June 1st, 2017 was the year I fell in love with the wanderlust island of Phuket Thailand.
The purpose of the trip was to celebrate my older sisters graduation from university. The journey was about 20-24 hours total including transfers, as we stopped over at Beijing and connected to Phuket from there. After arriving, we were able to negotiate at the airport a taxi to take us to the resort, but I would recommend arranging a transfer if you’re not confident, as it can be a bit intimidating, though negotiating at the airport a taxi is much cheaper. Once we arrived at the gorgeous Manderava Hotel and Spa Resort, we were greeted by and immediately escorted to our beautiful room. This trip was truly magical and even better spent with my sister.
There is something magical about Phuket, from the friendly people to the food and the incredible beaches and islands, the place is paradise and was one of the reasons I discovered my passion for travel and exploring. So here are my top things to do in Thailand, I hope it inspires you to go and if you are already going be sure to try some things listed, trust me you will not regret it.
≈ Jet Skiing ≈
Thailand, like many other beautiful tropical islands, is surrounded by a gorgeous blue body of water one of the more thrilling ways to admire this through Jet-skiing. The experience I’m sure is available at many beaches though I would suggest Karon Beach in Amphoe Mueang Phuket, for its hidden architectural gems that I spotted mid-sea. If you are staying at the Manderava Spa Resort, it is only a short walk away from the hotel or a short free shuttle ride away.
Jet-skiing in Phuket is an experience like no other, unlike Dubai where jet-skiing is more of a sport than an experience however in Phuket it was an experience (well at least it was for me), and by this I mean it is more of a sightseeing opportunity of the surround private lands around the island. The experience lasts for up to an hour and only cost 750 THB approximately £17, I suggest bargaining with the locals if you’re unhappy with the price as they are willing to lower their prices. Although, bargain within reason as such activities are the locals’ trade and essentially their income, so respectful bargaining, please.
As my first experience Jet-skiing, I was nervous ( as a self-proclaimed nonswimmer) I had several reservations going into the ocean on a jet-ski let alone driving one. So if you are nervous, I feel you, but rest assured the instructor was a lovely man and ensured me that I wouldn’t die, which was very comforting.
The experience starts with a drive into the ocean, which by the way you can drive yourself, though I recommend getting driven because you can take the reigns once in the sea (which is scary, but worth the thrills). Then you are shown around the different islands, all while on the jet ski might I add the sights include gorgeous houses built into the rocks of the sea and a cave laid in the middle of the sea, making jet-skiing a perfect afternoon activity to cool off the intensity of the sun-rays. Although caution you will get wet, I mean you are in the sea, so wrap your hair and wear a swimsuit underneath any outfit, though rest assured it is still a refreshing cool down from the blazing afternoon heat. Nevertheless, the experience is one not to miss.
≈ Elephant Sanctuary ≈
I grew up surrounded by art. My parents were art collectors and would collect pieces from around the world, as architecture and design were my fathers, second love. Which sparked my interest in elephants and art, yes elephants, as this was a staple piece of sculpture in our Nigerian home symbolising love and family and inevitably became my favorite animal and is why I went to the sanctuary, which was a great experience that can be appreciated by anyone and everyone.
I would advise that you ensure whatever sanctuary you visit, care and love the animals they look after, animal cruelty is real. So when looking for a sanctuary google is your best friend to ensure the sanctuary is legitimate. Also, if you want to save money, look for deals whereby the sanctuary visit also encompasses other activities, for instance, the deal I paid for included quad biking and a tour of the Buddha Statue for a total amount of 1,500 THB equivalent to £35 and usually the amount of a sanctuary visit alone.
Tourist agents are literally in every corner of Phuket and easy to spot. So, I strongly suggest buying all your excursions from local tourist agents and quote them the name of the sanctuary you would like to visit, so that you do not witness animal cruelty and still get the best price, as the people at the tourist agent can add extra activities that would otherwise be expensive if purchased online.
Although if you are looking for a more educational experience or you love elephants, and wish to learn more about the beautiful creatures, there are sanctuaries that you can spend a day at doing various activities with the elephants that don’t include elephant riding. However, if you are not too passionate about elephants, then the cheaper option would be to book from a local tourist agent and visit a sanctuary and include other activities such as ATV’ing, but again be sure to check that the sanctuary care for the elephants.
