Thailand is blessed with many breathtaking island decorated with sandy beaches and shades of nature. I have been to Thailand four times and I come back with a lot of amazing memories every time.
To start with, I have encountered the busy city life of Bangkok and marvelous palaces/temples during first visit. During my second visit, I explored the adventure and fun side of Pattaya. My third trip to Buriram was quite special, as I was lucky to experience different shades of the city : sports, culture and heritage.
I couldn't get enough love from #ThaiWayOfLife during my last visit to Phuket, where I enjoyed luxury and enough dose of #VitaminSea. Apart from the buzzing cities like Bangkok & Pattaya, Phuket is my anytime favorite candidate for winning the award of #TouristyPlace of the year.
DAY ONE: ARRIVAL & BIG BUDDHA
I would suggest booking your morning flights to Phuket so that you arrive at around 9am-11am. Phuket Airport is small so you should be able to get the luggage within 30 mins and off to your hotel in a fly.
It may take 30 minutes to one hour to get to your hotel based on location. I stayed at #WyndhamGrand hotel on Kalim Bay which was hardly 40 minutes from the airport. If you stay near Patong Beach or on Bangla Road, it may take one hour from the airport. After you check in at the hotels and get time to refresh with a quick shower, I would suggest finishing lunch at hotel or nearby restaurant before heading out.
To visit the Big Buddha Phuket landmark, it would take around 40 minutes to one hour from Patong Beach. I would suggest renting a motorbike or car if you are comfortable with driving.
It's around 25km from the famous Patong Beach near Bangla Road a.k.a the walking street. You can rely on the Google map with a local SIM card, which hardly cost few dollars and can be booked online. The roads are well maintained for most of the stretch but still, I would suggest only experienced riders to go by a two-wheeler vehicle. The road have some unexpected ups and down which needs a perfect timing on the gear shifting unless you rent an automatic vehicle.
You can get automatic scooters very easily in Phuket, almost at each shop/beach or restaurants. The rent may start around 250-350 baht for a 150cc motorbike, whereas they may charge 350-500 baht for a 200cc option. If you want to rent a bigger, manual motorbike, the daily rate may cost as much as 1,500 baht or more for a 600cc or 800cc. You may have to be little patience to do bargain, especially if you hire for a week or 3-4 days.
- As per Thai law, an international driving permit is required for driving in the Thailand. Try not to break any rule, follow the lane, don't park with places having red/white strips on the footpath, always wear helmets.
- Record the fuel level and request it to be mentioned on the receipt. You have to fuel up before returning the vehicle. In case the petrol level is slightly below the mark, they may accept it.
- Some vendors will request to keep your original passport to guarantee the rent, which I would suggest to avoid. I ended up giving original passport, but luckily nothing happened to my precious travel document when I returned the vehicle. Try to request them to just take a photo instead of submitting original passport as I myself managed to do so the other day.
- Few vendors don't have full insurance, so in case of an unfortunate event, you may have to pay the full cost. I strongly suggest finding a vendor which include insurance too, even it may cost few bucks extra.
- Make sure you take photos of the vehicle upon renting it so that vendor cannot demand compensation for any existing damage or problem.
- Note down the vendor phone number and verify the return time/date availability.
I rented a 200cc automatic scooter for 350 baht from a vendor on a street near the Patong Beach in stead of from the vendors sitting on the beach. It was good enough to climb up the hills with a pillion rider too. The scooter had some space near speedometer which was perfect for placing my phone which made my ride much easier as I could follow the google map. It took around one hour to get to the top of the Big Buddha hill, there is enough parking space for even cars without any fee.
The view from the top is amazing, the Big Buddha is a remarkable landmark which can be seen even far away from the sea. I took plenty of pictures of all the angels with few videos/time lapse. Though it still seemed to be under construction, it's a nice place to go for an early morning drive and find inner peace within. You can buy souvenirs or herbal products, the most of the money is used for charity work.
DAY TWO: PHI PHI ISLAND & BLUE LAGOON
The trip to Phuket is incomplete without having a day out at Phi Phi island and Blue Lagoon. The best time to visit Maya Bay is between November and April during the high season when seas are calm and access to the bay is easy. I would suggest not to purchase this tour from hotel or airport as it's too expensive.
