Thai villas in Phuket

A Massage and Spa With a Difference

Phuket mandara spa

Part of a tourist itinerary is to have a SPA experience in Phuket together with that whole rejuvenating experience. Some of them try the exotic Thai massages, foot reflexology or even a fish spa where you have tiny fish nibbling at your feet that is soaking in a fish tank! Odd but true and it is said to be a great skin cleanser.
Thai massage is also very much a part of the Thai culture and way of life, which is why you see so many massage parlors all over the place. Some of them are good and some average.

There are the high-classed ones such as expensive spa resorts and then there are the cheaper ones found in shopping centers and shop lots.
However the most unusual and one that you have to look out for is the services offered by a blind masseur. They are a little more difficult to come by but the experience is really a lot better than that performed by a normal masseur. It is said and known that a blind person has sensitive hands, which means that they are more able to “spot” problematic areas compared to a normal person.

Thai villas in Phuket

If you have joint or back aches, give a blind masseur a try. Problematic areas are normally more painful during the massage

therapy but you can be assured that you will come out feeling a whole lot better after the massage. There is a choice of full body massage or foot reflexology with a basic shoulder and neck massage. You also have a choice of using a medicated cream or the more exotic therapeutic essential oils. Prices vary from the type of product you wantthem to use. An average price starts at THB250 for a 2 hour session for a body massage and THB150 for a 1 hour foot reflexology and neck as well as shoulder rub. A blind massage is great for those sore and tired muscles after exploring Phuket Town or taking one of those all day sightseeing trips. It can also be addictive once you feel rejuvenated after every session.

Fisho spa phuket

Another unique experience is a fish spa. You can often spot these spas at massage therapy outlet that have a huge fish tank or pool in front of their premises. Inside that tank you will find hundreds of tiny fish. The method is to soak your feet in the tank for about half an hour. While you are soaking your feet, the fish will get on with their work. What they do is nibble at the soft old skin tissue that have been soften by the water. This removes the top old layer of epidermis leaving the new skin underneath. It can be a ticklish sensation to have the fish nibbling at you but the results do show a big difference to the condition of your feet! The half hour therapy cost around THB150 or around USD4.
These are just some of the great things you can do that are inexpensive, enjoyable and yet unique to your travel experience. It is also a great way to spend an evening out trying different things on Phuket Island!



The World Is Your “Oyster” in Phuket


Oyster | phukettatler

Phuket being an island is naturally surrounded by the freshest of fresh seafood. Any where you go on the island, you will find offerings of cooked, grilled and all manner of seafood dishes on the menu. Now, how about trying something a little more adventurous? Provided you are an oyster lover!

Take a walk along the beaches of Phuket, or have a stop-over at any of the beach lay-by stations. The lay-by is a great place to sit and relax with ready parasols, deck chairs and off course the many vendors. Before long, you will have a vendor coming up to you offering to sell a tasty morsel or two of fresh seafood. Most of them offer grilled large prawns, steamed mussels and deep fried crab but among some of these vendors are the ones who specialize only on fresh oysters.

Yes, that aphrodisiac food of the Gods, that is claimed to perform wonders for the libido! The only thing is, the size of these oysters. They are approximately three times the size of the average oyster! Don’t discard the thought of trying it just because of the size, you might actually be pleasantly surprised. If you are thinking “Oysters that size must be tough and strong flavored!” .  Well, think again!

These oysters, cultured along the shores of the Andaman are actually mild flavored and succulent. Unlike their western counterparts they are consumed with lime and a

Oyster @ Acqua Restaurant

special flavored fresh herb that makes the taste pleasant and sensational. The secret is the flavor of the oyster itself. There is the natural sea salt taste within the oysters attesting to their freshness. Off course some of them are too large to swallow whole but biting into them does not taste unpleasant. The lime and herb gives it a perfect combination of flavors unlike the traditional oyster, lime and Tabasco.

These oysters are also really cheap. Vendors sell them for around THB100 for 4 pieces, now where in the world can you eat four oysters that size for below USD3? They come already cleaned and shucked ready for eating. The experience of eating these oysters are only found in the islands and at seaside locations of Thailand, so it is truly a once in a lifetime experience if you have the opportunity to try them.

