For Indians in particular, Thailand has long been associated with honeymoons. It also makes sense. The country has a variety of things to offer – from nightlife to markets to beaches; and while Bangkok and Pattaya remain the top two choices, Phuket is not far behind in terms of popularity among couples.
However, on my recent trip to Phuket I thought the island had more to offer and reducing it to a romantic destination would do it a disfavour.
If anything I got the feeling that you would want to go there alone because it would be a great destination for solo travelers. Either way, with people, partners or alone, Phuket has a lot to explore and is a wonderful travel destination for the following reasons.
Let’s start with his story.
One of the first things you’ll notice when touring the island is the influence of “Sino-Portuguese” architecture on buildings in some neighborhoods. This is because Phuket served as a settlement for Chinese businessmen and a port for Portuguese traders in the mid-15th century.
These buildings are compact and very airy with multiple windows on all sides but mostly on the front. They are often very vibrant too, making them hard to miss and exceptionally soothing to the eyes.
Things don’t end with the architecture, however. This small island is full of stories from the past and they can be revisited in its many museums, notably the Thai Hua Museum which was the first Chinese language school in Phuket. For those interested in art there are galleries to visit, but for those who look closely there is art all over the island.
The island is surrounded by tree-covered hills, giving you the best of both worlds. When you find a viewpoint like the Big Buddha, you will be exposed to a view that you have never seen before. The sea embedded in the valley – or at least it seems so to the eye – is a beautiful sight.
Where do we even start with that?! As someone who got the opportunity to stay in one of the best hotels on the island, Avani, I can go on and on about this. The hotel, 15 minutes from the airport (in Mao Kha), has transfer facilities that you can use for pickup and drop-off.
Time seems to have stood still in the hotel. Everything is so peaceful and clean that you might not even want to leave your room. Especially if you’ve opted for one of the poolside villas that give you exclusive access to the pool right in front of your bedroom. The two properties – in May Khao and Khao Lak – are lush green and offer many activities such as rock climbing and spa services so that a guest never gets bored. They also have restaurants like Talad and Beach House on the property that offer the best Thai food one could ask for.
The two hotels also make excellent wedding venues, with rooms in multiple price ranges and plenty of space on the beach.
It goes without saying that Phuket is one of the best places for authentic Thai seafood. If you’re not a vegetarian it’s endless indulgence, and if you’re a vegetarian don’t worry, most restaurants are happy to change their menu to suit your preferences.
One recommendation I will give is the Beach House in Avani Khao Lak. Not only do they offer a wide range of wonderful cocktails, but also delicious food that you can enjoy while gazing at the sea through the glass windows. On a windy day there are few things more satisfying.
Whether it’s the Turtle Village in Mai Khao or the old town of Takua Pa closer to Khao Lak, you won’t run out of nighttime hikes.
While Turtle Village is more like a mall, Old Town is a busy street flanked by tiny, makeshift shops selling the cheapest clothes and the tastiest food. The whole vibe of the place is different and you might catch yourself thinking you’ve been transported to another time.
Activities to keep you busy.
From sea surfing to bamboo rafting in beautiful bays to speed boat trips to the Phi Phi Islands, there is always something to do in Phuket. Obviously the place is a paradise for all water lovers but there are other options like ziplining etc to keep the adrenaline pumping. You can also take a cooking class at Nai Mueang Restaurant if you’re not in the mood to go out, and show off your skills later when you’re back home.
Coming back to my starting point, Phuket is mistakenly generalized as a honeymoon destination and is a place that I don’t think gets the recognition it deserves. Let’s change that, shall we?