Travelfish contributions by Batfish
The first number represents the total number of published reviews by Batfish. The bracketed figure is submitted reviews -- reviews may not be published for editorial reasons or may be removed because the property concerned has been delisted from Travelfish or has closed.
Life according to Batfish
Living in Phuket since 1999
Ooh! India, USA, Canda, Mexico, Central America, South America, half of Europe, about 15 countries in Africa from Morocco to South Africa...
Read Batfish's blog
A visit to Layan Beach
Published 11:12 pm, 23 Aug 2014
There are plenty of changes currently being imposed on Phuket by the military - mostly cracking down on rip offs, local "mafia" and actually imposing the laws that have been overlooked in Phuket for many years. Chief among these is encroachment at the beaches and structures being built on the beach or on land that is officially designated as national park land. Over the last couple of months, buildings have been removed all over Phuket with the idea being to make the beaches more natural. We recently visited Surin beach and Laem Sing beach to check out the changes, and last weekend I wanted to try Layan beach, which used to be a favourite hangout of ours some years ago (I blogged it in 2007). It always was a very quiet place, located at the north end of Bang Tao beach. Only a couple of hotels, an almost empty beach, one restaurant ... I knew that an upmarket beach club had been built there and that had kind of put me off visiting, but we decided to have a look ...
Aside from the Nikki beach club (which from the rear looked rather ugly - concrete walls spoiling the view of the ocean) nothing much has changed. And since it was low season, the beach really was quiet. Above photo shows the view looking south along Bang Tao beach. Only a few people on the beach. To be honest much of the north of Phuket is like this. If you are staying at Patong beach and complaining that Phuket is crowded, get out of Patong! We took a little walk. No people. No beach chairs. I do like an empty beach! Sure there was a bit of flotsam washed up on the beach, same every low season when the west winds blow the Indian ocean onto our shores. But the beach was more or less ours!
The Nikki beach club seems rather out of place. Aside from the old thatched roof restaurant that's been there for at least 10 years, the new beach club is the only thing near the sand. Too near? Well, it's not been knocked down yet! And when I am on a beach I like the sounds of the waves, not a thumping trance music beat. Well it's not my cup of tea. These beach clubs have sprung up over the last 5 years to meet a demand I suppose, a demand for places where rich people can hang out and not be bothered by the less well off. I saw 3 security guards at Nikki, and on a low season afternoon, only a few customers.
(above) Nikki beach club view from Layan beach
(above) And looking out to sea from Layan beach
Now, Layan beach has 2 parts - the southern part is essentially the north end of Bang Tao beach and I'm not sure how it qualifies for a different name! If you move a bit further north, there is a canal emptying into the sea and a small island called Koh Kala which is connected to the mainland by a sandbar. Just north of the island is one resort (Anantara Layan Resort) and just past this a small dirt carpark with access to the beach - at low tide you can walk over to the island, and we've been for BBQs here before, a very nice untouched quiet place. There were rumours of a marina being built but I think this little bit of land is a protected area. It's not really a swimming beach, more of a lagoon being semi enclosed by the island and sandbar. The sand is nicer at the south end of Layan, but it's a nice spot for a picnic.
(above) at the "lagoon", north end of Layan beach - view of Koh Kala looking south.
(above) On the beach, Layan beach (north end). Don't anyone tell me "Phuket is crowded"! Sure, some of Phuket is crowded and some roads are full of cars and there are roadworks, but .... much of the island is quiet. Go and explore! After Layan beach we carried on north, the road passes the 5 star Trisara Villas, and then winds around the hills before reaching Naithon beach which I also blogged many years ago and, while it's still quiet, there are a couple of new resorts and we could see that beachfront buildings had been knocked down, so that blog page also needs an update sometime!
Layan Beach - Location Map
View Layan Beach Phuket in a larger map
Kata Beach Hotels
Published 7:08 am, 19 Aug 2014
Of the 3 "main" beaches in Phuket, Kata is thought to be the quietest, though I reckon Karon is just as quiet since everything is more spread out. Kata Beach, oddly enough is where (as far as I know) mass tourism started in Phuket, with the opening of the Club Med resort in 1985. Club Med is still there and takes up a large section of the land in front of the beach, though not actually on the beach - there is a small beach road between the resort and the sand. This road stays quiet, and another road behind Club Med takes any traffic heading from one end of Kata to the other. The main through road is even further from the beach - Patak Road is the "back" road behind Kata and Karon Beaches heading from Karon Circle up to the hill that leads over to Chalong Bay. Patak Road has some small hotels, and is where people actually live, with lots of small restaurants and businesses along the way.
