The Beauty of Phuket
The moment we stepped into the city we realized what all of the hype regarding this magical location was about. I mean it is absolutely stunning. The rainforested mountainous area is one of the most picturesque locations I have every experienced in my life with Hawaii being the only thing that comes relatively close. The city is wonderfully charming and the culture is so unbeliveably lively and present. There are endless opportunities for shopping, fine dining, entertainment and activities and this is why it is at the top of my list as one of the best places in the world to visit.
The first think you’ll most likely notice as you hop off of your plane is – the humidity. Oh my LORD. It’s proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world makes it an egregiously humid environment. Bring a pocket fan. Bring a water bottle. Bring bug spray and bring pounds of sunscreen. I don’t personally burn that easily but my shoulders were definitely chapped by the end of my visit. I mean the heat will absolutely wear you out if you happen to miss the rainy season and if you happen to hit the rainy season – good luck! Bring multiple umbrellas and stock up on some sturdy rain boots because it does tend to get flooded in various low-lying parts.
Also – be sure to do you research because you can find crazy prices for hostels and hotels in the area hat are just absolutely mind-boggling. As far as tourism goes – I’ve heard from many that it is best to book guides and excursions directly with the travel guides in the city to avoid unnecessarily costly fees. The discrepancy is pretty significant. Regardless, the culture, beauty and experience is worth every single second.
Dining in Phuket
Ah the food! I am such a foodie and I am pretty daring and probably borderline reckless when it comes to trying new things – especially food. The food in Phuket is definitely not for the faint at heart. There are all kinds of amazing looking delicacies to nosh on – most you probably have never seen before in your life.
My advice to you – enjoy the experience! And if you get a little queezy thinking of munching into insects and strange crustacean that looks like it crawled out of a Men In Black movie, then there are a plethora of American, French and Italian dining spots to choose from (surprisingly enough). But if you are one of the many people like me who endlessly tire over the overabundance of processed and pre-packaged food, refined carbohydrates and fast food options that are the American diet – you’re in for a treat. The street food is unbelievably fresh and there are so many exotic fruits that you’ll be puking rainbows.
Just make sure to pack some Pepto Bismol because you are in a foreign country and these street vendors are definitely nowhere near your run-of-the-mill Harris Teeters or Whole Foods. However, you can definitely rest assured that everyone in the area uses these as their main source of food so – hey – that’s what I tell myself.
The culture in Phuket is so strong and vibrant. It is definitely a change of scene if you are used to living in areas which are extremely culturally diverse or “melting pots” of sorts because there is a deep level of history and tradition that areas as such just do not have.
The main religion practiced in the area is Theraveda Buddhism, or what is referred to as the “Doctrine of the Elders”. This is the school of Buddhism that gathers its inspiration from the Pali Canon or Tipitaka or what is referred to and widely accepted as the oldest of the Buddhist teachings. The Phuket Vegetarian Festival, also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival is world-renowned and a is held every fall.
There are several monasteries and temples to visit that are absolutely breathtaking in the area. The traditional architecture with all of its splendor and adornment is some of the most beautiful that I have ever seen in my life. Chinese Taoism is also very prevalent and there are several Taoist shrines and temples due to the abundance of Chinese immigrants to the area.
Phuket’s Big Buddha is probably the most important of these and is a local landmark that sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills just between Chalong and Kata. The statue is gorgeous and registers in at 45 meters tall with a gorgeous view from the hill. Wat Chalong is another beautiful destination as is Wat Srisoonthorn. This is a gigantic golden statue of Sleeping Buddha and is so large that you can view it from the road outside.