February 6, 2017
Trip Report: Three Days in Phuket, Thailand
Straight to the Point
Patong is the region of Phuket, Thailand that’s famous for its beaches and nightlife. It’s full of people in their 20s looking to have a fun time along with families traveling to enjoy the great wether and local atmosphere. There’s hundreds of restaurants and bars throughout the town and great beaches to visit all along the coast. Here’s what I did in three days in Phuket.
Where to Stay
There’s tons of local and international hotels in Patong. You can find properties right in the heart of the nightlife district, along the beach, or 10 minutes away where it’s a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere.
I have Platinum status with Starwood which I’ve status matched to Marriott, so I pretty much only stay at those properties since I get all sorts of perks and I need to spend enough nights to re-qualify for status in 2017 . For this trip, the first hotel I stayed at in Patong was the Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Merlin Beach which is about a 10 minute taxi ride from central Patong.
What I liked:
–The breakfast buffet was excellent! There was a huge assortment of both Western and Asian cuisine and the quality was all top notch.
–The hotel has several connected pools interlaid with palm trees that are just visually great!
–The concierge was very knowledgeable and helped me book several excursions during my stay including-Muay Thai, Siam Niramit show, and a day trip to the Phi Phi islands.
What I didn’t like:
–I checked into the hotel around midnight and it was deserted except for one agent managing the check-in counter, which is normal at that hour. My issue here was that she knew close to nothing about Marriott’s reward program and the basic questions I had about the property. So, train your agents better.
There are dozens of beaches all along Phucket (it’s an Island) with different atmospheres. Some are party beaches, some are family beaches, some are quiet with very few visitors. I spent some time at Patong Beach, which is near the main party destination of the island, and also at the beach in front of my hotel. Patong beach is within walking distance of great local restaurants and also has several water activities you can do such as parasailing, jet skiing, and riding in banana boats! There’s also tons of vendors who walk up and down the beach trying to sell you products. This is a moderately crowded beach and the vendors get annoying fairly quickly as you have to tell them no several times before they leave you alone. Also keep in mind that in Thailand, every price is negotiable. So if you do want to buy anything, always try and get a lower price as they overcharge tourists.
The food in Thailand overall is great. If you like Thai food in the US you’ll have no problem with the local cuisine as it’s even better! The most noticeable difference was that they use far less sauce and lighter ingredients in their cooking than in US Thai restaurants. So the Thai food is overall healthier. If you don’t like Thai food no worries, there’s plenty of Western food available as well in Patong since there’s such a huge volume of visitors from around the world.
Tiger Kingdom is a park in Phuket where visitors can enter cages with live tigers between 2-36 months old and pet them. This was definitely a once in a lifetime type of experience that you can’t do in many places around the world You can check out my full review of Tiger Kingdom here.
The name of the Muay Thai arena I went to was Sai Nam Yen Boxing. It’s about a 10 minute walk from central Patong. I figured I might as well take a look at it since Muay Thai originated in Thailand. Overall it was a pretty disappointing experience and I wouldn’t do it a second time. They have several rounds of fighters starting from younger ages and building up to more experienced fighters. The youngest age group looked to be something around 15 years old if I had to guess, although I have no actual way of knowing. They looked way too young to be beating each other in front of a crowd and it wasn’t something I particularly wanted to see. Even the more seasoned fighters who actually knew what they were doing weren’t a particularly impressive sight to watch. I ended up leaving early.
Bangla Road is where to go to experience nightlife in Phuket. It’s a long stretch of road in Patong which is closed to traffic at night. Both sides of the street are bustling with neon lights, bars, nightclubs, go-go dancers and vendors. Just about every venue has an outdoor section and blasts its own music-so it gets loud! The action starts around sundown and goes till sunrise. The beer and food is also very cheap along Bangla Road, as it is throughout most of Thailand. So it’s a great way to spend the night if you want to go out.
There are several day trips throughout Phucket that you can take from Patong. Some of the highlights are trips to the Phi Phi islands, James Bond island, various scuba diving sites, and elephant sanctuaries. I had a trip planned to Phi Phi but unfortunately it was pouring rain on both the days I had set aside for that so the trip got canceled and I wasn’t about to see any of those beautiful islands! If you don’t get stuck with lousy weather, visiting these islands should be a high priority of things to do as they’re stunning. There’s also a beach with monkeys on one of the Phi Phi islands that I missed.