Starting at the north end of Kata, you have an area just inland with a road leading down to the beach, this area is called Kata Center, lots of restaurants here and shops, opticians, some bars, a few dive shops and so on. Hotels in the area include the Marina Phuket resort, which actually faces onto Karon Beach, but you can walk to Kata beach in 5 minutes too, they are so close together. As the road splits just after Starbucks - you turn right to the beach just after the Peach Hill resort - a road heads up hill to the Avista Resort and the Aspasia Hotel. Meanwhile along the road behind Club Med are more bars, restaurants and a lot of hotels such as the Chanalai Resort, Sawasdee Village, Kata Palm, Metadee Resort, Centara Kata, Sugar Marina, Malissa Villa Suites and more!
• Check Agoda.com for a Full list of Kata Beach Hotels
The last resort along the beach road is the big Kata Beach Resort, which is right on the beach. One road then heads away from the beach towards Patak Road (there are some smaller guesthouses down this way) while of you turn right after the beach road you pass the back of Kata Beach Resort and get to The Boathouse which also sits on the beach and is one of Phuket's older hotels and has a very well respected restaurant too. Chanalai Garden Resort and Chanalai Flora Resort nearby too. The south end of Kata is a surf zone - there are regular surf contests here in the low season and you find the very popular Ska Bar right at the end of the beach. After The Boathouse head another 100m and the road carries on straight and over a hill to Kata Noi Beach, or you can turn sharp left up a steep hill heading towards the Viewpoint and then on to Naiharn Beach and Phromthep Cape. At the corner is the Orchidacea resort and the Andaman Cannacia which is a few minutes hike up that steep road.
Recommended Kata Beach HotelsSawasdee Village
Sawasdee Village Resort and Spa (you gotta have the "and Spa" these days) has been in Phuket for a long time, opened in 1991 - a little oasis with gardens and water features, a very good spa (so I am told) and a definite olde Thai style feeling.
• Sawasdee Village - Review on Jamie's Phuket
• Sawasdee Village - Check Rates and Availability
• Sawasdee Village - Reviews @ Agoda.com
Avista is quite new - opened end of 2009, on the hill overlooking the sea at the north end of Kata beach. A modern hotel with all the mod cons, and gets a lot of very good reviews. Close to the beach and and Kata Center.
• Avista Resort - Review on Jamie's Phuket
• Avista Resort - Check Rates and Availability
• Avista Resort - Reviews @ Agoda.com
CC's Hideaway Hotel
CC's Hideaway (previously CC Blooms) is a different kind of place to stay - up in the hills, great view but not at all by the beach, it used to be promoted as gay-friendly (something to do with Bette Midler) but I think the new owners have dropped that tag. I've been up several times to pick up diving customers, looks like a nice little hideaway to me!
• CC's Hideaway - Review on Jamie's Phuket
• CC's Hideaway - Check Rates and Availability
• CC's Hideaway - Reviews @ Agoda.com
Mom Tri's Villa Royale
Certainly one of the best hotels in Phuket, almost always gets rave reviews. Villa Royale actually overlooks Kata Noi beach and would be about a 15 minute walk to the busier area at the south end of Kata beach. It's built in old Thai style, individual villas on the hillside, and a top restaurant too.
• Mom Tri's Villa Royale - Review on Jamie's Phuket
• Mom Tri's Villa Royale - Check Rates and Availability
• Mom Tri's Villa Royale - Reviews @ Agoda.com
Kata Palm Resort
Kata Palm resort I'd say is more of a family oriented hotel, big pool and kids pools, lots of rooms, a few minutes walk to the beach and close to lots of restaurants at the south end of Kata Beach.
• Kata Palm Resort - Review on Jamie's Phuket
• Kata Palm Resort - Check Rates and Availability
• Kata Palm Resort - Reviews @ Agoda.com
More Kata Beach Hotel Suggestions
• Ibis Kata Resort review on Jamie's Phuket
• Katathani Resort review on Jamie's Phuket
• Kata Beach Resort Info & Booking at Agoda.com
• Aspasia Hotel Info & Booking at Agoda.com
• Metadee Resort Info & Booking at Agoda.com
• Book Kata Beach Hotels @ Agoda.com
Exploring Phang Nga Province
Published 9:56 am, 11 Aug 2014
Phuket is an island, more or less ... it is surrounded by water, but is connected to the mainland by the Sarasin bridge - well, Sarasin bridges actually ... there are now 3 spans across the 500m gap between Phuket and Phang Nga Province which lies on the other side. The first bridge was only built in 1967 and 2 more have been built in the last 15 years to allow a bridge for traffic each way, while the oldest bridge is now for pedestrians and is a popular evening walk for locals.
