Phuket has become a popular international destination in Thailand for many reasons. Long before this southern gem is known for white sand beaches, deep blue sea, a mix of culinary delights and unique cultural heritage. Today, Phuket still stands strong at the top of must-visit trips of both Thais and foreigner with many new businesses that keep everyone coming back for more. Here is the perfect destination for a short getaway of 48 hours where you can experience everything from adventurous outing to cultural sight-seeing and night life to wonderful authentic cuisine you can only find on this island.
10 a.m. A Grand Monument
Begin the trip on peaceful note with the whole perspective of the city. The Big Buddha or the Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha is one of Phuket’s revered landmarks. The 45-meter Buddha image is made of small pieces of Burmese white jade marble and built in 2004. Sitting on the top of Nakkerd Hills, the image can also be seen from afar in downtown area as the beautiful white marble shines and reflects the sun. Built by faith among Buddhists and hope to create a new cultural sight for Phuket, the Big Buddha becomes an instant hotspot not only with the impressive image but the serene atmosphere and gorgeous 360-degree view of Phuket. Take in the view of the whole city before the actual discovering begins. It opens from 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. As other religious sights, dress conservatively and appropriating.
12 p.m. Golden Days Throwback
Afternoon light is best to capture, the heritage side of Phuket which has established well before 16th century. The charming old town area of Phuket is what sets the province apart from other cities with preserved architecture and unique cultured that passed from generations to generations. Plus, it is easily walkable to make a tour around the area. The unique blend of Hokkien and Siamese presented in the ‘Baba’ community which has their way of life including language, food and outfits that can still be seen in the old town part. For lunch, stop by Mee Hokkien on Thalang Road, a longstanding shop house in this part of the city which serves limited but seriously scrumptious and authentic Hokkien-style noodle. If you crave for Southern Thai-style cuisine, head to Raya, a restaurant set in a beautiful old house where one find the most satisfying braised pork belly and southern-style crab meat curry broth and rice noodles.
After filling the stomach, explore the blocks of the area by feet. The main roads of the old town include Thalang, Phang Nga, Krabi, Dibuk, and Yoawarat. The highlight is the distinctive architecture of buildings which features western influences. Since Portuguese merchants were among the first to arrive this port city in the 17th century, the architecture presents the traces of the golden day. The small shop houses lined on the roads are call ‘Sino-Portuguese’ style while the big mansions are ‘Sino-Colonial.’ Stroll along Thalang Road, the longest strip in the area. This part of the town is full of lovely small cafes, gallery and stores that some would bring you back in time. Visit Baan Chinpracha, a classic Sino-Colonial mansion, one and only open to public. With original decors and furnishings, you will get a glimpse into the Baba way of lives. Outside on many streets, there are a lot of Instagram-worthy street arts which some were painted by celebrated Thai artists. Another spot that sure worth photo sessions is Soi Romnani, once a red-light district where tin miners came for pleasure, this small street has turned into the city’s latest cool spot with hip eateries, business and hotels. Take a break at Torry’s Ice Cream, an utterly original recipe adapting Thai flavors to western-style dessert.
4 p.m. Art of Shopping and Crafting
Get inside the shade and escape to some shopping spree. CentralFestival Phuket, one of the largest department store in the city, is a first-class shopping complex boasting all kind of activities you can spend the whole day there from shopping to dining and entertainment. You can only do so much here. If you are in search of handmade one-of-a-kind souvenirs, join a DIY crafting class at Craftsthai Workshop provided by CentralFestival Phuket. There you will learn how to make keychain with wooden letters and many other things. As we will be lounging on the beach the next day, here is the perfect place to catch up on any essentials you may need from swimsuits at popular highstreet brands to world-famous skincare brands as well as other exclusive lifestyle stores and Central Food Hall. If you are craving for food, there are many food chains and cafes as well as food court with quality Asian street food guaranteed for a good tasty meal.
7 p.m. All Nighters
You can make a short drive to Patong Beach for fresh seafood with scenic sunset view at one of the most well-known beach in Thailand. Patong beach by day offer white sandy beach with clear blue sea in 3-kilometer halfmoon shape. Romantic lieu for evening stroll as the sun sets into the ocean. At night, Patong transform into a bustling busy spot where you will find the outrageous and raucous nightlife that will surely make your first night one to remember. The neon-lit Bangla Road is known for nightclubs, bars and entertainment complex. Some of world’s most famous people did even skip a visit to this fun road as some were spotted hanging out like Rihanna and power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Be sure to drink responsibly, you’ve got a long day ahead tomorrow!
8 a.m. Touching the Sky
While Maho Beach in Saint Martin may be the beach you can get closest to the plane but Phuket has as a hidden secret where people go planespotting. Mai Khao beach is a long white sand beach where one of its part is connect to the Phuket International Airport meaning that there is a space to get as close to planes taking off or landing. Take your morning stroll on the beach and get some light sunshine while enjoying a great view of big planes. Bring your camera because this spot is one of the island’s many fail-proof Instagram locations that will surely get you lots of double taps. Who doesn’t like a composition of white sand, clear water and a plane one photo?
10 a.m. Push Your Limits
There are plenty to do in Phuket when comes to beach activities. From light action to adrenaline pumping adventures. It is a paradise for water sport lovers. Common sport such as parasailing, windsurfing, jet skis and kite-surfing are mostly available of major beaches in Phuket. For an alternative extreme sport lover, try Stand-up paddle boarding which is growing to be a popular new entry in the island. SUP boarding is quite easy to learn—only to balance properly on the board—which is a new way to experience to exotic marine life under clear water and as well as the tropical surroundings. While surfer’s community in Phuket may be smaller comparing to other major surfing towns, but the island still offers probably the best surfing spots in Thailand. It is the perfect sport for low-season visit when the wave is stronger for swimmers. International competition includes one organized by Quicksilver on Kata Beach.
2 p.m. Treat Yourself
Pampering yourself with spa session at one of the most premiere destination in the city. SALA Spa at the SALA Phuket Resorts where you will enjoy spa and body treatments that combine masterful Asian technique and tradition with western innovation. The result is an extensive spa menu you can select from traditional Thai massage to specialty feet stimulation. You can pamper your skin with more indulgent choice such as salt glow body scrub or aromatic moor mud body wrap. The SALA Spa also offers exclusive facial treatment from premiere skincare Pevonia Botanica. But our favorite is the beach break message because nothing is better than a traditional Thai massage by the beach.
6 p.m. Tainted Sky
Classic without any twist. A must-do tradition once you are in Phuket is watching the sunset on Promthep Cape, the southernmost point of the island. Just 2 kilometers from Rawai Beach, the cape is probably the most recognizable spot in Phuket with all tourists finding a spot to be the first to watch the sun goes down in the country. As the sky changes into deep orange and purple, get your camera ready for an old-fashioned sunset photos. If you want to challenge yourself, climb down the lowest point of the cape for even more exhilarating experience. Although the way up is requires experienced trekkers. The view from the cape is an endless Andaman Sea and you can see some shapes of different nearby islands. On your way back, you can pick up some memorabilia from the souvenir stores. An “I Love Phuket” t-shirt sure matches that perfect moment.