Phuket - It's a hard 'U' and the 'H" is silent...
After my 12-hour layover in Beijing, I finally made it to my first destination in Thailand - Phuket (po͞oˈket)! There’s so much to do on this island…at least enough to keep you occupied for a few days, but the first things on my mind were food and massages!
We stayed in the X2 Vibe Phuket Patong Hotel, and I was quite pleased with the accommodations. I recommend getting a ‘Deluxe’ room or better. It was conveniently located in the Patong Beach area and walking distance from most of the good restaurants and night action. Our reservation also came with a free breakfast buffet that is one of the better ones I’ve experienced while abroad.
On day 1, I was rolling solo since my friend wasn’t scheduled to arrive until the next day. I just took the time to walk around the Patong Beach area. I strolled Bangla Street…Note: Bangla Street is a totally different place at night. During the day, it looked like a regular street with shops, spas and restaurants. However, at night it was reminiscent of Bourbon Street…on steroids. The amount of people I saw advertising Ping Pong and “F*cking” shows was crazy, lol! And, I walked up and down a number of side streets so that I could find somewhere to sit and get my first helping of chicken satay and some type of stir-fried noodles.
I then went back to my hotel area to check out one of the massage parlors close to my hotel. I knew this was the first of many massages (they only cost 200 BAHT per hour…which is the equivalent of about $6), so I just opted for a foot and leg massage to help sooth the damage I did walking up and down the Great Wall on the day prior. My friend arrived late that night and we went back out at about 2AM to get…you guessed it…more food!
The next day, we hired a driver to give us a city tour. Here’s what we saw:
After visiting these three sites and battling with the son, we were exhausted and ready to go back to our hotel and chill for the evening.
The next day was dedicated to island-hopping. Our driver took us to a vendor to arrange our excursion to the Phi Phi Islands. Note: If you have a day to spare while in Phuket (hell, even if you don’t), I highly recommend taking a day to visit the Phi Phi Islands. Also, book it with a vendor on the streets or with your driver, as opposed to doing it at the airport, where you’d surely be overcharged.
Right after breakfast the next day, the tour company picked us up and we were headed to the day’s adventure. We hopped on a speed boat and went from location to location via the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. The locations included Lon Island, Maiton Island, Green Island, Phi Phi Don Island (monkey beach), and Phi Phi Leh Island, as well as a couple view points and rock formations. The day included a lunch buffet and a generous amount of fresh fruit. We had plenty of time to swim, snorkel, be beach bums, and even interact with monkeys. Again, if you can, you should definitely visit the islands. Ain’t but so much you can do and see in Phuket, LOL.
Download and use the Grab app (it’s Thailand’s version of Uber).
If staying in Patong, you’ll be in the prime area for partying and street food. Enjoy!
The masseurs outside of their spas on the sidewalk are quite aggressive! Learn to ignore and keep it moving if you do not want a massage.
The Thai massages aren’t really deep tissue. They are way softer, yet relaxing. If you are looking for hardcore massages, you may need to tell them that upfront.