Thailand’s Hidden Gems
As Curated by Voyager Voice, Gabriella de Givenchy
Voyager Voice, Gabriella de Givenchy
Phuket is the mountainous, clear watered, paradise of an island, located just one hour south by plane from its cosmopolitan capital Bangkok. It is difficult to find where to start when trying to describe Phuket- for those of you who have been here before, you are already well seasoned experts of juggling the vibrant nightlife culture, the delicious but sometimes deceivingly pet (spicy) local food, the breathtaking beaches, and of course the numerous boat excursions to the likes of Phi Phi islands right at your fingertips!...Oh and the shopping (must mention that too!)
WHERE TO STAY...
When choosing your accommodation in Phuket, there are a few front runners to consider which offer so much more than just a place to sleep. The first of which is the most exclusive villas on Trisara, with views of the Andaman Sea from each room, Trisara’s location is unparalleled. The hotel offers both exclusive private villa rentals for larger groups as well as individual hotel suites. Another major draw to this hotel is the spa- their professional thai masseuses will make you float away to another dimension… And when you return to earth it is worth nothing their three delicious dining options available which are all located adjacent to their private beach. And, although the michelin star restaurant “pru” is worth trying, you will be drawn to their more casual “deck” restaurant which offers a range of delicious thai dishes and a life changing truffle pizza!
A newcomer to the phuket hotel scene is the Keemala, known for its imaginative and original design your experience in their “bird nest” room will be truly out of this world. Each room is surrounded by rainforest and views of the sea, the best view is arguably from the stand alone bathtub making it the perfect hotel for impressing your significant other with a romantic getaway!
WHERE TO EAT…
Food culture in Phuket has grown significantly in the last few years, stemming in large part from the influence of its ‘foodie’ capital Bangkok. Now you can find almost any cuisine, from fresh Japanese to Italian but make sure not to miss out on the local Thai food, which in my opinion is always the best!
One of my favorite Thai spots for dinner is the new Suay by celebrity chef Tammasak. This hotspot already has two locations in Phuket and offers signature thai classics such as pad thai along with new interpretations like their beef cheek massaman which is simply sooooo delicious!
Another spot that is a real treat is the japanese restaurant, Nama at the Amanpuri. Great for lunch or dinner, head here if you are in the mood for delicious sushi with a beautiful beach view... but beware prices are steep! A reservation is needed especially for peak times like Christmas and Easter…
I recommend going to the location in Old Phuket Town so that you can hit a few of the bars and check out some of the old-meets-new architecture. One bar I would recommend in particular is Ka Jok See, although you can eat dinner here the real party starts around midnight when the tables are moved to the side to make room for their signature Whitney Houston themed cabaret. Be warned, a hangover the next day is unavoidable!
For lunch try heading toward the beach to escape the heat. Catch or the new Cafe Del Mar (originally launched in Ibiza) are both great options with western and thai menus. After your meal rent a few sun chairs and spend the afternoon lounging and listening to the live music in the shade.
Lastly, if you feel like escaping your Villa/Hotel for breakfast there are a few spots worth noting. Artisans is a delicious and healthy breakfast spot where you can feel less guilty about last night’s thai curry indulgence by starting your day with an Acai bowl. However if you are craving a more hearty breakfast, Bake (which has multiple locations), are known for their pastries and coffee!
WHAT TO DO…
However there is more to Phuket than just the food. If you decide to spend the day on the island there are a few great areas to explore. The first of which is Boat Avenue which offers a great selection of shops, cafes and even a spinning studio called Absolute U. Some of the best shops here include: Uma and Leopold, a Balinese brand with beautiful dresses, shoes and bags. Wings, which offers great jewelry and accessories such as straw clutches and Marie France Van Damme where you can find beautiful high end resort wear. The other shopping location that is worth visiting is Surin Plaza near Surin beach and is home to my favorite store, Lola. They consistently offer a beautiful range of sarongs, swimwear, bags and jewelry, all in a fun array of colors.
To contrast its urban center, Phuket is known to be surrounded by some of the most incredible beaches which can be seen best by boat. If you do not want to stray too far, the incredible Freedom Beach is right on Phuket’s shores and offers beautiful clear blue waters and a tranquil spot for lunch halfway up the rocks. However, if you are up for more of an excursion the incredible Phi Phi islands are a must! Here you will find large pieces of rocks clustered together against beautiful clear turquoise water. As it takes about half a day to get there it is the perfect spot to bring a picnic and spend the day snorkeling and hiking the various rock formations.