Phuket, Thailand: 5 unusual experiences to try are written by Jacob Gowland Jørgensen. Photo: Kristina Stalnionyte and the editorial staff.
Phuket: Everything you knew - and then everything you did not know was there
Phuket is without comparison the island in Thailand, which gets the most visitors, so here you can find everything. The biggest hotels, most restaurants, the wildest bars, the best shopping. Everything.
What may not be so well known is that there is quite a difference in the different areas and even on the beaches. Phuket Town is great for shopping and sightseeing, Rawai is great for digital nomads, Patongs Bangla Road for parties, and Bangtao Beach - Laguna for families with children. Just north of Phuket is also the Danish favorite Khao Lak.
And then there is all that occasionally. In the north and to the east there are far between the tourists and here you can find some gems. Phuket is a fairly large island and there are plenty of experiences for you who want to combine the relaxed with local experiences that you do not just find every day.
The editors guide you here to 5 unusual experiences on Phuket; all based on own travels, including as part of the 'sandbox' program in September 2021.
Make friends with a water buffalo at the Buffalo Hub in Phuket
The Buffalo Hub may sound like a reggae song, but it's a small place on the north side of Phuket.
Buffalo Hub is such a local and so sympathetic place that one can not help but love it. There is a family-run modest restaurant directly off the main street, and behind it is a farm with water buffaloes.
Originally, the buffaloes worked in the fields around, but now they are mostly on display, and then they have an important task of producing enough fertilizer for the natural gas for the restaurant. They make it directly in the field.
After petting buffaloes, you may be lucky enough to be allowed on a tuktuk trip to the beach, where they fish beach crabs directly from the beach in nets, where you can also be allowed to try for yourself.
The beach crabs taste really good when left at the restaurant deepfried, and it is all served with smiles and warmth of heart by the local family, who like to show pictures on the mobile of local sights.
The Buffola Hub is located in the area called Mai Khao up in the northern part of the island.
Get wiser to a dog life at Soi Dog
Visiting Soi Dog is not for the faint of heart. It is Southeast Asia's largest animal welfare organization, and they just started in Phuket up north near the Buffalo Hub.
Here, there are hundreds of dogs that somehow need help. Abandoned dogs. Street dogs. Sick dogs. Injured dogs.
But it is also a place that exudes positivity. Here there are volunteers who walk the dogs. Others are vets and dog sitters, and they are all here to make a difference for man's best friend, who sometimes has a really hard time, and that atmosphere and that effort make it a pretty unique place.
We visited the kennel with the 1-year-old dogs and they were clearly having a good time here. Although some of them were three-legged due to amputations, they ran around happy and had a dog life that was clearly better than if Soi Dog had not helped them.
Some are adopted away, but some do not go further than this.
Soi Dog also makes educational programs and works with local authorities to make life better for everyone; both two-legged, three-legged and four-legged. Among other things, they have helped to ban the trade in dogs that were to be used for human consumption.
If you can keep your eyesight out, you can see a real cage that has previously been used to transport dogs that were to be slaughtered for their meat.
Soi Dog is NGO work at its best, and it can be experienced up close here.
Eat seaweed-flavored seaweed at Baan Rimpa in Phuket
That there are wildly many different types of food in Thailand is probably not the big surprise, but that it is as mixed as on Phuket probably comes behind most people anyway.
Phuket, due to its location and status as a trade center, originally had a fairly mixed population with many Chinese, Malays and Indonesians, so therefore there is a festive combination of food here.
Traditional southern Thai food like Tai Pla with fish, chili and cashews is found side by side with mild Chinese dishes with marinated pork, Indonesian satay skewers with peanut sauce and food pancakes with curries.
However, we tried a dish that still stood out as the most unusual and at the same time incredibly delicious. It is a local form of seaweed that tastes like caviar and almost also resembles it. We got it on Baan Rimpa, which is a stylish restaurant at the expensive end, and which has a phenomenal view of Kamala Beach, which is one of many fine sandy beaches in southeast Phuket.
Another unusual place is the Krua Piang Pra restaurant, which is adjacent to a rehabilitation center and a forest with gibbon monkeys.
It is a local restaurant in the most cozy style and it has a nice view of the forest. To sit there and eat perhaps Phuket's best crab curry and drinking fresh coconut with the sounds of the monkeys in the forest is an experience to be pampered.
It's definitely hard to find bad food on Phuket, so find some local places and throw yourself into something new and be happy.
Hop on a trip to 1936 at Toh Daeng Vintage Dining
Up in northern Phuket there is a rather unique little place. In 1936, a local tin producer built this beautiful colonial-style house, and today the descendants have created a B&B called Baan Ar-Jor Boutique Homestay and one of the area's best restaurants: Toh Daeng Vintage Dining.
The tin production was one of the reasons why so many Chinese people came to Phuket at the time, and the cuisine is a festive mix of the southern Thai and southern Chinese cuisine, where there are beautiful dishes, informal settings and a taste of the taste.
It's a pretty cozy place, and it does not look like much else in Phuket, so if you want to dream back to the old days, this is an obvious place.
Find the secret beaches of Phuket: Freedom Beach, Paradise Beach and Nai Harn
Of course, Phuket is also about beaches. There are really many of them and they are quite different.
Of course, you can easily find Patong Beach, Karon Beach and Bang Tao Beach, but also try to go hunting for the small secret beaches where it takes a bit to get there. Not because they are completely secret and they are close to the other beaches, but there is a completely different atmosphere on the smaller beaches.
We can definitely recommend going to Paradise Beach, where there are beautiful rock formations and lovely water, and quite festive in the evening.
Freedom Beach is completely undisturbed, and our own favorite is Nai Harn Beach, which is located in a bay all the way down south, and where the water is calmer and the atmosphere at sunset absolutely amazing.
No matter what type of beach and atmosphere you are in, there is always a place right for you on Phuket.
All the practicalities of traveling to Phuket
Thailand's official tourist site tells quite exactly what the rules are now for entry and travel around the country, and it is constantly updated, so always check there, and use their chat feature if you can not find it.
For example, the requirements are often relaxed, so that at present. only have to stay 1 day at a self-selected SHA hotel before you can travel to many other places in Thailand, and there are also clearly fewer tests before we had on the journey. Most places in Thailand are now also open to Danes - it is no longer just Phuket and the southern islands.
You must be aware that everything is thoroughly checked by both the airline, transit country and the Thai tourist authorities, so you must have control of all the paperwork from home, and remember to print it as well, incl. eg evidence of vaccination and testing.
Ifht. return journey, be aware of whether your airline or transit country requires a new corona test. It is quite likely, so if in doubt we would recommend having a pcr test done before departure.
You can also always get help in our travel community.
Phuket can do more than you think
So look forward to going to Phuket.
For Phuket is also the shopping-friendly Phuket town with its colorful streets.
There are also fine temples with a very special tranquility.
And it is also unique street paintings that tell about life on the island in Southern Thailand.
Good trip to Phuket, good trip to Thailand.
The trip to Phuket was arranged by the Tourism Authority Thailand. All positions are, as usual, the editorial staff's own.
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