Phuket: A Spiritual Retreat

I love spontaneous trip like this - we've only managed to book our flight one week before, & confirmed our stay on the day we flew to Phuket. Phuket is a huge island in Thailand known for it’s popular beaches surrounded by many renowned little islands like Phi Phi, James Bond, etc.

The best period to travel to Phuket is from late November to April with lowest rainfall recorded over the years. Nevertheless if you’re not so much into the buzzing beach life, perhaps you can consider doing a spiritual retreat to the various hotel & villas during the lull/monsoon season (may- sep). Air tickets & accommodation are relatively much cheaper as compared to the peak season.

Getting around can be a toll on the expense as cab fare easily ranges from 400 baht to 800 baht depending on the distance. I'd suggest renting a bike to get around the island or ledge on free shuttle transfer services provided by the hotel/resorts (if any).


U Zenmaya Phuket Resort

DAY 1: Patong Beach

After arriving in the noon, we checked in to U Zenmaya Phuket Resort, a relatively new 5 star resort situated along the coast overlooking one of the busiest beaches in Phuket, Patong Beach. Just imagine waking up to the sound of waves followed by breath taking view through the windows. 

We took a shuttle down to the main district and started exploring before we settled for dinner at a local seafood restaurant. We were searching for this famous seafood restaurant called No. 9 but ended up settled for a random seafood restaurant due to the sudden downpour. If you're slightly high on budget, I'd highly recommend you to book a restaurant with stunning sea-view while enjoying your meal over the sunset.

Continue our exploration after dinner, we went to Bangla street - a must to go if you’re looking for happening nightlife filled with booze, buzz & entertainment - pole dance & many other kind of 'adult' shows. 

Oh don't forget! If you're into the street food like me,  try their rolled ice cream & pancake crepes made on the spot with wide array of flavors to choose from! We then ended our night with the best spa in town - Burisari Spa! The best massage experience I have ever had in my life so far! Detailed attention, exceptional services & most importantly massage pressure right on point! Felt like we're in heaven~


Day 2: Mom Tri's Kitchen + Phuket OLD Town

We had a lunch reservation at Mom Tri's Kitchen situated in Kata Beach. I have been wanting to try the food after reading so many online reviews on just how good it is. Apart from the Ala Carte Menu, there are 2 selections of lunch set to choose from - Thai or Western. We ordered a set of each. Above images are the notable dishes that I like:

 

KATA NOI CRAB CAKE

andaman fish, blue crab & buffalo mozzarella cake
sundried tomato aioli, mango and coriander relish
.

TOM KLONG TALAY

spicy herbal soup w/ seafood in a broth flavored
w/ roasted dried chilli, tamarind & Asian shallots.

DUCK MANGO

roasted breast, mango & ginger sauce served w/ roasted root vegetables

Crab cake can be very dry on its own, when paired with mango & aioli, flavors & moisture from it brought out the natural sweetness of the fish & blue crab. Tom Klong Talay - even though it may look mild due to its clarity, it's been packed with a good amount of kick & goodness in it. I especially love the acidity coming from the tamarind. The texture of the duck mango was well executed despite being 'roasted'. My guess is that it could be sou vied before going through another process to crisp up the skin. 


The rest of the noon were spent exploring Old Phuket Town (Cafe centric area, old buildings & sight seeing):

First stop Chino Gallery Cafe - grey cemented texture wall with wooden shelving & table element. Although not for the serious specialty coffee drinker, do give their food a try. We had mango sticky rice & it tasted real good! 

Next in line, we entered Bookhemian, as the name suggest, this cafe brought us back to the realm of literature with their rustic collection of books & ceramic wares. Further into the shop, is a larger seating area with communal table, antique shelves & vintage bike. A perfect place to take a break after a long walk in the old town. 

Popped by our last stop at Factory Cafe before scurrying our way up to the north of Phuket at Phang Nga to check in at our next resort - Aleenta Phuket.

Phuket Old Town // Thalang Street


Day 3: Aleenta Phuket + Thai Cooking Class

" TABLE OF BREAKFAST LIKE THESE WHERE THE BEACH IS JUST 200M AWAY TO THE LEFT."

On our second night we checked in to Aleenta Phuket, one of the most luxury stay I have ever indulged in.  Situated at the north of Phuket Island (an hour away from phuket town) right along the coast in Phang Nga & just 20 minutes away from the airport. If you're looking for a peace of mind and away from the buzz, this is where you should be. 

Aleenta Phuket (of the Small Luxury Hotel List) houses Villa & accomodation with an amazing sea view that are no less than a few steps away to the beach. We stayed in the Ocean Loft with a common pool right through our full glass panel door/window. Complimentary red wine upon check in & great personal services from the staff. White wall with brown wood interior design accentuate the tone & class of this luxury resort & great details using interior accessories/objects bring the experience to new heights.

What's more!? Wake up to a table of breakfast in the early morning at the resort restaurant located just right in front of the beach. Sanctuary indeed~


& the main highlight of this trip? I get to experience authentic Thai cusine through Aleenta's private cooking class with Chef Thip! The Chef gave us a walk through at their local market, and it was really an eye opener. Do you know that their wet market only sell fresh meat & they do not sell leftovers from the previous day at all! 

After returning from the market, we get on down to the preparation of the dishes. For the cooking class we are learning 3 classic Thai dishes - Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong & Green Curry. Trust me, you will never be able to get any valuable tips like these unless you have a good exchange of culture with the local chef there.

Here are some of the tips which I've learnt from Chef Thip during the private cooking class:

There are 4 different varietals of eggplants in the green curry & the difference between red and green curry lies in the chilli used. In authentic Thai cuisine, the herbs and spices (Kaffir lime leaves & lemongrass) use to flavor the soup can actually be eaten if it's been cut into smaller pieces. Always use natural palm sugar to replace the common refined sugar. The subtle aroma of the palm help to improve the taste of the dishes as compared to using normal sugar.

Beautiful sunset & dinner by the beach - this sums up my 4D3N trip in Phuket. If you plan to have a longer stay, I'd highly recommend to do an island tour and visit the beautiful island surrounding Phuket. I did not do the island tour this time round as I have already experienced it on my previous trip here. Feel free to drop me a message if you need any details for the trip. Have a good day ahead~

Special thanks to Aleenta Phuket for arranging such a lovely stay & exciting private Thai cooking class experience. I will definitely be back again when I feel the need to escape from the city life. Spiritual Retreat complete!