Ever wondered what paradise looks like? I think I may have found it, nestled on the biggest island south of Thailand. Now if you’re an experienced globe-trotting world traveler, you’ve seen and done this, la-di-da-di-da, Phuket big whoop, been there done that, right? But if you have yet to get your feet wet in SE Asia, then I’ll tell you exactly WHY Phuket’s a must-do. Because it is a must-do. If it’s your first time in Thailand, the essentials necessarily include Bangkok and Phuket because they both strike that perfect balance Forster harped on about, between work and play. It houses a potential playground for the bored and jet-setting crowd, as it can sow your wildest oats, but also a haven where you can go and escape from it all. At the secluded beaches away from the temptations of Patong beach, you can taste a little of what heaven must feel like, and catch up on that r&r you so desperately crave after intense months of examinations, or long hours at the office. Those little moments of silence where you can begin to hear your thoughts are steadfastly disappearing these facebook plagued days that if you can find a place to restore your energies, Phuket must be it. After having experienced some of its magnetic wonders, other islands like Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Krabi, (the list goes on) make interesting additions to your Thailand tales, and they are all very much worth it. But Phuket still ranks first because as its biggest island, you can explore so much more in such a small amount of time.
Constantly pressuring myself to go to as many new places as possible whenever I travel, Thailand thrives as one of my staples, and manages to call me back with it’s amazing natural beauty, enticing people, and potential for crazy fun nights. Phuket ranges in its possibilities with boat rides to isolated beaches like Maya bay on Koh phi phi made famous by gigantic billboard ads for American Airlines, or Koh Nangyun, a trifecta of three thin strips of land that in a high tide disappear altogether. Alternatively, you can rent a bike and take a ride amidst all the rubber tree groves, or kick a ball around on a deserted beach. Also there are plenty Buddha structures and golden laden temples to check out! My first time in Phuket I made the mistake of doing an all day tour package, which resulted in at least some beautiful viewpoints, and a gorgeous sunset, but could have done without the aquarium stop. Packages like these are plentiful, so beware of the drawbacks, one less day on the beach didn’t seem that worth it to me. On the other hand, some boat trips provide an excellent way to see other gorgeous ocean views, and spend a day on a boat! If ever you get antsy from relaxing all day, no need to worry, all hail the power of Patong beach, and the truly talented bar girls who are there to entertain and hang out with you. They talk, giggle, and invite you to have a great time, and boy do they know what they’re doing! They’re also awfully good at jenga and connect-4, so don’t place any high bets here, you will surely walk away with a lot less money than you came with-now that’s quite a talent!
After a dizzy night out, nothing feels better than a cold fresh fruit juice and plenty of peace and quiet at a resort far away from distractions, which is why I always recommend staying at a place not on Patong beach. If you can lounge in the sun all day like a cat, and like me, than boredom becomes relative. I’m liable to get more bored in a crowd full a people than sunbathing with the sounds of the ocean in the background, grazing the pages of a fashion magazine with bright and glossy pictures. Phuket, like a metaphor to life, manages to straddle what you need and what you want on just one tiny island. Great food, great fun, awesome people, and some much needed down time to unwind all against a backdrop of the sea, sun, and natural beauty, if you haven’t been, GO!