If you had told me last year that Phuket was amazing, I might’ve laughed at you. I first visited Thailand’s largest island back in 2011 but after just four hours on the island, I looked for any way out. The hotels seemed too touristic, the beach lacked that crystal blue water and the prices were far from cheap. Fast forward to this summer when I visited during a two-week holiday to Thailand, and bam! Phuket was awesome.
I enjoyed my brief stay on Phuket island on this trip for a few reasons, but the definite highlight was the day trip to Phang Nga Bay with John Gray Sea Canoes. We were a group of gay guys on tour with OUT Adventures and were lucky enough to take the day trip with Mr John Gray himself. If you’re ever so lucky, you’re in for a real treat. The tour, which included a massive Thai food feast and plenty of beautiful scenery, came with stories of Emmy awards and the craziness of expat life in Thailand. The sea-kayaking (we went to three different spots) also came packaged between more cultural activities.
The mildly adventurous day of sea-kayaking (and a bit of sea-swimming) convinced me Phuket really isn’t that bad. It’s a great place to be based while exploring the sights along the island, especially if you only have a few days to enjoy the sunnier parts of Thailand. And if you do one thing on Phuket, it has to be a day trip out to Phang Nga Bay. There are a handful of companies and boat operators who offer similar tour experiences, but John Gray’s sea canoes were apparently one of the first to explore the caves and and island inlets of the bay. And the stories from the crew, plus the affordable comfort on the boat (seriously: the food was. so. good.) make it an easy choice.
TRAVEL TIP: Afraid of getting my camera wet, I took my waterproof Olympus Tough camera for the day trip. It wasn’t entirely necessary as the sea-kayaking was all done by our tour guide, so the threat of toppling into the sea was pretty much zilch. All my photos here are from that camera and with some of the settings, I was able to get some good shots. Though honestly I wish I’d also brought out my DSLR camera for one of the three sea-kayaking adventures to capture some of the scenery.
Read more about my trip to Thailand here and follow me on Instagram @travelsofadam for even more travel adventures.
I read that the military (post-coup) did a MASSIVE cleanup of Phuket. They kicked all of the vendors off the beaches, jailed cab drivers that were known for scams, and tried to shut down the prostitution. I’m heading to Thailand in February and I was wondering if you would recommend Phuket or not? I heard from people who were there a few months back that it’s awful, but that was pre-cleanup.
Hey Richelle – I was there just before the latest military coup in May, so hard to say. It was definitely a touristic area along Patong Beach, but I kind of enjoyed it. If you know what it is (ie, very touristic, lots of nightclubs, less-than-stellar beach), I think it’s a perfectly fine destination! It’s easier than getting to some of the islands and still has that “beach town” charm.
the pics make it look like so much fun! I can’t wait to hit up Thailand
It was definitely one of the most fun days I had on my two week trip around Thailand! I never knew Phuket could be so much fun :D
Looks like so much fun! I’m definitely adding this to my list of things to do and see when I get over to Thailand next year!
Yesss!!! I think this is one of the best things to do in Phuket!
Wow! so excellent moments! Thailand is a beautiful country. many places there to visit. your post is inspiring to go there. may be Thailand will be my next trip.
Adam, looks like you are having a blast in Phuket. The photos look so nice and I feel warm just by looking at them – even in this Berlin cold ;)
Thanks Tee! And yep, Thailand really makes for a great warm-weather holiday from Berlin
Amazing trip! Thailand is really a stunning – and cheap – country that definitely worth the visit!
i must say it is nice and good information,, very nice place..
Looks like great fun :) Thanks for the recommendations. Have to go there someday!
[…] incredible itineraries that include everything from cooking classes to treks. I highly recommend sea kayaking in Phuket, visiting an elephant nature park in the north and experiencing the amazing gay nightlife of […]
Hi! Do you think it’s possible to take my DSRL camera without getting wet( on the kayak)? Or you just can leave it on the boat? Which way it’s better?Thank you
Hi Joanna – With this tour company, it was perfectly safe to travel in the boats with nice cameras – it was very calm water and there was only one excursion where we went swimming and that was off the main boat, not the kayaks – so cameras were totally safe :)