Green-light that beach paradise dream: Phuket welcomes vaccinated travellers as Thailand reopens to tourism
The Andaman coast awaits, more pristine than ever before.
Among island destinations around the world, Phuket is one of the most beloved. With its stunning mountainous and coastal scenery, a generous raft of diverse activities, and that world-famous Thai hospitality, it’s easy to see why travellers return consistently to this slice of tropical paradise.
Small wonder then that Thailand’s largest island is leading the country’s reopening plans to international travellers. One easily finds welcome in that utopian palette of deep azure and emerald greens, with the tides and palms literally waving their greetings. And this early in the season, you just might have it all to yourself.
A DESTINATION FOR REJUVENATION AND ADVENTURE
Singapore has been chosen as one of the countries to enjoy quarantine-free entry to Thailand from Nov 1, 2021, right on time for the year-end holiday season.
Phuket and its neighbouring region of natural beauty present a compelling invitation. Why not find respite in the wellness sanctuary that is Amanpuri on the west coast, before exploring limestone caves or swimming in a picture-perfect lagoon in the Thung Tiao Forest Natural Park of Krabi? Or perhaps, you prefer an escape to boutique hotel The Racha, before seeking out the idyllic golden Nang Thong beach in Phang Nga for a leisurely afternoon of snorkelling.
BEACHES FOR DAYS
The plethora of beaches in Phuket alone can fill up a sunseeker’s bucket list.
The south side of Phuket is where all the action’s at, with Patong and Karon holding seat as the hub of activities, thriving from its good mix of expansive beaches with clear waters, exhilarating seaside sports, and assorted businesses and services. Off the main buzz, Rawai beach offers affordable and sumptuous grilled seafood, while Kata, Kata Noi and Nai Han see a revival of quietude with a 10 per cent vendor zone applied.
For more serene escapes, head to the northern part of Phuket. Kamala beach offers peaceful waters for swimming and is suitable for families and couples alike. Alternatively, visit Mai Khao, Phuket’s longest beach, a quiet stretch that is home to top resorts.
Break away from the mainland and find time to island-hop. Ko He is aptly named Coral Island for its underwater kingdom, calling out to divers, and over at Racha island, the car-free haven truly lets you get away from noisy distractions.
FOR PLEASURE OR PARTIES
Past the beaches, Phuket’s distinct identity also comes from its extravagant array of activities one can partake in. From the luxurious and scenic to the thrilling and historic, the iconic destination satisfies all sorts of holiday cravings.
Savour the beauty of the sparkling Andaman sea dotted with limestone islets from the balconies of boutique resort Six Senses Yao Noi, and wind down to yoga or massages both traditional and modern. For more quirky lodgings, one can do no better than the podded enclaves of Keemala. Here, you’ll stay in woven wood structures fitted with glass panels for you to gaze out at refreshing forest scenes.
You’ll also discover plenty of unique sights in the city centre. The region’s history has contributed to the city’s Sino-Portuguese architecture, including places offering authentic Peranakan food, and a walk through the heart of town will have you wrapped in vivid colours and unmistakeable character. When the sun goes down, the many bustling night markets beckon for you to sample their delectable platters of regional food. For the wild at heart, the electrifying night life at Soi Bangla, Beach Road and other scattered beach clubs around the island will not disappoint.
Travel takes us away because of what the world has to offer – interesting culture and sights to let us find novelty and be awestruck by exotic experiences. And Phuket presents its own menu of attractions that will take one’s breath away.
Atop Nakkerd Hill sits the Big Buddha, a thoroughly imposing 45m-tall alabaster statue that lets you tap into the spiritual energies of the land. Take in the sweeping views all around, set to the melodious soundtrack of tinkling bells. For other energising views, the southern Windmill Viewpoint boasts open views from a gazebo, while Laem Phromthep remains a favourite for its sunset views dipping into the picturesque peninsula.
To complete the holistic itinerary, contribute to the exclusive Gibbon Rehabilitation Project and come up close with these gentle and clever primates as you help aid in their recuperation. Witness their habitat with a hike tour by Como to Laem Krating, and journey through the deep green heart of the Khao Phra Teaw National Park.
Book early to secure your special rates, before peak season begins.