Phuket Thailand Travel Guide | Where to eat, drink and stay in Phuket, Thailand

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Editor’s Note: We encourage our readers to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for up-to-date information on how to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.


With its ancient sites, peaceful spiritual practices, friendly locals and cuisine that thrills the taste buds, Thailand (or “the land of smiles”) has long drawn visitors to its corner of Southeast Asia. It is one of the most visited countries in the world, but with borders closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its status as a preferred tourist destination has changed significantly. However, a cautious reopening program began in July and fully vaccinated visitors were allowed to travel to the country’s most popular resort island, Phuket, without having to self-quarantine. Beginning November 1, Thailand will ease the rules again and welcome vaccinated visitors from 46 approved “low risk” countries, including the United States, with no quarantine or minimum stay requirements.

Alongside Phuket, the capital Bangkok and other top destinations like Krabi (whose Phi Phi Islands were made famous in the film Leonardo DiCaprio The beach), Phang Nga (you will find these spectacular limestone cliffs here) and Chiang Mai will reopen as part of the country’s new “Test & Go” plan. You will still need to produce negative PCR tests before departure and upon arrival and purchase COVID-19 insurance covering at least $ 50,000, as well as download the user-friendly Thailand Pass.

Once you have familiarized yourself with the health and safety protocols, you can focus on the fun part. Beach lovers looking to relax in style will love Phuket’s palm-fringed beaches embraced by the turquoise-hued Andaman Sea. Then there is also the history, the culture, the fantastic food and the beautiful sites to be discovered here. Once considered too populated for comfort, experience the magic of this beautiful island with no number of pre-pandemic visitors before Thailand fully reopens its borders in January 2022.

Filled with luxury and local experiences, ranging from serene spa rituals and immersive organic farm lunches to ethical encounters with elephants, here’s what to see, do and experience in this pretty slice of paradise.

Stay at Rosewood Phuket

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If the elegant architecture and private pools of the hotel reserved for suites and villas Phuket rosewood don’t put heart emojis in your eyes, then its secluded setting on Emerald Bay, where a tangle of jungle meets Phuket’s pretty coastline, should do the trick. The Insta-worthy lily pond mirroring the pools and giant temple-style doors in the lobby add a “wow factor” to the arrival. The property exudes a luxury residential feel with the original artwork and Thai-inspired decor touches throughout. Highlights of the stay include a hands-on cooking class with a couple of local chefs, Uncle Nun and Auntie Yai, followed by lunch at Ta Khai Restaurant, one of the Asaya Spa treatments, and sunset cocktails. at the chic pool bar, Mai.

Explore a morning market

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Thais buy fruit, fish, meat and seafood daily at morning markets like the Kathu Fresh Market in the Kathu district of Phuket. It’s an authentic way to experience local culture, experience native foods (hello, mangosteen and rambutan!), Try classic street snacks, or grab bags of delicious curry and rice to go. After exploring the market, take a stroll down the street to Dim Sum Ketho for a phuket-style breakfast of freshly steamed dim sum dishes like fluffy pork buns (char siu bao), a bowl of congee rice porridge (khao tom), or a plate of refreshing rice salad from southern Thailand (kao yum pahk dai).

Swim along a secret beach

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Phuket is famous for its beautiful beaches. A peaceful and private spot for swimming and snorkeling nestled on the northwest side of the island (between Bang Tao and Ni Thon), Banana Beach rewards swimmers with glimpses of colorful reef fish. (Just keep an eye out for the myriad of black spiny sea urchins dotting the rocks near the shore!) Accessible from land by a steep bamboo-lined path, the beach is best accessed by longtail boat rental or by cruise by charter yacht with Asia marine, if you are feeling extra fabulous.

Visit of a Buddhist temple

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In the largest Buddhist temple in Phuket, Vat Chalong, Thai locals visit daily to give merit or manifest good karma by offering flowers and food to resident monks in saffron robes. Built in 1837 and located in Chalong Bay, the grand stupa of this historic monument is said to house a small piece of bone from Buddha himself. Climb the stairs adorned with water dragons over three floors – each decorated with intricate paintings depicting the life story of Buddha and filled with golden statues of the Awakened in a variety of poses – all the way to the top for beautiful views on the temple complex and beyond.

Have lunch at an organic farm

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Before you sit down for lunch under a shaded awning by a lake, collect some fresh eggs, cuddle a few chickens, and pick some fresh herbs in the garden of a working organic farm in northwest Phuket. Built on the former site of an open-cast tin mine, Stash by Jampa at Trisara Farm is the concept of rustic refined cuisine of Trisara, one of the most luxurious five-star resorts on the island and home to its only Michelin-starred restaurant, PRU. Every Saturday afternoon, lucky diners (including non-hotel guests) can watch Chef Kla Prakobkit and his team create dishes for a seven-course tasting menu, including charcoal-grilled tiger prawns with seablite charred real fire and open concept kitchen.

Discover the culture in Old Phuket Town

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With its brightly colored Sino-Portuguese boutiques, eclectic street art galleries, ice cream parlors and artisan cafes, and boutiques filled with take-out treasures, Old Phuket Town is worth stepping away from the beach for a visit. daytime. Every Sunday until 4 p.m., the historic Thalang Road turns into a lively district Lard Yai or the Sunday Walking Street Market, which is full of stalls and vendors, making it a great place to shop, sample the street food, and people-watch. After, for a memorable meal, head to Phuket’s most famous and charming restaurant Raya for a bowl of crab meat with curry and noodles like vermicelli (keang nua pu) and dry roasted curry from southern Thailand (kua kling), among other specialties. End the evening with a few cocktails in the elegant and refined DibukHouse or slightly sharper CLUB N ° 43.

Support the rescued elephants

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Admired for their strength, loyalty and intelligence, elephants are a national symbol of Thailand and an important part of Thai culture. Interacting with these majestic animals has been a major tourist draw for decades, but thanks to places like the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, visitors can now do it in a much more friendly way. Since opening in 2016, the sanctuary has pioneered ethical elephant tourism in Phuket by rescuing, removing and rehabilitating elephants after decades of abuse in the tourism and logging industries. Enter the 30-acre jungle hideaway and watch the herd (including original Madee and Kannika rescues) as they happily wander, feed, and enjoy swimming rituals in the lagoons and mud pools. Half-day tours include an educational presentation, the chance to meet elephants, and a vegetarian meal. A full-day tour and immersive week-long volunteer program includes participation in all aspects of managing the sanctuary, such as food preparation, maintenance, area cleaning, and working with the elephants.

If you fell in love with Phuket, book a trip here.

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