For a long time, Thailand has been associated with honeymoons, especially for Indians. It makes sense too. The country has a variety of things to offer – from nightlife to markets to beaches; and while Bangkok and Pattaya remain the first two choices, Phuket also isn’t far behind in terms of popularity among couples.
On my recent trip to Phuket, though, I figured there is more to the island and to reduce it to a ‘romantic destination is doing it a disservice.
If anything, I got a feeling that you’d want to go there alone because it would make for a great solo traveling destination. Anyway, with people, partners, or alone, Phuket has a lot to be explored and makes for a wonderful destination for the following reasons.
Let’s start with its history.
One of the first things you notice when you are traveling around the island is the influence of ‘Sino-Portuguese’ architecture on buildings in some neighborhoods. This is because Phuket served as a settling ground for Chinese businessmen and a port for Portuguese traders in the mid-1500s.
These buildings are compact and very airy with multiple windows on all sides, but especially in front. They are often very vibrant as well, making them hard to miss and exceptionally soothing to the eyes.
Things don’t end at architecture, though. This small island is full of stories from the past and they can be revisited in its many museums, especially the Thai Hua Museum, which was the first Chinese language school in Phuket. For those inclined towards art, there are galleries that you can visit, though, for those who look closely, art is everywhere on the island.
The island is surrounded by tree-covered hills so you get the best of both worlds. If you can find yourself a vantage point, like the Big Buddha, you will be exposed to a view unlike any other you have seen before. The ocean, nestled in the valley – or at least it seems that way to the eyes – makes for a wonderful sight.
Where do we even begin with this one?! As someone who got the opportunity to live in one of the best hotels on the island, Avani, I can go on and on about it. The hotel, 15 minutes away from the airport (in Mao Kha), has transfer facilities which you can avail of for pick-ups and drops.
Once you are in the hotel, time seems to stand still. Everything is so peaceful and clean, you may not even want to leave your room. Especially if you have chosen one of the poolside villas which give you exclusive access to the pool right outside your bedroom. The two properties – in Mai Khao and Khao Lak – are lush green and provide plenty of activities like rock climbing and spa services so that a guest never feels bored. They also have restaurants like Talad and Beach House inside the property that provide the best Thai food one can wish for.
The two hotels also make for great destination wedding venues with rooms in multiple price brackets and ample space by the beachside.
Goes without saying that Phuket is one of the best places to visit for authentic Thai seafood. If you are a non-vegetarian, it’s an endless treat, and if you are a vegetarian, well, worry not, most restaurants are happy to modify their menu according to your preferences.
One recommendation I’ll give is the Beach House, inside Avani Khao Lak. Not only do they offer a great assortment of wonderful cocktails, but also delectable food that you can have while you look at the ocean through the glass windows. On a windy day, there are few things more satisfying.
Whether it’s Turtle Village in Mai Khao or the old town Takua Pa closer to Khao Lak, you won’t run out of options to explore as far as nightwalks are concerned.
While Turtle Village is more like a shopping complex, the old town is a busy street, flanked by tiny, makeshift shops that offer the cheapest clothes and the tastiest food. The whole vibe of the place is different else and you might catch yourself thinking that you have been transported to some other time period.
Activities to keep yourself busy with.
From surfing in the sea to bamboo rafting in beautiful creeks, and speedboating to Phi Phi Islands, one always has something to do in Phuket. Obviously, the place is heaven for all the water babies but there are other options like ziplining, etc. To keep that adrenaline rush going. You can also take a cooking class at Nai Mueang Restaurant, if you’re not in the mood to step out and can flaunt your skills later when you are back home.
To come back to my initial point, Phuket is wrongly generalised as a honeymoon destination and is a place that, in my opinion, does not get the recognition it deserves. Let’s change that, shall we?