The availability of these oysters are seasonal, and available only when it is not the rainy monsoon season. So depending on your travel time to the island, if you happen to see these vendors do stop by and give it a try. You can always have a nice cold beer to go along with the oysters and who can blame you if later you are feeling a little frisky for attention! There is nothing like lazing by the beach, a cold beer in hand and feasting on oysters, every travelers dream come true. And all this at an unbelievable price. What a tale to tell when you get home!


Phuket Wet Market Experience

Phuket Wet Market
Phuket Wet Market Photo by

Most travelers who come to Phuket are subject to the usual sights, sounds and experiences of a typically commercialized holiday. Why not for the sake of a different experience try out for a day, the average life of a Thai. They say, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” likewise when in Thailand to do the same. There are many unexplored activities and places to go that is often overlooked by a tourist. These places, most often than not, are discovered by the backpacker traveler who travels on a shoestring budget.

When you are in Phuket, make it a point to get up early one morning. Instead of having your breakfast in the hotel take a ride down to Phuket Town. Seek out the morning wet market. It is the main market of the island and starts early from 5am till 11am. You may think what can you find in such a place that is probably smelly and disgusting. Well, you just might be surprised. Thai wet markets, unlike other Asian markets are fairly well kept and almost clean.

In the Phuket Town wet market, you will have a great opportunity to see the plethora of fresh produce, catch of the day, food stalls and even small vendors selling clothing and gift items at a bargain. This place presents a perfect opportunity for you to look into the lives of a typical Thai. Bring your camera along for some great and interesting photo shoots that you will not find elsewhere.

Since you have not had breakfast, there are plenty of vendors who sell local delicacies, snacks, noodles and other home cooked dishes. So instead of the usual hotel breakfast, you can have a great time binging out at these food stalls that are not only cheap but absolutely delicious. One thing you will find in common with these stalls is that most of the dishes are freshly prepared and cooked in front of you! So that is yet another travel experience for you to encounter!

Phuket Wet Market
Phuket Wet Market |

Try out the spiced fried fish cakes that come with a sprinkle of deep fried basil and a piquant chili sauce, all hot off the frying pan. Or for a change to a western breakfast, have a bowl of Thai noodles with home made fish balls or even a curried crab and sauce. You can even find typical Thai desserts not found in the hotels or restaurants. A must try is the steamed pumpkin accompanied with a coconut milk sauce, quite similar to a pumpkin pie without the pastry crust. There are grilled meats galore, all eaten with sticky rice. Very much a meal in itself.

There are also vendors who ply their trade from different provinces in Thailand. One of them are the people from the province of I’Sarn in north-eastern Thailand which is very near the Cambodian border. Their specialty is the spicy pork sausage called Sai Kot I’sarn. They are easily recognizable from the long rolled form almost like a set of coils! Made of pork marinated with spices, they are grilled or fried to perfection. Sometimes the vendor cooks the sausage in front of you and the aroma is mouth-watering to say the least. You can purchase them by the 100 grams or if you feel really hungry, go ahead and buy the whole roll. They are not expensive at around THB250 or USD8 for the whole link which is more than a kilo worth! Served with fresh cabbage and bird eye chili, you can chalk this one up for a unique Thai experience!



Surin Islands

surinislandThere are several places with the name “Surin” in Thailand, however the one that is of interest is the Surin Islands in the Andaman Sea which is actually close to the Thai-Burma sea boundary. The Surin Islands comprise of 5 other islands that make up the chain of Surin Islands and the area is a designated national marine park known as the Mu Koh Surin National Marine Park.

Surin Island accomodations are limited to a few holiday bungalows and most hotels are located in Phang Nga or at Phuket.  A favorite Surin Island activity is camping. There are endless beaches with clear white sand and enough shelter for you to set up camp around the island. Though amenities are spartan but you can bring your own basic necessities. It is advisable that if you want a good camping spot, to bring your own tents and equipment as the rented equipment is located in areas that are not as striking in comparisons. Since the whole area is a marine reserve, other marine activities such as the usual Motorsport types are not allowed in the vacinity.  Surin Island tourism is primarily eco-tourism where there are mostly liveaboard packages to tour and sight see the Surin Islands.

