Best restaurants and places to eat in Patong and around Phuket

Phuket is not only a place to party, it’s a place to live the ultimate lifestyle – even if just for a week or weekend. This busy beach town is so heavy on tourism and you can’t ignore the abundance of restaurants – there’s everything from $2 meals to $200 meals. Some of the nicest ones I’ve come across so far are Joe’s Downstairs (Aussie/Western), Da Maurizio (Italian), White Box (International/Mediterranean), Acqua (seems sort of European), or Baan Rim Paa (Local Thai/Seafood). Here are my reviews on the best places to eat in Phuket, and some of the above-mentioned spots.

Quite honestly, I ate at Baan Rim Paa and felt it was rather over-rated and over-priced, but my tourist friends liked this restaurant most. Not sure who was handing out awards, but it is evidently award-winning and the rustic beachside ambience of this restaurant makes it a popular pick for clients, tourists, or dates.

Personally, if it were up to me, I would rather eat Thai food in the streets – if I wanted to eat local, I would go local.

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See if you can recognize the typical Thai dishes – mango salad, pineapple rice, green curry chicken, fresh fish with lime, sticky rice with mango, and more.

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All these dishes for 3 people. Gluttons, we are.

We had Italian at Da Maurizio, and the food was on an international standard but you definitely pay for what you get. I’m also very biased in favour of Italian food, so I was pretty happy with this meal.

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My favourite dinner in Phuket was at JOE’S DOWNSTAIRS – the lofty white furniture was a joy to sit on while dinner-watching the swirls of the waves. This restaurant is said to serve “new world cuisine” (what does that even mean?!), but I felt it akin to the fine dining that I used to have in Australian restaurants.

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If you’re hungry but don’t want to spend a fortune of food, there are plenty of restaurants in Patong that will fill you up with good things for much, much less. I’ve eaten at so many places around Phuket and in Patong that I can hardly remember, but if you find a hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint, please try it out and send me the address. I had some of the best Mexican food ever in such a place in Phuket, but it was down some random back alleys and I wish I could find my way back there.

Generally, the seafood restaurants fronting the main strip of Patong is over-crowded with lazy tourists and over-priced, so walk down the parallel streets and you’re bound to find equally good seafood for much cheaper. Another area I like to eat at is Karon Beach – it’s only about 15 minutes from Patong and although there is less culinary selection compared to Patong, it can give you a much quieter, relaxing dinner. The Russian restaurant there is quite well-liked.

(Thumbs up if you’d like to see an upcoming post on fun things to do + best places to party in Phuket!)

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Oceanfront Villas for Living x Sleeping x Swimming x Dreaming at Indochine Resort

The world is screaming summertime but alas, in Asia, it is summertime everyday. Call the pestering sun a blessing or a curse, but most who come to visit have remained and – at least – the haze has mostly blown away.

Now, I know you have no lack of choices for places to play and stay around Asia, but there’s never a bad time to recommend something for your next holiday. like I said, it’s “summertime” right?

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When it comes to Phuket, I have a bit of pride. I’ve been here about 15 times, so you can also call me Miss Tour Guide!

On my last trip to Phuket, I arranged for me and my friends to stay at Indochine’s new resort, Indochine Phuket.

While being scenically perched on the Patong hillside, most of the resort faces open views of the gorgeous Andaman sea. Themes of water, earth and nature elements evidently inspire the resort and rooms, and I also picked up a distinct oriental feel – this is no stranger to the strong signature decor that has moulded Indochine’s restaurants around Asia.

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Depending on what your personality is, this decision could be as good for you as it was for me and my friends – We enjoyed the proximity to Patong without having to live within it, for it is a crazy town that never sleeps.

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A 5-10 min shuttle or taxi from Indochine Resort will get you into the heart of the Patong action, while a 20 min walk for us to Patong was nice and breezy whenever we weren’t too hungry.

If you don’t crave bar-hopping and clubbing, Indochine Resort is saliently self-sustainable. The restaurant is large enough for a royal function and multiple-meal worthy, while the public rooftop pool beckons from day to night. This hotel IS a holiday in itself, and I would have gladly given myself into house-arrest for there was no reason to leave pleasures of the premises.

