Phuket, although known for it’s picturesque beaches and stunning waters, has had a reputation as a young traveler’s paradise.
Not wanting to have anything to do with the spring-break atmosphere that seemingly characterizes the exotic island, I had not been in a rush to visit. I imagined the pristine beaches and Thai culture being overrun by 20-something tourists whose main priorities were to get drunk and get a tan. (Not there is nothing wrong with backpackers, I think that there is sometimes no better way to really get to know the world than backpacking and exchanging info in hostels. There is nothing wrong with getting drunk and partying either, it just wasn’t the experience I was looking for). However, when the opportunity came about to visit, I still wanted to see what this much-loved part of Thailand was all about.
What I discovered on my 3 day trip was that Phuket is not just for backpackers on a shoestring budget, and it’s not just for partiers. Phuket is quite large, and there is definitely opportunities to avoid the partygoers and have a private and luxurious visit.
As I ventured an hour from the airport and down to the southernmost tip of the peninsula, it was obvious that there are still quiet parts of the island. My visit took me to Sri Panwa, one of Thailand’s top luxury resorts (Also, the location of The Bachelorette Season 12 Finale).
From the moment I stepped into the reception I was greeted by friendly staff and smiling faces, as well as a welcome tea while I checked in. As soon as I was given an overview of the expansive property, I was led to a tuk-tuk to take me to my villa. The property is humongous (which allows you to keep your privacy from other guests), and requires a driver to take you everywhere by tuk-tuk. This is a nice amenity, as walking around in the heat would be tiring.
At Sri Panwa, I stayed in a one-bedroom luxury pool villa, and it it was beyond heavenly. My villa had stunning panoramic views of the pristine waters, two outdoor sitting areas, a steam room, and outdoor shower and tub, a kitchen, living room and, perhaps most exciting, my own pool! The living room and bedroom both boasted floor to ceiling sliding glass doors so I could hop into the pool from all points of the villa! The kitchen came stocked with snacks and beverages that were not only included in the stay, but were also replenished daily. I’m big on snacking, so this was pretty amazing. The best part, however, was that my room came with my own personal butler to tend to my every need. It is no exaggeration to say that the service provided was second to none.
The property has several amazing restaurants, however, the best meal I had was the one that I made for myself. I signed up for a cooking class, and one of the chefs taught me how to make two incredible authentic dishes. Unlike many cooking classes, this one is tailored specifically to you, so you have the opportunity to learn to cook any meal that you would like. I chose Tom Kha Kai (a coconut milk based soup) and Phad Se-Ew Kai (a stir-fry type dish with rice noodles). Additionally, they present you with the recipe’s to make your dishes at home and fondly remember your time and and the tastes of your visit to Sri Panwa.
Despite Phuket's reputation for beaches full of backpackers, there is another way to experience this part of Thailand. Whether you are looking for a romantic trip or a getaway with your girlfriends, Sri Panwa is the perfect luxury stay in Phuket, and truly has enough offerings to please anyone.
Disclaimer: I was invited to stay at Sri Panwa by the resort. As always, all opinions are my own