The five islands making the whole of the Surin islands are Koh Surin Nua, Koh Ri, Koh Kani, Koh Klang and Koh Surin Tai. The word “Koh” means island in Thai sometimes called “Ko” for short. If you prefer the comfort of a nice bed and fairly modern amenities but do not expect luxury, some of the holiday bungalows are suitable. There are also government bult camping lodges where there is a daily basic cafeteria, canteen and toilets for the visitors. The cafeteria does serve up some good fresh seafood for those who are not able to cook while on the island. To really get to know the Surin Islands try one of the Surin Island tours where you will be taken around the islands to great snorkeling and diving spots. After all, a trip to the Surin Islands is not complete without a Surin Islands adventure tour such as visiting the sea gypsy village (the Chao Lay tribe), jungle trekking in the rich and lush green jungles to observe the wildlife and to see the sea tortoise on Koh Surin Tai.

As the Surin Islands are free from commercialism, anyone who would like to make a trip to the islands are advised to get in touch with the Tourism Authorities of Thailand or book a Surin Island tour package through a bona fide tour agent. There are several package types available. Some include accomodations, stay-on-board tours, day tours or scuba and snorkeling tours. The popular Surin Islands things to do are all based on mostly scuba diving and snorkeling. There are many bays and reefs with rich coral and marine life for all levels of scuba divers. Do make a note that the islands are open to the public on from the months of November to May. Rest of the year it is closed due to the monsoon season.
Some of the interesting things to see in the Surin Islands can be accomplished when you take a boat ride around the islands to observe the beautiful sunset at strategic points along the island shores and some of the places to go on Surin Islands include Luk and Mae Yai bay where snorkeling and diving is highly recommended, Mangkong Bay where you can find large lobsters, the three other smaller islands have remarkable coral tables and reefs as well as marine life. One notable naturally occuring phenomenon on the Surin Islands is the rich phosphorus in the water that iluminates in the night giving off a floourescent effect on the sea surface. This is a unique experience for those fortunate enough to see it and definitely a rare travel experience when you visit the Surin Islands.



Similan Snorkeling Tour

Similan islandThe word “Similan” for the group of islands in the Andaman Sea off the coast of   Thailand  actually derived it’s name from the Malaysian side of the border. In the Malay language “Similan” or rather “Sembilan” meant the number nine as there are nine islands in this chain. However, the word “Koh” means islands in the Thai language so to sum it all up, Koh Similan means nine islands. The view of these chain of islands runs from the direction of north to the south in the Andaman. The whole are of Similan is a dedicated marine national park which is the reason why development of the islands are kept to a minimum and this place is still very much a paradise lost and a diver’s Shangri-la.

The main Similan Island tour is based on the marine activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling. Getting to the Similan Islands are by speed boats which will bring you to the main island of Miang. On Koh Miang you will find the small town center where hotels, restaurants and National Park office is located. There is also a tropical forest on this island where you can do a spot of exploring and can be considered one of the Similan tourism things to do. If you are lucky, it will not be hard to spot monkeys, squirrels, a rich variety of migratory birds and the illusive gibbon. Miang Island is also the start off point for the smaller islands where the peak of the Similan activities happen.

As Similan is a mere 84km from Phuket Island, you will find a majority of the visitors to this great paradise are day-trippers. The Similan Islands are noted for the clear waters, excellent diving locations and white sandy beaches where even snorkelers will have a great time. Marine life is in abundance and though there are many tourist who flock here the large area of the place makes it seem as though you are the few visitors. So it comes as no surprise that a Similan holiday includes a Similan snorkeling tour among it many Similan things to do itinery.


Snorkeling in Similan is a highly recommended activity for those who are not used to diving gear. There are day trips as well as overnight trips where you can live aboard on a cruise boat that comes fully equipped with snorkeling equipment, meals onboard and a guide that will bring you around. Spending a night out at sea in the calm waters of the Andaman among the islands is a great outdoor adventure and few places can rival that of the Similan Islands. The Similan Island tours will bring you to Koh Payu, Koh Ba Ngu, Koh Payan and Koh Hu Yong as well as Koh Similan.

