Here’s a walkthrough manual on everything you need to know about traveling and staying in Phuket. Here are the reasons people typically want to holiday on this island:
1) See white pristine beaches (you need to island hop for this one – either Raya Island or Phi Phi Islands)
2) Stay in nice hotels at great prices
3) Get cheap Thai massages, spa and facial treatments
4) Eat cheap and fresh seafood (make sure you stay away from sashimi/fresh oysters)
I wanted a convenient, one stop solution for my travel needs, so I booked the flight and hotel package with AirAsiaGo.com. Total price is RM1.3k for two for 4d3n.
Booking process is quick and easy and you have over 70,000+ hotels to choose from. Plus the flights are cheaper when bundled with the rooms because AirAsia owns its route network, making pricing play a lot easier with its own Online Travel Agent. The package was a deal because October is low season at Phuket. Come Nov – Dec, get ready for mayhem.
Phuket Airport is 45 minutes away from the town area (we stayed at Deevana, Patong). So remember to get airport transport. We hired one through AirAsiaGo. It costs 650 baht, or RM65, which is market rate.
Our friendly driver came on time and was already waiting for us, although we landed 15 minutes early (9pm Bangkok time).
Deevana Resort and Spa – apparently the new rooms are a lot better. Our room was nice, but quite old. Remember to request for the new wing.
Food in Phuket
This meal cost us only RM70 (which is the cost of an average meal in Phuket for 2). We had a whole steamed fish, deep fried squid, fresh oysters (I think I got my food poisoning from this so stay away), kailan, and rice. This is a halal stall, which is a short walk from our hotel. Continental breakfast is provided every morning at the hotel from 6am – 10.30am.
View during breakfast time.
Shoppping in Phuket
1) Sunglasses should not cost you more than 200 baht. You can get them from legit stores at Jungceylon Mall which is smack in Patong town. Great location if you want to shop and go to the beach after. Stay in Millenium Resort, it’s next to the Mall.
2) Generally, trinkets get cheaper as you walk further down towards the beach area during the day. Depending on your luck, some vendors up the road might sell it to you for half price if they are desperate for business (especially if they are closing for the day). I don’t really buy the first customer best price basis.
Massage / Facials in Phuket
We got a 1 hour aromatheraphy massage + 1 hour facial for RM100 at Hanako Tokyo in Patong, which is next to our hotel. You can also get RM20 1 hour foot massages in shops as you walk down the road. It’s a great deal.
Getting Around Phuket
Tuk-tuks (little jeeps used as local mode of transportation) start at 200 baht or RM20 to get around the island. It is expensive for the distance covered – it’s like getting charged RM20 for a trip from Pavilion to Bukit Bintang. My suggestion is to walk it – you can cover the whole town in half a day.
Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike. It’s cheap, and you can ride naked as long as you have a helmet on.
It costs 900 baht or RM90 per person, for a full day island hopping trip at Raya or Phi Phi which includes transport, snorkelling, and food. This is the low season price with a 50% discount. My adventure ended abruptly here when I was struck with violent food poisoning and was bedridden for 2 days. I couldn’t make for the to the island hopping activity, but the lady was kind enough to refund some of our money back (sunk cost: RM50). Find a lady called Nim during the day – she works at a stall down the road from Deevana.
Getting a doctor to call in to see you if you’re too sick to move starts from 3,000 baht or RM300. You can opt to reserve cash for that or have your Mastercard/Visa handy. Just make sure you’re able enough to move to sign off the payment.
The doctor that came to see me was the local town doctor called Dr Pornsak. He saw my state of non-stop vomiting and retching and jabbed with me antibiotics and morphine. “You OK,” he said reassuringly before he left. His prediction came true about 12 hours later after I purged myself of the leftover toxins in my body for the 10th time.
Despite my harrowing experience, I truly enjoyed my stay in Phuket. It’s a beautiful, laid back place and people are friendly. I am definitely going back to check out Raya Island. I’d probably go back for Zoom treatment (RM900) or LASIK too – medical tourism is flourishing here because treatment prices are cheap. Can Malaysia play catch up in this area?