All Seasons Resort - Naiharn Beach Phuket

I tend to recommend hotels away from the main beaches, though there are some quiet spots even in Patong. One of our favourite areas in Phuket is the Chalong/Rawai/Naiharn triangle, in the South West of the island. You'll find many posts on this blog relating to places around here such as Chalong Temple and the Baan Krating Jungle Beach Resort. The All Seasons Resort is located just off Naiharn Beach, which is to the south of Kata and just North of Phromthep Cape.

The All Seasons Naiharn Resort price is very good for what you get. Nice rooms, lots of facilities, a great location. Of course if you want more dining or shopping options you'll need a taxi or your own vehicle. Kata is about 15 minutes away, Patong 30 minutes.

Naiharn beach is never going to be that busy since most of the land is owned by a temple and monastery behind the beach. The roads in this area are narrow and winding, with lots of hidden views. The road down to Naiharn is not a big one, so as far as Phuket goes, you're off the beaten track. Nevertheless the beach can be a bit crowded during the day, as Naiharn is often touted as a good place to get away from the crowds, so the crowds do sometimes flock here to get away from themselves. If you want really quiet, in the same area you have Laem Ka Beach plus Ao Sane and Yanui beaches. Ao Sane is just a couple of minutes away but it's location is well hidden as you must go through the The Nai Harn Resort to get there!

All Seasons Naiharn Resort - Booking and Reviews

All Seasons Resort Rates and Reservations at Agoda.com
All Seasons Resort Reviews


All Seasons Naiharn Resort - Photos

All Seasons Resort Room at All Seasons Resort

Pool at All Seasons Resort Restaurant at All Seasons Resort

Phuket Hotels - More Information - Online Booking

Jamie's Phuket Hotel Recommendations
Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2016
Book Phuket Hotels at Agoda.com

Danang Seafood Phuket

Update August 2008 - Danang Seafood is closed. But never mind, next door is Kan Eang 2 Seafood, which is still a decent spot.

Danang Seafood is a place we have eaten many many times, one of many seafood restaurants around Chalong Bay. Right next door is Kan Eang Seafood. These restaurants are close to Chalong Jetty. The entry road is just a couple of hundred meters down Chao Fa road from Chalong Circle (towards Phuket Town).

Danang Seafood Entrance

Danang Seafood

Danang is hardly ever busy unless they are doing a wedding or something, and it does tend to be more locals eating there than tourists, though its not as "local" as the seafood retaurants near Phuket Zoo (such as Palai Seafood, Tang Kae Seafood, Pran Talee Seafood) or Laem Hin Seafood on the east coast. There are tables right by the sea and others undercover, though still open air. We will normally go for a seafront table, though the lighting is a bit dim at night. The view is over Chalong Bay, lots of boats, Chalong Jetty and some of the islands.

The food is good, inexpensive, service is normally fast. I'd say don't eat the beef - always seems to be very chewy, but anything with fish or prawns is good. I tend to eat things like Thai salads (Yam Gung Seab is a favourite - dried shrimp salad), but a whole fried fish with lemongrass is a nice treat! There are also chicken and pork dishes, but not a lot if you are a veggie. Sitting there with a satisfied belly and a cold beer looking over the bay is relaxing and peaceful.

I always suggest people get off the main tourist beaches sometimes for lunch or dinner, it can be worth the effort! Phuket is still 10% tourist, 90% local. You don't need to go far, but you do need to go!

View from Danang Seafood

Seafront tables at Danang

Pineapple Guesthouse (Karon Beach)

Phuket is blessed with many fine hotels and resorts, and these have somewhat taken over much of the beachfront property on the main beaches. Gone (long ago) are the days spoken of by Tony Wheeler in his intro to my well-thumbed Lonely Planet South East Asia On a Shoestring - he says Patong (in 1974) had no resorts but had "an open shelter where you could camp for 3 Baht a night". Well, every dog has it's day, and you can't stop progress. It's the same story all over the world. Backpackers discover a place, then guesthouses, beach huts, restaurants, bars and all the essential services quickly mushroom, then the place is found by "flashpackers", then independent (but not poor) travelers, then all hell breaks loose and Lo! You have a tourist resort, much hated by the common backpacker.