Similan snorkeling will yield many species of marine life including sea garden eels, leapord sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, trigger fish as well as shoals of wrasse and other smaller fish. There are also an abundance of corals such as seafans, brain corals and table corals that can be seen in the shallow waters. Other Similan activities include rock climbing, trekking and of course lazing by the many beaches!

It is recommended that you book a Similan Island tour in advance as the islands are only accessible during the off-monsoon season of April to November. Similan tour bookings can be done through a tour agent or agent site and there are many Similan snorkeling packages available from Similan halfday snorkeling trips to Similan fullday snorkeling trips and Similan liveaboard snorkeling trips. Departure points to the islands are from Phuket and Khao Lak or Miang.

So if you want to visit one of the few paradise left where there is still so much to see and experience in nature, very much untouched by man and spend a great adventure holiday …make sure you put the Similan islands on your travel wishlist destination!



Phuket Fantasea Show

Activities in Phuket

There are few places that can be dubbed an entertainment island in the world and Phuket Island off the Andaman coast of Thailand is just such a place. Compared to all the other islands in Thaland, Phuket is the one that stands out the strongest in terms of entertainment and activities. Phuket tourism is one of the most successful and visitors flock by the groups everyday to indulge in sightseeing, tourism and adventure activities.



Phuket Fantasea Show

Among some of the Phuket things to do while you are there is to visit Phuket Fantasea which is rated as a one-off-a-kind entertainment theme park in the world. The opulence of the decor within the whole theme park is based on traditional Thai culture and myths, intricately woven with state-of-the-art technology in entertainment and entertainment facilities. The vastness of the dining venues can accommodate guests by the thousands at one sitting, not to mention the amusement park, shopping and off course the theater with casts including real elephants and a whole menagerie of other animals in supporting back-roles to the human cast.
Phuket Simon Cabaret Show1Another Phuket entertainment that is a must see is the “ladyboy” Vegas style performances of  The Simon Cabaret show. You will not be disappointed by the performances of the casts helped along by a great sound system, beautiful costumes and stage settings as well as some really good scripts. There is also the Niramit theater which offers an epic style traditional cultural performance.


Apart from these entertainment features on the island, Phuket sightseeing includes many other interesting activities that are sure to keep you preoccupied during your stay on the island. One of the famous landmarks along the Phuket coast is “James Bond Island” which is actually Phang Nga Island. You can either take a cruise to this island bay or kayak there and while you are there, check out the limestone cliffs that give the island it’s unique shape and explore the many caves along the cliff walls. Other Phuket adventures include a safari tour by elephant or white water rafting through the rich jungle eco system on the island.
phuketIf you are more into Phuket sightseeing holiday then take a ride into Phuket Old Town. This is notably the historical and cultural district of the island. In Phuket Town, if you take the time to look around, you will find that it is unlike other typical Thai towns. The island has actually preserved many of the heritage houses, where rather than knocking them down to make way for new buildings, they are repaired and refurbished to give this town it’s quaint charm and tradition that is not only Thai but also Chinese by nature. Visit the many shophouses, cozy little cafes and museums as well as the many entertainment outlets that light-up in the evenings.

Bring out the party animal in you and experience a touch of  Phuket nightlife at Soi Bangla. Here you can hop from club to club in the Patong beach district. Drinks are cheap and go on all night. There is everything from techno to jazz and rock and roll. Occasionally you would find a famous guest DJ spinning his stuff and your feet tapping away to the rhythm while the seabreeze is keeping things cool. It is the place for music, drinks and girls galore so if you feel like a wolf running wild on a full moon night here, go right ahead and howl away…no one is going to notice the difference!

Part of the Phuket excitement includes live sessions of Muay Thai, or better known as Thai kickboxing. You can take lessons or if you rather watch the action, head on to the Muay Thai arena where there are daily kickboxing sports demoonstrations for spectators. Muay Thai is a form of self-defense art that is a combination of boxing and kicking. It is a graceful albeit lethal art of self-defense learned by youth and handed down generation by generation. To have the full impact of this self defense art, it is recommended you watch a live performance!

