Thailand is undoubtedly one of the most famous backpacking destinations around the globe. It gets flooded with tourists almost all around the year.
But for the majority of people, traveling to Thailand is equal to visiting Bangkok and Pattaya.
And this way they completely miss the most pristine and serene part of this beautiful country such as Phuket, Karabi and Ko Panyi.
A lack of information or proper research about the places might be the reason for this.
Anyhow, We didn’t do this mistake and tried to research a bit before booking the tickets.
Phuket and Karabi were one of the few places we could have included in our itinerary.
But due to having only a few days of leaves in hand and not having much to splurge. We decided to include only Phuket in our Thailand Trip from India.
So our itinerary was, India -> Bangkok -> Pattaya -> Bangkok -> Phuket -> Bangkok -> India.
We were already done with exploring Pattaya and now it was time to take on our second destination, Phuket.
Bangkok to Phuket flight was the cheapest one on our Thailand trip from India.
The return ticket from Bangkok was 2500 INR ( 1100 Baht) (37$).
I and two other friends were waiting at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok to board our flight to Phuket.
The clock ran a little slower than usual that evening or maybe it happens all the time when we did wait for something.
Finally, the announcement was made and it was time to board the flight.
We rushed towards the boarding gate and put our luggage in the luggage scanning machine.
And then headed towards the security officer for further checking.
But after checking our boarding pass, He unexpectedly said – You can’t board the flight ( In Thai tone).
We were in sheer shock.
We protested. But why? Boarding has just been started.
Now two more officers came and after checking the boarding pass, they said in unison – your boarding time is over. Now you can’t board the flight.
Now we had no option other than retreat.
We didn’t want to ruin this trip just for a flight so we started checking for the next flight to Phuket.
Trust me, the last-minute flight makes a big hole in the pocket.
To confirm for the last time & for any alternative option, we went to Air Asia ( the carrier we booked our ticket from) counter.
We sadly yet politely asked – Hi Mam, We missed our flight to Phuket. Can you please arrange seats on the next flight? And uttered our flight no.
She, with oblivious face, told – your flight is yet to leave and boarding is still going on.
We narrated the whole incident and she said who are they to stop?
The flight is yet to take off and you have a valid ticket.
Now, we took a sigh of relief and the next moment we found ourselves running like a maniac to catch the flight.
This time, we used a different queue for the security check-in and to our surprise, they didn’t even say a word.
Trust me, it was one of my worst airport experience ever.
Anyhow, We did board the flight after that and reached Phuket in a matter of 2 hours.
Phuket – The big brother of Goa
The moment I stepped out of the Phuket airport, it gave me Goa (India) vibes.
A city with narrow roads, coconut trees standing tall on both sides.
But when I asked the rate of the taxi in Phuket, I somehow came back in senses and realized, it is not India.
Transporation is quite expensive in Thailand.
Even for a few km, they will ask you for an insane price.
For instance, we paid 700 Baht for 30 km or sometimes 400 Baht for 30 km. It depends on the area and time of the day.
Phuket is famous for its islands, beaches, and late-night parties.
B2, the same hotel we booked in Pattaya, also booked in Phuket.
The tariff was 1700 INR (22 $) (750 Thai baht) for three people per night.
Phuket is surely much better than Goa. The water here is on the bluer side. And the crowd is great, you will get to interact with people all around the world and understand their culture.
And don’t forget, it has tons of spellbinding islands.
Phi Phi Islands Adventure Day Trip
When we were waiting at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok.
A guy from Air Asia approached us and asked us to purchase the Phi Phi Islands day tour from here itself as it will be much cheaper.
After a bit of bargaining, we purchased three passes in 4200 Thai Baht (9600 INR) (450 $).
Trust me it is even cheaper than what you get in online deals.
And to our surprise, they didn’t compromise with the quality.
The day tour includes visiting five islands on a speed boat, Monkey Beach, Maya Bay, Phi Phi, Bamboo Island, and Pileh Lagoon. It also includes snorkeling at Bamboo Island, lunch at Phi Phi.
They will provide you a life jacket and snorkeling gears and pick and drop facility from the hotel.
Snorkeling was overrated. They just included it to attract customers.
Rather, carry some cash and try scuba diving. After a bit of bargaining, they can down to 1000 Baht for 45 minutes deep-sea diving.
Phi Phi Islands day tour is the perfect way to spend a day in Phuket.
RIght from crystal clear blue Andaman seawater to tall perfectly balanced and shaped mountains in the midst of it. You will fall in love with this place and want to come over and over again.
Buffet lunch was great. Since tourist comes from all over the world in Phuket. Many don’t want to eat meat or beef & pork to be precise. They did consider this while preparing.
Vegan food was also there.
Trust me, food is one of the pain points in Thailand. You will hardly get restaurants (unless it is Indian) which don’t serve beef and pork.
It’s better to carry some ready to made food from your country itself rather than spending a plethora of money on authentic restaurants or in the worst case, starving yourself.
Lastly, they will drop you at the hotel and that will be the end of your memorable island tour.
Beaches in Phuket
Patong, Kamla, Surin, Karon, Kata, Freedom, and Paradise are few of the famous beaches in Phuket.
We managed to visit only Patong, Kamla and Surin.
Out of these three, Surin beach was most clean, peaceful and less crowded.
Patong was the most happening as it was flooded with tourists and water sports activities.
And Patong is also the nightlife hub of Phuket as you will find tons of exotics markets and pubs there.
Which makes this place a lot more famous over others.
Quick tip, instead of hiring a cab from the hotel, you can look for SONGTHAEW (A 13 seater taxi) for traveling locally to save some bucks. They go to most of the beaches in Phuket.
For instance, for 2o km, I paid 30 Baht in SONGTHAEW. It would have cost me more than 250 Baht in personal cabs.
Things to do in Phuket apart from island hopping & beaches
You can visit Big Buddha Phuket, Wat Chalong, and Phuket temples
You can go shopping at the Phuket town weekend night market.
You can walk around Phuket old town.
You can learn to cook Thai food.
Visit Sri Panwa for the best sunset view in Phuket.
Visit Bangla Road in Patong to have a glimpse of the nightlife of Phuket.
You can try Thai Spa & Massage.
You can watch the monkeys at Monkey Hill.
Phuket is one of those places from where you never want to come back.
The only thing might compel you to return is the food.
Trust me, we really had a hard time feeding ourselves in Phuket.
Indian restaurants were extremely expensive and we were on a tight budget.
And we couldn’t cope up well with Thai food and on top of that, pork and beef is something I can’t have even in my dreams.
If you can manage the cuisine aspect well, then Phuket is a top-class destination to have leisure time from India or any part of the world.
And unlike the Maldives and Europian destinations, it is not that expensive either.
If you don’t travel very often then you can even afford to splurge in Phuket.