FMLM – An all girls getaway to Phuket – By Gayathri Chandrashekar

We always hear about guys making a plan to travel to Thailand. This week we break this stereotype and bring to you an all-girls trip to #Phuket in #Thailand. After all, why should boys have all the fun! As a not so subtle ‘I can go on my own vacations‘ message to my husband who had been dilly-dallying on our holiday plans forever, I reached out to my girlfriends about the idea for a girls’ getaway and after two hours of feverish brainstorming, we had a plan – Phuket! It’s close by, the pictures seemed magical and the free visa on arrival meant one less hassle! We researched and booked ourselves into the stunning #DusitThani resort in Laguna, Phuket– rated the #bestbeachfrontresort in 2018. We flew #GoAir from #Bengaluru directly into Phuket. The visa process was painless and quick, with a thoughtful photo booth available for people who might have forgotten their passport-sized pics! While we had a small luggage malfunction – with someone else taking one of my girl’s luggage by mistake, the journey was otherwise uneventful. 

Girls in Phuket

We reached and checked in, and realising we were famished, treated ourselves to a luxurious spread at the breakfast buffet. I would highly recommend the vegetarian omelettes the chef whips out on request! After a couple of hours of catching up on sleep, we were ready to hit the road exploring! Phuket doesn’t have good public transport options but has lots of places where you can hire two-wheelers and four-wheelers at a reasonable price. We got ourselves two bikes and helmets and raced each other within the legal speed limits to the #BigBuddha. Those roads were heavenly, and aided by the amazing lane discipline on display was such a pleasant change to our tired bodies – used as they are to the potholes-ridden excuse we have for roads, and the willful and brazen violation of all traffic rules we suffer in Bangalore – we felt positively rejuvenated after the 40-minute ride to the Big Buddha (officially known as #PhraPhuttaMingMongkolAkenakiri) – a 45 meter tall statue built on top the #Nakkerd hill – a peaceful place offering beautiful panoramic 360 degree views of the city below. In the evening, we went to #PaTong – a famous seaside road known for its touristy delights. One has to be a bit careful, we soon realised, of hawkers intent on ripping unsuspecting tourists here. Be sure to compare prices in at least a couple of shops and haggle hard. We were constantly surprised at how much prices can drop once they realise you aren’t to be trifled with (forged as we are in the fiery crucible of India’s bazaars ;)). Be sure to check out #BanglaRoad – the centre of #nightlife. It turned out to be a great place for bar hopping, with many regular bars, beer bars, gogo bars, live music bars and nightclubs all on one street, not to forget the amazing variety of street food and souvenir shops. It seemingly never sleeps and was buzzing all through the night until we decided to call it a day at 2 AM, which is when we rode back to the hotel. At no point did we feel unsafe with everyone coming across as friendly and caring – a very different vibe to what I got in Bangkok – but that’s for another day. The next morning, we started early to go do the #JamesBond Island tour – the tropical headquarters of the villain in the ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. A tour guide comes and picks you up from the hotel – mind it, be on time as foreigners don’t like waiting.

The four islands we saw were absolutely mesmerising and a sight to behold. We went sea canoeing – going into narrow caves cut into the rock by the water over aeons, which I strongly recommend. The camaraderie of tourists from so many different countries and cultures – all bonding on a boat with nice music, lunch and refreshments, and having loads of fun singing and dancing made it memorable. 

Beaches and Cruises

Back in our hotels, we freshened up and headed out to #PaTong for some shopping. It really is the best place to shop and one can find everything here. Of course, we eventually found ourselves in front of this night club called “sugar” – they were playing old-fashioned hip-hop music and we just couldn’t help but get in. And boy – what a party it was! The BEST I have ever been to – and I was a party animal in college. Nothing I can write here can quite describe it. It’s something to be experienced. The entry is free, but one has to order drinks inside, which were quite expensive but totally safe and fun. 

On the third day, it was raining and the resort was way too good to not spend any time inside it. So, we decided to unwind and lounge by the pool the whole day long. And so much fun it was! I of course also used some of the time to post updates on Instagram – and try and make my husband jealous – but much to my annoyance he seemed genuinely happy! Sigh! 

On request, they serve lunch by the pool and it was the perfect ending to a lazy morning spent just having some plain good old-fashioned fun in the pool. We ended our final day in Phuket with a nice dinner at a cosy seafood restaurant just outside the resort we were staying in, and then hit the sack early to catch our early morning flight back home

Must tries

Mango sticky rice, Street delicacies – basically waffles customised the way you want it – you will find a lot of Thai women/men selling these in a kiosk by the roads.

A nice Thai spa or foot massage – we missed it this time due to the rains and trust me, there is nothing more I regret in this world than to miss a Thai Spa! You don’t want to feel the same. 

Diet and food options: – Food: I am vegetarian but didn’t face any trouble with the food. Though many restaurants are largely non-vegetarian they make anything on the menu with veggies and no meat. You can also request them not to use fish oil and they understand. – Non-veg – I have never seen my friends enjoy seafood as they did in Phuket. Even though I didn’t taste it, I can surely say, they have some amazing selections of seafood. 

Things to do in Phuket
Things to watch out for in Phuket

People try to rip tourists off with pricing – so check in multiple places before you decide which one to go for including day tours, island trips, bike/car renting. – Shopping – everyone quotes usually double the prices for everything. So, negotiate harder. – Recommendation – Even though it was just one city, we felt three days weren’t enough and that we didn’t do justice to the place. Plan at least 4-5 days trip to Phuket. And if you ever have to choose between Bangkok and Phuket or how many days to spend in each of the city, I would any day choose Phuket and spend more days here. 

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