Frey in front of grey wall at Central Embassy

Article written by Frey

Having lived in Phuket for four years has meant hearing loads of comments of family and friends thinking I was living a beach bum life on a beautiful bounty island. Obviously living there, we made the best out of it. Isn’t that what this expat life is all about? However, being an expat is so different than being a tourist. This is not only true for Phuket, but for each and every place we go to. With that in mind, it is always fun to see a place with different eyes. So this week I will be sharing my favourite places to go on Phuket as an expat, and soon Joëlle will share hers, from a tourist point of view!

Frey on long-tail boat in Andaman Sea Phuket

Dive into that awesome blue ocean

Phuket has a dream coast to offer – especially when you visit the east coast! White soft beaches, turquoise water, towering limestone cliffs and beautiful palm trees for a bit of much needed shade.  Tourists and expats alike love jumping into this beautiful water – swimming, snorkelling and diving is definitely one of those things that you have to do while here.

The Andaman Sea is definitely one reason to come to Phuket. I love the period from December to April, when there are calmer seas and blue skies. What I loved to do best? Stand Up Paddling – or SUP in short! I just loved heading out on the water with my friends, and discovering so many nice places, little hidden beaches where we would stop and relax, and just quality time together, while exercising!

Walking into the sea to get ready to SUP

For those of you not familiar with SUP’ing – its a water super sport on which you stand on a wide surfboard and paddle around. The only thing you need is a board and a paddle and you can get going. This might not be as easy when you’re just visiting for the weekend, here comes in Skyla’s Surf & SUP Club. Located in front of Catch Beach Club at Bangtao Beach, Skyla offers SUP board rentals, tours (with an option to stay overnight) and even SUP Yoga! Go check them out next time you’re on the island. 

The Glorious food

Being in Thailand we all know how wonderful the food can be, especially the local food. In Phuket it’s no different – on every corner of the street you can find a place to sit down and enjoy the food. Some obviously better than others. So here are a couple of our favourites.

There are a couple of places I love to go to in Phuket. All completely different, but all definitely worth visiting. The first place that comes to mind is Lim’s Pop-Up Kitchen (previously Lim’s Restaurant). Lim’s is not like any other restaurant on the island. It’s a hidden gem close to Patong, yet very tranquil. And beside a restaurant it also is the art studio of Khun Kob (Alongkorn Poochamchote). Trained in political science, Khun Kob went in a totally different direction when he came to Phuket – as an artist and running a restaurant (he actually runs the kitchen, and is an amazing host). Khun Kob sets out in the morning to go the market and find the freshest ingredients for his guests. Making sure that he can offer his guests the best food. Because of this, and as its a very seasonal restaurant, make sure you make a reservation!
Address: 28 Phrabaramee Road soi 7, Kalim Beach, Patong, Phuket 81350  | Telephone: +66 76 344 834

Lim's Pop Up Restaurant in Phuket

Another place I love going to are the floating restaurants in front of Laem Hin Pier. Here you’ll find 3 floating restaurants – Bang Mud (halal – and so alcohol free), The Black Crab, and Kruvit Seafood. We loved going to Kruvit Seafood the best, Bang Mud was good too but sometimes you need a cold beer with your spicy food. The restaurants are made of a couple of floating rafts tied together, with little wooden huts built for shade. In the waters of the rafts you’ll find big nets where the fish and shellfish are swimming around until they get picked to be your dinner – you couldn’t get it fresher if you’d try! Besides the amazingly fresh food, the other reason to go here is the quick longtail boat ride over (always fun) and the amazing sunset you can see from the floating restaurant.

Floating restaurant Phuket during sunset

Have a beach of a time!

What is a visit to Phuket without going to the beach, am I right?And when living there its not different. While we lived at a perfectly fine beach, I usually like going to different place to relax and enjoy the day. There are loads of lovely beaches around the island from busy (looking at you there Patong Beach), to deserted (yes you can still find those), rocky (most beaches on the east coast) to pearly white sandy beaches (all of the beaches on the west coast).

Kamala Beach with surf boards on the shore

Like everyone I have my favourites. If it came to showing people a small, pearly white beach which really gave you the secluded feeling then I would bring people to Banana Beach. This beach is sandwiched in between Bang Tao and Nai Thon Beach and has a small local restaurant where you can enjoy a simple Thai lunch. We’d go there by long-tail boat (you can get there by car, but what’s the fun in that?), first snorkel at the rock formation just 10 minutes away, then enjoy the beach and a nice lunch at Banana Beach, before heading back home. It is just the perfect way to spend your day, really.

Long-tail boats in front of Banana Beach Phuket

But the beach I would probably spend most of my time was Bang Tao beach. This one is super long, and has something to offer for everyone. In the south part its busier with Bliss Beach Club, and the Laguna Phuket resorts along the way. I’d keep on following the road tho, and stop just before Layan beach in the North, where you will find Momo’s. A local, muslim Thai beach shack (that serves awesome Thai food) where you can sit on your beach chair (about 150thb for the day) in the shade of the huge trees that line the beach. Perfect to enjoy the day and  relax with friends and family!

Bang Tao Beach long shore

Pick your place

Whatever brand of hotel you’re thinking of, you’ll find it here in Phuket, and beside that there are also loads of local chains to pick from. Big, small, 5 star, no star, boutique hotels or AirBNB, you’ll find it all in Phuket.

As I lived on the island I never really spend a lot of time in hotels for the night. Still, I definitely have some favourites on where I’d send friends and family to. Staying with kids? Go to the Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa Merlin Beach. This place is super kids friendly, with several great dining options, pretty easy to reach, and close to Patong should you want to head out for an evening.
What I like most about this tho? That they are eco conscious, and involve the kids (and other guests) into this. For instance they have a house reef through which you can snrokel and get to know the marine life, just at their doorstep. But they also have a Butterfly Sanctuary, where you can adopt a cocoon and follow it on the webcam (should you have to go home before it pops) to see it flying out. How cool is that?

Butterfly sitting on leaves at Merlin Beach Phuket Butterfly Sanctuary

Want to go on a couples trip and don’t want to have any kid insight? Then The Pavillions Phuket is the place to be. This luxurious, but above all romantic resort is situated on top of one of Phuket’s highest points and overlooks Layan Beach. Besides the beautiful suites and private villa’s, they also have an amazing bar called 360 Bar. One of the best places to sit and enjoy a beautiful Phuket sunset!

Want to hear more of my favourite Phuket places? Let me know and I’ll be sure to share some more! 

One thought on “Expat tips for Phuket”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *