Being the waterbaby and island bum that I am, Phuket was obviously always on my bucket list. Often referred to as the Pearl of the Andaman, Phuket is Thailand’s largest island. With fine white sand, swaying palm trees and glittering seas, Phuket is home to one of the finest beaches in the world. It’s a popular spot for island lovers from all over the world- and for good reason too. With an impressive coastline featuring long stretches of sandy beach strung together by dramatic rock formations, it’s been attracting people to its shores for decades
Nook Dee Resort by Andacura
You’ll never run out of things to do and see in Phuket. I started my trip by checking into the Nook Dee Resort by Andacura. A small boutique resort hanging on a green hillside above Kata Noi Beach, if you decide to stay somewhere that has both the beach and lush green mountain, then Nook Dee should be your first choice. It's modern and chic with a twist of Thai hospitality to it. The modern yet colourful room had a lovely view from the balcony, every shade of blue and green painted between lush green hills and a serene blue sea.The interesting bedhead perfectly combined vibrant Thai textile switching with Batik.
The pool was what mainly stole my heart, it overlooked the hills on one side and beach on the other. The rooftop garden restaurant had mesmerizing panoramic views of the lush hills, overcast skies and the sea beyond too. Nook Dee's lobby too, had an adorable view of it's own. I'm sure you guys know that the elephant has been Thailand's icon for centuries, and at Nook Dee you can find dozens of these cute elephant plushies in pastel pink and grey, just waiting to be cuddled with!
Well, I happened to visit Phuket in the month of June, when it's usually selectively crowded due to monsoons, but also inexplicably beautiful to witness. So as soon as the rain stopped and the skies cleared out, I headed out to explore the tourist attractions on the Nakkerd Hills, mainly The Big Buddha. At 45 metres tall, the majestic statue is one of Phuket’s most iconic landmarks and can be seen from many parts of the island, I could clearly spot it perched up on that hill straight out of my room's balcony too! The glorious monument offers some incredible panoramic views of Phuket Town, as well as the beaches and bays of the coast.
The road leading up to the statue winds through the ‘real’ Thailand and is well worth taking the trip, you could stop around at several view points to witness the beauty of the pristine island or hop into an elephant camp to meet, touch, feed,or even bathe these adorable elephants!
In the night I headed out to explore Bangla Road. Hurtling down the centre of Patong, Bangla Road is where all the action takes place after the sun goes down in Phuket. Late-night bars pump out music from huge nightclubs and the street never looks dull for even a moment. This area is always alive with music, dazzling bars and clubbers. This ia also a great place for all foodies to explore Phuket's Street food which is fun, cheap and also a great way to experience basic but real Thai food. Some must-try delicacies are Pad Thai noodles, Pancakes- traditionally called Roti, Noodle Soups (Kuey Teow), Papaya Salad (Som Tum), Fried rice (Khao Pad), Thai Steamed Dumplings (Kanom Jeeb) and Moo Ping (Pork Satay)
The second night I went to the much talked about Cafe Del Mar. One of Ibiza's most iconic venues, they opened the doors of a swanky new beach club in Phuket at Kamala Beach. Cafe Del Mar is all wood, straw roof and tangerine decor. A pool in the back of the main building and beach beds tightly packed on the side of it. Loungers, couches, bar seating, music and drinks, all pleasantly well matched.
Angsana Villas Resort
Two days up, I checked into Angsana Villas Resort, and got myself one of the only two ultra luxurious three bedroom pool villas with a private rooftop pool overlooking the vast mountain terrains. A Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts addition to the Angsana collection, nestled within the Laguna Phuket Destination Resort, this upscale property is so beautiful I didn't feel like leaving it and venturing out anywhere on my day of arrival.
My lovely three bedroom villa had an elegant and vast living and dining room attached to a kitchenette, and opened out to a beautiful balcony offering views of the hotel and the hills surrounding the area- definitely a rejuvenating tropical haven and tranquil atmosphere. What I loved most about this venue was the wide range of activities available that one could engage in, I was at this property for 3 nights and I didn't once have not much to do!
I started the next day with a poolside breakfast at my villa's private pool. Needless to say, it was an experience to remember! Cloudy skies, refreshing morning air that smelled of the rain and the lush greens around us, and a scrumptious breakfast spread of eggs, a fresh bakery basket, fresh cut fruits, cold coffee, sausages and hash browns and pancakes too!
Then I headed out to Phuket Old Town to explore the historic part of Phuket. Small enough to explore on foot, the area was built from the riches of the tin mining boom of the 18th century, and so the architecture is heavily European (Portuguese and British) influenced. Thalang Road is the main hub here.
It’s lined with Sino-Portuguese shop-houses and plenty of places to grab a coffee and a spot of lunch. Colorful houses, Thailand's home grown blend of coffee, Graffiti and lovely artwork covered walls, a cosy museum, lots of souvenirs and local food offering shops is what lined this street.
