This is our part 2 of our Thailand series. To see our adventure of Bangkok click the link.
Getting to Phuket from Bangkok is a quick flight. Since Bangkok has multiple airports we managed to find the best route from (Don Muean-airport code DMK) to Phuket (airport code HKT) and this route was only 1 hour and 20 minutes on Nok airlines. Since we were going to a friends wedding the hotel and area where we were staying was already predetermined. Typically we like to find the places ourselves but it's nice when all of the pre-travel work is already completed.
We stayed in Phang Nha at Aleenta resort. While being at this beach resort was nice and secluded, it was pretty far from restaurants and other attractions. The beach in Phang Nha was well manicured and didn't have much debris.
Prior to our arrival in Thailand we ventured into Vietnam and stayed at another beach resort area in Da Nang(we actually stayed at three different resorts because we wanted to experience all three. In Vietnam, over Thailand, this is also a possibility due to the cheaper prices). So we compared the two and found that Da Nang was more luxurious and a better bang for our buck. See our post about Da Nang for the details.
Phang Nha is outside of the central part of Phuket, and requires a car to get into the main part of town. But once you get into town a world full of exotic open air markets, monkey feeding stops, and monuments awaits you.
The Great Buddah of Phuket
It's a big Buddah on top of a large windy mountain away from the town. After a bit of a drive up single lane roads (passing elephants on the side of the road), you get to the top of the mountain where the Buddah sits. There is a pretty decent view at the top of the mountain overlooking the ocean. The only thing there isn't much to do at this stop, except stop of a photo op or meditate (if you are into that). Although in the heat and humidity you might not want to sit very long.
One of the more popular stops on a tour around Phuket are monkey feeding stops. These are wild monkeys that sit and wait for people to come by and will take food. The stop that we went to there was a store where people could buy some snacks(human snacks not for the monkeys). But try telling that to hungry monkeys! The monkeys we encountered were large, about the size of a medium dog. They would naturally follow people around, waiting for a chance to get some food-or other item(purse, sunglasses, phone and you thought that racoons were little burglars!) We decided we didn't want anything to do with the aggressive monkeys and went back to the car after going to the bathroom at the stop.
While we were waiting for the rest of our group, we noticed one person who bought an ice cream from the store. The person walked back to their car and one of the monkeys started to follow them. After fifteen feet the monkey jumped on top of their shoulders. The person thought this was adorable and asked their friend to take a photo. While the friend was trying to take the photo the monkey lunged for the ice cream. The person didn't feel like sharing and tried to yank their ice cream away. The monkey found this incredibly rude not to share and bit them on the hand. The person dropped the ice cream at this point and let the wild monkey eat as much ice cream as it wanted. Moral of the story- don't mess with monkeys.
The best thing about Phuket easily is the open markets around the town. We visited two markets while we were there- one a little more tourist friendly with better quality food, and another huge market where you could buy everything from lobster to counterfeit Prada shoes. The open food market had some amazing dishes- everything from meatballs (I think they were meat...), to grasshoppers. So whatever you were in the mood for- beef to bugs- there was some options for you!
Phuket has a lot more things to see and do than what we experienced. Because we went to Phuket for a specific purpose and had dates blocked off, because of the wedding, we wern't able to see a few of the other well known sites before we had to catch a plane to return home. Because of this, this might've influenced our opinion about Phuket. We enjoyed the beaches and the resorts in Vietnam a lot more than Phuket and we were able to get more with less money. So if you have the option between the two we suggest Da Nang.