I believe that even in the most touristy of destinations, there is always something different to experience. A willingness to research and explore can go a long way. If you had asked me about Phuket few months earlier, I would have ranted about the sun kissed beaches of Patong, bustling crowd and glitzy parties of Bangla road and the many fun activities to do during island hopping. But, this post is not about that. This is about the exploring one of the most commercialised tourist locations in Thailand, off the beaten path. All thanks to Great Girly Getaway campaign organised by Tourism Authority of Thailand, India for a 4-day adventure filled trip to Amazing Thailand. After all, that’s what travel does best. Breaking stereotypes and debunking myths. It’s only when you explore, you expand your horizons. Don’t you agree?
Blue Elephant Cooking school
Even when my culinary skills are next to zero, I just couldn’t pass up on learning to conjure dishes of a foreign country in their own backyard. I always go for the experience.
We signed up for a half-day cooking certification at Blue Elephant Cooking school. It occupies a stunning Sino-Portuguese style mansion – known as the Governer’s mansion. The friendly Thai staff cheerfully offered us a welcome drink. Most of their recipes have sea-food and meat. But, they can even customise dishes based on your preference. We ended up making three dishes – Paneang Okra curry, Mushroom with black peppers and Northern curry with Egg noodles – all vegetarian. All under the guidance of a friendly chef and it was totally mouthwatering. No kidding! Not as bad as I thought after all. Later for dinner, along with the dishes we prepared, there was sumptuous meal waiting for us. And man, did we gorge on that meal! Additionally, they have fruit and vegetable cutting and carving classes as well.
Cost : 2500tbh
Flying hanuman is an eco-adventure located in the dense forests of Phuket. Ziplining through the dense forests under the canopy of trees, assimilating the greenery all around and at the same time feeling like a miniature toy left me speechless. It takes about 10-15 minute inclined walk through the forests to reach the platforms. You zipline from one platform to another, a total of 28 platforms altogether and sometimes pass through a sky bridge in between. Gliding like an eagle with hands outstretched overlooking the underlying forests (aka – the flying hanuman pose) is just exhilarating. Try it out and you will know what I mean.
Cost : 3500 tbh
Phuket Trickeye museum
Although, I’m not a fan of excessive posing, this Trick eye museum called for a change of pattern. It is interactive and quirky in a way that stimulates creativity. All the 3D art installations in the museum lets the viewers engage with the artwork closely and camouflages well, making the participant as much part of the artwork as the art itself. Great place for kids or for the kid in you!
Banana Beach is quaint little beach located just around the way to the airport. Shallow clear blue waters, tall palm trees all covered in fine sand is what Banana beach is made up of. Pack up your hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and beach clothes and you can make a day out of it. You can go kayaking, snorkeling and diving on an island close to the beach.
My Phuket Wishlist
Even when I have been to Phuket twice now, I still have so much left to explore. So, that goes in my wishlist for a later time.
Phang Nga Bay
When I visited Phang Nga Bay the first time, it was part of the James Bond island tour. And, I didn’t particularly enjoy the tour since it was jammed with tourists. Although, I would have liked to visit Phang Nga Bay on my own without running through the tourist trail. Maybe, next time then. Hire a longtail boat to cruise around Phang Nga Bay, visit the renowned cave and enjoy a sunset cruise on a Chinese Junk. Also, an early morning walk to Samet Nangshe view point located in Phang Nga Bay is gaining traction for it’s spectacular sunrise views.
Located in the far south west of Phuket – Promthep Cape is a sunset spot and offers some splendid views of the unending sea. Karon view point on the way to the beach also offers breathtaking views and it’s surely going to be my pitstop.
Sino-Portuguese buildings in Phuket town
Around old Phuket city, you can find a fusion of East and West architecture – Sino-Portuguese buildings all around. The architecture is a reflection of European influence on the island.
Wat Tham Suwan Khuha
A little drive outside the island is situated Wat Tham Suwan Khuha – famous for it’s majestic reclining Buddha surrounded by incredible limestone cliffs plunging right down in to the sea.
Stay – Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa – Nai Yang beach
Although, Marriott chain of hotels is anything but offbeat, I only included this since it’s a recent property and it deserves an honorable mention. A beach-front property perched on the banks of Nai Yang beach in the outskirts of Phuket town – Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa is a total delight. It offers luxurious rooms and villas, relaxing spa, infinity swimming pool and multitude of restaurants, and thoughtfully decorated interiors – all in all makes for an indulgent and memorable stay. If you are looking for budgeted accomodation, there are tons of hostel options available at HostelWorld
All the tours can be booked when you land in Phuket through the road side kiosks with variety of tour options. They even take care of the transport to and from your hotel. Else, you can venture out on your own too after a prior enquiry at the respective locations.
So, have you ever been to Phuket? What are your favourite hangouts? Do let me know in the comments below 🙂