On my way back from there I stopped at a strikingly beautiful Buddhist temple, Wat Sri Sunthon (Wat Srisoonthorn), known for the immense golden Buddha reclining at the top of a large building in the ‘Pang Sai Yat’ posture, which corresponds to “Realizing Nirvana”. The main temple is surrounded by several constructions, a bell tower and a large building on top of which the Buddha is resting. You can climb the stairs at the back on the building and walk around the Buddha
Headed back and went straight to Angsana Laguna Resort, the sister property of Angsana Villas Resort to go sailing in the calm waters of the lake. You know a tropical resort is triumphant when it manages to entertain people even on the rainiest of days. I had landed in Phuket to dark grey overcast skies, wind and torrential rain. So the sea wasn't an option that I could explore. But the lake certainly was! The lake offered the most beautiful views of the Chapel at this resort which was famous for hosting the most beautiful, picturesque, dream-like destination weddings.
And then it was spa time. The award-winning Angsana Spa is a must-go to pamper yourself. They have various relaxation packages available, from massages, facials, mani/pedis. Each body treat is freshly concocted right before your treatment using native ingredients of utmost freshness. The view from the massage room I was in was absolutely magnificent as it overlooked the lovely lagoon! The classic therapies use the invigorating scent of flowers which are bound to revitalize you and send you off in a tranquil state.
At night, I headed out to the best club in Town, Illuzion on Bangla road. It is the most popular Nightclub in Patong Beach. The club replaced an old shopping mall, is gigantic, and the quality of the sound and light system is impressive. When I looked it up online, Illuzion ranked #48 in the TOP 100 Clubs and had been consistently moving up each year. There was absolutely no way I was going to miss going here. A good resident DJ, a fabulous line up of International guest DJs, stage dancers, spectacular LED & light show displays and the breathtaking live performances like aerial shows and acrobatics are all totally worth the hype!
The next morning started with a bike tour around the lagoon. This was a beautiful ride across 1,000 acres of parkland and tropical lagoons, as the breeze ruffled through my hair and I cherished my romance with this island.
Back at the hotel, I spent the afternoon revelling in a Thai cooking class, it was a great experience playing sous chef the Head Chef of Panache Restaurant as he taught me about the different traditional Thai ingredients and techniques for distinctive cooking. I also had an amazing time hearing from him about Thai culture and stories and trivia from other parts of the country
I wanted to catch the sunset at Xana Beach Club, which is one of the most popular beach clubs located along the sandy coastline of Phuket. This is definitely the loveliest way to spend an entire day on the beautiful Bang Tao Beach, a laid back afternoon in the swimming pool or the sea, eating at the sunset barbecue on the beach, watching the sun go down, enjoying the live fire acts and performances and partying until late at night under the star studded sky!
Since this was my last morning at this property I started with an early morning swim in my villa's private rooftop pool- well with a luxurious view like mine, it's hard to get your fill and say goodbye.
Pullman Phuket Panwa Beach Resort
And then it was time to check into my last property for this trip, Pullman Phuket Panwa Beach Resort, set against the sparkling Makham Bay and offering access to white sand beaches, panoramic ocean views, three free form swimming pools, and ultra chic ocean front villas that offer a separate lounge area, bathroom with separate rain shower and bathtub, coconut cream colored marble finishing and sliding glass doors that open onto a large terrace with a private pool and jacuzzi.
The hotel blends contemporary design with subtle Thai accents, and the awe inspiring views of the Andaman Sea are just another reason why this property is a must-experience! Pullman’s private beach and three free form pools are ideal for water sports or lazing in the shade of the palms, and the swim up bar, poolside bar, and authentic Thai restaurant are definitely worth a try.
I couldn't have left Phuket without seeing for myself why Paradise Beach was so talked about. An exclusive, expensive Beach Club, Paradise Beach Phuket is just 4 kilometers from Patong and has two small, private, and totally exclusive sandy bays with clear blue water, powdery sand and plenty of beach chairs, a bar, restaurant, shops, a volleyball court, kayaking, scuba diving, a fun wrecking ball and massive parties- the most famous ones being the full moon parties.
The stretch of this paradise continues uphill to a very small bar with a bit of a view where, then few more steps will take you to an inaccessible rocky bay in the back. Paradise Beach features shade-giving palm trees and tropical almonds, and large granite rocks at both ends of the sand make the beach more private and distinctive, and then there's a coral reef which I didn't get the chance to explore due to the weather conditions, although it didn't stop me from stepping into the water with a kayak.
Having had my fun at Paradise Beach, I left for Kudo Beach Club at Patong beach. After having read one too many amazing reviews about this place and it's sundowners, I decided I had to stop by and sip on some cocktails while watching the beautiful Thai sunset from here. A table by the sea, toes in the sand, the sky in front of me painted a hundred shades of sunset, teamed with upbeat lounge music and delicious cocktails, I couldn't have been more in love with this island than I already was!
The club has a playful swimming pool, two bars, a beautiful large sitting area and a couple of restaurants. Evenings at this Beach Club are electric, with a wide range of music genres and events, this sure is the place to be for all party lovers. KUDO Beach Club cultivates an upscale lifestyle experience on the shores of Patong Beach.
The last morning in Phuket had to be spent watching the sunrise at the hotel's private beach, so I walked around the beautiful landscape and inhaled the pure, fresh, refreshing air while feeling the silky sand beneath my feet. And then hopped into their shimmering pool water for a refreshing morning swim.
And then soaking in a fragrant flower bath in my bath tub while looking out at the ocean was the last that I consumed of this beautiful piece of paradise called Phuket. A haven for beach goers, Phuket with it's white sand beaches, turquoise waters, cosy resorts, luxury spas, adventure activities, and thriving nightlife is an island worth coming back to over and over again.