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If you need a holiday by the sea, here are some rooms you can possibly choose from.

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THE OCEANFRONT STANDARD ROOM could quite possibly, set the standard. Don’t expect a hotel room for all the Oceanfront Rooms are in the format of a villa, and quite self-explanatorily, give you some sort of uninterrupted views of sky and sea.
You don’t get a private pool with this 55 sqm room, but you do get a lovely outdoor verandah to enjoy your holiday views, and a huge stone jacuzzi (great for couples, but I think you could try to squeeze 4 people in it). Plonk yourself into the generous sofa, and use as much of the free wifi room as you want.

Info and reservations for OCEANFRONT STANDARD HERE.

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THE OCEANFRONT SUPERIOR ROOM sits 109 sqm wide, on the ground floor of Indochine’s resort/community/empire. Enjoy the jumbo-sized jacuzzi (it’s so big I would unofficially presume this to be somewhat of a private pool), and plenty of space on your outdoor terrace for sunbeds and lazy daytime lounging. Or, you can watch all the sky-sun-sea action from the inside comfort of your air-conditioned room, as your gaze extends beyond massive glass floor-to-ceiling windows.

Info and reservations for OCEANFRONT SUPERIOR HERE.

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I’m not even halfway done, people! How about THE OCEANFRONT DELUXE ROOM? It’s 70 sqm big, and takes you up to the top floor of the resort. This one comes with both an outdoor jacuzzi and an outdoor shower, so I guess you can’t help being clean in a room like this. If you like multiple showers a day, this is the right room for you! Since you’re on the highest floor here, no one will be peeking down on you… Sea views will be majestic too.

Info and reservations for OCEANFRONT DELUXE HERE.

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THE OCEANFRONT PREMIUM DELUXE ROOM is where I spent most of my time in Indochine. Whoever said life is hard, certainly wasn’t me! A grand space of 160 sqm offers an outdoor jacuzzi along with a private plunge pool. Some people have all the luck, huh?

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Info and reservations for OCEANFRONT PREMIUM DELUXE HERE.

If you’re going to take your time in Phuket (and why not, I say!) and want something a bit more modern, you could very possibly find yourself quite comfortable in Indochine Phuket’s GAYA STUDIO. Feel at home with cooking amenities here when you’re not gorging yourself on the resort’s culinary treats, and I love the indoor to outdoor decor touches and sofas where I can let my hair down and put my feet up.

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Slide a bedroom panel open and you’ve fallen into your living room. Slide another panel to reveal a kitchenette, and the double rainshower in your bathroom is just around the opposite corner.

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Did we just fly through space and time, from Oriental to European living? Yes we did. This is the modern beach bum’s home, truly… Kick back among the clean whiteness, and give range to a lifestyle of ocean infinity.

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Info and reservations for GAYA STUDIO ROOM HERE.

Another easy option would be to ditch the city life for a OCEAN SUITE CONDOMINIUM room in Indochine, available in a 2 or 3 bedroom format. I trekked up some stairs to visit this duplex style sea-facing unit, and loved how the lower level is great for entertaining friends or clients. A wide living room area makes great DVD nights, and I know I wouldn’t resist turning down a dinner invitation at this dining table. Keep your private time to yourself with a separate space on the second level, for no one needs to see your mess – nor you in your bathtub where you obviously look your best.

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Info and reservations for OCEAN SUITE CONDO HERE.

I’ve saved the best for last, which is also most popular for groups of friends who can’t bear to be apart. Welcome to the extravagant selection of pool villas at Indochine. This one was so tranquil, you could close your eyes and almost hear the trillions of salty drops come together as one, magnificent, never-ending ocean.

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The roomy pool deck seemed to go to waste this afternoon with just one little person, reading one magazine.

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A slightly hidden turn down some stairs on the side brought me into a play area. Take your winning shot at the dartboard or the table soccer table – there’s no room in this room for losers in fooseball!

