6 unexpected delights of Patong, Phuket
Do you need a splash of the exotic without the hassle of planning a big trip? With direct flights from Sydney or Melbourne, Phuket is always top of our getaway list.
A holiday in Patong offers the perfect blend of culture, cuisine and stunning beaches. You may have come for sun and sand, but we wanted to tempt you with a few 7travel Insider secrets we know you will enjoy.
1. Crystal clear waters
Thailand is renowned for it’s sparkling sea - brilliantly clear, and an aquamarine that beach dreams are made of. The water is deliciously warm, so you can jump in and float for days.
There is plenty of action at Patong Beach with an array of water sports or beach games on offer. Or find a spot to relax under the colourful umbrellas, just perfect for people watching.
If you want a little more peace on your patch of sand, find a secret slice of paradise only a 15 minute drive from the main beach, at either Freedom Beach or Paradise Beach.
Or why not make a day of it? Take a boat from Chalong Pier to Racha Beach or our favourite, Banana Beach at Koh Hey.
2. Shake it up at Chalong Bay
On your way back to town, make sure you plan a stop at the Chalong Bay rum distillery. You can take a tour to learn about the distillation process, join a cocktail workshop to impress your friends when you get home, or just sit in the gorgeous garden amongst the sugar cane field and taste.
The restaurant serves deliciously fresh Thai treats so bring your appetite too.
7travel favourite mix, the Spicyrinha:
1 ½ tbs. fine white sugar
1 oz. fresh lime juice
8 slices ginger
2 oz. Chalong Bay
1 red chilli
Directly in the glass:
Add sugar and fresh lime juice
Add ginger slices
Muddle, pour Chalong Bay, then stir
Top up with crushed ice
Press the chili to extract its oils before putting it in the glass
Stir well, and enjoy!
3. Phuket Old Town
With so much to do in Patong it’s tempting to stay local, but we strongly recommend taking a taxi to Phuket Old Town. Just a 30 minute drive, it feels like a world away from the beachside vibe of Patong. Here you’ll find pretty, pastel Sino-Portuguese shop-houses and colonial architecture, and a fusion of cultures including Hokkien Chinese and Japanese.
Try to go Sunday evening for the Walking Street Market, or Lard Yai. There’s every kind of food to tempt your tastebuds starting from only 20 THB, which is about a buck! We love the little coconut milk puffy pancakes, sticky ribs and fresh chopped mango. All served with a side of street art, live music and lots of colourful local culture.
4. Muay Thai – The Dance
Muay Thai is so much more than boxing. Each match starts with a ceremonial dance, the Wai Kru Ram Muay. Wai is a gesture of respect, the traditional Thai greeting with palms together; Kru is the teacher or guru; Ram is a traditional Thai dance; and Muay means boxing.
Fighters move gracefully around the ring, paying homage to their teachers and family, requesting blessings from Buddha for victory and intimidating their opponent. Each fighter’s Wai Kru is unique to their training camp and has been passed to them by their teachers.
The ceremony is accompanied by traditional Thai Sarama music – either a recording or at big events this might be performed by musicians playing Thai instruments similar to oboe, flute, drums and cymbals. The tempo starts slowly and has an eerie, hypnotic feel, and gets faster when the fight commences, becoming frenetic at key moments of the match.
Hotel Indigo Phuket Patong has its own Muay Thai boxing ring – check with Concierge whether they have any matches scheduled, or even better organise a personal Muay Thai training session.
5. Making Merit
Give thanks for your beautiful holiday by Making Merit. Get up early and head to Sai Nam Yen to give an offering or Sangkatan made up of useful items such as dried food, a light bulb and toothpaste, to the procession of monks who come down from the nearby temple each morning. In this beautiful buddhist tradition, good deeds, acts and thoughts make merit, a beneficial force contributing to enlightenment.
6. Making Friends
Thai people must, with a doubt, be the friendliest in the world. A smile, giggle and a willingness to help, will leave you with the warmest, fuzzy feeling you will definitely want to take home.
We recommend staying at The Hotel Indigo Phuket Patong, an oasis in the electrifying neighbourhood of Patong. We love the rooftop pool and 5-star facilities, with world class cuisine served 24 hours a day through the leafy Butchers Garden restaurant or room service, if you have developed an appetite out dancing.
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