Arrival at the Phuket airport was a breeze and I speed through passport control and have a very short wait for my luggage. However, attempting to leave the airport on this evening was another matter with the wait for taxis being up to one hour – I suggest arranging your transfer from the airport to your hotel before arrival.
Soon I arrive at the Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa which is just 15 minutes away from the airport. After checking in, I am greeted by Lilly, the hotel concierge. She suggests and makes arrangements for activities during my stay and even upgrades my room – outstanding service! The hotel lobby, facilities, gym, and grounds are all very well done. The gym, although not large has top notch equipment for those seeking some exercise while on vacation.
On my first night, I enjoy their restaurant, Takieng, for some traditional Thai food, located on Mai Khao Beach. The food and service were excellent. There is also an all-day restaurant that offers a nice buffet style breakfast and al la carte items for other meals.
On my first full day, I visit Patong Beach. This is a very busy, lively, fun place and about an hour and twenty minutes from my hotel. I visited Jungceylon Shopping Complex that offers some great stores and photo opportunities at exhibits. For sunset, I head towards the beach and find a nice rooftop location called Wine Connections. Here I have some snacks, a glass of wine, and enjoy the sunset.
For some nightlife, try Bangla Road in Patong Beach. This street is loaded with bars, lounges, and nightclubs and is very lively. On this night, I go to Cocoon, a club located near the entrance to Bangla Road. The club offers great house mix music and cocktails in an open-air environment. I had a great time at this club.
The next day, I combined a trip to Tiger Kingdom and The Phuket Weekend Market since they are both about an hour-long taxi ride from my hotel and fairly close to each other.
At Tiger Kingdom, you have several choices to interact with tigers of various size ranging from babies to very large tigers all raised at the center since birth. I opt for the babies and medium tigers. This unusual and somewhat controversial exhibit is not for all but I really enjoyed interacting with the beautiful and playful baby tigers. These little tigers were so much fun! Next, I visited the medium size tigers. There are four of them in a large enclosure along with four trainers. I am able to pet them, take some great pictures, and watch them play in a large pool. This was an intimidating but great experience.
After Tiger Kingdom, I visit the Phuket Weekend Market. There is almost nothing you cannot find at the market to include clothing, shoes, hats, accessories, electronics, and local foods. I shop the aisles and bargain with the shopkeepers for some great prices before trying some local food. At once stand, I see deep-fried insects, interesting but I skip this stand ; ). Instead I opt for a cold fresh juice and some Pad Thai. Another market worth visiting is Lardyai, The Phuket Walking Street Market located in Phuket Old Town. This night market is on Sundays only. Visit the Ministry of Villas for more information.
Another activity I do is a speed boat tour to the Phi Phi Islands. I chose Andaman Leisure Phuket (ALP) for my private tour and was not disappointed. This tour included Bamboo Island, Monkey Island, Maya Beach, Pileh Cove, Viking Cove, and Phi Phi Don for lunch. There was a strong wind and the ride was bumpy to the islands but the staff on the boat was fantastic and ensured my comfort and safety during the tour. On this tour I see beautiful bays, beaches, and coves where the islands rise dramatically up from the sea. Several of the bays turn to a gorgeous turquois blue and the beaches have beautiful white sand. The combination of the steep mountains, water, and beaches are absolutely breathtaking. I visit monkey beach and the monkeys make a surprise visit for me – don’t get too close as I witnessed a few of them chase a tourist but he was not hurt and everyone laughed. At Pileh cove, I snorkeled by the dramatic overhangs formed by the water and steep mountains. I see many fish including clown fish swimming in the sea anemones’. At the other islands, I enjoy the beaches and beautiful vistas. This is a long but very worthwhile day trip – don’t forget to bring your suntan lotion and towels. Thank you to the staff at ALP.
Thailand is an amazing country with so much to see and do. The people are warm and friendly and I always enjoy visiting.