Other Phuket where to go places include of course the many temples and the famous Phuket Town landmark, The Phuket Big Buddha.This iconic and revered statue is venerated by the Thai and Chinese buddhist who live on and visit the island. It is located in the Nakkerd Hills right at the top, but easily accessible by tour coach, taxis or cars. There is also a good view from the top of the hill. Other Phuket tours you can indulge in while on the island is a visit to Wat Chalong.  A “Wat” means temple in the Thai language and did you know that in total, 29 temples exist on the island! That will keep you fully occupied just visiting temples!

As Phuket is an island, there are also the usual beach and marine based activities you can indulge in such as scuba diving, snorkeling, watersports, sea fishing and sea cruises to the many nearby islands. There is no shortage of marine parks to visit where there is a plethora of rich marine life including beautiful corals and clear emerald green waters to swim in. Those who want a little more adrenaline pumping action can try water-skiing, jet-skiing, para-sailing and the ultimate…cliff and rock climbing. So watever your fancy and interest, Phuket Island will make sure you fulfill them all. Only question is, do you have all that time to spend on the island? But no worries…you can always keep coming back for more!


Phuket Simon Cabaret

Phuket Fantasea vs Simon Cabaret

Much as we would like to make a direct comparison between the two venues on Phuket Island it would be very much like comparing an apple to a pear. There is a vast disparity between the two as both have very unique highlights about their performances and type of venue. Where one is a whole theme park, show, shopping and dining venue the other is pure showmanship performances and both are just as popular as well as “must see” attractions while on Phuket Island.

The Phuket Fantasea show is more than just a normal cultural show per se. The whole area of the location includes an amusement park, a shopping area, a massive theater, theme park and several restaurants. Whereas The Simon Cabaret show is very much a Vegas style performance but performed exclusively by the transgender community or better known as “Ladyboys”.

Phuket Simon CabaretPhuket Fantasea tour starts with the Legend of Kamala that is the basis of the whole theme park cum theater. It is a legend and ancestral story about elephants and the traditional Thai way of life, their beliefs and history. An overview of  The Phuket Fantasea experience includes a cultural theme park with state of the art technology showcasing modern re-enditions of Thai culture and traditions in a theme park setting that include the theater, restaurants, shopping etc. This is followed by the Palace of the Elephant theater which is a Vegas style theater giving the impression of a massive intricately designed ancient temple/palace with extraordinary scenes and performances. There is also the Fantasy of a Kingdom show depicting a cultural show inclusive of illusion acts, pyrotechnic fireworks displays, acrobatics and elephant performances. These shows have moments of laughter, quietness and outright special effects such as rain,firework explosions, laser displays,great costumes as well as stage settings that will be sure to put each spectator in awe. The only set back is that no recording equipment such as handphones, cameras or video recorders are permitted inside the theaters. Be thrilled by a great performing cast of human actors as well as animals in supporting roles such as elephants, buffaloes and even chickens!

Phuket Fantasea ShowNext up in the Phuket Fantasea itinerary is the Golden Kinaree Buffet restaurant which sits on a golden pavilion on a lotus lake, decorated in the style of an opulent traditional Thai building with soaring roofs and gold decorations interspersed with typical Thai statues, guest are treated to traditional Thai royal dishes prepared by the finest traditional Thai chefs in the region. There is everything from starters to desserts of the kinds served to royalties in the past and now brought to the guest to experience. Alternatively the Suriyamas Seafood Buffet restaurant offers traditioanl Thai and International seafood fare as well as other delicacies but the speciality is the grilled dishes with the many varieties of dipping sauce to go along with it.

Other Phuket Fantasea things to do include the Carnival Village shopping street,decorated in the style of historical Thai architecture, visitors can indulge in a shopping experience for a variety of quality goods and watch skilled craftsmen at work while their kids can spend time at the Similan Adventure Center which is themed like an underwater world that is full of games and interactive machines to keep them occupied. Adults can also spend their time there at the open bar watching the acrobatic bartenders strut their stuff or enjoy a dance with the vibrant techno music available. There are also street performances, parades similar to a mardi gras, carnivals and elephant rides galore for visitors of all ages leading to the Songbird Luminarie.

