These days, when parting with our hard earned holiday cash, our expectations have been colossally elevated by the sheer abundance of choices and alternatives out there. We demand that our holiday delivers and below are some very good reasons why a holiday in Phuket could prove to be an unrivaled travel experience that not only exceeds your expectations, but smashes them into oblivion.
The Initial Consensus
Your initial perception of Phuket as a travel and tourism destination will be shaped through hours spent surfing travel review sites & social networks, keying in google searches and the heavily influential tips and recommendations from your social circle. This conditional filtering of the limitless supply of available information will ultimately sway your choice of whether Phuket is the travel destination for you.
In a general sense, every travel destination comes with a pre-conceived label attached, compounded and defined by millions upon millions of online, user generated experiences. As Thailand’s largest and most developed Island, Phuket is largely perceived as being the most touristy, overcrowding and expensive holiday destination in the kingdom, with over 52,000 reviews on Tripadvisor alone helping to establish this perception.
Having lived in Phuket for the last 2 years of my life, my perceptions of this stunning part of the world as a travel & tourism destination have naturally evolved from this initial consensus and a new kind of filter emerges applying a new level of clarity and understanding to the vast abundance of readily available information.
One way in which my perception has evolved is that I am more aware of the Phuket that exists away from the main beach resorts such as Patong, Karon, Kata, Surin & Kamala. I am more aware of the ‘Greater Phuket’ Province, as well as neighbouring provinces such as Phang Nga and Krabi. I have discovered that Phuket as a tourist destination should not to be treated as in island in isolation.
The incredible places to experience in the greater Phuket province and surrounding provinces are all easily accessible, even during a 10-14 nights vacation and can comfortably be reached without eating too much into your holiday relaxation time. This makes Phuket a rich and diverse travel destination and provides an experience that few other holiday destinations can compete with.
- Similan Islands
- James Bond Island
- Phuket’s Off Shore Islands (Coral, Raya, Bon, Koh Khai, Naka)
- Khao Sok National Park
- Top 10 Memorable Activities in Phuket
Island Hopping has long held a fascination and pre-occupation for travellers to South East Asia. In the Andaman Sea, travellors to Phuket are blessed with islands & beaches such as Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Raya Island and Railay Beach, Krabi all within a few hours by boat, so that you can gain that feeling of ‘travelling around SE Asia’ even under tight time constraints.
A major draw to Phuket and part of the reason for it’s huge popularity is it’s International airport, the second busiest in the whole of Thailand after Bangkok. This means that you can book your flights in and out of Phuket and after spending some time relaxing at one of Phuket’s world class beach resorts, spend a few days on any number of stunning island destinations to add an entirely different perspective to your overall Phuket holiday experience.
Have you combined a holiday to Phuket with other nearby island destinations ?
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You’ve all experienced the post-holiday blues at some point, despairing at the very thought of returning home and going back to the ‘same old same old‘ routine. Some of you may have even made an on the spot decision to continue your holiday indefinitely.
Good on you! My decision to take an ‘extended leave of absence’ from the UK happened in an instant, but the actual ‘doing of it’ took over 12 months to materialize.
This decision was made on a sticky evening in the town of Kuah in Langkawi, Malaysia, as the clouds drifting slowly across the breathtaking mountain backdrop.
This was January 2009 and the end of an amazing 3 week ‘blowout’ in SE Asia.
We celebrated the run-up to New Year in Langkawi, staying at our ex-pat friend’s apartment, and living like Rock Star Royalty.
New Year’s Eve at Little Lylia’s Chill out Bar, Pantai Cenang was immense and once we regained consciousness, we embarked upon a land and sea mission up to Had Yuan, Koh Phangnan, Thailand for 10 more days of serious relaxation and partying.
Now we had returned to where it all began, Langkawi, and I had just made up my mind on a decision that had been gaining momentum as the trip progressed.
Conversations with my ex-pat mate and witnessing first-hand the experiences a life in Langkawi could offer made it clear to me that Se Asia presented possibilities, such possibilities as:
1. Dining like a King Every Single Night of the week
Since we had arrived there all we had done was go out for the most amazing seafood, chinese and malay dishes, all night long and the bill would come to about 10 GBP per head.
At Places like Wonderland, a Local Seafood restaurant in Kuah Town, the quality and price of the dishes was quite simply unreal.
Not only that, you could bring you own booze just paying for the price of the mixers at the restaurant. A trip to the ‘duty free off licence’ meant you could get seriously sozzled for another 2 GBP per head.
2. Smoothing away the rough edges with the Cool Beach Nightlife
You won’t find a more chilled out beach life than on Cenang. Sometimes it seems like no one’s running the show, so if you bothered about little things like your food turning up you may be dissapointed. But you will meet some colourful characters that take laid back to a whole new level.
3. Living amidst Breathtaking Natural Scenery
Langkawi is one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos and is made up of 99 islands on the west coast of Malaysia, close to the border with Thailand. The best place to view this splendor is with a bird’s eye view from the viewing decks and sky-bridge, some 700m above sea level courtesy of a hair-raising ride in a cable car.
4. I haven’t even got to the Powdery White Sand Beaches and warm clear waters yet.
Cenang Beach has the most impossibly white and powdery sand, the kind where whole days can be lost just enjoying the sensation of it between your toes.
I am sure we’ve all felt like this at the end of a fantastic holiday, but these possibilities were playing on my mind, there was something more to this, there was a definate desire to break the chain of monotony in my life and go out there and experience something else.
Maybe you feel like I did back then, something a little bit more serious than the post holiday blues, of no real desire to go back to your life at home.
If you do, then my advice is to give it some serious thought, look at all the options. It took me a full year of living back in the UK before I finally did something about it. A full year of weighing up the pro’s and cons, considering whether it was just an extended break of a couple of months that I needed or a clean break entirely.
Even then, I wasn’t completely sure and I made the final decision whilst back on a 4-week holiday in Haad Juan, Thailand.
I decided once again, that this was not a long enough break for me and once I had made my final decision, the wheels were firmly in motion and there was no turning back … I went home, tied up all the loose ends and was back out in Asia within 30 days …
If you would like to know more about what life is like for an expat in SE Asia then please feel free to leave a comment or you can contact me directly via Facebook or Twitter at the addresses below.