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A pretty grandiose guest bedroom to be in, I thought… Until I opened the doors to the master bedroom. A jet-filled personal spa awaits its master/mistress. Bubbles and candles seem to be in celebratory order.

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Missing something? Your best friends, maybe. Bring them along!

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(This is another pool villa where some of my friends were staying.)

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Keep to yourself in one of the multiple bedrooms, or commune with your best friends in the living area to get your daily dose of last night’s gossip. When you’re done laughing at that drunkard’s antics (there’s always that one drunk!), roll outside in the sunshine for a dip in the pool. Grab your sunscreen, iPad or earphones, or you could just climb onto the rooftop to watch.

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There’s just so much to do in Indochine’s pool villa, it would take you from daytime chilling to night star-gazing – my friends have personally made the breezy poolside area a drinks-dispensing dance floor.
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The food at Indochine’s Resort is really good as well, and we were addicted to their Viet beef noodles. Me and my friends ate this about 4-6 times over our stay! I could barely believe how we were eating our way through the hotel. The duck crispy noodles and starter platter are worth mentioning and tasting as well.

Indochine is renown for its F&B group after all, and they take such pride in their food and where it comes from. No endangered species like Yellowfin and Bluefin tuna are served, and Chef Stuart Hickman is no stranger to the resort and fine dining world of French, Mediterranean and Modern Australian cuisine – in fact, my taste tests assure that he’s got the plate pat down.

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Whether you’re looking for peace or a party, you could probably find it all in Indochine Resorts.

Thank you Indochine Phuket for a splendid stay while you were hosting me. If anyone wants me to recommend or book the best oceanfront room for you, feel free to get in touch with me.

*Every room is unique – Please confirm all above-mentioned amenities with resort management when booking your desired room.

This is an advertorial for Indochine Resorts, Phuket. Create your own oceanfront experience by choosing one of the rooms above!

Best thing to do in Phuket with The Sail Spin – Hello from the land of Sun, Sea, Sand, Party and Sailing!

It’s mid-week. You’re at your desk in the office, tired of doing the same number crunching you have been doing for the last 3 and a half years. Maybe you need a break, or you’re just bored. You’re poking about on Facebook and other sites, and somehow land up here on the internet. How about a little daydreaming? Wouldn’t you love to be on a boat?

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GET ON BOARD THE NEXT SAILING TRIP COMING RIGHT UP:


28th March – 1st April 2013 (Singapore public holiday: Good Friday weekend)
23rd – 27th of May 2013 (Singapore public holiday: Vesak Day weekend)

AHOY, MATE!

The Sail Spin is a world of pristine islands, chic sailing yachts and party people. The success formula is simple – you grab your best friends, choose a trip date, pick out your favourite sailboat, and cast off. Great holiday idea, right?! Modelled after the infamous European Yacht Weeks that I’ve watched wishingly on YouTube, each Sail Spin trip brings together 5-10 yachts full of like-minded people.

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Yacht Week in Europe had always been on my bucket list. Now, I get to do it a little closer to home, in Asia!
C’mon, Asia. Let’s do it better. The people are hotter. The waters are warmer. Everyday here is summer.

LOCATION OF PLEASURE: PHUKET, THAILAND

The Sail Spin world revolves around ours… Trips are usually scheduled around Singapore’s public holidays and weekends, to minimize the number of day offs you will have to take at the office. Everyone makes their own flight arrangements to Phuket, because while some ballers want to ride first class, someone like me might not mind flying budget. Also, this way, you are free to travel up from whichever city, or to extend your Phuket pleasures whether it be pre-sailing trip or post-sailing.

PREPARING FOR PLEASURE WITH A WORRY-FREE CONCIERGE SERVICE

I was picked up from the airport and chauffeured to wherever I needed to be. For most landing on the day of, you would choose to join The Sail Spin kickoff party – ours was hosted over a swim and drinks at Catch Beach Club.

