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A road tripping weekend in energetic Phuket

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Getaway Category: Culture & HeritageGetaway Tags: Phuket, road trip, and thailand

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  • Phuket is a popular destination for tourists looking for parties on its many beaches. As great as they are, Phuket has much more to offer! From those who desire quiet serenity, to party goers craving a wild vacation, or travellers wanting a bit of both- Phuket will deliver. We’ve arranged a road trip aimed to encourage moments of spontaneous fun, filled with energy brought by the sun and sea.

    Have a weekend to kill and don’t want to travel to Phuket? Take a ferry to Bintan instead and stay in one of these luxury resorts!




    Day 1 in Phuket

    Beginning at Phuket International Airport, we made our way to Kata Beach through Phuket Old Town. Definitely make a stop in the Old Town, the abundance of galleries and cafes will surely please the inner hipster in you. Budding chefs will be happy to visit fantastic Royal Thai cooking school, just one of the many things to do in Old Phuket.

    11.30am: Old Phuket

    Park your car at Phuket Center Apartments, Phuket Old Town is best explored on foot. We’ve prepared a map marked with the coolest spots for you to follow.

    Start your stroll with a refreshing drink at White Chalk, a cafe filled with stuffed llama toys and a selection of drinks perfect for hot weather. After you’re satisfied, head over to The Memory at On On Hotel. This historical hotel is filled with treasures from the Sino-Portuguese times and was featured in a film titled The Beach. It was opened in 1929 by a tinder trader and is the oldest hotel in Phuket and popular amongst Chinese merchants. Book a private room for USD 35 or choose a bed in one of their dormitories. A silk and textile shop offers their wares on the ground floor, perfect for souvenir hunters.

    A beautiful cafe that sells vintage furniture is next in our journey. Taking almost 3 years to restore, the China Inn has a Feng-Shui inspired backyard decorated with Chinese lacquerwork, fabrics and old fans, making a picture of the past. Order some coffee or appreciate the colonial styled exterior of the Thai Hua Museum. It operated as a school in 1917, but stands today as a centre of old Sino Portuguese culture. Discover how life was like through stories of the people who built Old Phuket’s mansions, and learn about the mansions itself.

    1.00pm: Lunch

    Conclude your morning with a meal at the Phra Pitak Chinpracha mansion. The Blue Elephant Governor’s Mansion and Cooking School lies in the heart of Old Phuket, serving delicious Royal Thai cuisine. Phuket is not the only place you can savour its premium fare, for Blue Elephant Governor’s Mansion has branches in London, Dubai and Brussels. We are partial to the one in Old Phuket- the Feng Shui inspired design amongst lush greenery will take your breath away! Set meals ideal for lunch are served daily, enjoyed in an interior inspired by colonial style.

    2.00pm: Walk along a colourful street

    Untouched by urban influence, Soi Romanee is colourful and peaceful. Previously famous for their now closed brothels, opium and gambling dens, Soi Romanee emotes the harmony associated with the countryside. Admire restored shophouses, visit coffeeshops or join the descendants of Chinese migrants watching the day go by.

    2.30pm: Discover history with art

    If you enjoy reliving the past, the Thavorn Hotel and Museum is for you. Built in the 60s, the museum preserves memories of Phuket’s tin mining past. The hotel is Phuket’s first full service hotel and  was built by Thavorn family who recognised Phuket’s potential to be a tourist hotspot. However, it was built before the surge of tourists arrived and never became a hit. The lobby of the hotel now looks like a museum with old photos, newspaper clips and vintage furniture reminiscent of the Thavorn family’s part in the tin industry.

    Local artists showcase and create their artworks in the Drawing Room, a workshop with a mix of modern hip and pastel vintage. Have a chat with the artists whilst being inspired by the various kinds of art.

    3.30pm: Big Buddha

    The Mingmongkol Buddha Image, or the Big Buddha, is a statue that stands tall at 45m on a hill overlooking Chalong Bay. Due to its size and location, the Big Buddha is a landmark easily seen from many areas of Phuket. In honour of the 80th birthday of the King, the Big Buddha will be covered in white Burmese marble. Tourists can contribute by making a donation with money or with soil or tiles that have your name on them. They will be placed on the base of the Big Buddha.

    4.30pm: Wat Chalong

    Wat Chalong is a well preserved religiously significant part of Phuket. The red roofed temple is dedicated to Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, monks who led the Chinese rebellion in 1876 and healed the injured with natural herbs. Made of a three-storey stupa, the temple can be climbed. There is also a main temple for offerings. Firecrackers are occasionally set off by those whose wishes have come true, representing their gratitude.

    5.30pm: Phromthep Cape

    Phromthep Cape lies at the Southernmost tip of Phuket Island and is known for being the perfect spot to watch the sun set. For this reason, tourists flood the area whilst enjoying drinks and coconut ice cream bought from roadside stalls. To escape the crowd, walk to the tip of the Cape.

    8.00pm: Dinner at Mom Tri

    Mom Tri is an award winning restaurant serving excellent Thai and International cuisine. Enjoy your food with the waves crashing in the background, above the rocks on Kata Beach. Be sure to make a booking in advance! Mom Tri is located in Villa Royale, a charming boutique hotel on the other end from The Shore.


