Thursday, 4 June 2015

No one says F*** it to Phuket

Continuing my series of travel posts after my Top 10 things to do in South East Asia, I thought I would write about my top things to do in Phuket, Thailand.

One of the top destinations to hit up in South East Asia, Thailand is now an easy place to visit and get about. Due to the limited time that we were travelling about, we had just 5 days to kill between Singapore and moving on to Malaysia so where to go?

Phuket is a the biggest island in Thailand off the west coast and has become a popular beach getaway not just for tourists, but for Thai people themselves. It's a short cheap flight from most of the destinations around South East Asia so it was ideal for us!

What language is spoken there?
Thai. It's not too difficult to get around though as there is usually someone around with basic English, especially if you are staying in a particularly touristic area. 

What is the currency?
Thai Baht. At the moment, it's around 5 Baht to the pound

How do I get around?
Getting around is probably easiest with Taxis or Tuk Tuks, but there are a few buses about if you wanted to save some cash. 

Local culture
Locals are so friendly in Thailand! If you're around the really touristic areas, you'll be faced with calls from ladies from massage parlours or street vendors trying to sell you their wears but never in an aggressive way. Plus if you're going on a night out you will get some hassle from people trying to get you to go into a certain bar, or have a picture with a ladyboy or come to a Ping Pong show! Just remain polite with them, even if you are trying to get away from them!

So there are the top 5 things I think you should do if you're heading out to Phuket!


1. Ko Phi Phi


This group of idyllic islands just off the coast from Phuket were the setting for the film The Beach.

Beautiful white sands and clear blue waters where you can top up your tan, go snorkelling or explore the caves around the rocky bays. 

The Phi Phi Don is the biggest island and the only one with accommodation on it. You can do day trips from Phuket town if you're on shorter trips which include snorkelling and lunch but if you're going in peak times these can be very busy! 

Go up to the viewing point on Phi Phi Don where you can see the whole Island!

One of the beaches on Ko Phi Phi

2. Phuket town 


A good base, the capital of Phuket is not as touristic as some areas of the island but still has lots to offer if you're looking for a quieter side of Thailand and to interact with some of the locals.

If you're heading to Ko Phi Phi, there are regular ferries from Phuket town but the town also offers a great Trick Eye museum.

The whole museum has various art scenes which you can pose which create some really funny and creative illusions! These sort of museums are becoming really popular in Asia.

Some pretty impressive stuff at the Trick Eye Museum

3. Muay Thai Match


This combat sport is really popular and also really entertaining to watch! We went to an evening of matches which started out with the younger less experienced fighters (they were really young, looked about 9 or 10!), and culminated in a big fight between an Australian fighter and a famous local Thai champion.

Grab a couple of beers, get involved with the locals running around betting on who will win and shout along to your favourites.  


4. Patong Night Life


One of the really touristic and busy areas of Phuket, Patong is full of life and it's famous nightlife sprawls along Bangla Street which is shut to vehicles during the evening and night to accommodate the rowdiness of a night out in Thailand.

As I said earlier, be ready to fight off Ladyboys, club promoters and Ping Pong show menus but a night out in Thailand is infamous and will go on late into the night.

My favourite place was were a Filipeno band played into the early hours of the morning, taking requests throughout the night.


5. Tiger Kingdom

Up close and personal with Tigers

Before going to Thailand I told myself that I wouldn't go to have my picture taken with a sleepy drugged up tiger. 

Admittedly, as soon as I stepped off the plane and saw that you could get up close to a tiger, my resolve wobbled. We asked a few people we met during our stay and finally on our last day, caved in and went to see the tigers. 

It was very different to what I expected. The tigers didn't really seem to be that sleepy, especially the younger ones who jumped around playfully, making cute little snarls at each other. According to the staff, they never drug their tigers and the tigers are brought in and trained from a young age to interact with humans. 

The big tigers were quite terrifying, especially when one came up behind me when I was taking photos! There were a few young children around crying because they were so scared! 

I haven't done enough research to definitely say that these sort of experiences are good for the tigers, but it certainly does raise a lot of money and awareness about the declining tiger population in the wild. I would say if you're really concerned do some research, but I certainly wouldn't feel guilty recommending this attraction!


Have you been to Phuket? Is there anything else you'd recommend people do when out there? Please leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!



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