Why the Thai island paradise is such a dream destination
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:
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.
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.
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.
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