Phuket is not just an island, it's a province of Thailand in it's own right, albeit the smallest! The total area of Phuket is less than 600 square kilometers including smaller offshore islands. Over the bridge is Phang Nga province, with an area of over 4000 square kilometers. Sometimes it feels like we have explored every inch of Phuket, and driving over the bridge seems like a big day out! We have spent many days exploring Phang Nga and I noticed that the Phuket Blog now has over 20 pages relating to places in the neighbouring province, so this blog post is a way to tie everything together. Tempted to start a "Jamie's Phang Nga" blog actually, but not yet. Everything on this page is within a few hours drive of Phuket. With favorable traffic we can be over the bridge into Phang Nga in 45 minutes. There's plenty yet to be found, but here's what we know of Phang Nga province so far.
Phang Nga Bay
First on the list ... Phang Nga Bay including James Bond Island and Koh Panyee village, with limestone karst islands and beautiful scenery .. this has to be on most tourists "to do" list, which means avoiding the crowds can be tricky! We have that figured out now - just get there late when all the standard tours are on the way home. Read more : Phang Nga Bay - Doing It Or Way!
(above) James Bond Island
(above) Koh Panyee Village in Phang Nga Bay
Restaurants in Phang Nga
I am sure there are plenty more, but here's a few restaurants and cafes that we like in Phang Nga .... I am not suggesting a drive all the way just for lunch, but in combination with visiting other attractions, one of these places should hit the spot. Our favourite I would say is Tha Sai Seafood, which is quite a drive, past Phang Nga Town and on the way towards Krabi. Great food and a great view!
Another one by the water is Samchong Seafood (below), from where we have hired longtail boats a few times to head out into Phang Nga Bay.
Another we have been to a few times is Dairy Hut Seafood, a 2nd branch of the Dairy Hut restaurant in Phuket Town. Next door they have now opened Dairy Hut Farm with animals to pet and feed including some llamas.
(above) Dairy Hut Seafood restaurant in Phang Nga
And there are a couple of little cafes which we know with nice views, just (for us) a place to stop for a drink - the Phang Nga Viewpoint Cafe, near Phang Nga Town and the 360 Degree Viewpoint Cafe which is just a few km north of the bridge.
(above) That's me at the 360 Degree Viewpoint Cafe
Phang Nga Province has plenty of beach property and it's mostly way quieter than Phuket. Khao Lak was really just becoming a destination in it's own right when the tsunami hit hard in 2004. Khao Lak suffered a lot more damage than Phuket, though of course now nearly 10 years later there's no obvious evidence of the disaster. I had never stayed more than a couple of hours in Khao Lak before last year, but we booked a couple of nights to explore the area, and liked it so much we went back 2 more times in 2013! See : Holidays in Khao Lak.
(above) A Khao Lak Sunset, we really liked the uncrowded beaches
(above) One of the tsunami memorials in Khao Lak - this police boat was carried more than 1km inland and was left there as a reminder.
Khao Lak is also the start point for most trips to the Similan Islands and other offshore islands. The Similans are a big destination for divers - it's why I came here in 1999, looking for work as a dive instructor. I wanted to dive the Similan islands and diving is still in my veins as manager at Sunrise Divers! A bit north of the Similans is Koh Tachai Island - I had dived there before but never been shore until last year when we did a day trip from Khao Lak. Wow.
(above) The kids enjoying the day at Koh Tachai
Khao Lak is about a 1 - 2 hour drive from Phuket, depending where you start in Phuket. From our house near Phuket Town, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Carrying on further north from Khao Lak you reach Takua Pa, which (100+ years ago) was an important trading port, just like Phuket. Now it's still a big fishing port and just outside the main town is the old town of Takua Pa which is similar to old Phuket Town only quieter. We've been a couple of times and really want to stop one Sunday when they have a street market.
(above) In Old Takua Pa
And further north still, and still in Phang Nga province, in between Takua Pa and Kuraburi is Sri Phang Nga National Park which features several waterfalls and we really must check out more of them, because once we found Tamnang Waterfall we decided that would do us just fine! It was more impressive in low (rainy) season although that meant you could not swim in the pool below the falls and a park ranger came with us to make sure we stayed safe.
(above) Waterfall at Sri Phang Nga National Park
There are quite a lot of waterfalls in Phang Nga, we have stopped at quiet a lot. Lampi waterfall and Ton Prai waterfall south of Khao Lak are well worth a look - again, they are more spectacular in the rainy season, but still great places to cool off on a hot day in April!
(above) Yeh, that's me enjoying the cool water at Ton Prai waterfall!
Another place with waterfalls that we like is Sa Nang Manora Forest Park, just north of Phang Nga Town. No big cascades, but a lovely forest setting, popular with locals at the weekend. There's another place called Raman Waterfall Park south of Phang Nga Town that we do mean to check out one day!
