Phuket & Khao Lak
I visited Thailand in early 2016, and I can say it was one of my favourite places i've visited to date. The Thai firstly are the most warm, generous and fun people i've met abroad. There is so much to do in such little time.
We were lucky enough to have a group of 8-10 of us that traveled from Sydney. This was a good sized group, perfect for activities and made meal time very cheap!
We stayed, thanks to Luxury Escapes at Sentido Graceland Resort Khao Lak. The resort was amazing, boasted so many things to do, and the food was true to traditional taste. I suggest checking out your local travel agent before booking asia as they will always have a packaged deal.
We stayed about 1-2 hours out of Phuket, which for some may be a long way to commute when you want to shop and explore the main city, but I loved it. It was like our own piece of paradise. We traveled during the Songkran which is the Thai New Year. I recommend if you can travel to Thailand at any time do it then! Songkran shuts down the city with the biggest water fight i've ever seen. It was the best experience.
On Patong Beach you can find endless shopping, food and activities to keep yourself busy. Patong beach stretches quite far so if you've got the time, do it over a couple days to make sure you get to see it properly. It can get very crowded so I recommend like any place you visit do not take expensive things. Thieves are very active in this area and it isn't always adults doing the crime. Leave all your valuables in your hotel room safe.
When we visited Patong Beach we did 2-3 water sports, if you've got what it takes to do them, I 100% say give it a go. We did banana boating, jet sking and Parasailing. Make sure you visit a few of the tellers on the beach to see who has the best price and don't be afraid to haggle a little bit.
We spent most of our time in and around our hotel and village of Khao Lak. It was much a small and lively place. I'd suggest you take as many opportunities to meet people as you can. Explore the villages and surroundings, most of the time the hotel or hostel can organise a tour or a local to show you around, this is how to get the most out of the day.
I can't really suggest any places to visit specifically but take time to research lookouts, and festivals for your dates. Phuket is a very busy city so the chances of having a festival or something exciting on, are very high. Songkran was the highlight of the trip.
If you're looking to go for a party scene Phuket is definitely a place to go. Although ensure you know what you are buying at the bar, make sure you see it being made and keep an eye on it at all times. I don't say this to worry you, spiking can happen not only in your country.
Ensure you have a sim card and know your surroundings if you plan to go out and get a bit crazy. Some people may take advantage of you, ensure you're always in a group and girls if you are traveling with guys stay with them as much as you can. They tend to warn off any unwanted guests.
You can avoid the party scene in Phuket fair easily if that's not your thing. There is plenty of shopping, food and other hotels you can visit in the area.
Things to know.
In Thailand they speak Thai and the currency is Thai Baht. The Australian dollar sits at $1 to ฿26.41. Similarly to other Asian countries most things are quite cheap. Food is cheap so go crazy. Watch out for street food, most of the food tends to be ok in Phuket but just to play it safe pop into a local restaurant. The thai's know how to make good food, do not be afraid to try something new!
Similarly to Cambodia the weather was very humid and constantly hot. The two trips were very different but I still can't stress enough packing light is essential. Whilst in resorts I wouldn't worry too much about what you wear but still try and be mindful of the traditions. If you haven't read my blog post about Cambodia check it out as I go into a bit of specifics in regards to clothing requirements in Asia.
How long for?
Depending on where you decide to stay I recommend 4-7 days in each city if you can allow for it. It's important to dedicate a rest day or two. Traveling can be stressful on the body, especially if your body isn't used to the climate or the busy schedule you keep. Make sure you keep your fluids up and eat at regular times during the day. Avoid fatty foods and large amounts of alcohol on humid days
Although we only did Phuket most of Thailand is quite similar from what i've heard, i'd suggest you travel around as much as you can around the country though. It's an amazing experience and if you do it right you can make it a very cheap one!
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