The charm of Phuket, Thailand lies in its idyllic, laid-back vibe. Cruising its streets, one can feel a sense of familiarity, as if she were transported to La Union or some unnamed beach town in our own archipelago. That is, until you go out for a drink and see the other side of the beach city—filled with tourists who are looking to stretch their dollar. That said, we suggest you steer clear of the crowds! Below, our suggested one-day itinerary to make the most of the city:
Perk up at The Old Phuket Coffee "Coffee Station"
Never mind the weird quotation marks in its name, getting caffeinated at this old-timer is like a, well, glimpse into the past. Rows of antiques and mementos line its walls, telling the story of coffee in the city. The neighborhood was once home to many Chinese businesses, so the architecture has that colorful Peranakan vibe you often see in Singapore.
Pro-tip: The store beside it sells the cutest bead bracelets and beachy accoutrements.
72/1 Yaowarat Rd. Tambon Talat Nuea, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat Phuket 83000
Pasalubong shopping at the Phuket Seashell Museum
Worshippers at the house of Prada will know that Miuccia brought back the puka shells for Fall/Winter 2017. Though the microtrend hasn't fully picked upsteam yet, we are a firm believer in anything she advocates and have seen it begin to trickle down. At this museum, you, ironically enough, enter through the gift shop, so you're free to get started on your haul even before you see some really large clam shells and a 40-karat unpolished pearl.
Viset Road Rawai Beach, Rawai, Phuket 83100
Cultural immersion at Wat Chalong
One of the most prominent temples in Phuket, Wat Chalong—formally known as Wat Chaiyathararam—is ornately decorated and dipped in a lot of gold. The temple is dedicated to monks who were believed to have possessed mystical abilities that saved many Thai people during the Chinese rebellion of 1876. Inside, you'll find many golden Buddha statues. Outside, there are no-frills tiangge where you can have your fill of Thai milk tea, pad thai, and red curry as well as sarongs, summer scarves, and elephant pants.
6 70 Chao Fah Tawan Tok Rd, Chalong, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000
Beachside views at Promthep Cape
Treat yourself to a panorama of the ocean and densely covered green islands at Promthep Cape. If it's not packed with twittering tourists, you just might be able to hear the sound of the waves lapping the shores below. There's also a shrine that's adorned with rows and rows of elephant sculptures, and you can purchase some incense or an offering, if you're so inclined.
Rawai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
Sunset cocktails at Baba Nest
Though a little out of the way, the Harper's Bazaar- and Conde Nast Traveller-approved Baba Nest boasts of its amazing view—the water on one side and dense greens on the other. As if that wasn't extra enough, it's a floating rooftop bar; let that sink in for a moment. Sip on a Sri-jito, its take on the mojito, while posing for an OOTD.
88/5 Sakdidej Rd, Tambon Wichit, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat Phuket 83000