We do a series on “Places We’ve Loved” and Phuket won’t make it. Did we have fun there? Yes, we had a lot of fun. But if you’re trying to decide where to spend limited time and money to go we wouldn’t recommend Phuket. The towns are very noisy, crowded, chaotic and filled with fume-spewing traffic. Maybe we didn’t get to the right places, but in our experience you couldn’t wander around pretty little streets and enjoy yourself. It was more likely that you’d be melting while trying to avoid getting run by over a scooter.
Phuket has long been known as a free wheeling party town and still is. We aren’t party gals so that may have also been an issue. But if you don’t think the word “party” is a verb and do think “clubbing” is something people shouldn’t do to baby seals, and you find yourself in Phuket, you might enjoy the same places we did!
So what were those places? Glad you asked. One was the Phuket Botanic Garden.
We weren’t even aware that this place existed but a driver we’d hired for a couple hours from our resort, the Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, took us there. We had hired him to take us to a batik shop Brunette read about before leaving home but that proved to be a briefer stop than anticipated. Frank (the driver) offered to use the remaining time to take us to some other places he thought we would enjoy.
Although the heat was brutal and the humidity gave even bald people a bad hair day, we managed to eke out sweaty enjoyment from the garden. Perhaps it was their modesty that kept our expectations low causing us to be more satisfied than we might have been otherwise.
They were right – it was sufficient and that isn’t a bad thing to be! There were lots of beautiful flowers, areas devoted to specific themes or types of flowers and fountains. If you have about 45 minutes to an hour that you’d like to spend somewhere peaceful and pretty go to the garden. The admission price is 500 Bhat apiece for adults or about $17 USD when we were there. (OK, this is where we confess we thought it was cheaper than that!) Hmmm…. it was still nice , just see!
Aside from the horticultural specimens seen above there were two unusual items we still recall with a smile.
The only problem was that the heat was so overwhelming that is was very hard to get Brunette to keep her clothing on.
The second place we’d recommend is the Wat Chalong, a Buddhist temple with wats (other buildings) and a brick firecracker oven that could be very alarming to anyone with PTSD or actually, just anyone. So be prepared for loud noises occasionally! (Not the same kind as you may produce after a couple days of eating Thai food.)
Apparently there’s a Buddha bone in the temple but we didn’t make the effort to locate it. This is actually the #1 rated attraction in Phuket on Trip Advisor and that’s where we (belatedly) found out about the bone possibility. As we would have had to enter the temple and climb stairs we probably wouldn’t have chased the bone down anyway. If you plan to enter the temple you should be dressed appropriately and leave your shoes outside. If you wear $800 shoes…oh never mind, if you wear $800 shoes you should be able to afford losing them!
If you visit these places on as hot a day as we did be sure to have your cool down plan ready! Ours was to get back to our resort ASAP and into the Andaman Sea and the pool. Although it’s only fair to warn you that the sea is so warm it isn’t necessarily refreshing. You may want to stop first at an ice machine and pour a bucketful of ice down into your bathing suit.
Who else provides you with such in-depth cultural information and helpful personal tips?