If you are a tourist- you will love Phuket. If you are a traveler- you will hate it.
I would take being on a beach any day over being stuck in an office, so in that sense Phuket is great. The beaches in Phuket are lined with resort after resort. Many of the resorts will pick you up from the airport and make everything as easy as possible for you. This is great because it makes it very easy for families to visit Thailand.
However, if you came to Thailand to experience the true beauty of this country and the culture of the wonderful people in it, than Phuket is not for you.
After being in Thailand for over a month, Phuket was the last place that I visited. After seeing different places throughout the country I was taken aback when I came to Phuket. It is one of the most famous places in Thailand, yet, when I arrived I didn’t feel like I was in Thailand at all. Don’t get me wrong, the beach is beautiful, but it has become a very commercial place that is completely run on tourism and has lost it’s true identity.
After backpacking for five months, my friend and I decided to treat ourselves and stayed at a nice resort. It was a beautiful resort right by the ocean with a pool and a swim up bar. There was a delicious buffet breakfast every morning with omelettes, french toast and fresh fruit. The staff were very friendly and our room was gorgeous. We were very excited for this luxurious treat!
However, after a couple of days we found ourselves getting board just sitting by the pool. The waves in the ocean made the water too rough for us to swim in. When we would get back to our hotel room every evening we found that it felt empty and lonely.
We missed the excitement of meeting new travelers- like we would when staying in a hostel. We missed meeting adventurous people from different walks of life with stories to tell. It turns out, our king sized, luxurious bed didn’t bring us the same satisfaction as staying in a cheap, local hostel with fellow travelers.
There were no local restaurants around, all of them were tourist restaurants and with the prices to match. Instead of seeing Thai children running in the streets we just saw children who were vacationing with their families.
But we hadn’t given up on Phuket quite yet…