Phuket is world famous for its glamourous resorts, crystal clear beaches with lush cliffs that protrude straight out of the water, and a prominent nightlife scene. Making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand.

If I could sum up our trip to Phuket in three words they would be: Relaxing, overly-intoxicated, and a bit unfulfilling.

We booked a hotel at Marriot Mai Khao Beach Club, and it. was. wow. Actually it was a free stay at the resort thanks to my dad and mom, who sat through a three hour timeshare program…I’m telling you, as annoying as they sound, never pass those things up! That’s how we were able to experience Phuket for so cheap and also how we discovered Sedona, AZ (one of our favorite family vacation spots in the West).
Anyway, the resort had it all. Really nice sized rooms with a tranquil master bathroom. Along with two incredible pools that came equipped with a slide for kids, scuba diving lessons for beginners, and a giant projector screen for poolside movies in the evening. The entire strip of Mai Kao Beach is designated for resort goers only, so it was never crowded. Happy hour was from 6 – I don’t even remember what time. (Hence why I used overly-intoxicated as one of my descriptors). The resort was located right by a quaint little shopping complex called Turtle Village, that offered  a 7/11 for all your needs and a range of eclectic restaurants – our favorite was Bill Bentley Pub, because sometimes you just need a juicy burger after eating nothing but Thai food everyday for a month straight.

The only weird thing about the resort was that it was split in two and situated between them were the Anantara Villas, an entirely separate resort, which had a really nice pool and swim up bars that we were not allowed to use. It made it a little confusing at first because you have to walk through that resort to get to the beach.

Speaking of the beach, it was incredible. Granted, it wasn’t the crystal clear beach with towering tropical mountains that you see in pictures, like the famous James Bond Island. But it was quiet and relaxing, with very little people other than fellow resort guests, and it felt like bath water. Extremely salty bath water.
And if you visit the beach at night, dip your feet in the water, and look very closely you’ll see little blue glows from bioluminescent sea creatures appear where ever you move! During the day, there are little huts set up that offer Thai massages and some that sell Thai food. You also have free access to the resort’s paddleboards and boogie boards.

I’m sure you’re thinking, this all sounds like a dream. Why did you add unfullfiling to the list of words used to describe your stay in Phuket? It was a dream. But there is so much more to do and see outside of the resort…like temples, markets, nightclubs, day trips to remote islands, and cave tours. We didn’t have a chance to experience any of that because the head of security at my dad’s work had warned him of some terror threats that had been identified in Phuket. So naturally we all decided it would be safer to stay inside the resort for the duration of our stay.

And though nothing happened while my family was in Phuket, in August there were multiple bombings throughout Thailand, including Phuket, where dozens of tourists and locals were injured and killed. There is no link to Islamic terrorist activity. It seems to be linked to local sabotage, caused by anger about political issues and police forces cracking down on criminal activity. It’s definitely scary, but no need to hault your travel plans to Thailand. It’s just important to remember to be aware when you’re visiting other countries. We live in a time where we should probably stay vigilant a lot of the time, even in our home countries.

Spirit house out front of Marriott's Resort.
Spirit house out front of Marriott’s Resort.

Overall, our trip to Phuket was a dreamy and relaxing getaway from our usual routine in the crowded metropolis of Bangkok. It left me wanting to experience this southern region of Thailand even more.
Would I stay at the Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach Resort again? Hell yes. It was everything people hope for in a tropical beach resort. Not much can compete with being pampered all weekend while staying on one of the most sought after island destinations in the world.
But is Phuket everything it’s cracked up to be? I definitely think there’s a reason why you hear so much about this place. Especially if you know where to go and plan your trip accordingly.
Will I be back to Phuket? Absolutely. There is so much left to experience.

Safe Travels, xx