FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Phuket: Dream Getaway

by Kristy Alpert

Jan 1, 2019
January 2019

IT’S NOT EVEN 9 A.M. in the sleepy fishing village of Rawai on Thailand’s famous Phuket Island, but already the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea swarm with local fishermen casting their lines and releasing their nets from the bows of rustic long-tail boats. The scents of lemongrass, incense and sweet pandan leaves season the air as the villagers slowly rise from their beachside bungalows to start their day. In just a few more hours, the fishermen will return with their catches, filling the stalls of the iconic Rawai Seafood Market with buckets of shellfish and displays of fresh filets. Visitors line up each afternoon for the catch of the day, selecting their fish with care before hauling their purchases across the well-worn road to the restaurants opposite the market to have the fish cooked for 100 Thai baht per kilo.

The average day in Phuket starts and ends on the beach, where villagers and visitors alike spend hours enjoying the slow pace of Thailand’s largest island and its nearly 25 miles of public shoreline. Only a short, one-hour flight from Bangkok, Phuket’s numerous national and international flight options make it an easy addition to a business trip in Thailand or even neighboring countries. If you’re looking for nightlife, Phuket has you covered, as it’s become known as Thailand’s party island. But it’s not just bars, clubs and EDM festivals in Phuket; the island offers many chances to kick back and enjoy some much-deserved rest and relaxation.

Sri Panwa

Sri Panwa private pool villa © SRI PANWA

Phuket consists of one main island — separated from the mainland by the Chong Pak Phra channel at the northernmost point of the island — and a series of several smaller islands that add about 27 square miles to the total size of the destination. The main island’s rolling hills give the densely forested landscape an exotic flair, where hilltop restaurants and hotels offer vantages once reserved for the birds. Find some of the best views of the sea at Sri Panwa, a luxury boutique hotel perched in the hills of the Cape Panwa peninsula at the southern tip of the island. Many of the family-owned resort’s villas and estates offer panoramic views of the sea, but a handful even offer uninterrupted 300- degree views of the Andaman Sea and the surrounding islands. The villas are modern and fresh, designed to feel like private homes, with surround-sound entertainment systems, wraparound plunge pools and chilled-out décor perfect for lounging in between adventures around the island.

The resort’s stunning location and stylish décor made it a favorite among leading musicians, fashion icons and business legends, including Robert H. Burns, Chef Gordon Ramsay, David Rockefeller, Rita Ora, Flo Rida and the royal family of Thailand. The resort’s 10 dining options feature everything from authentic Thai flavors to sushi and even local favorites like Chinese cuisine and hotpot. The resort’s iconic Baba’s Nest is also the most requested sunset viewing point on the island, where reservations are mandatory and often book up weeks in advance. This sexy and stylish rooftop bar offers 360-degree views. Here guests sip on high-end Champagne or craft cocktails at the plush lounge pillows and low tables nestled inside the border of a black-bottomed infinity pool that seemingly drifts into the sunset each night.

Baba’s Nest rooftop bar © SRI PANWA

Baba’s Nest rooftop bar © SRI PANWA

Days spent on the island can include a round of golf at the Phuket Country Club or at Red Mountain, shopping for luxurious silks or pearls, or even taking a cooking class with a local chef. Sri Panwa’s chef offers a cooking class on site, but Pat’s Thai cooking classes prove a favorite for many who want to be able to recreate their favorite Southern Thai dishes like tom yum goong and laab kai once they return home.

Adventurous souls can take to the hills for horseback riding excursions or mountain biking trips in the jungle, or stay closer to the city center for muay Thai boxing lessons at Tiger Muay Thai & Mixed Martial Arts. Phuket is also home to one of the last remaining virgin rainforests in the world, Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, where wildlife runs free and visitors can see langurs, barking deer, monkeys and even gibbons.

