HOW TO GET THERE
Flights from Bangkok to Phuket’s international airport are short and inexpensive, 90 minutes for around $50. A nonstop flight from Chiang Mai is only slightly longer and costs a bit more. Unless there are specific sights you want to see along the way, flying is definitely the best choice.
There’s not a train route that leads all the way to Phuket. If you’re set on booking an overnight train, take it as far as possible to Surat Tani and ride a bus for the remaining four hours. Before booking an overnight train in Thailand, be sure to read this post on why you should research well!
Driving to Phuket takes 12 hours from Bangkok and 20 hours from Chiang Mai without any stops. I would only recommend this option if you have an extended period of time in Thailand and wanted to stop at specific places along the way. Plus, Thai drivers are no joke. Lanes are more suggestions than rules!
HOW TO GET AROUND
Other than walking and exploring when possible, Uber is without a doubt the best way to get around. It’s quick and inexpensive, and you don’t have to worry about a taxi driver trying to scam you.
WHERE TO STAY
WESTIN SIRAY BAY
The friend I was traveling with had a lot of hotel points from work travel, so we were able to stay at the Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa. A resort like this in America or the Caribbean would be way out of the average traveler’s price range; however, Thailand is the perfect place to relax in luxury and not break the bank! The Westin has gorgeous views, delicious food, and convenient shuttles to downtown and the airport.
WHAT TO DO
Phuket’s charming Old Town is filled with colorful buildings and yummy food! My friend and I chose to wander, and see what we could find. But if you’re looking for a more guided experience, Mar at Once In a Lifetime Journey created a helpful map for a self-guided tour of the area. We stopped for lunch at Eleven Two & Co, an adorable restaurant with a gift shop attached. But don’t worry, no cheesy souvenirs here!
When you need a break from walking, stop at Thaivetro, an ice cream shop with colorful waffle cones and unique ice cream flavors. Catherine and I were in a hurry to catch our shuttle, so we walked and ate our cones which were messy, to say the least! If you have time, sit in the air-conditioned shop to finish your ice cream before exploring more.
Even though I visited in November, that’s Thailand’s summer season. To simply say it was hot would be an understatement! The perfect way to end our day of exploring was with a dip in the Westin’s infinity pool and dinner by the water.