Phuket is rightly famous for its beaches and bars, but there's much more to this tropical island than first meets the eye.
Discover the real Phuket on this one-day road trip that takes in the best inland sights, sounds and tastes of Thailand's ‘Pearl of the Andaman.’
8 a.m. - Rise and shine.
Rise early to take breakfast at the Café Andaman.
10 a.m. - Take your breath away.
Visit Khao KhadViewpoint on the top of the hill near Cape Panwa Hotel. The site is popular, but not full of tourists. Walk all the way to the top to enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree view.
11 a.m. - History lesson.
The Thai Hua Museum is a former Chinese-language school and is full of interesting information. It is a beautiful Sino-Colonial building, and you’ll find a lovingly curated assemblage of stories and artefacts relating to Phuket’s large Chinese community.
12.30 p.m. - Time for a bite at Raya
Time for lunch in Phuket Town and choose one of Phuket’s most loved and authentic restaurants. This grand, hundred-year-old building with mosaic tiled floors was once a family home, as the many sepia photos on the walls attest to, but in more recent years it has made a name for itself by serving famous local dishes such as the crab meat curry with rice noodles, spicy Phuket prawns, and caramelised and braised pork belly.
2 p.m. - Artistic Education.
Despite its often sleepy appearance, the Old Town is a hub of energy and creativity, nowhere more so than Phang Nga Road (just around the corner from Raya) which is home to many of Phuket’s best galleries, such as the Drawing room. Here the owner and resident artist Isara ‘Ids’ Thaotong creates a blend of cartoon-inspired ‘doodles’ starring a character called Peepho, as well as more abstract acrylic work..
4 p.m. - Having a rum time!
For young French expatriates Marine Lucchini and Thibault Spithakis, life is about one thing – the pursuit of the finest rum imaginable. The enterprising couple are the owners of Chalong Bay Rum Distillery. Lucchini’s father was a globe-trotting distributor for the famed St. James Rum Company, while Spithakis comes from a long line of winemakers. From Monday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., they personally lead tours of the facility, finishing off with a refreshing mojito mixed by Spithakis himself.
6 p.m. - On the waterfront!
Just five minutes-drive south from Chalong Bay Rum sits Kan Eang @ Pier, a local icon that has been serving up excellent seafood for the last 30 years. With a 200-metre-long outdoor terrace, you’re almost assured of an uninterrupted sea view, and if you’ve timed your arrival right, you should be seated as the sun goes down behind you, ready to watch as the long tail boats and charter yachts bring day-trippers back from the neighbouring islands.
9 p.m. - A final nightcap.
After dinner, make your way back to Cape Panwa Hotel, or a nightcap at the Light House, a fun pub with a nautical theme and live music, where happy hour runs from 9.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. If, however, you’re in the mood for a more sophisticated evening, head to Otter’s Bar, a piano lounge where you can sip on expertly made cocktails in fine surroundings.
Written by Simon Ostheimer.
(Full version is available here - http://www.kasemkij.com/ckmagazine/Issue11/index.html)