Doing Your First Phuket Holiday Right: 5 Things to Know Before You Go

Thailand has many tourist destinations that attract hundreds of thousands of travelers each year. One of these destinations is Phuket, known for its beautiful beaches and crystal blue waters. Foreign or local, tourists flock in droves each year to Thailand’s largest island to see its beauty first hand.

If it’s your first time traveling to this island paradise, you might want to check out Traveloka’s tour packages to Phuket. It’s a good way to save some money and time since you’ll book your flight tickets and hotel room in one go. For other travel tips, check out our list below about some of the things you need to know before going on your first holiday to Phuket.

Kamala Beach Is Popular, but More Congenial Than Other Well-Known Beaches

Phuket is a beach bum’s wonderland, with long stretches of white sand beaches, sandbars, and surrounding gorgeous islands. The most popular of these beaches are Patong, Kata, Karon, and Kamala, and as such, you’ll find some of the best hotels, restaurants, and bars in these tourist-favorite locations. For a quieter, more family-friendly setting, however, consider going to the last of these—Kamala Beach. It usually doesn’t get as crowded as the other three, which is perfect if you have children who want to run around or who get antsy with big crowds. The clubs are also far enough away from the beach and most hotels, so you’ll have plenty of peace and quiet.

Kamala beach in Phuket (หาดกมลา), by Tuderna, wikimedia commons

Kamala beach in Phuket (หาดกมลา), panoramino by Tuderna, wikimedia commons

The Island Isn’t All About Beaches

Phuket is definitely a haven for beachgoers, but it isn’t just about the sand and sea. The island is also teeming with cultural, natural, and historical charms. For one, you can visit the sparkling white, 45-meter-tall statue of Buddha sitting on top of Nakkerd Hills. Seeing the towering Buddha statue is an experience in and of itself, and it also comes with the bonus of having a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape.

Phuket is also known for Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. Here, you can see elephants roaming around freely, interacting with their fellow gentle giants. If you visit during mealtimes, you may even be invited to help prepare the elephants’ food. There’s also an observation deck where you can watch the animals take a bath in the lagoon.

Thailand Phuket Elephants_panoramio, by Scorewith German, wikimedia commons

Thailand Phuket Elephants_panoramio, by Scorewith German, wikimedia commons

For those who want to explore Phuket itself, you may want to walk around Phuket Town. The charming neighborhood has plenty of preserved heritage buildings, which bore witness to Phuket’s heydays as a tin mining town. Over the years, artists have also filled Phuket Town’s walls with murals and artworks. You can see some of them on Thalang Road, Phang Nga Road, and Krabi Road.

It’s a Great Place to Disconnect

Internet connection isn’t too much of an issue in Phuket. You can find plenty of restaurants and cafés that offer free Wi-Fi, and your hotel will most likely have a Wi-Fi network as well. However, the speeds tend to be slower when compared to other city centers. It’s as if the island is telling you to turn off your devices for a bit and do something else than looking at a screen. Indeed, Phuket is a great place for you to disconnect, relax, and just appreciate the beauty of nature.

Nai Harn Beach, Phuket, Southern Thailand, taken by Wolfgang Holzem, wikimedia commons

Nai Harn Beach, Phuket, Southern Thailand, taken by Wolfgang Holzem, wikimedia commons

It Has Awesome Spas

Phuket isn’t really a shopping destination. There are street and night markets, of course, but you won’t really be able to shop till you drop here. Better leave that for when you visit Chatuchak and Siam Paragon in Bangkok. However, what’s great about Phuket is that it has a lot of great spas so you can relax even more. From a simple foot massage to a luxurious full-body Thai massage, from aromatherapy to hot stone massage, you’ll surely be utterly pampered. Body scrubs, hand treatments, manicures, and pedicures are also popular services in Phuket spas.

It’s a Foodie Destination

Thailand as a whole is a foodie destination, and Phuket is no different. It’s just that the beautiful beaches and islands often overshadow other aspects of this paradise. With that being said, Phuket is a veritable foodie haven. Not only will you find places that serve traditional Thai dishes and Phuket specialties like por pia and mee Hokkien, there are also a lot of international restaurants on the island. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian, and even Turkish restaurants dot the streets and beaches of Phuket. If you’re also interested in preparing your own Thai food, you can even find cooking classes in Phuket. These usually come with market tours so you’ll know how to pick the freshest ingredients.

