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Off The Beaten Track: Phuket Travel Tips - The Alternate Travel Guide


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Off The Beaten Track is an alternative travel guide, focusing on some of the best kept secrets in some of the best locations around the world. Welcome to our first instalment, where we’re focusing on the tropical island paradise that is Phuket, Thailand.

If you are looking for the ultimate Phuket travel tips, you’re in the right place. But, if you’ve found our guide and are looking for information on Pa Tong, specifically Bangla Road, then we’re afraid you’re in the wrong place!

Sunset on Pa Tong beach in Phuket, Thailand

The best sunset in Phuket

Now, we know that ‘the best sunset’, wherever you are in the world, is VERY subjective, and each person will have their own particular opinion on the matter. But, in this writers experience, the best sunset in Phuket can be found at the southernmost tip of the island, Promthep Cape.

Here (on the right day), you will find yourself bathed in the golden evening sunshine with panoramic views, where in your mind’s eye, you can almost picture the northern shores of Sri Lanka and India.

When you arrive at the car park, you will find yourself surrounded by other tourists, arriving by the busload as the sun begins to drop. Amongst the souvenir stands and food vendors, if you work your way towards the edge, we guarantee you will be amazed by the view.

However, if you want to really soak in the best sunset in Phuket, take the winding path down the cape, all the way to the tip. You may want to wear some sturdy footwear, as it is by no means an easy walk but flip flops will do in a pinch! Be sure to take a water bottle or two as however hard you find it on the way down, the way back up is sure to be harder!

Traditional longtail boat over clearwater on beach in Phi Phi islands, Thailand

Phuket’s hidden beaches

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, and with all that coastline it is no surprise that it is literally teaming with stunning, white sand beaches. Now, many travel guides estimate that there are between 30 and 50 beaches on the island, but in reality, there are far more.

If you meander down the narrow Soi’s (Thai for road), and head towards the coast, the chances are that you will end up on a patch of white sand, in your own personal paradise… But, we’re not advocating exploring every avenue as it were, as often these will take you to private land.

With that said, our top two hidden beaches in Phuket are as follows:

  • Nui Beach - Location: Karon, Muang, Phuket 83100, Thailand
    Being just a 120m strip of sand, roughly 3km through the dense yet lush tropical Thai jungle (don’t worry, there is a road of sorts!), you could be forgiven for overlooking Nui Beach, yet it really is one of the best hidden beaches in Phuket. There is a quaint bar/restaurant, serving traditional Thai snacks, cold beers, cocktails and coconuts. To find it, head to the infamous Karon viewpoint, and just keep going!
  • Ao Sane Beach - Rawai, Muang, Phuket 83100, Thailand
    Okay, so we’re cheating a little here… Ao Sane is not one beach, but three (sort of)! If you head past the luxury hotels in northern Nai Harn and follow the road round you will be greeted by a sandy expanse, consisting of three mini beaches, interspersed with enormous granite boulders. With plenty of shade offered by the trees at the edge of the beach, and fantastic snorkelling just a stone’s throw off shore, at Ao Sane Beach you’ll be sure to have a fantastic day out!

Disclaimer – While we say these beaches are secret, the reality is that on an island as attractive to tourists as Phuket, the secret is already out! And as these secret beaches of Phuket are much smaller than your main tourist beaches, if you want a good spot, be sure to head out nice and early!

Asian chef cooking traditional Thai foods

The best places to eat in Phuket

Is there anything better than going abroad and sampling the local delicacies? In our opinion, its an unequivocal no! So, when it comes to finding the best places to eat in Phuket, it really is fairly simple...

We’re not talking about 5* restaurants, booking into a Western style restaurant, or even the infamous 7-11 toasties (although these are highly recommended), no, we’re talking about the food that the locals eat. Yes, we’re talking about Thai street food.

From Som Tam carts serving green papaya salad (the spicier the better), with a side of grilled chicken and sticky rice, to noodle stands, and everything in between, in our opinion the best places to eat in Phuket can be found, well, just about anywhere.

On the side of any given road, in any given area, at any time of the day (literally), you are almost guaranteed to find a cart, stand or stall of some description serving something delicious!

Top tips for the best places to eat:-

  1. Go where the locals go – If there is a throng of locals gathered around a stall, often not even bothering to dismount from their motorcycles or scooters, that is where you want to eat!
  2. You may well smell it before you see it – If you are walking or driving around and your nose is met with a pleasant aroma, follow your nose! Your tastebuds are sure to appreciate it!

