Phuket must-dos: a half-day guide
What’s a holiday without some shopping and sightseeing, right?
That’s why I’m continuing my other story on the newly revamped Club Med Phuket with what you can do outside of the resort, to make sure you get the most out of your trip.
Club Med Phuket
There’s plenty to do inside the resort of course, and you can read about all the fun things to do here.
The trip outside was a last-minute decision by our group of Singaporean journalists, so we only had an afternoon to explore. If you’re similarly strapped for time, don’t worry, there’s still plenty to do and see.
My tip? It’s okay to come with some sort of plan as to what you want to check out, but the urge to explore every little interesting corner will cause a strict itinerary to get thrown out the window.
We headed left as we exited the resort, walking and appreciating the quirky restaurants and shops along the way ‒ there were wine bars and most intriguing of all, a dino-park/ mini-golf/ restaurant (featured on the right).
The area was pretty quiet. You’ll find two kinds of establishments in abundance here ‒ optical shops and tailors. Oh, and there’s a Starbucks about ten minutes away too.
There are plenty of places selling cheap tee-shirts and knickknacks, but not much enticed us to take out our wallets.
The two shops along the Kata Beach area you shouldn’t miss though, are Baru and XEACT.
BARU (opposite Marina Phuket beach resort, 10am to 11pm daily) is beachwear at its finest, with sophisticated cover-ups, dresses and swimwear that get the tribal, ethnic and colour-blocking trend right. Prices aren’t cheap though ‒ the lowest price I spotted was THB900, around $36, for a dress on the sale rack), but if I had taken enough money on the trip, I would have definitely bought something here. And they have an online storefront too ‒ check out www.barufashion.com.
About five minutes away from Baru, XEACT, is a casualwear brand which reminded me of H&M ‒ lots of denim and pretty tops and dresses to choose from. An embroidered maxi skirt on the sale rack caught my eye but was still out of my budget, coming in at around THB1,240 or $50.
As you come to Karon beach, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the proliferation of beauty salons offering mani, pedis, foot massages and even a fake tan. Services start from THB200. Go ahead and indulge but I’ve got one superb recommendation for foot massages coming up later.
At this point, our group decided we wanted to go to Patong Beach and ride a tuk tuk so we negotiated a THB400 fee with the driver (it’s important to do this before setting out) and took off on 20-minute scenic ride to the area.
Sights spotted at Patong Beach: Starbucks, cute soaps and even a 'husband day care centre'
For those who miss home, you’ll love the moment when the tuk tuk stops in front of the Jungceylon shopping complex ‒ you’re immediately greeted by a McDonald’s and various other shops you can find back in Singapore.
This is definitely the area for tourists. It houses everything you’d need, including supermarkets, electronics stores and the department store Robinson where you can find popular clothing and makeup brands like Estee Lauder and Lancome. There’s even a movie theatre upstairs if you’re so inclined.
However, I’d suggest checking out all the quirky pushcarts and booths parked around the area ‒ I spotted one which was filled to the brim with natural soaps, lotions and other potions, another booth which sold pretty handmade necklaces and accessories while a colleague pointed out one which sold soaps in the form of really life-like food. Souvenirs for friends, anyone?
Two of us ventured out to Patong beach, which is about a 20-minute walk straight ahead from the back of the Jungceylon shopping centre.
Phuket's Patong Beach
The atmosphere along the way is way different from the more subdued Kata beach area, with much more people, and shops selling souvenirs, bars, and restaurants. Yes, I got an “I Love Phuket” t-shirt here, cheesy tourist that I am.
The trek to the beach was well worth it in the end (the weather was hot, so bring an umbrella and sunglasses) as we were greeted with an expanse of white sand, crystal clear water and a beautiful sky.
It’s not a place for sunbathing, though, as it’s crowded from one end to the other with people baking in the sun, but it’s a place to stop by just for the view.
Tired out from all the walking, we decided to head back in a taxi. But there was one more stop to make ‒ Mook Massage, right opposite the entrance of the Club Med Phuket resort came highly recommended by a few of the Club Med staff.
Mook Massage in Phuket
Stepping in, we were impressed by the vintage details and blue and silver details. After a footbath, we were taken upstairs where the therapists worked their magic ironing out any knots in our feet and legs thoroughly.
And the cost for all this? THB300, around $12. I was so relaxed by then that I had to go back to my room at Club Med Phuket to crash.
Club Med Phuket is at 3 Kata Road Karon, A.Muang, 83100 Phuket, Thailand. Non-promotional room rates start from $600 per adult per night for a low-season superior room. Log on www.clubmed.com.sg/resort-phuket-thailand for more information.
Vanessa is a freelance writer and can be found at thesewingwriter.tumblr.com.