Chantelle and I met in 2012 whilst working in the United States and we instantly bonded over our love for food, our crammed basement living space and our insatiable desire to travel the world. One too many travels later, our time together had concluded and we were ready to move back to our respective home countries. Fast forward to six years later, we’re now cross-continental best friends that still brood over dreamy boys, fancy foods and countries we wish to explore. Then came the time to meet mid-way and the chosen country was (*drumroll*) Thailand—because where else can you get down and dirty when you gotta turn 30? Read on for our adventures
Grab Your Globe presents Thailand island hopping in 12 days: Series 1 – Phuket
Caution: Sand, sea and way too many food photos coming your way!
1. Beach bum – at Surin Beach
Phuket is Thailand’s golden child— tourists lurk all year round, hijacking every single corner of the island. While you may feel it is far too commercial and congested, we recommend finding a quiet villa in the secluded area of Surin Beach. Surin beach is haven with its soft golden sand, warm waters and up-market beach resorts. We booked our private villa – a five minute-minute walk from the beach and spent the next few days exploring this side of the island in our party van.
2. Island hop – day tour to Phi Phi & Maya Bay
Whether it’s for the day or for a few nights you can’t skip a visit to Phi Phi island. Our party of 7 hired a private yacht (you only turn 30 once) to take us on an island hopping adventure to the nearby islands – Bamboo island, Phi Phi, Maya Bay and Phi Phi Ley. Think snorkelling in emerald waters, sunning yourself silly on soft white beaches beer in hand and catching the occasional glimpse of wild monkeys bouncing off the limestone cliffs. Our kinda day!
3. Just let me beach
It’s time to visit more beaches.
- Freedom beach wins our vote for the best beach on the island – Only accessible by boat OR a car can be driven to a certain point after which you take a mini trek down to the beach.
- Banana beach for crystal waters and powdery sand.
- Kata & Kamala beach for endless restaurant options and golden brown sand.
4. Cruise like a local
If a party van isn’t your scene, hire a motorcycle during your time on the island. It definitely is the easiest, cheapest and quickest way to get around and 100 per cent safe as long as you follow the few rules they have in place. Cost: INR 500 per day.
5. Skip the party at Patong – create your own
Let’s be honest here – Patong is not exactly the kind of party you want to go to unless drunk teenage boys and men nursing mid-life crises are your thing. Teaming with strippers, hookers, lady boys and rowdy rowdy tourist boys, Patong has one too many bars offering the same kind of “party”. A quick stroll later we were back in our party van heading to the villa to do what grown-ups do – Drink wine, eat birthday cake and jump in to the pool.
6. Eat your way to happiness
The food in this country by far tops any other we have ever visited. Lunches were relatively light with 1 type of Thai curry, 1 Pad-Thai, Som Tam salad, fried shrimp in oyster sauce and coconut ice cream (Simone doesn’t share food); dinners were on the heavier side – Massaman curry, red duck curry, Khao Soi Curry soup, calamari and coconut ice cream.
Noteworthy restaurants in Phuket serving authentic Thai cuisine:
- Thing Dee The Kathu Brasserie
- Dee Plee – Anantara Layan Phuket
- Pad Thai Shop
- Oriental Spoon
- Baan Rim Pa Kalim (view & seafood)
- Catch Beach club (view & seafood)
- After beach Bar Phuket (drinks & view)
On the up side, you can simply walk in to any food market or street side restaurant and rest assured you will have a fantastic meal.
7. Do the tourist thing
Thailand is brimming with culture, be it in a city or an island and Phuket is no exception. Therefore, if you’re in the mood to expand your wings, here are a few sights you can visit all in a day’s time.
- Heritage walk around Phukets old town – excellent breakfast spots
- Big Buddha for the iconic 45 metre high statue
- Bangla road for cheap shopping and street food vendors
Where: Phuket (Thailand)
How: 1-stop flight from Mumbai & other major Indian cities – Thai Airways/Bangkok airways
Best time to visit: Late November – April (always expect mild showers throughout the year)
Stay: 4 nights at Villa on the Rocks – Surin beach booked via TripAdvisor
Stay tuned for our guide to Koh Pha ngan – Series 2 on epic Thailand