Comparatively, Simon Cabaret show is no less extravagant in their setup, costumes and performances. Though it lacks the space and expanse of activities as opposed to Phuket Fantasea, it does not mean it is any less of a first grade attraction on Phuket Island.This is one show where the performers are even more glamourous than actual women and they look is next to flawless! If you want a truly entertaining evening full of laughter, good performance, a truly Vegas style showmanship then The Simon Cabaret show is a definate recommendation.

The Phuket Simon Cabaret entertainment includes intricate show setups depicting various era and regional settings that are accompanied with awesome costume designs, famous singer impersonations such as Tina Turner (actually these impersonations are surprisingly very good!), as well as a superb sound and lighting system. Off course the main attraction and leading phenomenon are the “ladyboy” performers of which Simon Cabaret is reputed to have the most pretty and good looking ones available in the performer’s market.

Among some of the Simon Cabaret show things to do while you are there to watch the performance is a peek behind the backstage curtains. Here, if you are lucky, you get to take a sneak peek tour of the dressing room for the performers where you can watch them do their make-up and dressing (off course the permitted kind!) prior to the opening show. After the performance the stars of the performance will have a photoshoot outside the venue whereby if you would like a personalized picture you can pay them a fee to pose with you.

All in all both venues are a great attraction on Phuket Island and also the most popular. The Phuket Fantasea tickets for the entrance and performance as well as the Simon Cabaret show tickets can be booked ahead and purchased from a travel agent or from the venues themselves. So in a nutshell, there is really no comparrision between The Phuket Fantasea and The Simon Cabaret show as each is as individual and unique in their respective specialty. Try to make it to both, it is truly the Phuket Island experience of a lifetime!

Article : Thaitourismguide

Some Whacky And Off Beat Things To Do On Phuket Island

Phang ngaIf you are bored of the usual things to do on Phuket Island and still have plenty of time to spare rather than lazing around on the beach and getting a tan, why not give these few excursions a try? They are unusual, fun and some what an adventure! You can go by bus, motorbike taxi (if you dare) or have the hotel get you a transfer to the location from your hotel.


Top of the list is drink till you drop! After all you are not drink and driving on the island plus the drinks are cheap and the place opens almost all night long. Which makes for a great excuse to party all night long. The drink is known as a “LaoBan”. It is a typically Thai concoction that is tasty and lethal. The sweetness of the drink is what makes it so easy to consume by the buckets and has a slow kick to it. It is a mixture of the local Thai whisky  “Mekong” with a mixer of Red Bull energy drink and soda water and heaped with lots of ice. Some outlets get carried overboard and have additional liqueurs and liquors mixed in for an added kick. It is very similar to the AK47 mix only that it has a slower reaction and leaves you with a real head throbbing hangover the next morning. The average cost per large bucket is only THB150 or USD5. Most bars and pubs have this as a staple on their drinks menu and to order it, all you have to ask for is the “LaoBan”!

Laopan picture from yaipearn

Having a bad hangover? Well, seek out a local barber shop if you need to tidy up with a shave and a haircut. By a local barber shop it is not meant to be a hair dresser or stylist shop but rather one of those old fashioned street barbers that still use the old shaving blade methods. Off course now they are very hygienic with disposable blades! These old timers can still give you the closest shave ever, plus a crew cut to keep you cool in the island heat. They also have the addition of an ear clean and neck rub in the process and all for the price of THB100 or USD3.50 for the service! These barbers are hard to find but if you are in Phuket Town, you will most probably come across one of them.


After all that and you are feeling charitable, why not take a stroll to one of the local temples that are in abundance on Phuket Island. This is not exactly a temple tour but rather one for merit. Most of the temples have a practice of releasing either fish, turtles or birds for good karma and merit. If you are couple vacationing on the island, try releasing a pair of birds. They are supposed to bring good fortune and harmony. Or if you want good merit in your life, try releasing a turtle and some fish. These creatures can be bought in shops around the temple that have small lakes, ponds or are near the coast. Not all temples have them and is easy to spot which ones do from the vendors who sell these creatures along the temple gates.

There is a whole lot more things that you could do on the island, it is just a matter of seeking them out. The best is to get to know the locals. Some of them do speak English and may offer you a different insight into life on the island!

Article By Thaitourismguide