Phuket is one of those destinations that will make you come back again and again. There’s something that will appeal to any kind of traveler, and you’ll see it for yourself once you finally visit. Book that trip today, and experience the paradise that is Phuket!




Happy Chinese New Year 2016!

Chinese New Year is a popular festivity in Thailand since there are many people with Chinese ancestors in Thailand. Actually, it is supposed that over half of ethnic Thai today are descendants of people who migrated from southern China about 1,000 years ago. In Thai, Chinese New Year is called ‘Wan dtrut jiin’ and it is also known as the Spring Festival.

Chinese New Year 2016

This year, Chinese New Year is on 8th February, this is when the year of the monkey begins.

Year of the monkey 2016 (photo: savingstips.com.ph)

Year of the monkey 2016 (photo: savingstips.com.ph)

The monkey is connected with the elements water and metal. Whereas water is connected with wisdom and danger, metal is related to gold and fortune. Thus the year of the monkey is supposed to be a year of financial events, flux and change. This also means that things can be accomplished but mainly by individual and personal efforts. Hence, this year might also be a good year to break free and to follow one’s passion and heart’s desire.

In Thailand, the centre of the Chinese New Year festivities are Chinatown on Yaowarat Road in Bangkok and Phuket Town. For instance,  the Old Phuket Festival takes place in the old Sino-Portuguese quarter of Phuket Town every year.

The shrine at Thien Fah Foundation during Chinese New Year. Samphanthawong District, Bangkok, Thailand (photo: Lerdsuwa, wikimedia.org)

The shrine at Thien Fah Foundation during Chinese New Year. Samphanthawong District, Bangkok, Thailand (photo: Lerdsuwa, wikimedia.org)

Traditionally, families clean their houses in order to get rid of any misfortune and bad luck so that there can be a fresh start into the new year. Hence, they make way for incoming luck and this is also called ‘Spring cleaning’.

On the eve of Chinese New Year, families have supper together and feast on Chinese dishes and delicacies like duck, chicken, pork and sweets. The night is ended with fireworks and on the following morning, children greet their parents by wishing them a happy new year. The children will then receive the so-called lucky money in red envelopes which are called ‘Ang Pao’. Usually, the married people will give money to the unmarried who are mostly younger people and children.

Lucky money in a red envelope

‘Ang Pao’ Lucky money in a red envelope

During the Chinese New Year festivities, the Dragon and the Lion dance are the most popular highlights. In particular, the dragon is supposed to bring good luck since he is believed to posses qualities like power, fertility, dignity and wisdom. Thus, the longer the dancing dragon is, the more luck and power he brings to people.

Chinese New Year decorations and the Merlion statue, Sentosa, Singapore (photo: wikimedia.org)

Chinese New Year decorations and the Merlion statue, Sentosa, Singapore (photo: wikimedia.org)

Finally, I’d like to share with you this entertaining video about 10 facts you might not know about the Chinese New Year 🙂

I wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!  (‘I wish you wealth’)

Yours, Sirinya




Singto Numchok – Thai Singer & Ukulele Player

Singto Numchok (Numchoke Tanud-rum) is a well-known singer and ukulele player who grew up in Buriram, Thailand. His musical style is similar to that of Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and Bruno Mars. Hence, he combines cool jazz sounds with beach surf-rock and pop into a crossover style. He is known for creating feel-good songs 🙂

Singto Numchok*

Singto Numchok*

Singto Numchok’s Story

When he was in this teens, Singto had to leave school and work in a factory because his family was very poor. At the factory, he would play the guitar during lunchtime. At that time he felt very much inspired by the singer Beau Sunita who encouraged him to pursue his dream to become a famous musician. Hence, a fire was lit in him and he decided to realize his heart’s desire.

Singha Tooe, as he is also called, knew that he could achieve anything if he truly pursued his aim. He did not belive in chance or luck. Thus he took his fate into his own hands trying to make the most of himself and his talents. At the beginning of his artist career, Singto and his friends performed their music at pubs but they were not very successful. Eventually, Singto joined the band Mono and recorded two albums with them. However, their songs were no hits either.

