Phuket

We stayed in Phuket town, which had good shopping and restaurants, interesting architecture, and easy access to day tours to Phang Nga Bay.

Day 1: Koh Lipe to Phuket

We took our last boat trip(s) today, from Koh Lipe to Phuket with a ½ hour stop in Koh Lanta on the way to change boats. We bought a Phuket transfer when we checked in on Koh Lanta. She took our photo for that. Good idea! We had to climb across another speedboat to get out on Koh Lanta, on the narrow strip below the windshield. The trip from Koh Lanta to Phuket was shorter than we expected. There was some confusion finding our ride; that’s where the photo came in handy. Our driver recognized us when we got to the meeting point. 

Our hotel — the oldest in Phuket — has a lovely traditional lobby and lounge. They have coffee, tea, juice, water, and snacks out for guests. The snacks were so tasty we bought some at a shop. 

The hotel is build around courtyards. There were pleasant open air seating areas on the upper floor. Some of the rooms don’t have windows, which is not uncommon for hotels in Thailand. 

We bought some contact lens solution for me since I’d run out and exchanged some cash. Easiest exchange yet at a desk in the back of a shop. No paperwork, good exchange rate. We had dinner at Kopitiam and booked a boat tour through the hotel. 

Day 2: Shopping

Today was about shopping and checking out the architecture in old town Phuket. We stayed right in town so everything was within a couple of blocks. I liked shopping here. There was a good enough selection without offering an overwhelming selection. We bought a few shirts, more elephant pants (and cat pants!), and a sarong. 

passionfruit cocktail

We took a break from shopping at the Phuket 346 Cafe on Soi Romanee where Steve had a craft beer and I had a delicious Passionfruit Freshy cocktail. It was so good we had a second round. Good people watching too. 

Here are some of the architectural details we saw. Plus the flowery photo shoot opportunity at the entrance to Soi Romanee. 

Back at our hotel we decided to have a couple of beers at the cafe downstairs. One thing about staying in a famous hotel (scenes from The Beach were shot here; it looks way better now): it draws people to take photos, like these two women who spent at least 15 minutes taking different shots of each other. We saw someone else set up a tripod and abandon their bags to take a photo in the intersection. We ate at Kopitiam again. 

Day 3: James Bond Island Trip

On our last day in Thailand we finally got to Phang Nga Bay, which I’d been looking forward to. I was not disappointed. It was beautiful. That took up most of our day. 

James Bond Island

We arrived back in Phuket Town to find the night market starting up. So we had a night market in Chiang Mai on our first night in Thailand and now in Phuket on our last night. This one had more room to maneuver. There were areas set up with benches and children performing. Jojo on the sax was very good and we donated some of our remaining money to a group of all ages playing traditional music. There were lots of food and craft stalls. Too bad we weren’t hungry! We finished the night with showers, drinks, and some preliminary packing before our flight to Singapore tomorrow. 

screen with paper lanterns
The hotel lobby had some beautiful screens separating different areas, and colorful paper lanterns. They must change the lanterns because when saw this hotel on an episode of House Hunters International the lanterns were red.

Essentials​

Lodging

We like old, historic hotels that retain their spirit and The Memory at On On Hotel does. Our Sewing (female) junior suite was clean, spacious, and nicely decorated. The front desk staff were stellar, even showing personal photos of a tour we were considering. The downstairs cafe is good for people watching. It’s in a great location right in old town Phuket near shopping and restaurants. Like stepping back in time. In a good way.

Dining

We ate at Kopitiam both nights. The food and the service were great and the atmosphere unfussy. We’d planned to try the China Inn Café next door but it was closed both days. We got donuts from John Donut that looked more interesting than they tasted. 

Transportation

We arrived by Satun Pak Bara speedboat from Koh Lipe by way of Koh Lanta. We bought a transfer to our hotel from the boat company. We arranged a taxi through our hotel to get to the airport. Our day tour picked us up from the hotel. Otherwise we walked; Phuket old town is pretty compact.