous guns to pick from with different price tags attached. I choose the 22. Sniper (THB920), inclusive of 10 bullets. The Rifle and Magnum was the most expensive on the list, at about THB3000.

Not bad right? Definitely a must-try, at least once in a lifetime! The adrenaline of pulling a real trigger and firing a shot was unlike any other. I can satisfyingly strike that off my to-do-list now.

I head straight to the airport after that. Had plenty of time to spare and spend the next few hours louging at the Thai Airways restaurant. The place serves pretty good Thai food. Great place to watch the sunset too!

Bought a bag full of junk food and some fragrant soap home!

That pretty much sums up my short trip to Phuket. Despite the last minute arrangements, I'm glad that it materialized and I had a great time experiencing what I otherwise wouldn't in a nutshell.

Will I return to Phuket anytime soon? Nah. Remember to watch my vlog below!


  1. Lucky never go with you or else you will shoot me!

    1. hahaha. you would definitely have much better aim than me! =)

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