1. Devote an hour every day to pampering
Which is always easy in the massage-capital of the world. But why opt for only one hour a day? When in Phuket, it’s customary to dedicate at least five hours to the spa.
If you’re after something a little more special than your average Phuket massage house, Siladon Spa Phuket, in Patong, offers all the luxury of a five-star hotel, but for day guests only. Set in a Thai-style teak house, with its own swimming pool, lush gardens and views absorbing the Patong Bay panorama, allow the therapists to knead away all your niggly knots and back tangles with massages and body scrubs. If you have more knots than most, ask about the herbal ball compress which will roll away all of your woes. Open from 10am until midnight, complete with pick-up service from your hotel, Siladon is your one-stop spa for a complete refresh.
HOT tip: Find Siladon Spa Phuket at 36 Baan Suan Kamnan, Muean Ngen Road, Patong.
2. Bring some meditation into your life
Find some inner calm at The Dharana Meditation and Retreat Center in Phuket. This little oasis of tranquility offers guided group meditation twice a week for zero dollar. As well as multi-day retreats, the sanctuary is open for anyone who wants to learn about meditation and mindfulness. With two, one hour-long complimentary classes per week (currently Tuesday at 11am and Thursday at 7pm) turn up for 60 minutes of Thai Buddhist Meditation in an Eden of green and calm. Learn to meditate besides lapping ocean waves, perched on the rocks and surrounded by flora. Albeit shabby-chic, the grounds are just as Mother Nature intended – rugged, wild and beautiful.
HOT tip: Located at 69/509 Moo 1, Tambon Chalong, Amphoe Mueang. Classes are free but donations for the local community are much appreciated.
3. Sip cocktails by the pool
If you haven’t heard of Ibiza’s legendary Café del Mar, you clearly didn’t spend the noughties switching chill-out CDs in your Sony Discman. Renowned for its laid back beats on the Ibiza strip, in 2017, Café del Mar decided to replicate its world-class style in Phuket. Located on the knee-trembling beautiful Kamala beach, drink, dine and dance all day long and well into the night. With DJs, an extensive cocktail list and plenty of culinary offerings, hire out a single lounger, double bed or big cabana, and lie back until you’re lulled into a hedonistic state of mind.
HOT tip: Café del Mar Phuket is open Sunday to Thursday from 11am until midnight, as well as Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 2am. Don’t forget your giant blow-up Flamingo!
4. Wine and dine while the sun sets
As part of the Paresa Resort in Kamala, Diavolo Restaurant is an Italian fine-dining establishment perched on a lofty clifftop. Almost tumbling down to the crashing ocean waves below, the views from the wooden terrace will make your jaw drop further than the granite rocks located at the bottom. Time it well and you can arrive for sunset; choose a fine wine from the restaurant’s impressive walk-in (and all glass) wine ‘cellar’ and then soak up the spectacular 270-degree views over the Andaman Sea. The menu is mostly upmarket Italian, with a distinctly Mediterranean flare and the odd Thai delicacy to tickle your pickle, and although delicious, nothing quite beats the handsome views that sit just beyond your table. A sparkling ocean, a sunset to die for, and a horizon that your eye gaze can never quite reach.
HOT tip: Find Diavolo on Phuket’s beach-indented west coast at the five-star Paresa Resort - located along Phuket’s revered Millionaires’ Mile. Jandals won’t do in these suburbs – you’re advised to pack your ‘smarts’.
5. Devour stir fried ice-cream
You might envisage noodles in your ice-cream cone, but it’s not quite as odd as all that. In Phuket, stir fried ice-cream is actually a niche way of making and serving the dessert. Find a street side vendor for the fully authentic experience. Then watch while they pour milk into an ice-cold pan, freeze it, and then slice and dice the mixture in a manner that would make a Samurai sword owner wince. Once churned, flavourings are added - from green tea to cherries and chocolate – and then it’s scraped into sheets of curled ice-cream and topped with sweets. Fascinating (and oddly satisfying) to watch and delicious to devour, stir fry has never tasted so good.
HOT tip: Haven't stumbled across a vendor yet? We'll make it easy for you... Nami Ice-Cream sits in front of Simplitel Hotel in Karon, and boasts ice-cream that consistently scores five star reviews on Tripadvisor.
6. Start the day with fresh pineapple
Fields upon fields of pineapple fruits cover more than 400 hectares of Phuket, mostly in its central and northern parts. The result? More fresh pineapple than you could shake a tray of pina coladas at.
Phuket is actually connected to mainland Thailand by bridge, and we recommend you hop on a bike and take a ride down from the Thepkasattri road from Heroines Monument towards Sarasin Bridge; you’ll find plentiful road side shacks selling fresh pineapples en route. Refresh and ride on.
HOT tip: Choose a stall which seems popular with locals – then you’ll know it’s good!
7. Downward dog your tensions away
You needn’t be a guest at CC’s Hideaway Hotel to enjoy the benefits of daily yoga at Belove Yoga Rooftop Studio in Karon. Drop-in sessions are available seven days a week for 325 baht (approx. $14) per class. Practiced in the hotel’s rooftop studio, there are no walls here, simply an open platform soaked in an ocean breeze and views that stretch across the shoreline. Classes include guided asana practice, pranayama, meditation, mantra and chanting, as well as complimentary drinking water, towels, mats, yoga equipment and a refreshing green tea post-workout. After your 75 minute lesson, day guests are also welcome to use the outdoor swimming pool and showers, or the free Wi-Fi if you feel inclined to Snapchat your new flexible physique. If you’re keen to fill your “woosah” quota, simply rock up 30 minutes prior and register at the hotel’s reception.
HOT tip: There are early morning (8:20am) and sunset classes (5:30pm) seven days a week, with additional late morning sessions every Wednesday and Thursday.
8. Detox your mind and body
We all know holidays are for treating ourselves, which usually means the consumption of more devilishly delicious cuisine, but take some time out at Phuket Cleanse and you could return home with a better ‘holiday bod’ than the one you left with. Focused around diet and detox, the academy-style centre specialises in cooking classes, juicing tutorials and nutrition talks. With afternoon cooking lessons featuring anything from raw vegan cuisine to probiotics and fermentation, you’ll be taught by leading raw food chefs from around Phuket. Learn how to make raw sweet treats, or drop by for a ‘Vitamin D power hour”, it might not be your conventional cooking class, but if you consider your body to be as sacred as an ancient Thai temple, cleanse it ‘til you mend it.
HOT tip: Book in at 49 105 soi, Soi Ruam Nanachat, Rawai, Mueang Phuket District.
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