Why Phuket Wasn’t For Me

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I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant to write this post. I didn’t want to come off negative or snobby, but I’ve decided to just come out with it: I really disliked Phuket, particularly Patong!! ?

As someone that’s usually very open-minded and optimistic when it comes to traveling to new places, I was really disappointed with myself when, after only 1 day there, I was questioning if Phuket would grow on me- especially since I was supposed to live in Patong for a whole month! So, I gave it a week longer, but this only ended up confirming my gut feeling. Here’s why…

  • It was completely taken over by tourists– everything from the attractions, activities, nightlife, shopping malls, etc. This made all the prices steeper, the beaches and streets dirtier, and the overall charm lacking completely.
  • I often felt unsafe– While on Bangla Road, the center of nightlife in Patong, I both witnessed and heard about numerous physical fights between tourists and locals for NO good reason. Plus, when the tourists went to the police, they were laughed at and weren’t even able to file a police report. The police are VERY corrupt here.
  • Authenticity was ruined by tourist traps– I felt like it was nearly impossible to have an authentic or cultural Thai experience here (whether it came to food, activities, scenery, etc.). Even when following TripAdvisor, the top restaurants paled in comparison to those I ate at in Koh Samui and Bangkok, and the activities were no different than any other beach destination in the world ( i.e. jet skiing, kayaking, etc.) I really only like spending my travel funds on unique destinations that have different experiences to offer, and this was something I couldn’t seem to find in Phuket.
  • The town is centered around partying– This is usually something I wouldn’t complain about because I always love having some drinks and a fun night out. However, Patong’s style of partying is the kind that makes you feel like you need a shower after. There were go-go dancers at every bar (that look miserable shifting their weight from side to side), “ping pong show” hecklers hollering at you as you walk from bar to bar (if you don’t know what this is, look it up??), and Thai prostitutes EVERYWHERE mingling with foreigners so old, they could be their fathers. You can find these kind of places pretty much anywhere in Thailand, but in Patong it was particularly overwhelming.
  • The “scenery” of Patong is run-down and dirty– When arriving here, I realized how incredibly spoiled I was by Koh Samui and Bangkok. The latter were so visually stimulating everywhere you went, and Patong was quite the opposite. Not only was it dirty, there was nothing new or beautiful about it, not even the beach. This was really disappointing simply because Thailand has SO MANY stunning destinations, so I felt as if I was wasting my time and money there.
  • Phuket is only a relaxing, “scenic” experience if you stay at an expensive hotel–  A nice hotel here offers you an escape from the madness and even access to nice private beaches in some cases (I can speak of this from my own experience since I spent my last weekend in a hotel.) However, these types of travel destinations aren’t for me- I like places where there’s so much to do and see outside of the hotel that you spend very little time in the room!!

There’s my super detailed list of why Phuket wasn’t for me. I don’t usually like to rant, I just don’t want anyone else to waste their travel funds like I did if these are also qualities that peeve you.

If you take my advice, I recommend skipping Phuket on your next trip to Thailand since there’s so many other beautiful and unique places to visit!

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THAT ALL BEING SAID….I’ve decided to spend the next 3 weeks in Krabi, Thailand instead!!! I arrived yesterday and I’m already so in love with this quaint little beach town. There’s so much nature to explore here and I CAN’T WAIT to hop around the surrounding islands!

In the end, I feel really thankful for my experience in Phuket or else I would of never ended up here! Everything happens for a reason!! ?

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The view in my new Krabi home: limestone cliffs!

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Ao Nang beach ?

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“Beach Road” along the sand

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My first Krabi sunset ?

0 thoughts on “Why Phuket Wasn’t For Me”

  1. Hi there,

    Thank you for posting honestly about Patong in Phuket! I’m meeting up with my family there for a week during April – which I’m sure will be fine as we’re staying in a lovely resort. I was contemplating staying on a bit after they leave, but after reading your post as to how Phuket differs from Krabi, I think I’ll move on elsewhere in Thailand instead. I absolutely loved Ao Nang, but I’d like to use my free time in April to see a part of Thailand that I haven’t been to yet. Do you have any suggestions? I’ve only been to Bangkok, Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi and Nong Khai before – so any suggestions other than those would be much appreciated!

    Thanks in advance!

    Ps: you have a truly fantastic blog! So wonderfully written and your photographs are phenomenal! So glad I came across it

    1. Hi Lise! Thank you SO much, that makes me so happy!! So glad you enjoy it 🙂

      Resort life in Phuket is amazing, regardless of where you go, so I agree, I think you’ll have a beautiful time!! I checked into a hotel in Choeng Thale, Phuket for a couple days before moving to Krabi and it was some of the most relaxing days I’ve had in Thailand yet!

      I have a couple suggestions for you- one that I’m REALLY passionate about, which is Koh Tao. It’s my favorite island/beach town in Thailand to stay on- the diving here is some of the best in the world and the beach town is so charming with great restaurants and bars lining the beach. Also, if you go make sure to visit Koh Nang Yuan for a day via longtail boat!

      Another island you could visit is Koh Samui (2 hours by ferry from Koh Tao), where I actually lived for a month, but this island had a more touristy vibe and the beaches weren’t as beautiful/diving was nonexistent.

      If you’re looking for a more cultural Thai experience, you could head up to Chiang Mai! But in my opinion, all you need is a weekend here to do all the best activities: elephant sanctuaries, temples, and night markets.

      Hope all that helps!! Feel free to ask any more questions you may have! I’ve been in Thailand for almost 3 months now so I have lots of recommendations and tips to give 🙂

      Best,
      Carly

  2. Hi Carly,

    Thanks so much for the reply and the great advice! I will definitely give Koh Tao a whirl and potentially Chiang Mai too!

    I appreciate the insight! Enjoy your time in Krabi 🙂

    All the best,

    Lise

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