Thailand is all this and more, amplified 100 fold. Thailand is the original Lonely Planet Destination, and is still far and away the most popular backpacker destination in the world, although as Alex Garland wrote - "One of these days I'm going to find one of those Lonely Planet writers and I'm going to ask him, 'What's so f***ing lonely about Khao San Road?'"

Phuket is considered too expensive and too "touristy" for backpackers. Personally, as a resident who stays away from the tourist areas, I disagree, but as a resident you have a rather different perspective. Personally I find Koh Tao and certainly Phi Phi more touristy than Phuket in that there is nothing there other than tourism. Phuket has a large local population and was already a busy and relatively well off province before any tourists arrived. What backpackers mean by "touristy" is "a place too upmarket for a low budget traveler". But we are all tourists. I am a tourist and I have been here since 1999.

Excuse the rambling prelude. Accommodation prices in Phuket do tend to be a little high for your average backpacker, but there are options, especially in Phuket Town, where the On On still has a flourishing trade and there's a hostel near the market. Near the beach is a bit trickier and you may have to pay 10 dollars a night (wow!) for a cheaper room. In the Karon Plaza area at the Southern end of Karon Beach are several options like the Bazoom Guesthouse, Kangaroo Guesthouse and more. Also here you can find the Pineapple Guesthouse, which is run by Steve, a very nice English guy and his wife Lek.

Room at Pineapple Guesthouse Steve, Lek and Gina

Karon Plaza is built around a small temple, and can be a little hard to find! From the beach, head up the road past the Orchid Resort and you'll find the entrance to the Plaza next to a tailors. Pineapple is just round the corner from the little temple next door to Mama Noi restaurant, opposite the Siam Commercial Bank. The rooms are fairly simple, but all have bathroom, and all aircon rooms have cable TV, a fridge and minibar. The prices start at just 450 Baht in high season, and way lower in low season. You can always try asking for a long stay discount too. A dormitory was opened in 2009 - beds at 180 Baht per night!

Pineapple Bar Room at Pineapple Guesthouse Room facilities

Karon Plaza is a quiet area. I would recommend Pineapple if you like early nights but also like to be near a bit of life. Near Pineapple is a great little bar/cafe/art gallery called Nakonnai, run by the original Thai Bob Marley (his name is Mon). He built the place himself. Also in the plaza is Sunrise Divers, where I am the manager.

So, if you want a good lower price option in Phuket, I suggest you try the Pineapple Guesthouse. It's just 5 minutes walk from the beach and there are loads of places to eat around the area, including Mama Noi (next door to Pineapple 2). You can get a very good full English breakfast and other English style dishes like Egg, Bacon, Chips and Beans right there at the guesthouse, and Thai dishes too (but only in high season). There are a number of small local restaurants on the back road nearby and there are always stalls selling fruit, fried chicken, drinks, corn, somtam and more depending on the time of day.

For full information and booking, you can visit the Pineapple Guesthouse website:

Pineapple Guesthouse Website

or book online at Agoda : Pineapple Guesthouse

Low Budget Places to Stay in Phuket (on my We Love Phuket blog) - good listing of guesthouses

• More Hotels in Phuket - Agoda.com - also has some lower budget options

Koh Sirey Temple (Wat Koh Siray)

Koh Sirey (or Siray or indeed Si Ray) is a rather forgotten corner of Phuket, located to the east of Phuket Town, over a small bridge past the Rassada Ferry Terminal (from where you get boats to Phi Phi and Krabi). We first went exploring in Koh Sirey many years ago and it was very quiet. Now there are quite a few "seaview developments" and one resort - the Westin Siray Bay which only opened a few years ago.