SIDENOTE ABOUT CATCH BEACH CLUB: I’ve been to many bars and beach clubs, but let me tell you, this one is breathtaking. I started whining about wishing I came earlier, and if The Sail Spin chooses not to hold their parties here in the future, it is still worth a separate visit. You’ll be plenty entertained just sitting prettily on elegant white furniture, while you stare at the swells of the sea. It swirls seamlessly into a stunning sunset, while the rhythm of Cafe Del Mar ripples into your head. I couldn’t have asked for a more magnificent introduction to my new sailing group of friends.

After this, the shuttles took us straight to Yacht Haven, where a heavenly getaway would begin.

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Each trip spans about 4 nights, 5 days, and hops about designated stops around Phuket. The yacht route, on-land activities, in-boat groceries and night-time delights are all pre-planned as part of a ‘worry-free’ hospitality package. Alcohol can either be purchased for cheap at the Phuket International Airport, or show up as an extra charge on your bill if you would like the staff to take care of that.

Before VS After:
(The ‘worry-free’ service is a new and good move by The Sail Spin staff, as during my trip we didn’t have this and we went more than overboard with groceries. The boys bought enough Belvedere Vodka to last a war, and the girls each wanted about 10 cans of spaghetti. Needless to say, we were undomesticated, a lot of food was wasted, and we all got a little bit fat.)

SAILING ON BOARD OUR YACHT – THE JEANNEAU 57 “BAGGY”

Do you have to know how to sail to go on a sailing holiday? We certainly didn’t, but some of the boys on my boat tried to learn over the course of our great getaway. A professional skipper handles that, among much else. Your job is not to sail, but to swim or suntan.

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We picked a beautiful boat called the Jeanneau Baggy, run by THE PINK SHRIMP. It was 58.4 foot long, catered for 6 guests in three double cabins, and came with a young and strapping captain full of fine service – his half-British half-Japanese hospitality was like a button that was switched on every hour of our trip. He couldn’t have done it without the help of his co-captain, of course.

Don’t expect a villa-sized room on board any boat, for rooms are small and toilets are tight. Everything is squeaky clean, and your new home is a splendid suite of classy and cosy. Do note that our sailing yacht was fully air-conditioned, but not all boats have this.

PS: Luxe Nomad just ran a sale on this yacht, among a couple of others! Sign up for Luxe Nomad’s email list for first-hand news on luxury vacation flash sales.
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ZERO SEASICKNESS
Let me get real here and tell you that this is not a trip for everyone. If you get claustrophobic in smaller spaces and hate the idea of being out at sea, then this is not for you. However, you don’t have to be a daredevil to enjoy this special themed getaway – my friend Marlies gets seasick easily and she wore a seasick wristband from the beginning to the end of the trip. Not only was she never nauseous AT ALL, I never saw her stop smiling once.

I’m a bit of a hero when it comes to motion sickness, but the ocean got to me a bit on the third day as I was on the boat all day that day. I started to feel a rumbling in my tummy and my mood was extra cranky. I pulled Marlies’ wristband off her and put it on myself. I promise you – within merely minutes, the seasickness disappeared completely and I was back to my normal happy self. There is some serious magic in this band. If you sign up to go sailing, I highly advise you buy this.

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FYI, The bigger your boat, the less it rocks so feel free to splurge on some stability!

THE SAIL SPIN EXPERIENCE AND PEOPLE

The experience is created for you, but making memories is your job to do!

Sailing is typically deduced to be a hobby for the rich or filthy rich, but this luxury is now pretty affordable for young pleasure seekers like us too. As long as you have a passport that allows you into Phuket, people of any ages are welcome. Join as one person, or pull more friends along. During my trip, the cosmopolitan crowd tended to average around working adults in their 20s-40s. I’m not going to lie, they weren’t an ugly bunch!

The best thing about The Sail Spin is that it is just so special – it’s boatloads better than a normal holiday in Phuket, and more fun than going sailing with just one group of friends. This is package tour group 2.0! Choose to holiday side by side with other sailors in the sunshine, and share a drink or a laugh over a beachside dinner in the moonlight.

Each yacht sails beside each other in the day, and join in the on-land island stops where activities like snorkelling, spa massages, cave kayaking, cliff diving, sailing or more can be done. Personally, there were not a lot of activities planned during my trip, but it was The Sail Spin’s first big trip and with our feedback, they have now beefed up the list of fun that can be done.

