Three nights, two beaches, one brief cultural exchange. Thanks to Oakwood Hotel Journeyhub Phuket and Le Meridien Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort, the BASKL team can discover (and rediscover) the exciting things Phuket, Thailand has to offer.
By Chin Jian Wei, Shafique Danial Johari, Danial Fuad and Nabila Azlan
Not too long ago, the BASKL team went on a tour to the land of mango sticky rice and banana pancakes (literally, they were sold everywhere). You guessed it right, we were all in Thailand immersing ourselves into the deeply rooted culture, creativity and food this unique country has to offer. We spent a total of 4 days in Thailand and the 3 nights were split into two amazing stays yet very different from one another. As soon as we landed at Phuket International Airport, we started off our journey headed to none other than Patong Beach.
Why Patong beach?
Patong Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Phuket. A tourist spot that attracts millions of visitors each year and does not sleep! The hustle and bustle of this hotspot drags from the early morning right till the wee hours of the morning. It is the liveliest place in the whole Phuket Island and is even home to a wide range of international hotel brands as well as some hostel-like accommodations, in short Patong Beach has it all.
The most famous stretch along the beach is Bangla Road, which boasts everything from bars with live music, people dancing, numerous food outlets and at one end of the road is the beach while at the opposite end lies the biggest shopping centre in the area Jungceylon. Patong Beach attracts different walks of life and there is everything for everyone. There is no doubt why this area sits on the top spot for holiday-goers visiting Phuket. During our trip to Phuket, the first part of our stay was hosted by Oakwood Hotel Journeyhub Phuket, a mid-sized gem and is only a 15minute walk away from the main stretch of Bangla Road.
Beach-town gem: Oakwood Hotel Journeyhub Phuket
The Oakwood Hotel Journeyhub is nestled in between buildings whereby the reception counters are located on the eighth floor. It not seem that impressive from the outside, but once stepping in we were treated with their friendly staff that made us feel at home. They even serve refreshments while waiting to check in. The best part about The Oakwood Hotel Journeyhub Phuket is the strategic location which is not far from the main city centre.
That is not all, apart from the rooms that comes with complimentary breakfast, the hotel also has a rooftop terrace complete with a swimming pool and bar for those who wish to relax at the hotel. Do not fret if you are concerned about your fitness while on holiday as the hotel even has a fitness centre complete with treadmills and weights.
Although the hotel is only a 15 minute walk to Bangla Road and the beach, the hotel also provides free shuttles for guests who wish to go downtown. After all, sometimes walking can be quite taxing for some. Do note however that the shuttle is only one way and you need to find your way back on your own (there are many ‘tuk-tuks’ or auto rickshaws at the beach but be very careful when choosing one as some may scam you for the fare.)
What’s there in Mai Khao?
From the town centre, we then explored a different side of Phuket called Mai Khao. There is so much to love about Mai Khao including – the sight of the clear azure sea, smell of roadside treats (banana pancakes, spicy noodle salads, fruit slices) and many more. The pacing seems different in this beach town. Like us, one stops by here perhaps for a serene swim, or maybe to spend time walking on the white sands of the beach , and marvel at the golden touches of culture (sculptures, intricate finishings) absorbed into not only its common buildings but luxurious stays.
Plane-spotting is almost inevitable when you’re here. Mai Khao is close-by Phuket International Airport, which explains why this beach is an easy pick. The people are friendly, and the food is delicious – a no-brainer delight for Thai food goers. Water sports is wonderful to watch and experience in Mai Khao. While we were here, we managed to cross over to the neighbouring Nai Yang beach, a quaint village filled with curious tourists, old and new – each with their own agendas: a massage, perhaps, or a stroll to and from one convenient store to the other. Anything is possible.
Laxing in luxury: Le Meridien Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort
Next up on our itinerary was the Le Méridien Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort. This was truly a luxurious resort, with a sprawling compound right next to the beach. There were all the facilities you would expect from a five-star resort, such as a gym offering activities like yoga and boxing, as well as beach activity facilities such as kayaking, standup paddleboarding. You could even borrow bicycles to cycle around the compound, or even to outside the hotel where the food stalls are, which is what we did.
The rooms that were provided for us were on the ground floor, and were connected by a common swimming pool, perfect for hanging out with your friends for a leisurely night swim. Perhaps even better was the public swimming pool, which was large and featured multiple sections. It was terraced and had different elevated platforms so that people could swim and frolic in their desired depth level. Surrounding the public pool was beach chairs for people to sunbathe, extending all the way from the pool to the beach itself. The children’s play room was also a pleasant surprise, featuring a large ball pit, padded playground, and assorted toys and books. There was even a Playstation 4 to round things off (we recommend playing Overcooked with friends).
We were also served a wonderful multi-course dinner, of which the lobster stood out in particular. Overall, the experience was exemplary, and a great example of a resort that had just about any facility you can think of for a relaxing beach holiday.
For our Muslim friends, Halal food is also quite easy to find in Phuket as they have a relatively large Muslim population in this part of the country. In fact, there are many Halal options at the food court of the shopping malls. There are also several mosques around town. So, Phuket truly is a wonderful holiday spot for everyone!
It is a pleasure for us to be able to experience Phuket. Til we meet again!
Special thanks to Oakwood Hotel Journeyhub Phuket and Le Meridien Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort. Photos by Nabila Azlan.
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