Having a birthday, holiday, gap year, wedding, divorce or a little break from reality? Just say Phuket, I’m going.
Seriously, give yourself a holiday on this tropical island off the coast of Thailand, because it’s got something for everybody. We’re talking beautiful beaches, elephant riding, temples, scuba diving and a throbbing – if occasionally seedy – nightlife.
The first mistake people make when they come to Phuket is they think the island is small – it’s not. The second mistake they make is how they pronounce the name of the island: it’s an aspirated “P” sound – so it’s not F*ckIt, it’s more like “Pooket”.
(It’s okay, we were also pretty upset when we found out.)
No matter how you refer to the “Pearl of the Andaman”, Phuket has a serious lineup of beautiful beaches.
There are more than a half dozen small and large beaches worth visiting along Phuket’s west coast.
However, a tuk-tuk or taxi ride from your hotel to any given patch of sand could end up costing you a small fortune. So, beat the system by booking your accommodations next to the beach you like best.
The most popular beaches on the island are also the most crowded: Kata, Kata Noi, Patong, Kamla, Bang Tao, Nai Harn, Mai Khao, and Surin. At most of these beaches, despite recent changes in the law, it’s possible to rent a beach umbrella, kick back in the shade and take in the view with a few hundred, if not thousand people.
Now, at Kata, Patong, Kamala and Surin Beach, you can also rent jet-skis to play in the waves – just be careful of swimmers. Nobody wants to extend their holiday (free of charge) to compensate for a few years in a Thai prison.
The true beach‘n’ gems of Phuket Thailand, however, are the smaller ones, such Ao Sane, a rough-sand strip hidden around the corner from Nai Harn Beach. In the north, there is Banana Beach–an isolated, 180-meter long stretch of sand that can be found between Bang Tao and Nai Thon.
Between Ao Sane in the south and Banana Beach in the north, there is the lovely Ya Nui Beach, which can be spotted from the popular, sunset viewpoint: Cape Phrom Thep.
Though it might be illegal to drink alcohol on the beach, most people’s attitudes – tourists and police – seem to be like, “F*ck it, it’s Phuket.” A heavy helping of rum in a fresh, young coconut is a great way to promote this attitude.
Don’t Like Sand in Your Crack?
We get it. Beaches aren’t everything.
Surprisingly, if you hate the sun, hate the ocean, and hate the sand – Phuket Thailand still has a lot to offer.
Just as you could right outside of Bangkok, Thailand, it is possible to get an elephant ride while in Phuket Thailand. But we wouldn’t recommend it, as the process for breaking an elephant to be ridden is completely different than what it takes to domesticate dogs and other animals. Elephants were not meant to be domesticated, and the things trainers do to keep them in line are actually quite disgusting.
Instead, show your love for animals by checking out slightly less questionable attractions that include the Gibbon Sanctuary, Tiger Kingdom Phuket, or the dolphinarium.
For culture, take a Wat tour. What tour? you ask. Yes, a Wat tour, which is the same thing as a temple tour. Specifically, you won’t want to miss Wat Chalong.
And even if you do like beaches, a ride to Big Buddha is a must. The 45-meter-tall Buddha image sits on top of the highest point on the island, offering those who visit it a breathtaking 360-degree view.
Image Source: Eirien
Phuket, Let’s Eat Out!
With Phuket recently being named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, it should be no surprise to find yourself spending as much time stuffing your face as you do catching sunrays.
On top of that, the food in Thailand is too cheap to bother with cooking your own, especially when you’re on holiday. Grab some of the amazing street food: noodle soup, fried chicken, sticky rice, octopus on a stick, pork on a stick, shrimp on a stick (anything you want on a stick).
Besides street food, there are sit-down dining options everywhere. However, some of the best local places on the island can be found in Phuket Town. For jungle decor, cheap prices and beefy menu, check out Natural Restaurant. If you want more elegant fusion food, pop into Suay. And, if you want a view, take a tuk-tuk to the top of Rong Hill and enjoy dinner at Tunk Ka Cafe.
Of course, if you’re like: Phuket, I’m here, what is money for besides good food? Check out upscale restaurants, such as Trisara, or Mom Tri’s Kitchen at Villa Royale.
Nightlife: Boys, Ladies, and Ladyboys
Bangla Road, also known as Soi Bangla, is the throbbing d*ck of the seedy nightlife industry in Phuket. Basically running from Jungceylon shopping mall to Patong Beach, the street closes to traffic in the evening. When it does, shutters go up along the side streets, as well as the main road, and girls in skimpy clothing crawl onto bar tables and up dancing poles.
Image Source: Ben Reeves
Now, not all those women on stage are what they appear at first glance, as Bangla Road, like the must-see Simon Cabaret in Phuket, brings out the ladyboys.
Among dozens and dozens of small bars are several dance clubs, such as Tiger Discotheque and Illuzion. Those who need to see more skin often find themselves at Suzie Wongs, where patrons and the girls loudly smack each other with foam tubes – a staple for a boys’ night out.
Of course, if you’re looking for something you really can’t get back home, there are always ping pong shows. The entire country is famous, or infamous depending on how you feel about it, for the shows – and we’re not talking about Olympic-level athletes here.
But don’t take it from us. Let’s see what Rihanna thinks via her Twitter account: “Either I was phuck wasted lastnight, or I saw a Thai woman pull a live bird,2 turtles,razors,shoot darts and ping pong, all out of her pu$$y” and “And THEN she tried to turn water into coke in her $!! Uhh yea, all I’m saying is water went in and soda came out! I’m traumatized!!!”.
Amusingly, the Phuket police force, with an attitude matching the name, has regularly been unable to locate the shows in Patong, despite millions of uninformed tourists each year drunkenly stumbling in to watch the shenanigans.
Too raunchy? Yeah, we get that – we really do!
You can easily skip the Patong nightlife scene and head into Phuket Town for a more local experience. Most bars in the gentrified Old Phuket Town area have live music and bottle service – which is how Thais like to roll.
Rockin’ Angles Blues Cafe and Bar, as well as Cue, are guaranteed to be worth a visit, while hidden on the outskirts of Old Phuket Town is the island’s world-class mixology bar: Zimplex. The tiny establishment only sits about a dozen people, but pours mesmerizing shots that will leave you wondering if you’re supposed to drink it or frame it.
Check their Instagram ahead of time to make sure they’re open.
Though Phuket Thailand does boast a number of beach clubs, the general excitement about the establishments died down after the government deemed many of them to be illegal and began to tear them apart. Despite the setback, Catch Beach Club is still a favorite of expats and tourists.
How to Get to Phuket Thailand
The island is home to an international airport, which makes travel there mercifully easy pretty easy. So, if you don’t want to hit up Bangkok – though you really should check it out – you can fly directly into Phuket Thailand. Additionally, buses run between the island – it’s connected to the mainland by a bridge – and most of Thailand.
So F*ckIt, buy a Phuket Thailand tank.
Here’s the Men’s Phuket tank top:
and the Women’s Phuket tank top:
And, while you’re at it, pick up a Bangkok tank top – thankfully, the city’s formal name (Krungthep mahanakhon amon rattanakosin mahintara ayuthaya mahadilok popnopparat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan amonpiman avatansathit sakkathattiya visnukamprasit) has been shortened considerably.
We’re not joking—that really is the city’s full name. (Here’s the Men’s Bangkok tank top, and the Women’s Bangkok tank top.)
So you said, Phuket! Tweet us about it @tanksgetaround, and we’ll share our favorites!
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Feature Image by: Celebrltyabc