If I had to describe Phuket in only two words, those two words would be: TOURIST TRAP. We’re talking more foreigners than there are locals, and everywhere you go there’s a Starbucks, McDonald’s, or expensive western food restaurant. Despite the fact that Phuket is ridiculously touristy, it’s also extremely beautiful and romantic, which is exactly the reason why I chose to go there with Chris.
Chris and I did a lot during our four days in Phuket, but the one place we spent most of our time was, of course, the beach: during the day, we sat in beach chairs under an umbrella while reading or listening to music, and during the evenings, we took romantic walks along the ocean waves and admired the spontaneous fireworks in the sky.
Aside from hanging out at the beach, Chris and I knew we wanted to try some things that could only be done in Thailand: an authentic Thai massage and an elephant ride. I had heard about Thai massages in the States before, how they’re intense, hardcore, and expensive. (The average cost is around $100 USD depending on the length of the session.) Chris and I knew we could get the massages for much cheaper in Thailand than in the states, but we also knew we’d still be getting the real deal as far as the massage: I went back and forth between giggling and moaning as the tiny-yet-strong Thai woman pulled on my limbs, walked on my back, and dug her elbow into my butt; there were parts that tickled and parts that hurt, but hurt in a good way. Afterwards, we felt like Jell-O, but also rejuvenated. And the best part was the one-hour massages were only $6 USD EACH. I’m so glad we decided to get the massages; if they weren’t so expensive in the States, I would totally get another one.
As for the elephant ride, it was fun, but not as awesome as I thought it would be. Before we even got to Thailand, we knew we wanted to ride an elephant during our vacation and were really excited about it. But once we actually came face-to-face with our elephant, I started to feel bad: he was so weak and sad looking! We probably should have said “no” to the elephant ride right then and there, but I had already paid for it and the elephant trainer was urging us to get on, so elephant-riding we went. What made the ride worthwhile was treading through so much gorgeous outdoor scenery, and basically, trying a brand new experience together.
I’d say the highlight of our time in Phuket was our Ko Phi Phi day tour: On a speedboat with about 30 other tourists, we were chauffeured around for the day and given a tour of not only Ko Phi Phi, but a few other Thai islands whose names I can’t remember. During the day tour, we got to feed monkeys and fishes, scuba dive, eat a delicious Thai lunch, and get in lots of beach time. We only paid $30 USD each for this day tour and it was worth every penny.
Something else we did during our trip was eat Thai food. LOTS AND LOTS of Thai food.
Overall, we enjoyed Phuket and, like Bangkok, wished we could have one more day there; however, I think that was more because we didn’t want to go home to freezing cold Korea, rather than because we liked Phuket THAT much. If I ever go back to Thailand, I would rather go to an island that is less touristy than Phuket, but equally as beautiful.