Thai traditional wooden longtail boat and beautiful sand Railay Beach in Krabi province. Ao Nang, Thailand.

In a country known for idyllic beaches, gentle water, friendly people and full moon parties, Phuket has something for everyone.  The island of Phuket was once a prominent trading port for the Portuguese and later the Dutch, English and eventually French.  Old Phuket Town still has a beautiful combination of Chinese and Colonial architecture. 

Phuket, Thailand – May 8, 2016: Unidentified tourists are shopping at old town night market is called “Lard Yai” in Phuket, Thailand.

Their trade is tourism now with low prices and favorable exchange rates inviting many Europeans, and even Americans despite the long journey, looking to backpack around the country and southeast Asia.  There is also a large expat community of retirees or foreigners working in tourism at one of the many hotels or bars.  Patong is the place to party and the music comes more from Europe than the US.

Many stunning islands rest nearby to explore by boat or spend a night.  Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are famous for their full moon parties and surprisingly also for yoga retreats and yoga teacher trainings. 

Courtesy photo by theartsshelf.com

For those looking for more pampering and relaxation Rosewood Phuket opened last year to the delight of many.  Bringing the high standards the brand is known for, this hotel sets itself above the competition in Phuket for ultra luxury and stunning location with 600 meters of beachfront at Emerald Bay.

Like many tourist destinations, it is easy to travel and even live there without immersing in the culture but this would be a grand shame.  Thai people are traditionally very warm and welcoming, smile a lot and love to greet each other or anyone who says hi to them.  The language barrier can be tough but a little effort to say some basic words and phrases and the people will truly appreciate it.  Then you can find the real Thai restaurants.  Thai cuisine has some of the richest and most complex blending of flavors. From the delicious coconut green curry, to a nutty Massaman curry, or acidic green papaya salad, the best of Phuket’s food scene requires a local guide.

Courtesy photo by lemongrassrestaurants.com