More often than not, when someone mentions Thailand, Bangkok and Phuket are some of the first locations that come to mind. For those looking to relax, lay by the beach, and potentially party, Phuket is the place for you. This portion of my Phuket blog will be dedicated to the relaxation part of our time in Phuket. This particular blog will be split into two portions to over our full experience. As always you can catch the full experience on Ryan’s Youtube channel. The video can also be found here on my blog.
Our 5 day stay in Phuket was a much needed opportunity to relax after our time in Chiang Mai. I was on the verge of recovery from a stomach flu as we boarded our flight to Phuket and running at about 90% by the time we arrived at our accommodations.
Our accommodations this time were at the luxury Avista Hideaway Phuket Patong, MGallery by Sofitel. This hotel is nestled on the southwestern side of Phuket along a hillside, just out of earshot of the lively night life of Patong. Between the location of the hotel and the serene atmosphere, we were easily able to settle into vacation mode. Ryan opted for the Deluxe Jacuzzi Suite which provided a nice view of one of the main pools, the thick green and lush tree line that outlines the cliffside, and was nestled just above the hotel spa. Our room came complete with a full size stand alone tub, beautiful bathroom, a bed facing our scenic patio view, and an outdoor jacuzzi which we took complete advantage of.
After arriving at the hotel with an appetite, Ryan and I wandered down from the hilltop to find a restaurant called the Little Tiger. Hidden behind some new construction and atop a hill of its own, the Little Tiger provided the perfect Thai Bites and beer as we got our first glimpse of a Phuket Beach. Ryan and I ventured down to the beach just to feel the sand in our toes. Although we live close enough to the beach, there is something so captivating and refreshing about stepping onto a beach in parts unknown. The beaches in Thailand are an obvious contrast from the sand and palm trees we get back in Florida. The contrast of the tropical nature and slight rainforest backdrop have a way of sucking you in and captivating you. We took it easy following our arrival to give me time to recuperate.
I mentioned in my Happy Elephants, Happy Hearts post that I highly advised against riding elephants. Prior to us heading to Thailand, we booked the Happy Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai and booked an elephant ride for Phuket. My opinions against riding elephants are based solely on my own experiences. We did ride elephants through a tour group in Phuket and after spending the day caring for and realizing how gentle these creatures were there was no thrill to be had riding an elephant. I won’t go into detail about that, but it is clear that the elephants that we spent our second encounter with were not treated nearly as well as the happy elephants that we were able to care and nurture for.
We were picked up from our hotel that morning and taken to a location about 45 minutes from our hotel where we were able to learn how rice is harvested, ride in a buffalo drawn carriage, ride elephants, and see baby elephants and monkeys perform tricks. We made sure to give all of elephants all the bananas we could feed them. They were absolutely adorable though and happy to have attention.
One of the funniest parts of this experience was not related to the animals at all. It was actually watching Ryan being brave enough to finally try durian. As expected, it was a blistering hot day in Phuket and we were allowed a quick pit stop by our guide to get water or ice cream. Having grown up in Singapore for a stint as a kid I had tried durian long ago. While I will say that yes it does have a foul odor, I never thought the taste was that bad. Ryan figured this would be a great opportunity to try durian in the form of ice cream for the first time. I mean ice cream is one of his favorite foods and quite honestly might be a food group on its own on his food pyramid. Let’s just say he was not a durian fan nor believer after that experience and quickly looked for a remedy to get the taste out of his mouth. After clearing his palate and sharing gut cramping laughter it’s safe to say that not all fruit pairs well with ice cream.
Our next days were devoted to relaxation.
Besides some pool time, lying in our jacuzzi, and a Thai couples’ massage, Ryan discovered a secluded beach about a 15-20 minute walk from our hotel. We would later find out that the beach wasn’t really well known and those who did know of it were often under the impression that the only way to get there was via boat. After paying a few dollars to a local family to cut through their property, we started our hike (literally a hike) down to Freedom Beach. Between the heat, steep stairs, and balancing across logs, beach chairs were calling our names.
I’ve been told that there are a ton of other wonderful beaches, many which are kept fairly well secret. Freedom Beach was one of many that just happened to be fairly close to our hotel. This particular beach also has its own small local owned restaurant. Ryan was able to snag some pineapple fried rice, some beer, and a fresh coconut from it. A little bit of Pinterest investigating will more than likely provide you with a list of various hidden beaches. This was the only day that we actually spent on a beach of our own choosing and we enjoyed every moment of it. My suggestion to anyone planning a trip to Phuket would be to explore off the beaten path, even if it’s just for one adventure. There is so much to see outside of the tourist traps and we found Thai people to be warm and welcoming and incredibly kind.
One of the greatest things that I gained from Phuket in my downtime was finding a sense of peace in so many things. The side of Phuket that I found at Avista Hideaway and being off the beaten path was filled with the ability to let go of so many worries or concerns. I gained so much clarity on life in staring into the clear waters and glowing greenery. I found patience and beauty in just taking in the moment and spending time with my husband. If for nothing more than that, I feel like I gained a part of my life and peace of mind back and would encourage anyone looking for these things to explore Thailand for that reason alone.
In part 2 of this blog I’ll touch on some of the adventures that we took like visiting Patong at night, the Phi Phi Islands, and exploring Oldtown Phuket.
In the meantime, feel free to comment on some recommendations for great hotels or rentals while in Phuket and/or some hidden beaches that you would suggest. What are some things you loved about Thailand or would like to experience in Thailand?