Tropical Paradise in The Islands of Southern Thailand
What do you think when you hear "Paradise"? I think of a few places such as: Bali, El Nido, Punta Cana, and the islands of Southern Thailand and here I will share why.
I visited Thailand for the first time in 2015 and immediately fell in love with this country. I had always desired to visit South East Asia but never knew that visiting Thailand for a few days in 2015 would lead me to leaving my life behind in the US and travel SEA and the world for many months in 2016. Yes, this trip is what changed me from what I consider a "Tourist" vs. a "world traveler." I will have a post on this soon and will not discuss that here but it was a life changing experience.
After visiting Dubai, I landed in Bangkok and stayed in the capital city for one night. The next day I took an early morning flight from BKK airport to Phuket with Thai Airways Official Website - Affordable Airfare Guaranteed. I was able to get a roundtrip ticket for less than $50 USD. Upon my arrival to Phuket you must take a shuttle bus downtown and they will drop you off at your hotel. I stayed in Patong beach at The Charm Resort Phuket - On Sale - Reservations.com and it was very convenient (right across form the beach, shops, restaurants, etc.) as well as very comfortable and really nice also. When I went in 2015 it was recently constructed so their prices are different now; however, I would say that it is definitely worth the price. They also have an outstanding restaurant and their breakfast buffet is one of the best I've had in any of my travels.
During my stay I booked several tours some I will recommend and others I will mention but will not recommend. I really enjoyed the island hopping tour that stops at seven different islands including Maya Bay and Ko Phi Phi. I booked a tour with through a small local travel agency near my hotel and it cost about $60 US here is a similar one Phi Phi Deluxe 6 Islands Tour From Phuket: Triphobo - triphobo.com. I really suggest that you just go and book your tours upon arrival because you have many more options and sometimes you can even negotiate the prices with the locals; however, I know some people don't like to stress over those things on a vacation so they rather book online in advance. It really is personal preference but either way would be just fine. I also took another tour through James Bond island but it wasn't part of this 7 island tour. James Bond island is located in a different direction so make sure to plan well if you are going to travel with time restrictions because you cannot do Ko Phi Phi and JB island in one day. Anyhow, below are some photos of my island adventures in Phuket.
Things to do and not to do in Phuket, Thailand
For a first time visitor, I would definitely recommend the island hopping tours as well as the visits to temples and to the Big Buddha, which is located south of Patong beach. I would also recommend all water activities and definitely a Thai massage.
There are just a couple of things that I did that I will not recommend to others.
1. Don't wait to book your shuttle back to the airport until the last day. You must book this at least two days in advance or they may be fully booked or closed for the day and you will have to go through an odyssey to get back to the airport.
2. Phuket FantaSea - This is a popular animal show in Phuket. It is basically a circus where elephants, birds, tigers, etc. perform. I was hesitant to go for many reasons such as: It is very expensive $60 US per person for 3 hour show, It wasn't on the top recommendations to see/do while I was researching this Island, and lastly because I am an animal lover and was concerned about animal abuse, etc. I was reassured by the locals it wasn't the case and that it is really nice but I definitely felt it as soon as I walked in. Those animals are clearly not cared for and although the show was good, it wasn't spectacular. I wouldn't recommend this show but of course it's up to you to see it or not.
After four days in paradise it was time for me to return to Bangkok for 2 more days. I took one day to visit the city and another day to visit the ancient city of Ayutthaya, which is located about 60kms north of Bangkok. I really liked this city and was definitely worth the trip. I will discuss both of these cities in a different post. This concludes the adventure in Southern Thailand. I hope you enjoyed this post and that it can become useful for your next adventure in Thailand.