Things to do in Phuket that don’t involve a crowded beach
Maria and Michael return to Phuket and discover that there are still secluded spots to be found as well as plenty of other unique experiences to be had.
Our recent trip to Bangkok made Michael and me realize once again how much we love Thailand. It also made us want to revisit Phuket, where we hadn’t been since our backpacking days.
We stayed at, Avista Grande Phuket Karon - MGallery by Sofitel right above Karon Beach. It’s a far cry from the hostels we stayed in last time – but I think we’ve earned ourselves a little luxury. And my Accor Plus membership got me a great rate.
Of course, a few more travellers have discovered the island’s superb beaches since we were last there, but believe it or not, there are still some secluded spots in Phuket. And there are so many other memorable experiences to be had…
A quiet tip from the hotel’s concierge put us onto Freedom Beach. We took a ride in a long-tail boat, and as we rounded the headland, I almost felt like this was our own private beach in Phuket – a gentle crescent of fine white sand between calm aquamarine water and luxuriant greenery. After a dip, we climbed the steps behind the beach to capture some snaps for posterity – they earned a few envious comments on my Instagram feed.
We decided to take it easy on our second day, and I was thrilled to see the MGallery offered cooking classes – even more so when my Accor Plus membership got me a special price. I can’t get enough of Thai food, and I’ve always wanted to learn exactly how to get those subtle, delicate flavours. Who better to learn from than the Head Chef? The trick is to get just the right blend of chilli, fresh herbs and curry… My massaman curry with beef, potato and peanut turned out deliciously – even if I do say so myself!
In the evening we headed into Phuket Town. It’s often neglected by vacationers looking for sun, sand and sea, but I love its vividly painted Sino-Portuguese buildings, now home to delightful boutiques, charming galleries and funky cafés. The Chillva Market has a fun vibe, and rather than the knockoffs you’ll find at some other night markets, this one offers lots of jewellery and clothing by local designers. The market is home to some unique food too, and after Michael dared me, I even tried some fried grasshoppers – a bit crunchy, but surprisingly palatable!
Hiking through the jungle to a waterfall might not sound like fun in the Phuket heat. Luckily, most of the climb to the top of Kathu Waterfall is under a shady rainforest canopy and there are several spots to rest along the way. As we made the trek on our third day, I confess I needed some encouragement from Michael, but a dip in the clear, cool water of the pool at the top made it all worthwhile! And I could tell myself I’d earned the wonderful open-air massage I savoured back at the Avista’s Pearl Spa.
Of course, there are so many more things to do in Phuket – as our flight home lifted off we promised ourselves that it wouldn’t be another 10 years before our next visit!
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