After staying grounded for 28 months, I finally left Singapore for a quick getaway as I could only squeeze in a short holiday. Phuket was a clear choice as it was only 2 hours flight time away, and I had never explored this part of Thailand before.
Usually, the mention of Phuket, people will relate it to beautiful resorts, fantastic beaches, island hopping and a relaxing holiday. I needed none of these as I am travelling solo thus I did not mind travelling during the low season to Phuket.
Queuing before the check-in counter felt weird after not travelling for so long. While some had small stacks of printed copies of their flight itineraries and documents, I went paperless. My decision gave me some anxiety for I worried if I needed present any printouts.
I felt rusty to travel again, so much so that I even forgot to try my luck requesting my preferred seat on the plane.
By the time I boarded the plane, the muscle memory took over, and I was lucky to score an empty row to the almost full flight! I was off to a good start, or so I thought!
Upon touching down at the airport, it started pouring. It was the off-peak season for a reason, because of the monsoon rain. So, that was not surprising to me. I had done my homework to know that the monsoon season in Phuket starts from mid-May to October.
While I acknowledged the monsoon rain during the low-peak season, I was willing to take a chance on the pockets of sunshine. Although I experience my fair share of monsoons in Singapore, the monsoon in Phuket was on a whole new level. The constant rain throughout the four whole days. Once it started raining in the day, it only hit pauses between 20 minutes to an hour intervals until the evening. It was cray-cray.
Miraculously, I survived the holiday without purchasing an umbrella or poncho, for I always managed to seek shelter when the rain came.
But trust me, when they say monsoon in Phuket, be prepared for the great waterfall from the sky.
Phuket Old Town
I stayed in the old town for two nights because I wanted to enjoy the charm of the historical place as I marvelled at the shophouses of different architectural styles. I booked a 3-hour walking tour of the old town and lucked out as I was the only guest with my tourist guide, Rainy. She also doubled up as my photographer and videographer.
The old town is full of life, especially with the weekly Sunday night market. I even found the acclaimed best Hokkien noodle soup and a Michelin bib street food, a pong!
Any mention of Patong is always 100% associated with Phuket as though it is synonymous. I heard so much about this place, how some people like it, while others find it too touristy and dirty. Therefore, I had to come and see it, experience it and decide for myself.
Travelling during the low season in Phuket also means that accommodations were reasonable enough for me to splurge on a one-night stay in a decent resort hotel in Patong. The resort hotel is the only saving grace of Patong because I did not enjoy this part of Phuket at all. Maybe because I was travelling alone or perhaps this place is too touristic and over-commercialised. I can conclude that it is not for me.
The only other thing I enjoyed apart from my hotel was the value-for-money 200 baht Thai massage.
Expenses for a 4D3N in Phuket
Here is my breakdown.
Food & Beverages: SGD$140.91
In total, I spent SGD$738.02 on this trip. It was well-balanced between travelling on a budget with the occasional indulgence of a resort, a good meal and quality activities. All in all, the most important thing is, do I think it is worth it? Absolutely!
One of the highlights was dining in the award-winning Blue Elephant Restaurant, set in the old governor’s mansion. The grandeur of the restaurant with the summer rain enhanced the entire ambience of the place. I ordered the 5-course Blue Elephant Creation Set, and the presentation of the dishes was exquisite. My favourite has got to be the main dish, hot Phuketian turmeric & betel leaves crab. What was delightful about that dish was that everything could be eaten, including the flowers. I can get picky over the greens I consume, but I was eating every edible on the plate. That meal was the perfect start to begin my first post-covid travel.
Another highlight was the cocktail-making session at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery. It consisted of making three rum-based cocktails, a distillery tour, and rum-tasting. When you mix alcohol and people, it usually concocts good-vibe-only connections among the people. The connections were something I missed very much during the pandemic and oh boy, it was good to be reminded that this is one of the reasons why I enjoy travelling. Not just that, it was fun making those cocktails, customising them to my preference and my favourite cocktail that I made was this called the Devil’s Gold. The ingredients are mango, rum, lime juice, honey and chilli padi adding a tad bit of sassy spiciness to the sweet drink. It was my kind of drink for sure.
With highs like the above, there is low too. Despite the constant rain, travelling during the low season in Phuket was not the lowlight at all.
Well, all I can say is, if I have children, I will ban them from walking into Bangla Street in Patong before they turn 18. It is the absolute sin street of the East with so many vices. The ping pong shows, the women on the streets luring men into the bars, and the loud music. Alright, maybe I am too old for these. Or perhaps it was because I was walking alone all by myself, not that I was ready to party and drunk on the street. Somehow, the stars did not align and I do not vibe with the street but that’s alright. At least I’ve been there to establish the perception. And yes, if there is a petition to ban anyone under the age of 18 from entering, count me in!
Travelling during the low season in Phuket was still good without the beaches and island hopping because there were enough non-sun-dependent things to do. Even though the trip was short enough that travel didn’t slow me down or make me less impatient, it still did me some good. It opened the pandora inside of me with the full-on desire to explore the world. The box was left dormant for so long that I ALMOST forgot the adrenaline rush of being ALIVE and truly living.
This is just the beginning of post-covid travel, testing the water out there as I oil my travel engine. Here is to more holidays, and there is no stopping. Pam goes travelling is back in business again!
Click here to check out my IG stories on my travel during the low season in Phuket.