A Week in Phuket

I was excited to spend a week in Phuket, Thailand’s largest island. There were many sights to see, lots of great diving, and of course, the food!

 

Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Nai Yang Beach

I utilized my Marriott Bonvoy points and booked a travel package, which yielded me a 7-night stay in a Category 1-5 hotel. There were a few Marriott properties on the island, but the Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Nai Yang Beach seemed to have the best reviews and had the nicest rooms.

Marriott has since updated the redemption values for their travel packages, but back when I bought this at the end of 2018, it was a sweet deal.

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2018 Marriott travel package.

I booked a pool view room that normally goes for 38,405 THB (about $1182) for a week. Then, I applied seven of my ten Suite Night Awards that I received when I reached Marriott Bonvoy Titanium status at 75 nights. You could pick between multiple upgraded rooms including poolside rooms, suites, and villas. I selected only the villa, which went for 96,520 THB (around $2970) for a week.

Interestingly, about a week out, I received an email stating that my suite night request was denied and then I received an upgrade on the app for villa two days before my stay. Score!

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Upgraded to a villa

We arrived via Grab and were greeted right away upon arrival with tea and cold towels.

The front desk manager took care of our documents and excitedly told us that we were upgraded to a beachside villa with a pool. Once he explained everything that the resort had to offer, he summoned us a golf cart and we were whisked away to our room.

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Welcome drinks and some cold towels

The room was massive and had a sliding glass door that led out to a covered seating area, plunge pool, sun lounge area, and finally a hammock on the beach.

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Beachfront villa bedroom
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Beachfront villa bathroom
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Beachfront villa outdoor seating area
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Beachfront villa plunge pool
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Hammock on the beach

The resort grounds were equally beautiful and featured a gigantic U-shaped pool that wrapped around the resort.

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Phuket Marriott pool
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Phuket Marriott grounds
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Phuket Marriott lobby

Of course, the most important feature would be the food!

This hotel had lots to offer, with many Thai and western dishes. Bonvoy Platinum Elite members and up receive free breakfast for two each day at the Andaman Kitchen. At 650 THB ($20) per person, it was a nice perk to have.

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Andaman Kitchen breakfast buffet
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Andaman Kitchen breakfast buffet
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Andaman Kitchen breakfast buffet
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Andaman Kitchen breakfast buffet
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Andaman Kitchen breakfast buffet
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Andaman Kitchen breakfast

It was a pleasure to drink fresh coconut milk every morning and the crab curry omelet was fantastic. All the Thai dishes had the perfect amount of spiciness for a westerner like me 😅.

I checked out the room service one night and ordered an Indian-style curry to mix it up a bit. It was delicious, but came delivered on a cafeteria tray, covered in plastic wrap. Flavor: 9/10, Presentation: 2/10.

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Indian Curry

The Andaman Kitchen hosted a Thai buffet one evening and we gave it a try. It was delicious, but I really hated myself afterwards after trying every dish in sight.

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Andaman Kitchen dinner buffet

As much as I love Thai food, my stomach wasn’t feeling it the one night towards the end of our stay. Fortunately, the pool bar serves a great burger, and it tasted better than the ones you’d get at most US restaurants.

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Pool bar burger

On the the final night of our stay, the hotel manager hosted a reception for all the Platinum and Titanium Elite guests staying at the hotel, very similar to what they had during my stay at the JW Marriott in Vietnam. It was nice to mingle with other travel enthusiasts and also give feedback to the staff (which I imagine is the intent of these functions).

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Sipping on a mojito at the manager’s reception

 

Diving with Sea Bees

I took part in Super Sunday with Sea Bees Diving and did four dives including two reefs at the Phi Phi islands, a wreck, and a night dive. They have a location right down the street from the hotel, but as it turns out, they only run their trips from one location about 30 minutes away in the south during the shoulder season. Nonetheless, there were some good dives to be had.

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Diving at the Phi Phi Islands
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Diving at the Phi Phi Islands
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Lounge area on the Sea Bees dive boat

 

Exploring Phuket

There was a lot to see around the island, but it was important to check the reviews of every tour we came across, as there were so many tourist traps.

The first adventure we took was an island tour, where we visited the Chalong Temple, Big Buddha, multiple beautiful island vistas, a cashew factory, and finally a diamond factory. The last stop was the gimmick, as they really tried to sell you the jewelry. Nonetheless, once you were finished browsing, they happily drove you back to the hotel. Even with the sales pitch at the end, the tour was quite worth it.

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Chalong Temple
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Chalong Temple
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Big Buddha
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View of Phuket

By the way, durian is still gross, even in gelato form.

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Durian gelato
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The cashew factory

Another thing we did a lot when we were here was get massages. It was so freaking cheap! I think we got four total during our trip. It wasn’t worth paying Marriott’s markup, so we ventured into town one evening and then got dinner on the beach.

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Candlelit dinner on the beach

Our hotel’s location was also quite interesting. As it was situated on a cove, when the tide went out, it left about half a mile of open beach to explore.

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Thai long-tail boats on the beach
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Thai long-tail boats on the beach

 

Hanuman World

One place you surely must go in Phuket is Hanuman World. It’s probably the most epic zip line course I’ve ever done. We picked “World A”, which included 30 platforms, 16 zip lines, and multiple abseils and spiral staircases. The longest zip lines were over 400m long!

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Hanuman World zip lines
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Hanuman World zip lines

I’m a little afraid of heights, but by the end, I was a lot more comfortable being high up in the trees.

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Hanuman World zip lines

Here’s a video of me conquering the longest zip lines in the park:

Overall, Phuket was a lot of fun. That being said, I look forward to another visit to Thailand where I can check out the less tourist-filled areas to really experience the culture and the landscape of this beautiful country.

Next up, my flight to Bangkok.

Thanks for reading!

-Matt

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