November 15-18, 2016
I had high expectations for Phuket. You hear so much about it, how beautiful the beaches are, it’s a bit of paradise. After our short time there we left thinking that we were a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the beaches were beautiful. I think I had a different impression of how slow or small the area would be. I wasn’t naive enough to think there would be no tourists there, but the area in general. I envisioned a small town with miles of beaches.
We decided to stay in Karon Beach. There are plenty of options. Patong (huge on nightlife), Karon and Kata, Rawai, Kamala and a couple more. If you start reading about all of them, it just makes it harder to decide. The hotel prices were decent in Karon and they said you could walk to a lot of places. If we were to go back I think that I would stay in Kata (more options) or Rawai (much quieter/romantic). Karon and Kata ended up having long, but thin beaches and they were crowded, with Russians. There wasn’t a place to sit and enjoy the view. It was a bummer since the water was clear blue and beautiful. The tide was high as well. So you might have a dry spot for a second, but then there was no warning that the waves were coming.
We didn’t end up spending any time on those beaches due to that. When we walked around during the day and night, Kata had a lot more interesting things happening. Markets, restaurants, outdoor massage places. It was a plus that we did feel safe still. We had no problems and saw a lot of people walking by themselves after dark. After meeting some people, I think the thing to do is stay for a couple nights on Phuket and then stay on Koh Phi Phi Island.
We were lucky that our hotel had a semi private pool for each room. Ours ended up being private since there was no one next to us! This was a luxury to us. We don’t spend or we can’t afford 5 star hotels in the US. So I was grateful for this one.
The flowers that fell into the pool were too cute. It was really paradise.
When we finally decided to make it down to Phuket, we knew we wanted to do island hopping. They have some of the most beautiful beaches and of course Maya Beach, “The Beach,” is there. So we booked an excursion through our hotel that was a full day of island hopping.
We got picked up bright and early and headed to the pier that our speed boat was at. It was a group of about 18 people so a fun size.
Our first island was Yao Yai Island. A small island with a couple vendors and TONS of people. There were about 20 boats lined up on this small island. You couldn’t swim because of it and the water was actually choppy. We just enjoyed the soft sand and views.
The next island was Koh Yao Noi (The Small Long Island), which was a private beach that our company had. Today was our 7 month nomad anniversary. This time has flown by and we were loving that we were in such a beautiful place to celebrate.
This island was much quieter. You could still see some of the damage from the tsunami years ago, but we had a place to sit and relax.
After lunch we took off for Maya Bay. Finally! This is where I originally wanted to go and hang out for the day, but decided instead of putting all our eggs in one basket, we did this tour to see more places. A lot of people take private long boats from Koh Phi Phi. There is a lot to see around the two main islands. Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Lae. I enjoyed our boat as they had complimentary Coke!
I love being out on the water. It’s so refreshing and soothing to me. 45 minutes seems to breeze by. The island is a little unassuming, but the closer you get it’s beauty appears.
One quick look to the entrance of Maya and then turned around to this.
We learned that this wasn’t even busy! They do have one over night tour that fills up fast. You sleep on the boat but are on the island when all the tours are over. We wanted to do this, but of course they were sold out. There were so many people and so many boats that it didn’t have the paradise feel to it. I couldn’t believe how busy it still was 16 years after the movie The Beach came out!
The water is really that blue and it was warm. It had to be warm if I was actually in it. After hanging out for about 30 minutes, we were trying to find a place to sit on the beach when another couple on the boat mentioned that you could walk across the island to the other side to a cool bay where there was almost no one. Walk towards and then past the bathrooms and you’ll see this sign.
You had to walk through some water and then up some steps to this fun area. There were nets and swimming ropes. When we were there it was high tide and pretty choppy so not the safest of swimming, but people were still out there!
We found the perfect moment for me to experiment. We watched people on the beach for probably 10 minutes jumping for their pictures. Not just here but in the Philippines and even Bangkok. So I thought why not give it a shot! After my epic first jump. We get it…
After our short time on Maya beach we got a tour of a couple of the other bays.
We then went to Monkey beach. We didn’t get off the boat because they wouldn’t allow it. Other tours let you, but these monkeys will bite, will steal and aren’t the most friendly. They are cute from a distance though!
We had a short time to snorkel after this. We didn’t get any pictures since I was actually snorkeling. It takes me a couple minutes to get in the water and then I have a moment of panic when I get in the water and then it takes me another 2 minutes to calm down. I then have to swim right next to kevin for at least another 10. I grew up on a lake and don’t know where my fear of being in the water came from. I love being on boats, but I don’t like being in the water. I made it about 25 minutes and then I had to call it quits. Some of the cutest fish were there, I wish I had an under water camera.
We left just in time to miss the storm that was in between us and home.
It sure did make for a beautiful sunset as we were cruising in.
And just like that our time was over in Phuket. We started the trip with planning on going to 6 countries and then it started to look like it would only be 2, so I talked Kevin in to going to Malaysia! I never really thought that I would ever get there. It wasn’t enough for a trip on its own and it wasn’t in our original plan. Thank god we were flexible. DETOUR!
Tips to Phuket:
- Figure out what kind of trip you want. Romantic, party, quiet beach, active and then decide on the area.
- I would suggest island hopping. You might not get a lot of time at one particular beach, but you get to see more and if it ends up being too crowded you are not there long enough for it to be a bother.
- There is a lot of cheap food in the area, so take advantage of that.
- It is safe to walk here so bring your walking shoes or comfortable flip flops.
- If you want one crazy night out take a tuk tuk to Patong’s night street. Music venues, night market, ping pong (didn’t do) shows and food vendors. It goes into the early morning.
- You have your choice of hotels, hostels to the 5 star hotels. I would suggest staying closer to the beach and not up on the hill. Since you are here take a couple nights to explore Phi Phi Don.
- Have fun!