I have to say: I LOVED Phuket. We were lucky to visit this wonderful -but touristy- place during low season, and we enjoyed it so much!
Phuket is a great city to visit offshore islands with clear blue water, have seafood and relax. You also have fun and beautiful sightseeing activities too!
Where to stay
A highlight of Phuket is its accomodation: you can find very cheap rooms that are actually nice, clean and charming.
We wanted to stay in two different areas to get to know Phuket better during the five days of our trip. We chose to stay the first couple of days in Phuket Town and the rest of our stay in Karon Beach.
Our choices to spend our night were Besavana and OneLoft, both clean, nice and modern style hotels. We were lucky to have found a discount on both rooms for being Genius in Booking, which was awesome!
Both hotels had nice little swimmingpool, and a delicious BIG breakfast was included in OneLoft. We ate there more than a couple times – apart from the breakfasts- because ingredients seemed fresh and food quality was great. Needless to say, affordable for our weekend budget.
What to do in Phuket?
Marc and I aren’t really the beachbum types so, even though the main reason to go to Phuket is usually to hang out around the beach…we love to keep on moving.
Of course, there are tons of activities which involve movmente to do on the beach, but we love exploring. Here are some of the nice and awesome things you can do in Phuket.
- Phuket Town
Charming european style streets and architecture. A stroll around this part of Phuket and you are able to see so many different styles in the buildings. This town has Sino-Portuguese influence since it was a trading province, making Phuket town a unique area in this island.
Although the Town is a bit small, it is very beautiful so, Marc and I explored every bit of it. You will see some Chinese and Buddhist temples, impressive street art and cool little local shops.
Touring around this neighborhood might take 30 minutes at most, but if you really enjoy contemplating buildings and streets, you will not be disappointed.
Also, it has a very different charm when the sun is gone. Dusk was around 6 or 7 p.m. and this part of town was full of life and people moving around.
There are some trendy cafés, fine restaurants in the area – although a bit pricey- and street food as well. You can find the street market too.
And of course…. I forgot about my diet this weekend and only had cheat meals. I mean, who could resist these cookies?
This place wasn’t on TripAdvisor (Yep, Marc is an active user and needs to check places up first…) and we found it totally by choice…OMG you need to go and give in to your whim.
2. Wat Chalong
The largest and the most popular temple in Phuket is Wat Chalong. This temple is the most visited in the island as well, since locals and many Thai tourist come to pray here as well.
If you are wondering how to get there, you can get a Blue Bus (Song Taew) from the central market in Phuket town. It costs around 30 baht and it takes around 30 minutes to get to you destination. It also travels to the beaches.
Wat Chalong is dedicated to two respected and venerable monks who had a strong role leading Thai people to fight against the Chinese rebelion in 1876. That is why it is an important symbol in the island.
If you are on a tight schdule, it would be benefitial to know that the temple is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. And, the best part, you can see this beauty for free!
The temple is open for donations and many people participate. The only thing you have to pay is the ride there.
You will enjoy every single bit of this temple. Having a look at the locals praying habits and customs are also a good way to get into the Thai culture.
Entering the pagodas will give you a chance to see some nice Buddhas and other typical decorations. If you have a chance to head to the highest one, you will love to discover a nice view from above, surrounded by nature.
3. The Big Buddha
Very close from the Wat Chalong, you can find the Big Buddha on a hill. A big marble statue of about 45 meters tall, beautiful nature and panoramic view of the island for free. You can also contribute to the donations.
It is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, so you can easily pass by when you are finished at Wat Chalong as Marc and I did.
You can walk up the hill, but depending on the time of the day it might get very hot under the burning sun. We chose to go by grab and we walked our way down when we were finished.
For Wat Chalong and Big Buddha, remember to wear the right clothing (shoulders and knees covered). In case you forgot, no worries, they will give you a sharong or a scarf.
The highlight of this attraction for me is definetly the views. Even though it can be impressive seeing the huge marble-covered Buddha, nature will always be the center of my attention.
And I also recommend to walk down the hill. It doesn’t take much time off you and you will still see some green spots and nature views.
The road is not very safe though, try to stay off it and walk safety on the side. It will take about 20 minutes to get down.
Once you are down, if you don’t have means of transport, call a grab. It can be difficult to find a blue bus there.
4. Karon Beach
Important! If you don’t want to end up at the dirty beaches that everyone talks about, simply don’t go to Patong Beach.
Karon beach is where our other hotel OneLoft was. It is a very touristy but nice area. Again, we were lucky it was low season and not many toursit were around, having the beach for ourselves and not encountering any party mess at the beach. However, it is the third longest beach in the island and usually less crowded than Kata or Patong beach.
Easy-life time, lay down, read a book with the sound of the waves, go for a swim, find a snorkelling place… so many options!
5. Visit one of the other islands nearby
On our journey, we decided to spend a day in another island accesible by speedboat. We wanted to visit Ko Tapu – or also known as James Bond Island- and the Phi Phi Islands, but didn’t have enough time for both trips.
We decided to hire a tour to PhiPhi Island, which cost around 1500 baht and included lunch and snorkelling.
We thought the islands and surroundings were lovely, but we dind’t enjoy the tour all that much. Timings were short and there was a lot of boat time. We toured around many islands before getting to the Phi Phi Islands and ended up staying there only for an hour and thrity minutes!
We had to go to the buffet to have some lunch and then ended up with 30 minutes to check out the Island and have a swim or water we wanted to do there.
Stressed trying to finish up our food -specially when Marc need a lot to fill up his belly- we finally finished and walked around the island. We knew we weren’t going to have time to take a swim and explore, so we chose exploring.
The tour also took us to some small islands on it’s way to Phi Phi, but were very small for all the people that was attending this and other tours. Despite everything, we stayed here and hour.
We couldn’t even have a coffee or a coconut because prices were crazy expensive here!
I will say that views were stunning and got some great shots at this little island.