What To Do in Phuket
I hadn’t heard great things about Phuket before I went. I’d basically been told that what to do in Phuket just consisted of being a leery drunk old western dude hooking up with prostitutes. Not to the extent of Pattaya but that’s still kind of the reputation that Phuket has, especially Patong beach.
And seeing as how I ain’t a leery old drunk man, and find it hard to suppress my rage at their disgusting behavior a lot of the time, I decided to stay in a different area to Patong Beach to at least give Phuket a proper chance. Turns out there’s lots of other fun things to do in Phuket as well.
I got to Phuket by plane as I was coming from Laos but you can get a bus there, from Bangkok or even all the way from Laos. As with most bus and boat combined journeys in Thailand, book through Lomprayah. The plane ride was crazy beautiful on the way in so worth the flight just for that.
Phuket Old Town
The old town of Phuket is relaxed and a far cry from the stereotypes of the locations by the beach that carry the Magaluf/Benidorm reputation (if you’re from America I’m guessing a spring break location in Mexico would be the equivalent, or Australia – Kuta in Bali).
Phuket Old Town was perfect for staying away from the craziness and it was nice enough to walk around even in the evening there. If you’ve just spent 3 days in Bangkok it will make a wonderful calmer pace.
And I did at least want to see what the “horrible” beach was like there while I was visiting so took a day trip there.
Patong Beach Phuket
To get to Patong Beach there are frequent local busses but make sure you check the return timetable when you get off in Patong as the busses stop running quite early, around late afternoon, and you’ll be stuck with an expensive taxi ride back if you miss the last one.
The bus is just a little open back jump on jump off type affair and it will mostly be other foreigners on the bus with you. To get the bus I just asked in my hostel where to go and walked there. The stop is right in the center of the old town so if you’re staying in that area you should be fine to walk there and it was easy enough to work out where to wait.
The bus ride to Patong is pretty cool too as the road there winds up and round and down mountains so you get a good view on the way.
As you drive into Patong the bus will stop at a couple of places along the beach and then finish at the main Patong bus stop in the center of the beach area. I got off there so I could check the return bus times and would know where to go back to later to get home (I think this is when you know you travel to much, when you call wherever you happen to be staying that night “home”).
I don’t personally ever trust getting the last bus or train home really ever unless I know I can easily afford getting back another way even in England so I checked the times to make sure I’d be back for the second to last bus, just in case.
Despite what everyone says the beach is actually quite nice. The sand is clean and bright, the water nice to float in and there weren’t that many tourists there when I went.
It certainly wasn’t anything even vaguely like Benidorm in Spain which is what I’d been imagining.
You can do a variety of watersports on the beach and there’s a flow rider just behind the main bit of beach you can surf on too. I would have given it a go but I wasn’t exactly wearing the type of bikini that can handle being thrown off a board and plunged into water moving at high speed (ladies, you know what I mean).
So I did what any good British person would when at the beach on their own for the day, I went to the 7 Eleven, bought some beers and some very English snacks like crisps and went and plonked myself on the beach for the afternoon. It did start raining at one point so I went to the bar just behind the beach that’s attached to the flow rider and had lunch there which was surprisingly good given how much like a typical dive-esq bar it looks like.
Given the drinks specials they were promoting all over the menu it’s very easy to imagine the place turning into an absolute shit show in the evenings.
But I didn’t get to see the evenings there as I had to get the bus back to Phuket old town before then. I was a little sad about that at the time until I met some disgusting American dude in Koh Phi Phi a few days later who went on about how awesome Phuket is as you can go for a night out with your mates and not have to bother running around after girls as there are so many prostitutes there so at the end of the night you can just go “eine meine mine mo”, pick the one you want and still get laid.
I threw up a little in my mouth as this guy was talking.
What made it all the more incredible a just the sentence before he’d talked about how cruel and abhorrent riding elephants is. But treating and using people like objects that’s cool?!? Hmmmm maybe needs to check his moral compass a little bit there.
There are also day trips you can take from Phuket and nicer beaches to explore if you’re staying a bit longer.
Where To Stay in Phuket
I stayed at Phuket Sunny Hostel which is a nice enough hostel although it was deserted when I was there. Their laundry is also do-it-yourself, for the same price as most other places would take your laundry away and do it for you. That’s not a big deal but, if like me you arrive with almost all your clothes needing washing, that could take you the best part of a day just being sat there watching the washing machine. That’s personally not really how I like to spending my time.
How Long To Stay in Phuket
You don’t need more than a night or two in Phuket. Or if you’re pushed for time I’d suggest just missing it out and heading straight to the other islands.
If you’re already in Phuket and not enjoying it you can even just pop across to Koh Phi Phi for an overnight stay and then come back.
Moving On: How to Get from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi
You can book a bus and ferry ticket through any hostel to get to Koh Phi Phi. The ferry only takes 2 hours.