Exploring A Hidden Phuket Beyond Its Bustling Party Scene

Luxuriate in the quiet charms and spoils of the island with Amari’s Phuket Uncovered package

Photos: Weekender

Stroll by Patong Beach in the daytime and you’ll find yourself greeted by bronzed bods basking in the sun, sheltered by technicolour beach brollies.

By night, Phuket town transforms into a dazzling landscape of go-go bars, lady boy cabaret shows, clubs, live bands and international DJs.

Despite its famous party scene that has attracted everyone from frat boys to retired vacationers alike, there’s a wealth of quiet charm to be discovered in the rainforested, mountainous island in the Andaman Sea.

The stunning view from our Ocean Wing suite.

Beachfront beauty

This time, I found myself easing into a slower pace of life at Amari Phuket, a beachfront resort tucked at the secluded end of southern Patong Beach.

To put things into perspective, the beautiful resort space offers a total of 197 rooms, inclusive of superior rooms, deluxe rooms and suites, flanked by amenities like infinity pools, F&B outlets and more.

Getting around was a breeze, with buggy service available on demand for guests.

The sprawling resort gives new meaning to island living, especially with its new Ocean Wing where I had the fortune to nest in. The cosy suite features floor-to-ceiling windows, which illuminate the room with the warmth of natural sunlight.

At dawn and dusk, marvel as the sunset ripples into the sea — an unobstructed view from the private balcony.

Exploring Old Phuket Town.

Old town charm

Once I’d enjoyed enough of the creature comforts, I ventured out for a half-day tour of Old Phuket Town. The four-hour long walking trail was the unexpected highlight of my two-day, two-night stay.

The journey took us to cultural sites like the Thai Hua Museum, which is dedicated to recounting the history and efforts of the Chinese community in Phuket.

With a storied past — it had once served as a Chinese-language school — the beautiful Sino-Portuguese building now stands as a reminder of Phuket’s migratory story.

Like a history book gently unfolding before our eyes, our stroll down Thalang Road took us to textile shops, old-school printing shops and even Phuket’s oldest Chinese herbal medicine shop on 16 Thalang Road.

We also chanced upon South Wind Book, a second-hand bookstore brimming with the pleasant though musky scent of old books and other curiosities.

As we turned into Soi Rommanee, pops of pastel appeared. Here, colourful shop houses come to life with old trades juxtaposed by hipster cafes.

We made pit stops at Torry’s Ice cream and Bookhemian, both charming cafes that turned out to be more than what we’d bargained for.

The former is an ice cream joint founded by a local, famed for its flavours, which are inspired by Phuket’s iconic desserts such as A-Pong (crispy coconut crepe) and Bi-Co-Moi (glutinous sticky rice topped with coconut milk).

The Pulut Hitam ice cream was a unanimous favourite, pleasing our taste buds with its grainy texture and milky sweetness.

Torched marshmallow on roasty coffee? A match made in heaven.

At Bookhemian, we sipped on their signature Bookhemian Iced Coffee — an unusual creation with a layer of torched marshmallow cream to counter the bittersweet flavours of their brew.

The space, which is a cafe, bookstore, art gallery and event space all at once, drew me in with its homely ambience.

By the time the evening skies turned pink, we made our way to Blue Elephant for dinner.

A pink sunset.

Set in the grand Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion, the restaurant serves authentic Thai cuisine prepared by renowned chef Khun Noroor Somany Steppe.

The aromatic Chicken Panaeng Curry, cooked in kaffir lime, organic Thai sweet basil and coconut milk, left an impression on me with its well-balanced flavours.

Instead of retiring for the night, we chose to explore Chillva Night Market. Housed in shipping containers, this quirky night market is a wonderland of apparel, accessories, street food and live bands.

The busy Chillva Night Market.

Blissful relaxation

After an eventful first day, I spent the next with little on my agenda.

Following a morning yoga session at the picturesque sun deck of the Club House, I headed for Breeze Spa where I was promptly pampered by the resort’s signature Phuket Coco Mojito Package.

The 150-minute session left me utterly relaxed with a body scrub, massage and a facial. The use of sustainable-sourced spa ingredients including coconut, shea butter and honey, all featured an unmistakable Thai touch.

To round off our trip, I enjoyed an elegant lunch of housemade pasta at La Gritta, the resort’s Italian restaurant. For those who fancy a wider variety, the Rim Talay restaurant offers international cuisine, along with themed buffets.

And in a blink of an eye, my Phuket sojourn had come to an end, with me feeling blissed out and contented.

The Phuket Uncovered package at Amari Phuket starts at $1000. More information here.

Weekender would like to thank Amari Phuket and Jetstar for hosting this trip.

Jetstar flies from Singapore to Phuket thrice daily, from as low as S$49 one way, all-in. Book at jetstar.com.

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