The famous Thai singer & ukulele player*

The famous Thai singer & ukulele player*

Nevertheless, Singto would not give up, he loved being at the beach and performing music there. Hence, he left the band Mono moving to Phuket. There he recorded his first album called ‘Singto Numchok’ in 2010 with the record label Pollen Sound. His first single was called ‘Yoo Tor Loet Dai Mai (Can I Stay)” and this song combines soul rhythms with pop.

Apart from playing the guitar, he also tried the ukulele and became very popular playing it. Thus, Singto won the big prize at the first Thailand Ukulele Competition. He received a B16,000 ukulele 🙂

He also released an album named ‘Sticky Rice’ in English since Universal Music liked his music too. This album should sell internationally since he has also performed at music festivals overseas, for example in Japan and Hawaii. Thus, today Singto is also known as an artist in other Asian countries like Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines. In addition, his music is loved in Hawaii because of its surf-rock vibe.

What is more, he produced some popular covers of all-time favourite and classic songs like Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour and Marvin Gaye’s What’s going on. Up until today he has also cooperated with many renowned artists like Joey Boy, Palmy, Stamp and Mr . Lazy, for instance. Recently this year, he perfomed even in London at Thai Square Trafalgar Square.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ywy-3uS8dSc

Summing up, we may say that Singto Numchok is a thoroughbread musician with an unique laid-back style and an affable personality. He sees himself making music his whole life and that is what he really wants to do.

Yours, Sirinya

*photo credit: Singto Numchok, FB page




Happy Chinese New Year in Thailand!

Chinese New Year is a very popular festivity in Thailand because there are many people with Chinese ancestors in Thailand. In point of fact, over half of ethnic Thai today are descendants of people who migrated from southern China about 1,000 years ago (source: Wikipedia). In Thai, Chinese New Year is called ‘Wan dtrut jiin’ and it is also known as the Spring Festival.

This year, New Year is on 19th February, this is when the year of the goat begins. The festivities last for five days from 17th to 21st February.

The year of the goat is supposed to be a harmonious and calm year. In fact, I was born in the year of the goat 😉 Hence, I hope this will be a lucky, harmonic and successful year for me too!

Chinese New Year

goat-year chinese new yearYear of the goat

Centre of the New Year festivities in Thailand are Chinatown on Yaowarat Road in Bangkok, Phuket Town and Chiang Mai.

chinese new year thailandLions in front of Siam Paragon Bangkok

Celebrations in Thailand & ‘Lions’ in front of Siam Paragon in Bangkok (photo credit: Bangkok Post)

Traditionally, families clean their houses in order to get rid of any misfortune so that there can be a fresh start into the new year. Hence, they make way for incoming luck. This is also known as ‘Spring cleaning’.

On the eve, families have supper together and feast on Chinese dishes and delicacies like duck, chicken, pork and sweets. The night is ended with fireworks and on the following morning, children greet their parents by wishing them a happy new year. The children will then receive the so-called lucky money in red envelopes which are called ‘Ang Pao’.

Lucky money, red envelopeRed envelope for lucky money

Usually, the married people will give money to the unmarried who are mostly younger people and children.

During the New Year celebrations in Thailand, the Dragon and the Lion dance are the most popular highlights. In particular, the Dragon is supposed to bring good luck since the Dragon is believed to posses qualities like power, fertility, dignity and wisdom. Thus, the longer the dancing Dragon is, the more luck and power it brings to people.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) invites everyone this year to visit Chinatown in order to celebrate the Lunar New Year at Yaowarat.  The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration wants people to learn about the history of Yaowarat road on 19th and 20thFebruary 2015. Tomorrow, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the opening ceremony at Chalermphrakiat Gate, Odeon Circle, Yaowarat Road.

chinese new year thailanddragon chinese new year tourism authority of Thailand

Dragon Dance (photo credit: Tourism Authority of Thailand) 

Finally, I’d like to round off my post by sharing with you a recipe on how to make Rice Cakes for this occasion 🙂

Along these lines, I wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!  (‘I wish you wealth’)

By the way, the Thai New Year (Songkran) takes place in April 🙂

Yours,

Sirinya