During my recent trip to Thailand, our last stop was Phuket, right after Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Located off the west coast of Thailand on the Andaman Sea, Phuket is the country's largest island and one of its most-visited tourist destinations - and for a reason! A mix of insanely beautiful beaches, fun nightlife, adventurous excursions and luxurious accommodations - here’s a recap of my stay including hotels, day trips and suggestions for planning a perfect three days in Phuket.
DAY 1: Patong Beach
We dedicated our first day to just relaxing and exploring the beach town of Patong, on Phuket's west coast. It's a popular beach lined with cafes, shopping, massage parlors, and lively outdoor bars. After hours of lounging near the beach, we made our way to the neon-lit Bangla Road and ended up staying out there until really late at night.
This road is the heart of Phuket's nightlife, which we didn't know prior, but somehow (and luckily) ended up there. We were drawn to "Australia 1 Bar" with outdoor Thai drinking games, a huge flat-screen TV where they let us choose music to play, and a Jenga game filled with signed tiles from travelers around the world.
DAY 2: Explore the Caves
This was by far our favorite day, thanks to this awesome all-day Hong by Starlight tour with John Gray's Sea Canoe Tours. We started the day off with an 11:30am pick-up (hotel pick-up and drop offs are included), then headed over Ao Po where we boarded on our boat, met the crew and were treated to a light Thai lunch. When we arrived at the first island, we hopped on our canoe and explored two different caves along with some hidden lagoons John Gray found in 1989.
We were literally inside Phang Nga Bay, having to lay down really low in the canoe at times just to enter the limestone caves - it was an unforgettable experience! We then made our way to the second island for some more exploring in the cliff-lined lagoons where we saw different marine life and hopped out of the boat to swim in the emerald-green waters. Once sunset hit, we enjoyed an authentic Thai-style buffet, which was honestly some the best food we had on our whole trip. A fun end to this day was getting to float our own self-made flower “Kratong” in a spiritual natural light show after dark.
Between the scenic nature views, adventurous kayaking, delicious Thai cuisine & entertaining guides, I highly recommend taking this tour for the day when visiting Phuket, you won't regret it.
DAY 3: Phi Phi Islands
Phi Phi Islands is a must for first-timers. It's widely known as one of the world's most gorgeous beaches filled with white-sand, long-tail boats and stunning crystal-clear waters - basically, it looks like a postcard in real life. Also, for any other beach yoga lovers out there, it has the perfect sand to practice your inversions. If I am lucky enough to travel back to Thailand, I will definitely stay in only the Southern region and explore all of the secluded beaches and islands.
How to get there? There are many ways to visit the Phi Phi Islands, with day trips available from both Phuket or Krabi via either speedboat or express ferry. The journey from Phuket to Phi Phi Islands takes about 2 hours. Since we did an all-day tour the day before, we found it easier (and cheaper) to book a ticket for the express ferry and do our own thing once we got there. Make friends with the owners of the long-tail boats who can take you out snorkeling or over to Monkey Beach, just a few minutes away.
WHERE TO STAY FOR 3 DAYS IN PHUKET?
Located right on the gorgeous Mai Khao beach, Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa is the ultimate luxury experience with a private beach and full-service spa. The decor gives off these zen chic vibes (if that's a thing) and it felt like home the minute we were welcomed to check-in. Every part of the hotel was immaculate and the food was on point.
I have to say...the breakfast buffet was HEAVENLY, like I would like to fly back to Thailand just for their homemade banana pancakes. I enjoyed how they give a huge variety to choose from for all tastes and the food & beverage team gets creative with the presentation, unlike any other resort buffet I've been to. They offer a juice bar with fresh fruits and veggies, a bloody mary bar (YES), a crepe station and the list goes on. You can tell the staff is passionate about what they do. The Executive Chef, Billy, was personally chatting with all the guests, getting to know everyone and make sure that everyone was happy - it was really sweet!
My Fave Perks:
If you want to wander into the local area, there is a free shuttle that runs every 30 minutes to take you and bring you back
Stress-free transfers to the airport, only a 15-minute drive away
Cafe is open late for those late-night ice cream cravings
Nearby is the Renaissance's sister hotel, Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Nai Yang Beach, which is where we stayed for our last night. Once you enter this hotel the feel and ambiance is serene.Even though we only had one day there, it left a long-lasting impression. We dined at their Big Fish restaurant and enjoyed fresh fish, yummy appetizers and dessert. The hotel's chic ambiance makes you feel like your completely secluded and a great way to end an action-packed trip.
Traveling to Thailand and need advice? Feel free to say hi and ask me anything in the comments below!