Don’t get us wrong, there is something for everyone when it comes to dining in Phuket, from fine dining to all you can eat restaurants with tabletop BBQ’s and hot pot stations, but be sure to sample some street food as well (ideally as much as you can!).

With this in mind, let us run you through some of the best cheap eats in Phuket!

  • Som Tam - Green papaya salad, the perfect balance of sweet, sour and spicy!
  • Gai Yang or Kai Yang – This grilled chicken dish originated in Lao, but is now commonly eaten all across Thailand.
  • Gai Tod or Kai Tod – Thai fried chicken, trust us, you will never want KFC again!
  • Kuay Teow – Otherwise known as noodle soup. With a plethora of different noodle types, broths, meat or dumplings to choose from, this is a staple.
  • Pad Kra Pow – The infamous Thai spicy stir fry, your choice of chicken, beef, pork, or vegetables, with chilli, garlic, Thai Holy Basil, and all the goodness that comes with it!

These are just some of our favourite cheap eats from our time spent in Phuket, but there are FAR more delicacies to sample. Just remember to go where the local go!

Modern pool an hut shelters in family friendly hotel in Phuket, Thailand

The best areas to stay in Phuket for families

Now, this really depends on what interests you and your family. Phuket does have just about everything from stunning beaches and great restaurants to yoga, boxing and a nightlife!

Between us, the Moonsand team have spent a fair old chunk of time in Phuket over the years, so we think we’re pretty well placed to give some good recommendations!

Kamala – If you and your family are seeking the all in one location for a quiet, tropical getaway, Kamala could be it! A quiet area away from the hustle and bustle, it is the epitome of tranquillity, with a stunning beach scuba diving, snorkelling and surfing (at the right time of the year!)

Rawai – Is there anything more picturesque than the sun setting over a beach, the water adorned with longtail boats? Well, that is exactly what Rawai is famous for! That and some of the best and freshest seafood you can find anywhere on the island. Be sure to check out the Sea Gypsies market and get some mementos to take home!

Kata/Karon – Kata and Karon are neighbouring areas, similar in many ways to Kamala, but a little closer to the action areas on the island. If your family would like to spend time exploring the island, Kata and Karon are a great base!

Quick note, if yoga is your thing, and you fancy heading off to Thailand, check out our blog on the top 12 meditation and yoga retreats around the world! Keep an eye out for Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Resort situated in Rawai!

An elephant at Phuket Ethical Elephant Sanctuary spraying water from its trunk

Unique things to do in Phuket, Thailand

Phuket offers many hidden gem attractions that are fun and unusual. Being a great location for both family trips, solo travel or just with friends we have listen below some of the unique things available to do in Phuket.

  • Visit the Phuket Ethical Elephant Sanctuary - This Ethical Elephant sanctuary houses rescued elephants which you can take in and interact with. With no riding or shows this elephant sanctuary in Phuket aims to keep the welfare and care of the Elephants as natural as possible. The sanctuaries primary goal is to rescue and rehabilitate the animals, whilst educating visitors during there visit.
  • Visit the 45 meter tall Phuket Big Buddha - Also known as the The Great Buddha of Phuket. Located in southern Phuket on a hilltop location (Nakkerd Hill) with great panoramic views. The 45-meter (147 feet) tall statue of Lord Buddha is a great sightseeing experience. Visiting the monumental statue is free but they do encourage donations to support with the upkeep and maintenance of the statue and facilities.
  • Visit Flying Hanuman Zipline Adventure - A great adrenaline rush. Hanuman Zipline are prided on providing eco-friendly tourism and preserving the natural environment, the zip line is set within a natural and scenic jungle canopy. With multiple platforms to chose from and skyline bridges this is a great way to experience the natural scenic beauty Phuket has to offer. There are multiple price packages available which differ due to multple factors including: package type, time of year, rental of safety equipment etc. For a more accurate cost you can view Flying Hanuman tickets and packages here.

Phuket Travel Tips

With that, we’ll bring an end to this instalment of Off the Beaten Track: Phuket Travel tips. We hope you’ve found the information on the best sunsets in Phuket, Phuket’s hidden beaches, the best places to eat (and cheap eats), and where to stay with families informative and helpful.

You may even end up using some of this information on your next trip to the tropical island paradise that is Phuket!

Don’t forget to subscribe and get our exclusive Moonsand holiday discounts straight to your inbox!

In the next installment of our Alternate Travel Guide series we head to the capital of Thailand, Bangkok. Check it out here.

Take a look at the other destinations in our Alternate Travel Guide:

Things to do in Bangkok
Things to do in New York
Things to do in Dubai
Things to do in Paris

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