Phuket creates pictures of beaches- a steady parade of thongs in the heat of the day and an invitation to party like its the eve of the New Year by night. Buy one a margarita and you get the idea of what Phuket is. Or do you? Hope these list would give you an idea of what to expect and what to do when you visit Phuket, Thailand.
1. Get lost in Old Phuket Town.
And by getting lost I mean dropping the guide book and tourist map and start exploring by foot. Old Phuket town is a safe place to explore even at night. Some of the discoveries I’ve seen were not in the tourist map. Of course you would not miss the beautiful Soi Romainee and the colorful apartments at Phuket center. Thalang Road would soon be initiated to be UNESCO Heritage (recently Phuket applied to be a UNESCO Heritage Site and I believe they would get it). If you are a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach you would also see the facade of On On Hotel where Leonardo met Daffy.
2. Explore the small alleys for delicious Thai food.
The best foods are in the streets and when I say street foods, usually those who doesn’t have a name serves the best- kao phad (fried rice) kuay tiew (noodle soup) or pad thai (fried noodles). This is also a perfect way to start a conversation- ask the cook’s name and maybe the local guy eating on the next table. Adventure awaits for those who ask questions. And ohh don’t forget to order Tom Yam Goong (spicy-sour soup with prawns).
3. Have a tea or coffee in one of the chic cafes in town.
I love their the smell of their black tea with condensed milk on the bottom of the small mug; add a roti and mussaman curry and you have a local breakfast. If its not your cup of tea then maybe a freshly ground coffee would do the trick. What I love about Phuket is the presence of local cafes- brands that you have only in Thailand, mostly local-based. Yes, I say give yourself a break and for a change try a coffee shop that is not Starbucks.
4. Surf at Kata or Karon Beach.
I have to put it here because I love the beach and surfing. But if you are not that adventurous then be contended with laying your beach towel on the white sand beach while you let the sun kiss your sunscreen-applied sexy bod. Order a mango shake too!
5. Learn how to haggle.
Bring only 1,000Baht for shopping and see how far your 1000Baht gets you. I was able to buy 2 shirts, 2 pants, local teas, spices, a bottle of beer, sent a postcard and ate breakfast and lunch with that amount. Famous souvenirs are paintings, Thai sarongs, elephant and Buddha figurines and shirts.
6. Appreciate art.
Learn something new and visit a museum. Thai Hua Museum on Krabi Rd. is one of the best looking and well-maintained Sino-Portuguese buildings in Phuket. The architecture is already a feast to the senses. If you are not into roofed buildings then appreciate art deco around Phuket Old Town- there are so many that is worth your SD card.
7. Visit a temple.
My favorite would be the Shrine of Serene Light or Ting Kwan Tang. Almost hidden on Pha Nga Road, visitors who are on the run might totally miss this beautiful old temple. On the inner walls I saw carved murals that tell about the legendary folk hero Si-in-gui. Built in 1889 by the local Hokkien Chinese family, this shrine full of garden inside provides serenity for the busy businessmen in the city.
I’m so sorry I missed Patong Beach. haha
So you want to go to Phuket from Manila, Philippines?
Cebu Pacific flies 3x to Phuket from Manila. For bookings and inquiries, go to www.cebupacificair.com or call (02)7020-888. The latest seat sales and promos can be found on Cebu Pacific Air’s official Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) and Facebook pages (/cebupacificair).