Phuket Thailand: Idyllic SE Asian Destination

I traveled extensively in SE Asia when I worked for 3M. It became one of my favorite regions to visit. I especially loved Thailand. The people were so friendly and the scenery is wonderful. One of our VPs was so enthralled by Thailand that he chose to live there in retirement. I also felt I might retire there. When I became engaged, I asked my wife to be where she wanted to go on our honeymoon. She chose SE Asia, a land she had never seen. In 1988, our honeymoon was to Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong. We spent the majority of our time in Thailand in Bangkok and Phuket. Phuket is a Thai island with beautiful beaches and breathtaking landscapes off of the Andaman sea southwest of the Thailand mainland. Few Americans knew about Phuket back then. We met only one American that time. We stayed in the new Le Meridien hotel which was a short plane ride from Bangkok, and a 40 minute drive over unimproved roads. We always wanted to go back, so we returned in 2013, twenty-five years later. As one would expect, sleepy Phuket has become a thriving tourist destination. This time we stayed at the incredible Banyan Tree Phuket. Banyan Tree properties are known for their luxury service and this one did not disappoint. We stayed in one of the luxury suites with our own secluded outdoor private pool with bedroom and living room. The doors to the bedroom opened up directly to the pool and were just a few steps away. At the other end of the pool, you had your own private cabana to sit and contemplate how fortunate you are to be staying here.

We visited Phuket both times in June, which is in the rainy season. On our 25th anniversary trip we did encounter some rain each day. We compensated by adjusting our schedules to be sure to be outside during the times when it was not raining, and did inside activities and tours during the rainy time. This is good advice for all travelers. Have the freedom to revise your activities based on the weather.

If you go to Phuket today, there are some places and events worth considering, depending upon your interests. Check out Koh Phing Kan, known as James Bond Island, where the “Man with the Golden Gun” and its signature rocky pinnacles are picturesque. You can get a tour from Phuket to this protected region via speedboat, longboat or kayak. Or perhaps a day tour of Phi Phi Island with its stunning archipelago flora and fauna and wonderful beach instead.

In Phuket City, consider Muay Thai Boxing on Patong Beach, or at the Saphan Hin Stadium. Check out the Bug Buddha 146 feet tall at the top of Nakkerd Hills. Visit the Bangla Road nightlife with exotic girls and lady boys. Or visit some of the important temples.

For shows, you might consider Simon Cabaret show, which is the biggest trans cabaret show in Phuket. You might not believe your eyes. And for a show the whole family would enjoy, try out the FantaSea Show at Kamla Beach. You might just see more elephants on stage at one time than you would ever see in your life.

Best time to go to Phuket is November to February, the high tourist season. After that, it gets hotter. Mid May through October is the monsoon (rainy) season and to be avoided unless you are looking for low pricing. Getting to Phuket from Minneapolis will take three flights. On Delta or its Skyteam partners, connecting flights via Seattle and Seoul, Guanzhou,  or Shanghai are available. You can fly Sun Country to Chicago and then Emirates Air via Dubai. Other flights are also available. Contact us for information.