    Day 2 in Phuket

    Phuket is full of gorgeous beaches, the best of which we will visit in Day two.

    9.00am: Karon Beach for coffee

    Begin with a stop at Coffee Talk for your morning boost, before taking a stroll on the white sands of Karon Beach. Hang a hammock with the locals and enjoy the quiet of the morning. Head over to Karon Viewpoint to enjoy a view of three gorgeous beaches.

    10.30am: Freedom Beach

    Take your car to Freedom Beach from Karon. Due to the bay being on private land, a fee of 200 Baht is required to enter. Arriving by boat is also an option. The walk down to Freedom Beach is steep and takes 20 minutes, but the near empty beach is a worthy reward. Casual restaurants and sun loungers are welcomingly available, or you could give beach volleyball or football a try. The Southern part of the bay is a fantastic spot for snorkelling, you could easily spend a full day at Freedom beach.

    Relax for an hour at Freedom Beach, then make your way to Paradise Beach to sip some cocktails and enjoy the beats of a DJ!

    1.00pm: Paradise Beach

    Paradise Beach is a combination of Miami, Bali and Ibiza in a beach club. The company who owns Paradise Beach also operates some clubs on Patong’s Bangla Road, and the only way to enter this bay is through one of their trucks. Paradise Beach has a retail area consisting of restaurants, stores and a smaller beach.

    Live DJ sessions often liven up the space, with Dolce Vita turning this previously quiet beach into a large party offering beach club amenities. The beach has an ATM, a pharmacy, an exchange house and a luxury spa on its premises. There are monthly Full Moon, Half Moon and Black Moon parties and a free shuttle service from Patong is available every half an hour.

    3.00pm: Let’s Relax

    A thai massage is necessary when visiting Thailand, and there are few places who offer a massage better than the one at Let’s relax. Two branches are open in Patong, offering quality massages at low prices. Walk ins are recommended, as reservations are only taken 3 days in advance.

    5.00pm: Joe’s Downstairs

    Conveniently located on the way to the airport, Joe’s Downstairs is ideal for a delicious dinner. Watch the sun set with a glass of Phuket’s best cellar in hand, enjoyed with fantastic fusion tapas. If you’re making a booking in advance, be sure to ask for a table at the edge for an unobstructed view of the sunset.

    7.00pm: Catch Beach Club

    Make Catch Beach Club your final stop before settling at the airport. Located on Surin Beach, this beach club is open till late. 2000 Baht gets you a beach towel, a pillow, and an equal amount of credit used for ordering food and drinks. You’ll also be allowed to use their shower, allowing you to be clean pre-flight. The Catch Beach club is 40 minutes away from the airport, so do make sure you have enough travelling time.




    Places to Stay in Phuket

    Affordable

    The Secret Cliff Resort & Restaurant is a secret getaway tucked in the rainforest between Patong Beach and Karon Beach. Offering stunning views and still located reasonably from attractions, this is one of the best affordable options available. Book here now, with rates at SGD$38 per night.

    Mid-range

    A mid-range option would be Poppa Palace Hotel, which is located in the heart of Patong and is close to nearby shops and restaurants. Deals at Agoda means rates can start as low as SGD$25 per night, going up to about SGD$150 per night for a deluxe studio.

    High-end

    The Shore At Katathani offers spectacular sea views and a wide range of luxurious amenities, from golf to an indulgent couples spa experience. Perfect for a luxurious getaway with your significant other for about SGD$561 per night.

    Alternatively, here are our top 10 Airbnb villas in Phuket!

    Getting to Phuket

    SilkAir flies daily to Phuket on many different timings, including a flight as early as 6am to 6:30 pm, an ideal time after work. Check out their flight schedules here.

    TigerAir is another cheaper alternative and it departs Singapore daily at 7:55 am for Phuket. It also flies to Phuket at 10:20 am on Fridays, Sundays and 4pm everyday except Tuesday. Check out their flight schedules here.

    Getting around Phuket

    Renting a car or a motorcycle is a great option but if you can’t, you can always flag down tuk-tuks for short distances (be sure to negotiate the price before stepping into the tuk-tuk, prices can get pretty steep nowadays!) or grab a taxi for longer distances. Metered taxis are hard to find in Phuket, so be sure to look out for these taxis. Otherwise use the GrabTaxi application that gives an estimate of the cost of the journey with the ultimate cost being decided by the meter in the taxi itself. Uber does not operate in Phuket.

    Other things to note in Phuket

    Money matters

    Credit cards are accepted at most places but if really necessary, ATMs are also readily available all around Phuket. One thing to note is that in Thailand, the money is ejected from the ATM first and then the card, so make sure you don’t forget your card after withdrawing cash!

    Bring your own bottled water

    Phuket can get really warm, but drinking tap water is not advised! Instead, purchase bottled water. Your hotel should provide you with bottled water

    share your experience by using #singaporenbeyond on social media!

    Featured photo by Chee Hong

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