If you follow our Instagram (if not, go do that RIGHT NOW) then you know we visited Thailand last August. I am also very much well aware that this post is ridiculously late but better late than never, right?
First of all, this was my first trip to Thailand so I was rather excited, Pipo had been to different parts of Thailand on work trips so it was not new to him. When we decided to visit, I of course spent days doing research on what part of Thailand we would visit and finally decided on Karon Beach on Phuket Island. Which in my honest opinion was a great decision! We absolutely loved it. We decided to stay at the Mandarava Resort and Spa which was heavenly. The rooms were impeccable and the staff were so friendly ensuring that we felt that friendliness that has made Thailand famous. Side Note: the resort had three separate pools, two of which had pool bars. Needless to say we spent EVERY afternoon we could at the pool bars enjoying their very generous happy hour.
Now let’s get to where to eat and what there is to do in Karon Beach. First of all as a tourist in Phuket it is almost impossible to find real authentic Thai food anywhere (well anywhere that is on the main roads that is), the restaurants all cater to what they think is the tourist palate which is bland with a capital B and lacking all spiciness or Thai flavour. So if you are a lover of spicy food like we are just avoid all the restaurants that line the beach road. Apparently all tourists hate spicy food except us. I am pretty sure all the restaurants we visited would remember me as the crazy black woman who kept begging for spicy food.
But before I tell you about the restaurants that you must all try because they were amazing, I have to tell you about the most memorable pad thai we had while we were there. Anyhow, fast forward to the first Tuesday we spent in Phuket, Pipo was down with a bout of food poisoning and I had to have dinner with or without him right? (of course I made sure he was okay first). So I decided to jump into a taxi and head to the weekly night market. After having a walk through all the amazing stalls (Remark by Pipo: why do I never get to eat insects under Dupsy’s supervision?) I saw the pad thai lady in her makeshift stand in the distance. Darlings, I felt like I had stumbled upon the holy grail! I knew that her food would be spicy from the get go simply from the fact that there were NO tourists in sight near her stand. I went up and ordered the most amazing and simple prepared prawn pad thai I ever had. As a dutiful girlfriend, I went back to the hotel and told a very sick Pipo all about the deliciousness I had just consumed, needless to say, we both were back at the stand the moment Pipo felt better.
That being said, I truly enjoyed several restaurants in Karon Beach hence I would highlight a couple. First would be the Chomtalay Restaurant at the Mandarava Resort and Spa. The staff alone made eating a treat, the service was impeccable. The food was great albeit touristified but alas they were probably catering to their clientele. Pipo loved the “Bananarama” banana honey shake they had, so for those who love bananas definitely give it a try. Their breakfast buffet was however my favourite simply because it had so many different choices that catered to everyone.
Second on that list would be the After Beach Bar (actually closer to Kata Beach). This bar and restaurant is located perfectly. Its on the side of a mountain with breathtaking views and sunsets to die for. Apart from that the food is authentic Thai food, filled with delicious spices that legitimately made us cry and sweat. This is not a fancy restaurant, its hope is to simply serve you delicious food with no pretense and for that it was welcomed. You can’t walk to this place so be ready to take a taxi or rent a scooter.
Now drinks, we are after all the #drunkadventurers. Karon Beach is filled with local bars strewn along the side of the side of the beach road and the main road. If ever in doubt, just pop into one of these and order the local beer Chang. However there is one bar I believe deserves worth mentioning. In case you guys didn’t know, I am currently pursuing my Master Degree in Switzerland and Pipo works in Switzerland so the brand Mövenpick is not new to us, actually I personally tend to avoid it because I see it so often but exceptions have to be made. MINT in the Karon Beach Square is the outdoor bar for the Mövenpick Hotel on the Karon Beach Road and basically we couldn’t get enough of it. MINT had a happy hour that we frequent almost everyday for two weeks because their cocktails were simply put amazing. Pipo loved their Piña Colada whiles I loved their Mojitos and Sex on the Beach. We frequented this establishment so often that we became friends with the staff who exemplified the definition of hospitality. MINT is a must visit.
Karon Beach does not make the entire Phuket so we decided to venture out to see what else Phuket Island had to offer and of course we were not disappointed. The Big Buddha and Wat Chalong are a must visit as well as Phuket Old Town. Talking about Phuket Old Town, be sure to visit the countless stores selling beautiful Thai silk fabrics. When you are exhausted from all that fabric shopping and have a sweet tooth do yourself a favour and visit A.dessert.moments for cute decor and according to Pipo amazing shaved ice cream. If you are like me who is more interested in the drinks menu visit Eleven Two & Co for very creative cocktails that incorporate local ingredients. If you love rum the way we do, take that tuk tuk or taxi to the Chalong Bay Distillery. This was one of the highlights of our trip because we got to see how local sugarcane is turned into rum and then try the differently flavoured rum (think lemongrass and Thai basil flavours) in a tasting afterward. We loved Chalong Bay so much that we bought a bottle of every single flavour and that’s saying a lot because we very much are rum snobs.
I didn’t forget the party animals amongst us. I am a social butterfly so wherever I go I love to experience the night life where I go mostly to my detriment. One night we decided to go visit the famed Bangla Road (kindly remember this an adult zone) and darlings, you can’t miss it. The night club we thoroughly enjoyed (and felt was the best in our opinion) was Seduction, the party never ended. To enjoy it further, acquire a table through bottle service (prices are quite okish) with newly made friends like we did and it would be a night you would never forget. When leaving you can grab some food with a street seller outside, who doesn’t love a kebab after a night out drinking?
Thank me later.