Wow Phuket, where do I start?
We flew from the Gold Coast to Phuket with a short stop at Kuala Lumpur airport. Once we arrived in Phuket airport we were bombarded with people trying to get us to book their taxi company to take us to our destination.
Finally deciding on a taxi company that cost us 360 Baht for the both of us from the airport to our hostel, roughly $15. The taxi was a minibus filled with other tourists who were getting dropped at their destinations. Once the minibus was loaded up, we drove through what looked like back streets to finally get to a main road. The back streets have small speed bumps on them which along with the very skinny and unmarked 'roads' made for quite a scary trip.
While driving you hear a lot of beeping, for Australians that is normally quite an aggressive thing as you are tooting someone because they have cut you off or you are telling them to drive as they're sitting at a green light. Here in Phuket the beeping you hear is actually someone just letting you know to either get out of their road or they are driving beside you so you know they're there.
Another time they beep is when they're going around a corner as a lot of them are quite sharp and well they don't really drive within the lines on the road when there are lines. A lot of the time you will be coming head on with another car and believe me you feel yourself getting quite tense in your seat, but they do this every day and so you just pray that your car will come back onto the right side of the road.
You will see a lot of mopeds and motorbikes here in Thailand, it seems to be their main form of transport. Don't be surprised if you see five people on one moped, all not wearing a helmet and possibly towing four jetskis behind them.
A lot of the utes/trucks will have people in the tray or sitting on the roof, this was very eye opening for us as this is just something you don't see at home.
Patong Beach is a site you have to see when traveling to Phuket. It is very touristy as it is surrounded by all of the popular resorts. It is a nice beach, looks like a lagoon as it is very flat. As this beach is known to be filled with tourists, don't be surprised to be approached by someone every 30 seconds. You can't lay there without someone coming up to you trying to sell you something. They have cute colourful umbrellas and chairs that you can choose to lay on however it will cost you around 250 Baht, roughly $10.
Right off Patong Beach is the well known Bangla Road. Bangla Road is the red light district of Phuket. It has bars, sex shows and A LOT of people. The road is filled with workers and ladyboys trying to get you to go to their bar or show.
We hired a taxi driver to take us to Karon Beach and the Big Buddha for a few hours. Karon Beach was lovely, less touristy and you didn't get hassled while trying to relax like on Patong Beach. Even though the weather was gloomy our day was lovely.
We were watching people parasailing and boy the Thai people are gutsy. There were two people strapped in while parasailing and a Thai guy standing on the ropes behind them, not harnessed in or anything!
The Big Buddha was beautiful. When we arrived I was given a wrap skirt as women need to cover their legs out of respect. Once you get to the bottom of the stairs and look up towards the statue, your jaw just drops. The Big Buddha is 45m high and made of marble, it has panoramic views of Phuket and is definitely something you have to see when visiting Phuket.
Behind the Big Buddha is the 27 tonne Brass Buddha, it was absolutely stunning. It is gold in colour but made of brass. Even though there is a lot of people at the Big Buddha, the atmosphere is actually quite peaceful. When you walk around you hear the sound of windchimes and you seem to just get lost in all of the beauty.
The map above is for the most amazing restaurant in Patong, Phuket. We went to Thai Smile three out of the five nights we were there. The food was delicious, authentic and reasonably priced. People have been known to wait outside Thai Smile for 40 minutes just to get a seat, luckily we only had to wait 20 minutes one night. I would definitely recommend that you go to Thai Smile if you are traveling to Phuket, you won't be disappointed.