Koh Sirey Temple

Much of Koh Sirey is undeveloped with lots of rubber plantations, coconut trees, a sea gyspy village, a few big houses, a school, a fair number of locals and a temple on the hill. The temple is just past the school. You pass through an entrance by the road up a slight hill to an open area, turn right and the road carries on up. Not much parking space (park where you like, it is unlikely to be busy) and head up the steps lined by 2 dragons. Inside the temple (if it's open) you find a large reclining Buddha. We've been maybe 6 or 7 times over the years. It's really nice but could be amazing with a bit of investment. On a hill, great views, big Buddha .... win!

Reclining Buddha at Koh Sirey Temple

Big Buddha at Koh Sirey

You can also walk around the outside of the temple - the road winds right around the temple which is surrounded by plenty of other Buddha images. It's really quite beautiful.

Buddhas

Sirey Temple Road

And the views ... Although the temple does not sit on a big hill (only about 60m above sea level) there are some great views all around. Phuket is full of great views!

View from Wat Koh Sirey

View from Sirey Island Temple Phuket

Koh Siray Temple

Certainly worth a visit - we should check out Koh Sirey again soon, there are a couple of restaurants by the sea and I'd like to take some photos around the sea gypsy village one day. But the temple is certainly nice, with one of the lesser known Big Buddhas of Phuket!

Sirey Island Temple - Location Map


View Koh Sirey Temple, Phuket in a larger map

Metropole Hotel (Phuket Town)

Most visitors to Phuket naturally want to stay by the beach, which tends to make the beach areas rather overpopulated in some areas (Patong in particular). Now, there are many quieter beach areas, but some of the quiet beaches have very limited accommodation choices. The town (now officially called a city) of Phuket has a number of good value places to stay, where you are a short bus ride from the beach, but out of tourism central. Phuket town is where normal local life goes on, and is for example a great base if you come for the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, or if you're just stopping over a night before traveling on to Phi Phi, Krabi or Koh Lanta by ferry. Also, since it's not by the beach, you get a good hotel for a good price.

•; A walk around Phuket Town

Leaving aside the backpacker places such as On On (a miracle it doesn't fall down) or the Backpacker Hostel by the market, there are many good mid price hotels such as Casa Blanca, Chinotel, Merlin, Pearl, The Taste and more.

The Metropole

The Metropole Hotel is located in central Phuket Town a bit south of the old town, and has 248 guest rooms. Dining options available to guests include the Fortuna Pavilion Chinese Restaurant, the Metropole Cafe serving International and Thai dishes, the Lobby Lounge with live entertainment, the poolside bar, and the executive cocktail lounge. You're also close to plenty of local restaurants, bars and shopping centers. Recreational facilities at the Metropole Hotel include a swimming pool, traditional massage center, and fitness center.

Metropole Hotel - Booking Links

Metropole Hotel Rates and Reservations at Agoda.com
Metropole Reviews

Phuket Hotels - More Info & Online Booking

More Phuket Town Hotels
Jamie's Phuket Hotel Recommendations
Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2016
Book Phuket Hotels at Agoda.com

Phuket Views from the air

Well, time to get blogging again. I've spent a week away in Malaysia, diving at Sipadan with the turtles. It's worth getting your camera out on the flight, and if you fly these local routes with Malaysia Airlines, try to get seat 14A or 14F which are behind the emergency exit and have extra legroom, and are window seats so you can get some great views. Here's a few below...

Phi Phi Don Island

Some islands in Phang Nga Bay

Northern Phuket - you can see part of Bang Tao Beach and Naithon Beach

Back on solid ground now, back to work and not much time for blogging. Hopefully we'll go exploring this weekend. On the photo above of Northern Phuket, in between Bang Tao and Naithon, is another beach, which I believe is called Layan beach. I want to go there....in the meantime, I'll try to add on a couple of hotel recommendations. We're in peak season now, and the weather is great. But a week of travel and diving has left me tired.

If you get the chance, I do recommend a stay at Borneo Divers Resort in Mabul. Air Asia has some great deals from Phuket to Kota Kinabalu at the start of next year, and from there it's just a short hop to Tawau, from where you are looked after. I'd like to go back with my wife.

Update November 2008...

More views from the air here... we took a seaplane flight to Phi Phi and back..

Flying from Phuket to Phi Phi Island