There are many adventures to be had in Phuket. The day after our arrival, the company that did our airport transfer sent a representative to the hotel to check if the service we received was satisfactory. At first, we thought, wow – what wonderful post experience service, but then we saw the catch. The representative offered us a few tours we could do and for some reason, we decided to take her up on one of here offers; a Fantasea Experience.
Cost: THB 2000 per person
Includes: Transfer from the hotel to Fantasea, Entrance to Fantasea, Buffet Dinner with soft drinks, Evening entertainment via the Fantasea Extravaganza Show.
Description: The transfer was on time and comfortable but once we arrived at Fantasea, we quickly realised that we were among hundreds of other tourists caught in the same Fantasea trick. At the entrance, there were many opportunities for cute selfies. Be sure to check out the thousands of Koi at the entrance pond.
Once you enter, there are quite a few cute shops selling a variety of curios and touristy items. More fantastic Instagram moments await. There are elephant rides and other little bits of things happening all around. It has a kind of theme park feel, without being an actual theme park.
The dining hall seats 3,000 people – crazy! You’re assigned a designated dining area for your group where a buffet dinner awaits. As always, food in Thailand won’t disappoint. There were lots of options, from soups and curries to pastas, veggies and much more. Yummy indeed.
After dinner, you’re ushered to the theater facility for the evening entertainment and show. After about 5-minutes of what seemed like an amateur production, most of us were fast asleep. Maybe it was the show, something in the food or just jet-lag catching up with us, but we were knocked out. Those that did manage to stay awake told us we didn’t miss anything.
For the price, I’d give this a miss
Cost: Whatever you can afford
Includes: lots of bargaining
Thailand may have a reputation for being a great place to shop, but this is reserved for Bangkok and not the smaller islands like Phuket. While there are still a few bargains to be had, the variety isn’t the greatest. If you absolutely have to shop, I would suggest the Saturday night market in Phuket Town. If you walk through every aisle, you’ll cover at least 15km.
At the market they had the Daisy Duke denim shorts from like THB39 – yeah, that cheap. A variety of (fake!) branded t-shirts available between THB100 – THB200. Lots of bags, sunglasses, hats, belts, dresses and other items can be found at market. Another place to shop is the main mall in Phuket – Jungceylon Mall in Patong (a few blocks from Bangla Road) – we observed that for the little destination gifts like magnets, plates, spoons, etc, it’s much cheaper at Jungceylon than the market or any other place.
Shopping was just ok – not too different from what’s on offer at one of the many China Mall’s back home
We visited Patong beach briefly, but were not too impressed by the quality of the water and the beach itself. It is super touristy with hundreds of umbrellas and stuff, but something about it was a bit ‘ yucky’. So for our water adventures, we decided to head a bit out to beaches like Karon or Kata – 15 and 20 minutes away respectively.
Cost: THB600 per jet ski (max 2 people on a jet ski)
Includes: 30 minutes of fun
We read about all the warnings where the jet ski (and scooter) renters hustle the tourists out of some cash for some fake damage to the jet skis, but this did not deter us. The Thai government have made lots of progress on curbing these con artists.
It was low season (May) and it was quiet on the beaches, so the operators actually let us go at it alone without any escort. Normally, during high-season (Nov-Apr), they insist on accompanying you on the jet ski.
Top Tip: Buy the guys a beer or a soda. It will only cost you an extra THB 100, but it will buy you loads of good will. Our operators were so taken aback by this gesture that they gave us an extra 30 minutes for free and even encouraged us to go faster.
We could have done this for another hour – loads of fun, especially when you “cross streams” (ghostbusters reference) with other riders.
Cost: THB600 per person
Includes: 10 – 15 minutes of flying in the Thai Sky
On Karon Beach, the Paragliding operators were so slick and friendly, we decided to give it a go. All we can say is wow – what an experience. The thrill of being hoisted up into the sky by a speedboat, with an experienced rider just behind you (without any safety harness) is amazing. You just cannot describe it. One second you’re being told to RUN while the speedboat starts pulling the cord and the next second you’re a hundred feet in the sky with a view of the entire bay. You even get to see the Big Buddha on the top of the mountain.
Unbelievable how the adrenaline rush is just calmed once you’re in the sky
When you stay in Patong, it’s important to realise that there is much more to Phuket than Patong, and for this we decided to take a day to explore Phuket other famous attractions.
Continue to part 5: Exploring the rest of the Island