Meet Ying Ying, our guest travel blogger. Join her on a virtual journey through her vacation.
Phuket can be said to be my favorite among the Southeast Asian islands I have visited so far! This trip felt perfect for a girls' getaway (also suitable for couples) - we did everything from hiking to the beach to enjoying active and relaxing activities. I was 100% satisfied with this trip's itinerary, so I want to share with everyone what we did in Phuket this time. If you love taking beautiful photos and want to balance adventure and relaxation, consider this article as a reference.
Phuket Itinerary Recommendations - Phuket Travel Guide for dummy.
Itinerary Recommendation - Island Hopping Day Tour
Sunset Yacht Island Hopping Tour - Honeymoon Island and PP Island Adventure (including dolphin watching, 8 hrs)
Includes: Snorkeling, kayaking, and water activities fees, lunch, onboard drinks and fruits, round-trip hotel transfers, insurance, professional guide (approximately 8 hours). Embark on a high-end catamaran to visit Maithon Island and Phi Phi Island, where you can enjoy exciting snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming. Experience the gentle sea breeze and admire the romantic sunset.
In Phuket, there are many activities and individual excursions available. I recommend doing some research and booking activities online in advance to make the most of your trip. In my opinion, a must-have on any island itinerary is 'sea excursions.' Typically, an island-hopping trip will take up a full day, and in the evening, you can complement it with a massage session. Usually, the yacht tours will be shared with other travelers who have made reservations. They manage the group sizes well, ensuring that the yacht doesn't get overcrowded.
You'll have a private transfer to the meeting point, and there, the guide will provide an introduction to the day's itinerary, available activities, and any important instructions. The tour typically includes onboard lunch, but I still recommend bringing some snacks and cookies from a convenience store as many of the sea activities can be quite physically demanding.
If you forget motion sickness medication, they usually provide it for free. You can also purchase disposable snorkel mouthpieces, but I personally think using the ones they provide is sufficient. Additionally, there are plenty of snorkeling equipment and sea-related items available for purchase.
The boat journey can be quite long, so I recommend bringing a portable charger (even though some areas may have poor reception), warm clothing, towels, snacks, and motion sickness medication just in case. You can save the medication for the return trip. Island hopping typically involves stopping at small islands for a few hours, followed by free time for activities such as swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and more. Our tour package for this trip included 'snorkeling, kayaking, and water activities fees,' as well as onboard drinks and fruits, round-trip hotel transfers, insurance, a professional guide, and lunch.
Yacht trips are an absolute must for capturing beautiful photos. Without a sea excursion, I feel like there's a missing element in an island vacation. Typically, a day at sea can be the most exhausting but also the most fulfilling day of the trip. It's often the part of the journey that leaves the most lasting memories for me. The yacht becomes the perfect backdrop for capturing stunning photographs.
Because there are several small islands to visit, after arriving at the first island, we often stay on the yacht initially. We wait for most of the passengers to disembark for water activities, and then we start capturing photos on the yacht. This is because, at this point, everyone is eager to get into the water, so the number of people on the yacht is at its lowest. Additionally, once you're in the water, your hair and makeup may get ruined, so it's best to take your beautiful photos before taking the plunge!
If you don't want to get wet while taking beautiful beach photos, you can paddle a kayak to get there. However, Phuket offers plenty of opportunities to capture stunning beach and seascape photos. The image above is from the beach outside the cooking school we visited on this trip, and it was incredibly beautiful!
The small islands off the coast of Phuket are all incredibly beautiful! The sea is crystal clear with shades of green and blue, and each one offers fantastic photography opportunities. On this trip, we visited Maithon Island, Phi Phi Island, and Bamboo Island. I absolutely loved the sea excursion we chose this time, as each island was incredibly stunning and perfect for photography.
After capturing photos on the boat, you can easily transition into snorkeling with a waterproof camera in hand. As soon as you get into the water, you'll encounter a multitude of fish. Sea activities are very safe as there are instructors nearby, and wearing life vests ensures safety. The water is also very clear.
Recommendation: Jungle Ziplining Experience
The Latest Attraction in Phuket - Hanuman World Premium Jungle Ziplining
Our experience included: 30 platforms, 16 ziplines, 3 vertical descents, 3 sky bridges, 2 sky walkways, 1 honeymoon skywalk zipline, skywalk, and roller ziplines (approximately 3 hours of adventure). For reservations, click here. When in Phuket, you can't miss the opportunity to explore the jungle, and one of the most thrilling ways to do it is through 'high-altitude ziplining.' It allows you to glimpse the pristine beauty of Phuket's nature while testing the limits of your courage. At the same time, you get to experience the beauty of Thailand! Hanuman World is the newest jungle ziplining destination, and it guarantees safety.
The 'uphill' part of the 'uphill and downhill' adventure is the jungle ziplining, which might seem scary but is actually not scary at all (and I'm quite timid). The speed is slower than you might imagine, and after experiencing it, you'll find that ziplining is quite safe and incredibly fun! It's a new experience that adds something unique to your life.
