Wandering around Phuket Island

When a friend of mine told me she was about to come to Thailand, I wrote down which are my favorite places in Phuket Island to recommend to her. The following are the top 5 from the list.

5. The Sunset

Iguana Beach Bar is a chill out bar right in front of a kind-of private small and beautiful beach in Western Phuket, almost in the division between Patong and Kamala. Although usually I prefer to watch the sunset from either planes or boats, and although usually I prefer quieter places, Iguana Beach Bar is a delightful place with great service and an unique view, thus an excellent place to have a beer and watch the sunset while chilling in their cool beanbags or even in the water using their giant tyre tubes. Also, their salads are delicious! My favorite one is the tuna with avocado salad.

For fellow remote workers: they are ok with people working remotely from there, the wifi is fine, and you might be even able to borrow an electrical outlet in the internal area.

4. The View

It happens that number four is just a few minutes away from number five. Paradise View Point is a restaurant with an amazingly unique view. The service and the food are fine, but it’s the view that really speaks up for the place. The restaurant is also an obvious great alternative to watch the sunset, and at night they have live music. But I’d highly recommend going there during the day rather than at night, to get the best of the view.

Not a great alternative for remote work tough, as the wifi is not trustable and there are no electrical outlets for customers.

3. Old Town

For a place well known for its cafés, Old Phuket Town is not really a friendly place for remote workers, since the setup of most cafés is not comfortable for people who have to spend hours over their notebooks. Plus, most cafés don’t have electrical outlets available, nor they have air-con, which, at least for me, is not worth considering.

But then there’s Gaolad, a gem located right in Old Phuket Town main street. Great atmosphere, heartwarming service, air-con, and delicious food. And, on top of that, they play jazz all the time! What are the odds?

And here’s the thing: this is a great place for either just to have a cup of coffee, to work from (good wifi and comfortable setup, but no electrical outlets), to chill with friends, or to have a solid date — after sunset time, they reduce the lighting and bring in candles to the tables; all together with, again, jazz!

2. The day to day hang out

Going south, at the end of Rawai Beach main road there’s a small, discreet street on the left side, following the beach, which leads to several small, local beachfront restaurants in a row. This is one of the places in which I mostly hang out. A great place to have lunch, dinner, happy hour, and even to work from (they will borrow electrical outlets in a few of the restaurants if you sit in the internal areas, but none of them has wifi, thus you have to use your personal mobile connection). Most of the days, it’s a quiet place to have lunch, as people only start popping up in the second half of the afternoon. Not so quiet from the sunset on tough, but usually most of the people there are low-profile expatriates rather than the typical loud tourist type, so it’s a fine place even when busy. This Google Maps pin will take you to one of these restaurants as a reference, but all of them are pretty much equally nice.

1. The secret beach

Although the entire Layan Beach, in Choeng Thale, is a lovely place, there’s a particularly amazing gem hidden in there. If you keep north-ish on the main Layan road, you’ll end up in a resort. Park in this resort, ignore the resort and the beach right in front of the resort (at least until you are hungry), take the small trail that seems to lead to the hill (still north-ish) and you’ll end up in a small beach enclosed by the hill on one of the sides, and right in front of a small island on the other side. And guess what? You can easily swim from the beach to the island. Not enough? There’s a small waterfall coming down from the hill. Still want more? All the couple of times I’ve been there, my friends and I were the only ones around. Gotta love desert paradisiac beaches.

Other of my favorite beaches: Freedom Beach, Banana Beach, and Ao Sane Beach. And from the not-quiet beaches, but deserve mention: Kamala Beach is a nice place to play poker or dices in the seafront bars, and Yanui Beach is a really beautiful place, but unfortunately overcrowded most of the time.

Beyond the hype

Besides these 'easily-pinnable locations', there are many great small, local restaurants and bars hidden in most neighbourhoods, with great service (big smiles) and great food. Most is usually open from late morning to the sunset, so you can go and spend the whole day working from them — they are glad to borrow an electrical outlet, although wifi is a rare thing. Plus, since many of these small, local restaurants are open places (i.e. with no walls, or few walls), they are often fairly airy, so you can gladly dispense the air-cons.




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