Why is Phuket so popular?
Why can’t we leave Thailand? And what makes you come back to Phuket countless times? There are many answers to these questions, but we picked the ten answers we thought was the most important.
Of course, there will always be some exceptions: some travellers didn’t like it, some had unfortunate experiences. Some expats are grumpy because they forgot how lucky they are here and why they originally left. Of course, not all people here are good, but the vast majority are. At the end of the day, why do people still come to Thailand? Because there are no other countries in the world offering the 10 things below in one single place!
1. The Beaches
Phuket is blessed with more than 40 fantastic beaches and more tropical islands than one could count in a holiday. And that’s for Phuket only! Trying to count all the dream beaches around Thailand would be impossible. White powder sand with turquoise blue waters lined by swaying palm trees don’t only belong to Instagram; there are real here! (and Phuket is just an hour and 20 minutes away from Bangkok).
With places like Phang Nga Bay, Krabi, Similan Islands and the countless white beach and turquoise blue sea, the superb red and gold Thai temples, the fantastic sunsets, Thailand is a photographer’s paradise. You don’t even have to be a good photographer here; everyone comes back with a stunning photo.
3. The People
The first thing you notice in Thailand is the way Thai people naturally smile at you for no particular reason. It’s surprising at first, but it seems to become quickly contagious. They are also surprisingly polite, prompt to share their food and very cheerful. After the tsunami, I was amazed by their resilience in the face of such unimaginable events. They are friendly, tolerant, respectful and easy-going. Isn’t it better to be in a country where people are healthy, smiling and friendly?
Thai food is famous the world around. From basic street food to sophisticated Michelin Restaurants, the variations and choices of delicious Thai food seem to be endless. Often using simple ingredients, spices and sauces, Thai food doesn’t even make you fat (and Thais do love to nibble all day long). Of course, there is a limit on how much you should eat, but considering how fantastic the choice is, Thai people look pretty healthy! And the choice of fruits is like a dream come true. You can buy them at the market, on the street displays, or have them peeled and cut for you for a couple of baht from a street cart.
How about an entire year without ever feeling cold. Sure, you could argue that it can actually be ‘too hot’ from April to June, but even during the monsoon, weather and water at the beach remain delightfully warm.
With such an easygoing lifestyle, it’s no surprise that the party is everywhere in Phuket. Is there a better way to end a day at the beach than in a beach club, on a rooftop bar or party until morning in a nightclub with famous DJs after exploring the famous Bangla Road? There is no place like this in the world to offer all these things in a single day and a single place, and it doesn’t even cost much!
Thailand is an incredible value for money for a holiday, considering what is on offer. You can travel on a small budget and have a fantastic time without breaking your piggy bank. Alternatively, if you do have money, you can treat yourself to some extravagant hotels, cruises and parties on a tropical beach. Yes, Phuket is indeed more expensive than the rest of Thailand, but it is still an incredible value for money.
8. The Easy Going Lifestyle
Have you ever heard the words ‘Mai Pen Rai’? Mai Pen Rai has several meanings, but in most cases, it means ‘Don’t worry’. It eases the little daily annoyances that we often take too seriously. No unnecessary stress and if your day wasn’t all that good, tomorrow will be better. Thailand is a very tolerant country, about religions, races, behaviours. Thai people are not inclined to confrontation, as long as you know the limit of this tolerance.
If you have been travelling the world a fair bit and experienced hotels in other countries, you already know what we are talking about. Even the cheapest hostel in Phuket welcomes you like you were somebody special. Sometimes it’s not much, but you can feel right away how welcome you are, and how much attention is given to all the little details that will make your stay unforgettable. No grumpy receptionist or greedy bellboy in Thailand (unless you are bad luck, it does happen). It does feel genuine.
Thailand culture is visible pretty much everywhere, and Thai people are very respectful of traditions. Being predominantly Buddhist, superbly crafted temples and Chinese shrines are brightening each town, from the stunning Wat Phra Keow in Bangkok to the most modest shrine. Early morning in many streets, you can witness the traditional almsgiving to monks. And there are amazingly colourful festivals! From the beautiful floating candles of Loy Krathong to the wild water parties of Songkran without forgetting the hair-raising Vegetarian Festival.