Towards the end, I even wished for faster speeds and longer distances. When you're in Phuket, I think jungle ziplining is definitely worth trying
Phuket Thai Cooking School - Phuket's Top Recommended Thai Cuisine Class
This program includes complimentary hotel transfers, learning to cook five popular Thai dishes, the cooked dishes for your lunch on the same day, a delightful breakfast, fruits, desserts, coffee, and beverages, colorful and easy-to-follow cooking materials, and the freedom to choose different special cooking classes every day (approximately 7 hours of experience).
In the early morning, the chef first took us to the local market to buy ingredients. While strolling through the market, the chef would attentively introduce the countless exotic ingredients, as well as the spices, sauces, and ingredients commonly used by local Thai people
Thai cuisine relies heavily on spices and herbs, and this was my first time visiting a traditional market in Thailand. It's quite similar to traditional markets in Taiwan, but everything felt so fresh and new to me. As someone who enjoys cooking regularly, I was brimming with inspiration and couldn't wait to try my hand at making Thai dishes myself.
The cooking school we attended is called Phuket Thai Cookery School. The classroom and cooking space here are incredibly professional, well-equipped, and clean. Just outside the classroom, you'll find a pristine white sandy beach and stunning sea views, making it a perfect spot for capturing beautiful photos.
We got to experience making five dishes in one go. Each day from Monday to Friday, they offer different combinations. For our class on a Thursday, we learned to cook Tom Yum soup, Yellow Curry Chicken, Pandan Chicken, Spicy Meat Salad, and Banana Steamed Cake.
The classes are conducted entirely in English, but the instructors speak excellent English, at a slow and clear pace, making it very easy to understand. They also provide beautifully designed recipes that you can take home. I almost forgot to take mine and had to rush back to get it (if only I had been this diligent with my college notes...).
They teach each dish step by step. The instructors explain each dish, demonstrate how to cook it, and then it's your turn in your cooking area to try it yourself. Actually, the required ingredients are all prepped for you, making the actual cooking process more enjoyable. Preparing and washing vegetables, getting all the ingredients ready, and such can take a lot of time in regular cooking, but in the cooking class, everything is ready for you. The proportions and quantities of seasonings and ingredients are pre-measured, so all you need to do is chop, cook, and plate. It's quite challenging to make something taste bad when everything is set up like that. The results are always delicious and make you feel accomplished!
After preparing each dish, you get to serve it yourself and enjoy what you've just cooked. It's a 'cook and eat' experience, and the mealtime is divided into several segments, which I think is great. It prevents you from overeating in one go, and I'm not exaggerating when I say this was the best meal I've had in Phuket!
The chef duo - both I and my friend loved this experience. Speaking of which, if I come to Phuket again, I want to come back here to learn Thai cuisine! Because the dishes you learn vary from Monday to Friday.
All of the dishes above were cooked by me! Even if you don't know how to cook, you can easily pick it up because the instructors are there to assist you at all times. Even those who can only make instant noodles can prepare a table full of dishes like the ones in the picture. It's incredibly satisfying and you can take lots of photos to show off your culinary skills!
You also get a graduation certificate! This experience program is really fantastic! It truly gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Massage Recommendation - Let’s Relax in Phuket
Let’s Relax is a very well-known and affordable chain of spas in Thailand. Whenever I go to Bangkok, I visit Let’s Relax for a full-body massage. It's a high-quality and exquisite experience with expert therapists. After the massage, they even serve mango sticky rice. The environment and professionalism of the therapists are top-notch. I can confidently say it's my top recommendation for Thai massages. However, due to its popularity, Let’s Relax tends to be fully booked. I recommend booking your massage treatment in advance when visiting Thailand. It's often difficult to secure a reservation for the same day, and sometimes even for the next day or the day after.
Massage Recommendation - Orientala in Phuket
This was my first time at Orientala, and on the last night of our trip, even after all the activities we did, we came here. In our tired state, I chose the 120-minute SENSATION treatment (15 minutes of steam, 50 minutes of Thai massage, 50 minutes of oil massage, and 20 minutes of foot massage), all for just NT$1,189. Orientala is also a highly luxurious spa!
At Orientala in Phuket, there are a total of four branches, so you can choose the one that is most convenient for you in Phuket. You can take a picture of the Thai address to show to the taxi driver. Once you arrive, you'll need to fill out basic information, specify the massage pressure, and highlight any specific areas you want to focus on.
Here's our itinerary for this trip:
Day 1: Fly from Taipei to Phuket (with a layover in Kuala Lumpur)
Day 2: Island-hopping day trip > Massage
Day 3: Jungle zipline adventure > Massage
Day 4: Thai cooking class > Massage
Day 5: Fly from Phuket to Taipei (with a layover in Kuala Lumpur)
Enjoy your trip to Phuket!