Phuket is in the south of Thailand, a short flight from Bangkok. Or, for the more adventurous, you can get there on the overnight train, which is an experience in itself! Phuket town itself isn't much to write home about, the beach resorts are where it's at.
Things you must see & do
A favourite with tourists is Patong Beach which is probably one of the busier spots. It has changed quite a lot since the tsunami. There's still an abundance of markets and stalls on every road, but in addition they now have a shopping mall which would leave any New Zealand Westgate mall feeling pretty inferior!
Phuket is full of colour and noise – the street stalls, the markets, the constant calls of "hello mister" "where you from" and the attempt to guess your nationality, which is usually wrong if you’re a Kiwi!
Then there's the funny little store fronts which, once inside, you find large rooms filled floor to ceiling with fake Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and pirated movies. It's fascinating that all this goes on with seemingly no concerns from local enforcements.
The main road is closed off to vehicles at night and becomes the centre of everything neon; it’s full of yet more locals trying to entice you into the ‘best bar in town’. For only a couple of dollars, you'll have no trouble finding a gift for the kids that will wow them.
Phi Phi Island is a short trip away and is worth a visit or an overnight stop if you have the time and fancy a smaller island experience.
If you're lucky enough to get good weather I highly recommend a boat trip and a scuba dive.
Make sure you get to the Thai boxing. This is probably not for the squeamish though as it’s pretty hardcore!
Don't get sucked in by the timeshare people, you'll be told you've won a prize then spend a day trying to be sold a timeshare - it was fun for an hour or so!
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