You can save money by booking the trip online. It may cost around US$40 for the package which includes:
- Hotel Pickup from main locations
- Boat Transfer
- Life jacket
- Snorkeling Equipment (not all tours have)
- Lunch (veg and non-veg options with unlimited cola/water)
- Fruits as a snack at the end o the tour
There are two options when you book a package:
-Speed Boat transfer
-Big Boat transfer
The first option can be bumpy sometimes because of the rough sea, the advantage is that it takes less time. The other option is more suitable for kids and old people as its more relaxed and spacious. Both boats have a small toilet on board.
It took around an hour from the pier to the Phi Phi island. The Maya Bay is a famous tourist spot as "The Beach" movie was filmed here. We had the first stop at Maya Bay, where water is so green and clean. (Now its closed for public access to revive the nature back to its glory.)
After a quick stop at Maya Bay, we went to Phi Phi Island for the Lunch. The water was not as clean as compared to the Maya Bay. Lunch was good enough with fried chicken, chicken curry, veg curry, chicken fried rice, veg fried rice, fruits, noodles and tea/coffee.
After an hour break, we continued on a short boat ride to the Blue Lagoon where the Hollywood movie was shot. We enjoyed swimming and jumping out of the boat for around 30 minutes and then we went to the monkey beach. We hardly saw few monkeys as it was high tide and there it's a very small beach. After spending few minutes at monkey beach we went to the snorkeling location.
We enjoyed an hour of swimming and snorkeling. We enjoyed few colorful fishes as well corals too. This part of the tour was very refreshing and our funny host made sure we were safe and comfortable. We went back to the pier and after an hour boat ride, we were dropped back to the hotel around 7pm.
DAY THREE: PATONG BEACH, BANGLA ROAD & JUNGCEYLON SHOPPING MALL.
You can relax a bit on the third day with a lazy breakfast or fun in hotel swimming pool. You can go to Patong Beach and enjoy some tanning or water sports based on your interest. Bangla Road is right across which is the best for nightlife and street food. You can find a lot of bars and shopping places too.
I would also suggest taking an hour to visit Jungceylon shopping mall which has a variety of shops and restaurants too. There is also a small fountain show inside the mall at night, you can try your luck to catch the timing. You can catch the night show of Phuket Fantasy or Simon cabaret too.
DAY FOUR: JAMES BOND ISLAND
As you might have recharged your battery on day three, so now its time to go out again for an adventure ride to James bond island.
There is also two kind of transfer options:
-Speed Boat transfer
-Big Boat transfer
The first option can be bumpy sometimes because of rough see but it takes less time. It took around an hour from the pier to the James Bond island by a Big Boat. We had the first stop for kayaking at Phang Nga Bay. The most exciting part was kayaking through the caves. In case of high tides, you may not be able to kayak as high water level made it difficult to enter into the narrow openings of the caves. You can enjoy it for 30-45 minutes to take photos or videos but it's usually overcrowded so not enough to find your personal space.
After a quick stop at Phang Nga Bay, we had lunch on board the boat itself. Again lunch was good enough with fried chicken, chicken curry, veg curry, chicken fried rice, veg fried rice etc.
Later on, we went to the James bond island, but we had to transfer onto another smaller boat. So be careful of all your belongings and kids while transferring from one boat to another as tides may create a lot of movement in the boats. There are toilets on the James bond island. You can spend 30-45 minutes on the island to takes photo or buy some souvenir.
Before the end of the trip, we went to another island where we enjoyed kayaking and swimming for 15-30 minutes. This part of the tour was very refreshing as a quick swim in the cold water after a hot day helped us recharge our batteries. We went back to the main boat and were served fresh fruits to hydrate ourselves. We went back to the pier and after an hour boat ride, we were dropped back to the hotel around 7pm.
DAY FIVE: RELAX
I hope you had enough dose of #VitaminSea in five days, so now its time to check out and fly back to your hometown.
If you have planned a holiday in Phuket, you may want to check out below options too:
- One day ride to Krabi to see the Tiger Temple Cave or Natural hot springs pool.
Thanks for spending your time reading my experience, I hope you have a good time in Phuket.