Whenever I thought of Phuket back then, I thought it was just a single destination area where one chooses which beach corner to claim for a getaway. I didn’t realize that Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and that there is a variety of beach resorts to choose from. Neither did I know that it is the jump-off point for smaller islands like Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Lei, James Bond Island, Maya Beach, Koh Lanta, Monkey Island, etc.
We stayed in Marriott Vacation Club in Mai Khao Beach which is near the airport. It is nearly an hour away from where the action is (Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach, NaiYang Beach, etc) but we don’t mind as you have everything you need in this more quiet corner of the island. Perhaps not so for the party crowd and the shoppers, but we’re neither so the “remoteness” is perfect for us. Besides, there’s a free shuttle to the sister-hotel (JW Marriott Phuket Club) where one can enjoy charming sunset views. For retail therapy and other dining outlets, just a stroll away is the Turtle Village. We highly recommend the Coffee Club here not just for the coffee and desserts, but also for their Pad Thai, Thai Prawn Rice and Curry Dishes. We went there for 2 consecutive dinners. And guess what, we ordered nearly the same dishes.
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We devoted an entire day visiting some islands on a speedboat. Booked the tour online via AsiaWeb. No hassles. They picked us up from our hotel, brought us to the Royal Phuket Marina, enjoyed unlimited drinks and fruits on the boat, had an authentic Thai lunch in Phi Phi Don, snorkeled and enjoyed the islands. Some may still have the energy to shop and party later that night, but not us. After a good dinner at Turtle Village, we just wanted to crawl into our beds.
AsiaWeb bundled up the speedboat tour with a choice of airport transfers, or a city tour or a night with the ladyboys. We chose the city tour where we had the van & driver all to ourselves visiting temples, the old part of town and about 4 beach areas. The beach resorts especially Patong Beach underwhelmed us. Overhyped, if you ask me. But maybe I’m saying this because I’m extremely biased in favor of our Boracay (yes, despite the rowdy crowd and the trash), the islands of El Nido and other parts of Visayas. But I love how the Thais do this tourism business nearly seamlessly.
In the end, we simply breezed through the beaches. Declaring ourselves beach-fatigued, we skipped the stroll on the sandy shores and only managed one temple visit and a drive around the old town. No need to get sand between our toes. We had enough of that when we did the islands. As for shopping, we were just interested in food items! Can you blame us?