Phuket is the movie star of Thailand. Renowned as the island escape that rejuvenates the body and soul, or to find something you’ve lost, the destination is first popularised by Leonardo Dicaprio’s The Beach, where his character finds himself with a retreat to Phi Phi Island nearby.
Paradise is easily found in the island city, no matter for business or leisure, and the plentiful selection means every visit can be a different experience altogether. Aggregating the best of Southeast Asian influences, it’s a perfect representation of the region and with its generous amenities, marks it as the MICE city of Andaman.
Known for many examples of Sino-Portugese architecture, the Phuket Thai Hua Museum is a fine representation and collects the rich heritage of the island’s history and presents them in multimedia. It goes all the way back to when the place was a tin mining destination, but for a more in-depth story, the Tin Mining Museum can provide an extended experience. If the charming Sino-Portugese structures have won you over, another location to visit would be Baan Chin Pracha on Krabi Road. The colonial influence has given this well-maintained mansion a nostalgic charm, with delicate colourful tiles and an open inner courtyard – so much so it’s a popular filming location.
The natural abundance of stunning beaches makes Phuket one of the hottest areas to visit in Thailand. Sometimes literally. But with rugged cliffs, shady palms and enough islands to keep privacy possible, Phuket’s appeal isn’t going away anytime soon. While families can go kooky with the upside-down house at Baan Teelanka or swirl away down slides at the Water Park, more exclusive retreats can be found Phi Phi, Phang Nga, James Bond Island (another movie location), Lanta and Surin, for anything from romantic enclaves to an encounter with sea gypsies.
Bringing together the best of Southern Thai, Chinese, Malay and Indian food, the island’s diversity in cuisine makes everyone feel right at home. It serves as a snapshot of Southeast Asia’s best flavours, in settings either idyllic or refined. Black Ginger serves exquisite Thai fare in the middle of a lagoon, while Bampot Kitchen & Bar offers haute modern European cuisine in a balmy setting. But the Blue Elephant restaurant plates up stunning Thai royal cuisine in a prestigious Chinese-colonial bungalow where culinary courses are conducted as well.