≈ Quad Biking/ATV’S to Buddha Statue ≈
Quad biking or ATV’ing is my favorite thing to do when on holiday, and I make sure to experience it in every country I visit. It is the perfect holiday activity, as it is fun for all as well as thrilling, it also allows you to get to see parts of a country that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
I was able to book this activity with the elephant tour, as suggested previously, it is best to do this, as a cheaper option. The adventure was two hours long and encompassed a drive through Phuket, riding through the jungle, passing breathtaking sights, building up to the Buddha Statue. When you arrive at the Buddha statue fair warning if you are a woman to respect their culture meaning no bikini or low cut tops but rest assured there are scarfs available for you to wrap around yourself, these scarfs are free, so don’t be mislead to buy one. After entering the statue compound, you can explore the whole sight which includes the temple, and various high points that overlook the whole of Phuket. The package deal also included a transfer to and fro the Resort, as the sanctuary was far from my Resort.
≈ Island Hopping plus Canoeing through James Bond Island ≈
God’s creation is beautiful, from the flow of the seas to the clouds in the skies, the beauty of the world shows. Island hopping is another way to bear witness to his creation, renewing wonder and awe of the beautiful world around us.
The day begins early, around 8 am, with a morning pick up from the resort. The transport was a decked out minibus, before boarding the boat you stop to have breakfast already included in the price. Around fifteen people boarded the boat stocked with unlimited drinks, as you step on board you are greeted by the instructor’s who runs through safety instructions and then you are off. The adventure begins soaring through the winds, with the voices of the instructor narrating the history of neighboring lands and their significance, the journey described was still and peaceful.
As the sea lures you in with a mesmerising flow making it easy to lose the concept of time and there you are on the first island. The first island was Phang Nga, usually, hidden under a body of water during high tides but luckily the tides were low, allowing us to canoe through a cave to access the island. Stepping out of the canoe onto the water feels like entering one of those deserted islands in movies hidden in the middle of nowhere, a reality you hope not to be true. Though once you step out of the cave into the actual island that feeling doesn’t disappear but accompanies a deep sense of overwhelming gratitude, as you realise that you are blessed to see such a sight.
Next island was formally named the James Bond Island, where you can canoe (also included with the price) in and around the island, spotting the elephant sculpture engraved into the rocks. The experience is tranquil and throughout the guides remained in good spirits, keeping the atmosphere fun. The canoes seat three which includes the guide the custom is to tip the guides on the tours, as facilitating such activities is their source of income, so just tip, as the hospitality is superb and it is respectful also.
The next three islands we visited included the Muslim Island and a tourist pit stop, though we got the option to either go to a hidden beach or go and eat at the Muslim Island, we all chose food. Cutting our time short at the tourist island, as it started to rain. The Muslim island was beautiful, with a desert color scheme of deep hues of brown and orange, the cite represented a Muslim country, and was a beauty to admire. The food was a Thai buffet selection, with vegan and vegetarian option available. We remained on the island for some time and were allowed to roam around the tourist shops, again we had to be fully dressed respecting the people’s culture and beliefs, so be sure to pack extra clothes before this activity, especially if you want to take photos as the clothes from the canoeing and beaches will get wet. After some time, we returned to the boat in perfect timing as the sun started to smile at the islands once again, though, despite an appearance from the sun, we decided that the experience was invaluable and in hopes of not catching any rain, we said no to the private beach stop. Looking onto the Muslim island and slowly pulling away to return to the port where it began.
The adventure is priced at 1,500 THB (£32) each, and worth it! So the price included transport to and from our resort, the boat ride, and stops at all four islands, canoeing, caving, unlimited beverages, a buffet, and brilliant guides. Which is why I would highly recommend this as my top must do’s in Thailand, it is an experience like no other will not disappoint. I would advise when purchasing any activity to buy with other, as well as check out different tourist agents near your hotel, as everyone sells at different prices. I would also recommend ensuring that the ticket includes pick up and drop off and food, as the activity runs for half a day.
≈ Phuket Fanta-Sea Theme park plus a live show ≈
Whether you’re a fan of theatre or Disney or even have a love for animals, this activity is fun for all. As no.5 top thing to do in Thailand, Phuket Fanta-Sea theme park is one not to miss, from the brilliant light shows to the pop art type exhibitions and prancing lions, the park is radiant with all types of fun.
The ticket was 2,500 THB, as this activity is more pricey than the rest, as it included transfers, an entry to the park, a free buffet and gold seats for the show. The reason for the high pricing is because we got gold seats, meaning we were closer to the stage. The show was a live performance of the history of Thailand featuring live animals, yes live, from gorgeous elephants (which you can pet on your way in) to chickens, tigers, ducks, and birds, you name it the animal was on stage. The show was a beautiful display, although they are stringent on taking photos and ask that you declare cameras at the clock room, although I managed to sneak in my phone and got some photos as shown below.
Overall, Phuket is one of the best countries I have visited and a place I highly recommend visiting, the experience is like no other.
All pictures were shot with an iPhone 6s plus, those with arrows are screenshots from videos. Thank you for reading, look out for the next post. God bless you x