My favorite stop was when we docked near a little island (think it was named Chokdee island), and it allowed for few casual hours of mingling over lunch, playing pool, snorkelling, and ultimately an afternoon of pure relaxation. Who needs hammer time when it’s hammock time?

You are free to request a light customisation of your own itinerary, although the plan is to stick with the programme. Consult with your captain if you want to make an extra stop or a tiny detour… Don’t get lost though, Robinson Crusoe!

By sunset, the party options kick in and drinks on your yacht will definitely start flowing. A couple of people choose to stay in and enjoy the yacht, but most jump off the boat to enjoy a little evening bustle. Some nights, buffet barbecue dinners are orchestrated by the beach, but other nights are free and easy. Wander around the little shops, or grab a drink at one of the local bars with old friends and new friends. Phuket is one big general party, and everyone from The Sail Spin ended up at this dingy beach club called Slinky. (Expect cheap shots, rowdy tourists, hardcore locals and plenty of glowing in the dark.)

This awesome holiday saves the best for the last, and a final night boat party ensues. A DJ (did I mention the sailing trip usually includes one resident DJ?!) breaks out the beats on board while everyone else downs the remainder of their drinks, dancing on deck and singing along to the chorus when their favourite song comes on. The final party is a little surreal – you hold hands with your new best friends and look over the vast waters and islands in a distance, feeling ever so slightly afloat as you listen to the rise of the fall of the tempo.

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Sleeping at night (if you should choose to) is not conducted in the middle of the open sea, but all yachts are safely docked either close to shore or inside hotel sea ports.

QUITE HONESTLY, BEST HOLIDAY EVER

Although I didn’t have a summer love nor meet my mer-man, every single person that I met on this trip made this trip better, and boy did we have a whirlwind of a sailing holiday together. It was such a new experience jet setting off to a luxe vacation in and around Andaman sea, spoiling myself with 5 days of refreshing mornings on my own personal yacht with my favourite friends, and catching up on reading, swimming, suntanning or plain ol’ conversations.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love being on a boat or just running away on a holiday. The feeling of being able to do both is completely enchanting, but rolling out of bed on a yacht and jumping into the perfect waters of Phuket to wake up is another dimension of deluxe.

This was, quite honestly, as of lately, my best holiday in Asia ever.

Feel free to email me at loveyouwrongtime@gmail.com for enquiries and bookings, or if you just want tell me how awesome my vacation pictures look!

THE SAIL SPIN is on Facebook: Say hello to them and see what the sailing fuss is about!

If you haven’t OD-ed on my pictures yet, dare yourself to browse through my full Sail Spin holiday album for extra envy.

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This is a sponsored post for The Sail Spin.

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EXTEND YOUR INDULGENCE – STAY AT INDOCHINE RESORTS, PHUKET

If you would like to extend your trip and unwind a little bit more in Phuket, I recommend staying at Indochine Resort where I was – they currently have a mega saver March promo on as well.

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This resort is not in Patong itself, but rather scenically perched on the Patong hillside. Depending on what your personality is, this decision could be as good for you as it was for me and my friends. We enjoyed the proximity to Patong without having to live within it, for it is a crazy town that never sleeps. A 5-10 min shuttle or taxi from Indochine Resort will get you into the heart of the Patong action, while a 20 min walk for us to Patong was nice and breezy whenever we weren’t too hungry.

Only on offer until 31st March 2013, pamper yourself with a 3 day/2 night experience at the Oceanfront room. (I stayed in this very room during my stay – it’s named a hotel room but feels like a villa.)

Rates are based on 2 persons/per room and includes a day activities package, a daily international breakfast, dinner at their restaurant (the alfresco area is absolutely relaxing), 2-way airport transfers, and shuttle services at scheduled intervals.

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Specially for bookings from Singapore – The full dates and details for this promotion can be found on the Indochine Group website.

It’s time to spoil yourself, people. Stay in a nice villa, go on an island holiday and take me with you!