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!

OCBC Money Insights advice: E-banking = EASY banking

Read my first post HERE to find out why my handbag has no receipts anymore.

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If you don’t want to crowd your handbag with ugly stacks of receipts, or manually track your expenses with excel or an iPhone app, then OCBC’s new Money In$ights banking tool is super valuable. Best of all, it’s free! (But of course.)

<strong>Why is this a good tool? </strong> Probably because it’s the small things that matter. When you add little expenditures together, you might get a shock at how much money has wafted out of your pocket, just like this cartoon guy in the video. (Poor, poor guy. Literally.)

I don’t know about you, but my guilty pleasure is taking taxis. Late here, lazy there. $10 here, $15 there… Before I know it, I have $200 missing from my bank account that month. (Taxis are getting so expensive lah.) There is power in knowing how much you’re spending and how much you’re saving. I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty powerless right now.

What OCBC Money Insights does is keep track of where you’re spending your money, so you can start deciding how to save your money.

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You can view your spending by bright and appetizing pie-charts too, if you like that sort of thing.

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The data in the system also offers you a median explanation of how other people like you are spending their money. Are they earning more than you? Maybe. Are they saving more than you? Likely.

Don’t cry for me Argentina.

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Set individual budgets for each category to help you stay on track with your finances. The system even sends you kind reminders through SMS and email alerts when you’re coming close to blowing the budget.

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The full step by step E-BANKING EASY-BANKING guide is available through OCBC’s website.

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Ladyxtel, Melissa Celestine and I are all smiles now – knowing how to turn our spendings into savings. If this rich new service and cute pictures doesn’t convince you to become an OCBC customer, I don’t know what will.

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I have to figure out which bank gives me maximum return % on my savings, but other than that, I am seriously considering using OCBC now for my personal spending account. What do you think?

Bang for your buck: New banking tool OCBC Money Insights kicks banking butt

There was once in Secondary school (I went to Temasek Sec), my teacher actually put my name into a math question – probably to get my maximum attention. I still got the answer wrong. Nothing has changed and I am still currently quite lousy at math. Let’s test YOURS!

If you have a $5 pizza slice for lunch on Monday, a $9.50 salad from SaladStop on Tuesday, went out for dinner with a friend after work at Sushi Tei which costs $22.30, had more lunches on the rest of the week, went for a few drinks and took a bunch of taxi rides (Robertson Quay and Dempsey Hill isn’t so near an MRT lah), how much would you have spent that week?

Can’t remember?

Multiply that by 4 weeks in a month.

4 x No idea!

At the end of the month, I usually know I spent my money – but I can’t quite remember how I spent it exactly.

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OCBC organized a bloggers’ event last week and they completely kicked butt with a categorise-your-receipts-in-the-fastest-amount-of-time game. Boy did I suck at it. I think at the end of 1 minute, I had only managed to sort out 4 out of my 40 or so receipts!

Things were confusing and messy.

If there was an award for the worst performer of the game, I would be presented with it.

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Not only was the game difficult, but it was also horrifyingly realistic. In my world, I probably DO receive at least 40 receipts over a period of a month – IF I even collect EVERY receipt from my purchases of the month. Which I usually don’t bother to.

Who wants to walk around with a stack of paper in your wallet or handbag? So unglam, can?

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.If you don’t like carrying around a handbag full of receipts like me, click here to find out how you can get more bang for your buck. (Don’t worry, of course it’s not going to cost you money to save money lah.)

I don’t want this post to be too long, so check out my next blog post for a more detailed look at this new e-banking tool.