In Phuket, the most popular and famous beach holiday destination is Patong. In Phuket, you can find the exotic white sandy beach next to great restaurants, cafes, and of course, amazing bars. The well-earned reputation of the area is as a crazy party town with an amazing nightlife. In the area, you can find everything you dreamed of: beer bars, go-go bars, strip and dance clubs, massage places, every kind of discotheques, night clubs, and cabaret shows.
When we arrived, everything I heard was that in Patong, anything can be bought for the right price. After one week there, I have to say that I really admire that they are honest about it. Nothing seems to be hidden or secret there. You can negotiate the girls, the lady-boys and all the services like Thai massage or a simple one-day trip to some laguna.
- Accommodation: A night in a centrally-located two, three-star hotel for one person starts around 350 THB ($11 USD) for a room with air-conditioning and free WiFi — cheaper than many hostels. Usually, they offer free breakfast. Phuket has some of the least expensive 5-star hotels in Thailand, the prices are as low as 2,200 THB ($60 USD) per night! 🙂 The Memory at On On Hotel is a great choice (and it was in the movie The Beach)!
- During the low season: Prices drastically drop during the low season. You can also negotiate hotel fees during this time.
- Bargain: When shopping at the markets, whip out your negotiation skills. The rule of thumb is the more you buy, the cheaper the prices will be. So shop in packs for the best deals.
- Use a water bottle: It isn’t safe to drink the tap water in Phuket, buying bottled water is cheap and try to avoid the ice from the cocktails.
- Tuk-Tuk: These can be more expensive than taxis because the drivers work together and they know not to undercut each other. Because there is no public transportation between the beaches, and because other transportation tends to stop early in the evening, tuk-tuk drivers know that they can charge higher prices. A 3-kilometer ride in a tuk-tuk can cost about 335 THB ($10 USD).
- Travel insurance: The most important advice I can offer you is to purchase very good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.
History Of Patong
Patong was just a small fishing village filled with traditional Thai houses. The island is the biggest of all of the country and contains a wide range of beaches and environments to see.
The first discovery of the island was when backpackers first visit this sleepy village and found the stunning beach in the 60s and 70s, but it wasn’t really until a decade later that the government decided to transform Patong into a tourist destination. It didn’t take long until Patong became a massive hit for Europeans, and especially Scandinavians. Phuket became so popular among the Swedes that for a while Phuket was named “Little Sweden.”
This is where you see all the good and the bad of Thailand tourism: from overdeveloped beaches and sex tourism to tiny towns with no tourists and authentic Thailand that we all loved. Now, there are more Russians and Chinese as they have direct and cheap charters. Most restaurants and cafes even have separate menus available in Russian and Mandarin. The part that I didn’t like that everybody on the street was speaking in Russian…
- Eat as much as you can the street food: Don’t be afraid to eat and to try everything. The street food sometimes is safer than some restaurants 🙂
- Rent a bike: If you are looking to get around on your own or with your friends, renting a bike is a great option, and the average price should be about 200 THB($6.25 USD) per day.
- Thai massage: You simply can’t miss the Thai or relax massages in Phuket. And I totally advise you to go to as many as you can.
Naka Weekend Market
The Naka Weekend Market is one of the biggest weekend markets of the island and takes it’s only open every Saturday and Sunday. The stalls open about 4 p.m. and most of them close about 10-11 p.m.
The market has so much to offer and if you love shopping, that’s the place to be. But you can also find a huge offer of food. Better plan more hours to spend here as you will love the place for sure.
Phuket Old Town
You can go around the beautiful and color streets, enjoy one of the coffee shops and just relax. Besides that you can discover some sights like the Chinese Temple or the Sirikit Park (which was built in honor of the Queen).
If you feel like getting crazy in the night and enjoy a real party, then you are just right at Bangla Road in Patong. It is probably the most famous red-light district in Thailand, but also good to do a pub crawl. Also, here is the place to try a ping-pong show or another diverse sex-shows they offer at each corner. It’s hard to miss that.
There are not only Lady Bars and Ping Pong Shows, but rather plenty of bars with live music and some large discotheques like Hollywood or Illuzion, which is a mix of club and live show that we loved. The Bangla Road – you will love it or hate it, there is no in-between.
Bangla Road is located at the Beach Road in Patong. You can’t miss that street. During the day time it’s a normal street with cars, but for “party time” it’s closed for vehicles until 3 a.m.
Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island
A boat trip through the dramatic limestone karsts in the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea–is the best way to fully appreciate Phang Nga Bay. James Bond Island and Koh Panyee are just two of the most famous spots, and it totally makes sense for you to make the day trip. The so-called James Bond Island was featured in The Man with the Golden Gun movie.
Koh Phi Phi Island
For sure the most famous of all the islands around Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, in fact, refers to two islands in this part of the Andaman Sea. Phi Phi Don is the main island where most visitors head to for all-night parties. Phi Phi Leh is the quieter and more southern island. There is no overnight accommodation and features a number of caves, as well as Maya Beach–after the movie The Beach it makes it so famous. I advise you to see the movie before traveling to the island, it’s incredible how they keep everything in the same place especially after the big tsunami.
Koh Phi Phi Leh you can visit usually by doing day trips from Phuket. We negotiated in the city center with a local travel agency the treap and they come for us to our hotel, took us with a small boat on this day trip. It was lovely. Be prepared with a lot of sun cream as the sun in Thailand will not leave you white.
Phuket has always been synonymous with beautiful beaches with white sand and big palms. It’s a nice and very family-friendly beach offering great restaurants and water activities like snorkeling and so on.
Also, it’s a very good spot for sunsets. Prepare your camera and enjoy the beautiful pink colors of the sky. It’s pretty amazing.
The low cost of living makes Thailand a country where you can see and try everything without breaking the bank. In the cities, you’ll can’t go hungry; food vendors are happy to serve you something delicious at very low price, day and night. You can travel, visit all the magic islands, stay at beautiful and luxury resorts or bungalows on the beach a lot cheaper than what you’d pay in other countries.
Let’s be honest about Phuket – we loved it too much. If you are young and searching for a new adventure or you are with your family with small kids, here you can find a perfect holiday and nothing will be missed while enjoying the exotic places Thailand has to offer.
If you want to read more about Bangkok, check here 🙂