I went to…
Kata Noi and Kata beach
I stayed at:
The Baray Villa @ Sawasdee Village (5*) (£££££) (in comparison to other Phuket hotels)
The Shore @ Kathathani (5*) (£££££)
3 nights at each hotel
I went here because…
I wanted a beach aspect to the Thai holiday and I'd never been to Phuket before. From research it felt like I could avoid the maddening crowds by staying in chosen hotels.
The best thing was…
The decor, service and package at The Baray. The best hotel I've been to, despite not having a beach view and not being the most expensive hotel I've stayed in.
I'd like to change…
I'd like to have stayed The Baray for a day longer and a day less at The Shore. I'd also liked to have not got sunburn! Cover up on boat trips!
I wish I'd had time to..
I think we did everything we wanted to in the time we had.
A bustling tourist spot with all the British amenities one could want, but with the climate and service expected from the Thais. Places to visit are extremely busy all through the year, and if you wanted a slightly quieter experience of for example, snorkelling, I'd suggest hiring a private boat or paying more for a specifically small group experience.
Best weather can be found between December and February (we went at the end of February and it was beginning to get quite humid as well as hot).
When first saying to people I would be going to Phuket to holiday, I was met with cheesy grins and smirks with comments about British fry-ups and a good ping pong show. I however had done my research knowing that that side to Phuket could be avoided if you so wanted. The most important aspect to our successful trip to Phuket was lots of planning and booking in advance. We had all our internal flights booked the August before our February trip, and hotels booked by September. I scoured the Internet for the best hotels and prices, considering which area to stay in for ease, noise and food.
We chose two hotels for their differing positions in the 'quieter' part of Phuket. The first, Baray Villas was part of a larger hotel with the villas having a separate shared pool as well as private indoor jacuzzi. Each villa is set over two floors of opulence, decorated in a Thai/Arabic style. An odd combination but worked well with the dark wood floors and gold ornaments. The price was slightly lower due to the fact that the hotel was not on the beach and did not have sea views. Sea views are usually a huge hot holiday must for me, but I have to say I didn't miss them (although we knew we would be getting them at our next hotel). Included in our hotel costs was breakfast of your choice served by a private butler for your villa. Also due to our early booking, we had an amazing spa package included inclusive of a choice of facials, scrubs and full body massages for 2.5hours everyday. All this for the same nightly rate as a boutique hotel in the UK.
A driver was recommended to us by a fellow tourist in Chiang Mai whom we promptly phoned on arrival. He arrived in a comfortable car and appreciative for the business. We arranged for the wonderful Mr Pu ( yes pronounced poo) to take us out for the day. We visited Chalong temple as well as the newishly built Big Buddha. I was a little dismayed watching some European tourists arrive at a temple dressed inappropriately (topless men with board shorts and women in bikini tops). Yes they were definitely European before you exclaim aloud, I could hear them but won't name countries as I known there are this type of tourist worldwide. The type to visit a place just for a tick on the list, not absorbing any of the history, religion or culture associated with it. To be fair, Phuket isn't really THE place for the list given above. It is very much anglicised and now functions on tourism for the masses rather than the intrepid traveller.
After a very pampered experience staying at The Baray we moved hotels 10 minutes drive away to The Shore. A beautiful property on Kata Noi beach with uninterupted sea views which means the most glorious clear sunsets on the horizon. The rooms were light and airy, all facing the sea. Quite an experience to be able to have a shower looking out onto crystal waters and sandy beaches. Not quite the royal service we had had at Baray but almost double the price-we were disappointed. No doubt the room was spacious and beautiful but 2 nights would have been sufficient and we would have saved a few pounds. Whilst staying, we booked a snorkelling trip through the hotel. We considered a private boat trip, however this meant even though we'd have a quiet ride to the sites, no one would be able to change the crowds at the best spots. Perhaps in the Caribbean for example, a private boat would be able to take you further away to quieter places, however we opted for a run-of-the-mill tour which had around 10 other people on board. A very choppy transfer later which felt more like a roller coaster than a boat, we had a calm snorkelling experience in beautiful clear waters. Maya beach, the most famous one was my least favourite as it was so busy, but certainly had the loveliest soft sand. I was happy to compensate for some peace.
Mom Tri's boathouse, Kata
– Dining on the sea front. We had yummy lobster and a few other treats. Quite pricey.
– Having eaten at the UK version I wasn't sure what to expect. Actually the food was really delicious and portion size large.
– Beautiful beach hotel and restaurant decorated in a Balearic style. DJ nights and good bar. We had some good cocktails and starters. All were good. Setting is lovely.
– Kata local eatery. Really good value, fresh delicious food. Unsure if reservations are the norm, but our hotel rang through so its obviously possible!
Sites & Places of Interest:
Swallow caves (to see the famous birds nests being made)
Snorkelling to see Nemo and his friends