What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the words Phuket, Thailand?
A sun-drenched holiday destination in the Andaman Sea?
An exotic location for backpackers and surfers?
A fun and friendly resort for families?
A hedonistic zone for sex-tourism?
Well, I guess, when it comes down to it, Phuket is a combination of ‘all of the above’ and a whole lot more, which is perhaps why millions of travellers flock here each year.
When we first decided to include Phuket in our round-the-world itinerary, I must admit, I had my reservations.
As a couple travelling through what I understood to be ‘sex-tourist’ zone, I wondered just how accepting the ‘Ladies’ and the hordes of rampant middle-aged men would be of a female travelling with a partner… but after just an hour in this amazing resort, I realised my doubts were completely unfounded.
Firstly, Phuket is a huge island (approx. 50km long) with stunning beaches, breathtaking scenery, delicious dining options, and the friendliest people you could ever wish to meet – hence the name “The Land of Smiles”.
There are several larger resorts such as Patong, Karon Beach, Kata Beach and Ao Bang Thao, and while they all cater for international travellers, some areas are quieter and more relaxed, while other areas are a little more hedonistic – but that doesn’t make them unsuitable for female visitors.
If you are looking for peace, quiet and five-star luxury then you will find exactly what you are looking for at Laguna Phuket. Thailand’s finest destination resort with luxury hotels, spas, an 18-hole golf course and all the shopping and dining venues you could wish for – this is High End Phuket!
We stayed in the pretty sea-side town resorts of Kata Beach and Karon Beach, here you will find a lot of families (especially from Scandinavia), and honeymooning couples enjoying the fine sandy beaches, seaside restaurants and lively nightlife.
Then we come to Patong, often described as “The Hedonistic Capital of the World”, Patong really does live up to its reputation, but people often forget to mention the fantastic hotels and beautiful beaches this resort boasts.
There is an endless stream of Girly Bars with an endless supply of customers (especially if you head down Soi Bangla), but I can honestly say that I never once felt uncomfortable, threatened or embarrassed in any way – in fact, I had a brilliant time!
Heading down Soi Bangla with four guys (my husband and three friends who work in Thailand), was no easy task, but the girls and lady boys were friendly, the music was loud yet dance-worthy, and the drinks… well, they were expensive but plentiful!
I feel that Phuket is definitely misunderstood, and whether you are travelling alone as a single female, travelling with your partner as a couple, or travelling with your children as a family, I would have to say leave your misconceptions at home and go with the flow – you will be pleasantly surprised at what this gem has to offer!