A guided walking tour of Old Town Phuket uncovers the lesser-known history of Phuket’s tin industry beginnings, explaining why so much of the city’s architecture shows influences from Chinese styles. The island’s top beaches offer a launching point into adventure; the most popular beaches include Rawai, Patong, Karon, Kamala, Kata Yai, Kata Noi and Mai Khao.

Visitors looking to soak in the sea may need more than a week to take advantage of all the aquatic offerings on Phuket, with countless sea canoeing excursions, scuba diving adventures, fishing trips, paddle boarding tours and more occurring throughout the day. John Gray set the standard for sea kayaking and canoeing around the islands of Phuket, and his highly acclaimed company, John Gray’s Sea Canoe, provides a range of full- and half-day and overnight sea kayaking adventures. His Hong by Starlight trip is a must-do while in the area, as it offers one of the only chances to kayak inside the caves and hidden lagoons lurking within Phang Nga Bay.

The trip begins with a guided kayaking tour inside the caves and lagoons John Gray himself discovered back in 1989, where guests take advantage of the low tides to navigate through the rock structures to enter into secluded blue lagoons for the chance to swim in the heart of Phuket’s craggiest rock formations. After a quick lunch on board, guests begin constructing their own floating kratong from flowers, which they will later light and launch from sea kayaks once the sun goes down during a beautiful spiritual ceremony on the sea.

Once the sun sets, Phuket really begins to shine, with great dining options and tons of fabulous night markets. The Chillva Market Phuket is the trendiest of the night markets, and its bohemian vibe attracts Phuket’s more stylish set for shopping and dining at its bustling market stalls.

Cooking class at Sri Panwa © SRI PANWA

Cooking class at Sri Panwa © SRI PANWA

Some of the best restaurants in the city do not offer Thai food, as they are run by celebrated chefs from around the world, including Chef Daniel Isberg’s Home Kitchen Restaurant in Kalim that doubles as an art space and features some of the most innovative culinary creations on the island. For more local flavors, restaurants like Kan [email protected] and Ka Jok See have become favorites for both locals and visitors with discriminating taste. Kan [email protected]’s laid-back vibe fits in well with its cool Chalong Bay location. The name “Kan Eang” literally translates to “easy-going.” Its indoor and outdoor seating provides the perfect backdrop for the restaurant’s menu of classic Chinese-Thai seafood and traditional Thai cuisine. Don’t miss the tom kna gai or the Phuket lobster when it’s in season.

At Ka Jok See, made famous by its word-of-mouth recommendations, reservations have become compulsory due to its clandestine fame. The restaurant is unassuming, with thick wooden beam ceilings, low lighting and newspapers on the tables, but the Thai cuisine is second to none. Dishes are served Thai-style (for the entire table), and it’s not uncommon for guests to dance on tables, share meals and start conga lines once the early diners depart, making this one of the most unique and obscure fine-dining establishments in the city.

Although the day starts on the beach, it often ends on the beach as well, as the bright night stars shine down on the glittering seawater and shadowed beaches while the gentle breeze acts as a reminder to chill out while standing on the shores of this dreamy destination.

Phuket Info to Go

Most guests arrive at Phuket Airport, the secondbusiest airport in Thailand with more than 100,000 flights arriving each year, although it is possible to drive in on one of the two bridges that connect Phuket to the mainland over the Pak Phra Strait. The best time to visit is between December and March, before the hot season starts in April and after the wet season ends in November. ATM machines are widely available, but note Thai ATMs eject cash before returning the card.

