We spent a few days in Phuket, Thailand staying at the Villa Zolitude Resort & Spa. Below is a recap of our trip along with packing and travel tips should you find yourself in Thailand.
Our villa was super luxurious but without the price tag. We booked a package that included a 2.5 hour body scrub/massage and a romantic candlelight dinner in our villa. The villas are two stories nested in a high mountain surrounded by nature . The top floor has stunning bay windows on three sides of the room that overlooked the city. Check out the photo above of the view from our bed. Waking up every morning to that view was magical. The bottom floor has an outdoor shower and lounge area with bay doors that opened up to a private pool with a waterfall.
Our spa in the resort was truly a 5 star experience. Upon arrival, we were welcomed with tea and a cold fragrant towel. The masseuse had us try 3 different scents for our body scrub (rose, amber, lemongrass green tea) and the oil (lavender, rose , lemongrass) for the massage. Our massage beds overlooked a fountain and, rather than staring at the floor, you had a beautiful floral arrangement in front of you. Our package was included in our room rate, but browsing through their menu, the massages were extremely affordable compared to US prices.
As hard as it was to leave this beautiful resort, we did want to explore Phuket during our stay as well. We visited Big Buddha, a large statue that sits on a high point in Phuket, and Chalong Temple. Both stunning sights to see. As a tip, make sure to cover up (goes for both men and women). I wore a maxi skirt and used a sarong as a shawl over my tank top. You are not permitted to enter in tanks and shorts. It is really warm so we headed there early to avoid the sun and having to wear longer clothing in the heat. You can also just use a sarong to cover up if you are wearing shorts and/or tank.
We also went to Nai Haron Beach, a public beach off the southern coast. The resort offered a shuttle bus to get us there. It was beautiful to see and we had an opportunity to grab some local food nearby.
Be sure to grab a coconut on the beach as well. I've had fresh coconuts on many islands but the coconuts here are incredibly sweet and should not be missed!
On our second to last day, we did the sunrise trip to the Phi Phi islands. I know no one wants to wake up at 5am on vacation but the pro of doing so is to avoid the crowds on this popular day trip. We traveled by speedboat for about an hour to get to the islands. There were a few stops including Maya Beach, Phi Phi Don, and Bamboo Island. We even got to jump off to swim in the lagoon; absolutely stunning waters.
1. Mosquito spray: I brought two natural mosquito spray with me and we used these religiously everyday. This eucalyptus one smelled strong and worked really well. This other one has zero smell and also worked fairly well for a shorter time.
2. Long pants/maxi skirt & shawl: if you are planning to visit big Buddha or any temples.
3. Beach bag/hat: I did not pack any since both of these were provided in our villa but I did use them on our beach trips.
4. Resort wear: I wore bathing suits with cover-ups mostly during the day. However, when commuting to the beach, I opted for a romper above my bathing suit. Do not just wear a lightweight cover-up in the streets. In the evenings, we mostly stayed in our resort and I wore dresses for dinner in evening.
1. Try the coconuts: Drinking coconut water out of coconuts is one of my favorite things to do at any island but Phuket had the sweetest coconuts ever and they were incredibly cheap.
2. Get a massage: I only tried the resort spa which was a very luxurious experience but there are massages available everywhere on the island at low prices. You will never justify a $200 massage back home again.
3. Hire a driver and agree on price beforehand: We booked a driver to explore big Buddha and Chalong temple. They will wait for you so you don't have to worry about separate one way trips.
4. Tipping culture: Most restaurants and hotels have a service charge already included in your bill. However, for restaurants with waitstaff it is nice to tip between 5-10% if your service was great. For drivers and cleaning staff, anywhere between 20-50 baht is typically appreciated.