Solo Travel in Phuket – Complete guide
Phuket represents an epitome of the Thai experience, so as to speak. Imagine a beautiful backdrop, endless sun soaked beaches, a nightlife to envy of, delicious sea food, and numerous islands to explore – welcome to Phuket.
Things to do and see in Phuket
Listed below are the top attractions of the city of Phuket.
1. Big Buddha Of Phuket
In essence big Buddha Phuket is what it says on the cover – a giant statue of Buddha. If you have been to few Thai cities or hit a circuit of few Buddhist countries you’d know such large statues are a common pattern. As it goes the statues have a small pagoda nearby and the architecture is always gorgeous to look at.
Come here to enjoy the fantastic views of the shore, Chalong Bay and the Phuket town. The statue is made up of white marble (Burmese) and towers to a height of 45m. The place makes for a good half-day activity and you’d enjoy the scenic drive from Phuket town.
2. Bangla Road (Soi Bangla)
What Pattaya Walking Street is to Pattaya, Bangla Road (Soi Bangla in Thai) is to Phuket. The neon lit street is dotted with an endless supply of Go-go bars (a gentle term for gentleman’s club), pubs & restaurants, and numerous clubs. Even if you are not into nightlife scene, taking a walk on the street is an experience in itself. Dance to beats of thumping music or dare to peek inside a go-go bar, it’s up to you what you are looking for.
As a common sense, avoid the touts on the streets who’d approach you with a menu of the ‘show’, if you are interesting in watching a show it’s better to go straight inside. A cover charge usually covers you drink and you don’t really have spend anything inside, of-course unless you are looking for a private show.
3. Phuket Fantasea
Phuket Fantasea is a like giant theme park, with something to offer for everyone – games for kids, food joints and restaurant, plenty of shopping avenues for women and a fascinating ‘cultural’ show. Skip the Golden Kinaree restaurant, a huge food joint with an exterior resembling a golden temple and a dinner hall which can house as much as 4000 people!
The place is conveniently located in Kamala Beach and is spread over an staggering 140 km. The show is running for more than 20+ years now and at a time can house upto 3000 people. Book early to avoid getting seat in the back or even worse, the upper floor.
Phuket Fantasea Ticket Price: Show only : 1800 THB | Show + buffet dinner: 2200 THB | Gold Seat extra charge: 300THB (closer to the screen) | Closed on Thursdays
4. Wat Chalong
Located bit outside from the Phuket town, Wat Chalong makes for a nice stopover along the way to the big Buddha. Best way to get here is to hire a motorbike, alternatively if you don’t feel confident enough get on a tuk-tuk.
Wat Chalong also known as Wat Chaitararam was built somewhere in the early 19th century and has the distinction of being the largest and the most popular Buddhist temple in Phuket. It is considered as an important Buddhist site as it houses
Its real name is Wat Chaitararam and the most recent building on the grounds of Wat Chalong is a 60 meters tall ‘Chedi’ sheltering a fragment of bone from Buddha. Remember the tooth temple in Kandy? which houses the tooth of Buddha (known as tooth relic). Take a walk around the complex and observe the beautiful murals on the walls and the magnificent paintings on the ceilings depicting the scenes from Buddha’s life.
5. Patong Beach
One of the most popular beaches in Phuket mostly due to its location within the town and its proximity to Soi Bangla. Come here to relax and wet your feet before your head to Soi Banga for the night, but if you are looking for a quiet place near the beach you’d be disappointed. Plenty of shacks on the beach to enjoy a quick meal and beat the heat with a cool drink.
Day trips from Phuket
1. Phang Nga Bay
Though it can be bit crowdy, Phang Nga Bay still makes for a great day trip giving you break from the bustling Phuket. There are number of islands around the bay and it would probably take a week or more to go through each one of them.
The popular Phang Nga Bay tour includes the iconic Scooby Doo Rock, and the a canoe ride through the beautiful karst caves (heard of Ice Cream caves?). If you’ve been to Ha long bay in Vietnam you’d know what to expect from the trip.
Keep a lookout for weird rock formations, imagination is your friend. Other notable caves are bat cave and diamond cave. A word of warning, watch out for the high tide which might make it dangerous (flooding) to get through the dark caves. Always, insist on life jacket before taking off for the trip.
When it comes to accommodation Phuket comes with a plethora of choices to stay, no matter what you budget is. I have listed down few of the top options to consider:
1. Bandai Poshtel – booking.com/bandai
This stylish and modern hostel remains one of the top choice to stay in Phuket. Bandai Poshtel is located at only half a km from the Old Phuket town. All the rooms of the hostel come with a flat-screen TV and, and guess what… a PS3! Guests also get free access to the bicycles. There is also a nice restaurant attached. Breakfast is included in the price, yay!
Bed in 8-Bed Mixed Dorm (with aircon): $9 | Single Room: $17 | Small Twin room: $19
2. Beehive Phuket Old Town
Both the private rooms as well as dorms come with aircon.
Bed in Mixed Dorm without Pool: US $6 | Superior double room US $23. Breakfast isn’t free and costs US $3.
3. Bloo Hostel – booking.com/bloo
The hostels has glowing review in booking.com with a score of 8.7 from a total of 93 reviews. Location is central it is located at half a kilometer distance from Old Phuket Town.
Bed in 6-Bed Mixed Dorm: $7 | Double Room with Private Bathroom: $19
4. Bed Hostel – bookin.com/bed
The hostel has amassed outstanding reviews (329) and a very high rating of 8.8. Also, enjoy the attached bar. Bed in 4-Bed Mixed Dormitory Room | With Fan: $8 | With air con: $10 | Economy Twin Room with aircon: $23
Phuket is a wonderful place for solo travelers to explore. I personally met many people backpacking in Phuket. Stay around the Soi Bangla area to be close to the action.