Where to Stay in Phuket

JW MARRIOTT PHUKET RESORT & SPA This beachfront resort is ideal for families traveling with kids, with 248 rooms and 13 suites, including numerous family suites with private pools. 231 Moo 3 Mai Khao, Thalang $$$

SRI PANWA PHUKET HOTEL This trendy 82-villa boutique luxury hotel, the top choice for the stylish set, features one of the highest-rated rooftop bars in the world. 88 Sakdidej Road, Vichit Muang, Chang Wat $$$$$

TRISARA Trisara translates to “third garden in heaven” in Sanskrit, and the 38 villas and suites spread throughout this tropical resort offer heavenly views of the resort’s private bay. 60/1 Moo 6, Srisoonthorn Road, Cherngtalay, Thalang $$$$

Restaurants in Phuket

HOME KITCHEN RESTAURANT The menu at this trendy restaurant, created by Swedish chef Daniel Isberg, features traditional Thai dishes and eclectic creations like rum-cured Wagyu beef carpaccio. 314 Phrabaramee Road, Kalim Beach, Pa Tong, Kathu District $$$

KA JOK SEE Arrive after 9 p.m. for the full experience at this authentic Thai restaurant, where celebrity sightings are as frequent as the dishes that keep arriving on the fixed-price (unlimited) menu. 26 Takua Pa Road, Talat Yai, Amphoe Muang, Phuket, Chang Wat $$$$

KAN [email protected] One of the oldest restaurants in Phuket, this seaside venue offers stunning views and the freshest seafood in town. 44/1 Viset Road Moo 5, Rawai, A. Muang, Phuket $$

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Nov 30, 2021

Energy Healers Join Spiritual Journeys at Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort

Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort’s acclaimed Anantara Spa incorporates indigenous practices from world traditions, offering signature experiences individually personalized. And now, two renowned healers, experts in holistic, natural approaches to healing mind, body and spirit, join the celebrated Ibu Jero, High Priestess of Balinese Healers, at the spa.

IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs

IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel

Daily
Nov 30, 2021

6 Reasons to Put Tulum, Mexico, on Your Travel List

It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Tulum with us.

November 2021
Nov 29, 2021

Get a Taste of Spirits and Sports in Louisville

While the lure of 10 tasting rooms along the only Urban Bourbon Trail in the United States (and the world) brings almost 19 million visitors to Louisville each year, business and city leaders have plans to grow the city to attract another type of visitor — the sports enthusiast.

Greece: Destination Culture

History and culture are etched into every corner of Greece. Beginning with its language, the oldest written language still in existence, and moving from the traces of passing civilizations and religions to pre-historic findings and works from many movements, there’s a wealth of culture to discover on your next trip to Greece.

Daily
Nov 29, 2021

Hawai’i’s First-Ever Sippin’ Santa Pop-Up Debuts at Prince Waikiki

This holiday season, award-winning oceanfront hotel Prince Waikiki will partner with Miracle Bar’s Sippin’ Santa, making it the first time the state of Hawai’i has hosted a Miracle Bar pop-up. The hotel will turn its outdoor space into a tiki-themed winter wonderland furnished with both classic and Hawai’ian-inspired holiday decorations. The exclusive holiday cocktail event will be open Dec. 1–31, daily 4–10 p.m.

eFlyer Reviews
Nov 24, 2021

Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1 Review

If you’ve ever dreamt of experiencing the good life of Florence’s great families — but in a modern context — Antica Torre di Via Tournabuoni 1 more than fulfills the requirements. The former private villa in its newly reinvigorated state (completed during the pandemic) offers a full-on Florentine immersion, whether you are traveling on business, pleasure or some mix of both. The location (the physical and cultural center of Florence) and the mid-13th-century building’s conversation-starting pedigree (built by the Guelf-Ruggerini family and owned by the Gianfigliazzi family) are two of the most important selling points. However, it’s what the current management has done to make the property relevant to 21st-century travelers that makes it worth checking into.

The Future of Hamad International Airport

Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.

eFlyer News
Nov 24, 2021

The World’s Top 10 Cities for Art and Culture Lovers

Research conducted by money.co.uk reveals, out of 40 global cities reviewed, the 10 best cities in the world for art and culture lovers, with four of the top 10 located in the United States. The rankings factored in the number of art galleries, museums, monuments, street art and architecturally notable buildings.