Per­fect Phuket

Why the Thai is­land par­adise is such a dream des­ti­na­tion

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W ith its se­cret coves, turquoise seas and re­laxed vibe, Thai­land is at­tract­ing more vis­i­tors than ever – many of them from Aus­tralia. Throw in that de­li­cious food, warm weather year-round and a thriv­ing nightlife and you re­ally do have some­thing for ev­ery­one! Here’s why you need to put it on your to-do list:

BEACH BLISS

As Aussies, we know good beaches. But there’s some­thing about strolling along a beach in Phuket, a warm breeze rustling through the palm trees, that’s sim­ply mag­i­cal. That’s what at­tracts A-lis­ters like Jay-Z and Bey­oncé to the is­land, while Leonardo DiCaprio fa­mously shot the movie The Beach in the nearby Phi Phi is­lands. There are plenty of com­pa­nies of­fer­ing day tours to Phi Phi and to James Bond Is­land in Phang Nga Bay, star of The Man with the Golden Gun.

PARTY TIME

You’re on hol­i­day, so why not en­joy an evening out? But let’s be frank: Pa­tong at night is not for the faint-hearted! The streets are lled with peo­ple from ev­ery cor­ner of the globe, mov­ing be­tween the most risqué bars and clubs. If that’s not your vibe, head to Old Phuket Town, lled with her­itage build­ings and au­then­tic restau­rants. Fancy live en­ter­tain­ment? Take in a cul­tural show at Siam Ni­ramit, see a cabaret at Si­mon Star, tap your feet to the jazz at Mu­sic Mat­ter or re­visit the clas­sics at Rockin’ An­gels Blues Café.

SHOP ’TIL YOU DROP

Phuket’s all about lazy days so save your shop­ping for af­ter the sun goes down. Chillva Mar­ket in Phuket Town is a much more chilled-out af­fair than some of the other night mar­kets, with ship­ping con­tain­ers turned into cool store­fronts. Jungcey­lon Shop­ping Com­plex is an enor­mous mall in Pa­tong. Top tip: head to the base­ment there for all your sou­venirs in one air­con­di­tioned place – you can still hag­gle for the best price. And what­ever you do don’t miss the Jim Thomp­son fac­tory out­let (The Court­yard, 90/5 Chaofa Road West) for beau­ti­ful silk clothes and manch­ester at su­perb mark­downs.

TREAT YOUR­SELF

A trip to Thai­land is not com­plete with­out a mas­sage – but be warned: there’s no gain with­out pain! Thai masseuses are de­ter­mined to knead out ev­ery knot and stretch those tired limbs. There’s ta­bles dot­ted along most beaches, or try the range of treat­ments at the Sun­prime re­sort at Ka­mala Beach for con­sis­tently good re­sults.

EAT­ING OUT 2 TO TRY

It prob­a­bly makes sense that you’d nd good Mex­i­can food in Thai­land – both are big on fresh avours with lots of herbs and spices. Salsa Mex­i­cana on the Kam­mala-Pa­tong Road is such a won­der­ful great lit­tle nd. Bag a cliff­side seat, sip on a de­cep­tively strong mar­garita and gaze out across the sweep­ing beach views. Heaven!

Hid­den from view down a few rick­ety steps is Rom­sai Restau­rant, close to Tha­vorn Beach. While it’s not the fan­ci­est ne din­ing venue, the views and lo­ca­tion are out of this world. Set­tle down in one of the lit­tle pavil­ions dot­ted around the cliff, or­der a cold Chang and try the home-style food which costs just a few dol­lars for a cham­pagne ex­pe­ri­ence on a beer bud­get.

WHERE TO STAY

The Wyn­d­ham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay, perched on a cliff­side with amaz­ing sea views, is the is­land’s lat­est In­sta-wor­thy hang­out. Grab a sunbed at the in nity pool­side bar, or kick back on your bal­cony and watch the ele­phant pa­rade about 6pm as they head home for the night to their nearby sanc­tu­ary.

If it’s a spe­cial occasion take your cue from the Kar­dashi­ans and stay in Natai at Iniala Beach House where lucky guests have their own per­sonal driver, but­ler, chef, spa ther­a­pist and house­keeper.

GET­TING THERE

De­pend­ing on the time of year, y di­rect to Phuket from Aus­tralia with Vir­gin Aus­tralia or Jet­star. Oth­er­wise change at Bangkok, Sin­ga­pore or KL. TVS

Bey­oncé & Jay-Z

EAT STRET Old Phuket Town

LAPS OF LUX­URY Pool­side view from the Wyn­d­ham Grand

EASY BREEZY Spoil your­self at Iniala Beach House

LIFE IS A CABARET See a show at Si­mon Star

WET AND WILD Leonardo on Koh Phi Phi for The Beach

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