Temples in Phang Nga
I do like my temples! And Phang Nga has several interesting ones to visit and I am sure there are more to be found. The most famous is Wat Suwan Kuha, also called Wat Tham, which is built into a cave featuring a large reclining Buddha and lot of monkeys!
(above) Wat Suwan Kuha is found a bit before Phang Nga Town if you are coming from Phuket. Before that, on the left side is Wat Manee Sri Mahathat, which is home to a large statue of a famous Monk called Por Than Klai.
(above) Wat Manee Sri Mahathat
In Phang Nga Town is one of the oddest temples I have seen - Wat Thamtapan features visions of heaven and hell. The Buddhist version of hell is all about different punishments for your worldly sins. We ascended the steep stairs in the heaven section where you can find a view back across Phang Nga to the sea.
(above) The somewhat dizzying stairway to heaven at Wat Thamtapan, Phang Nga
And one more temple, well worth the long drive past Phang Nga Town near the small town of Thap Put, is Wat Bang Riang. I had seen pictures, but we did not really know where it was, finally "discovering" this place in 2012.
(above) Wat Bang Riang
Koh Yao Noi Island
Also part of Phang Nga Province, sitting in Phang Nga Bay, just a short boat ride from the northeast coast of Phuket, are the islands of Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi. The former we have not visited yet. Koh Yao Noi we have been several times for day trips. It's a very quiet island with a mostly Muslim population, the main business is fishing and farming, though for sure the tourism is evident. We have enjoyed a couple of family day trips taking the boat and then renting scooters on arrival to explore.
(above) - My favourite football pitch, at Koh Yao Noi island.
There's more to explore in Phang Nga. I have seen signs to interesting looking restaurants, I want to check out some back roads, check out Bang Pat fishing village, I want to find a viewpoint that I have seen online with amazing early morning views across the clouds. Need more time! Oh, to be a full time blogger!
Phang Nga Province - Location Map
View Phang Nga Province in a larger map
Published 9:21 am, 11 Aug 2014
It was last month (July 2014) that we decided one afternoon to "take a drive". We do this sometimes, with no particular destination in mind, we make up a plan as we drive. It normally results in an interesting day with new discoveries. This time we drove north and kept driving over the Sarasin Bridge into Phang Nga province which has a lot of natural attractions. We'd been to Ton Prai waterfall a couple of times last year, only about 30km from the bridge on the way to Khao Lak, and since we'd just had some rain we decided to stop there first. Ton Prai is well worth a visit, but is not for the lazy as you need to walk through the jungle 650m from the visitors center to reach the waterfall. And we'd forgotten to bring any swimming clothes, as we had left the house with no plan ... this led to a grumpy son who wanted to swim. So we promised he could swim at the next waterfall. Lampi is a little further north, a bit closer to Khao Lak and we realised that we'd never stopped here before. Well, we almost did one time many years ago when we had an argument at the entrance and the national park staff tried to charge my wife the foreign price because she's married to me. This time was much more pleasant!
After leaving Ton Prai, which only had a few visitors, we were surprised to arrive at the Lampi waterfall and see a busy car park. And the reason for this .. is it that Lampi is bigger, more spectacular, more impressive than Ton Prai? Not really, they are both pretty cool. But .. Lampi waterfall is just a couple of minutes walk from your car, plus there are several food stalls and little restaurants .. no need for a walk in the jungle. There was also a shop selling swimming shorts so the boy could swim without getting his other clothes wet. There's a bridge over the river where you can get a nice view of the falls and we walked over this first.
(above) me and the boy at Lampi Waterfall (on the bridge)
OK son, so you want to swim? There's a big pool under the falls. Half is roped off in a vague attempt at safety awareness, and there is a sign telling people to stay one side of the rope. I guess the side nearest the falls is pretty deep. I can imagine that in full flood, Lampi waterfall is not a place to paddle. On this day there were plenty of bathers, mostly youngsters. Our boy took the plunge and quickly found out that the water was refreshingly (or bone chillingly) cold. Certainly colder than the average Thai shower!
(above) Dad! It's cold in here! He did eventually take a proper dip and swim around for a while, but not too long! Certainly a refreshing way to spend an hour on a hot day. The rest of us sensibly stayed out of the water. Getting up closer, I could see that Lampi is actually quite impressive with multiple levels of cascades tumbling out of the jungle. The hills to the east of Lampi and Ton Prai waterfalls are about 500m high, about the same as the highest point in Phuket. We'll head back to Lampi again sometime, all equipped with swimming clothes!
(above) Lampi Waterfall .. pretty nice, right?
On this particular day we carried on north through Khao Lak and up to Takua Pa .. it was a Sunday and we'd heard of a street market in Old Takua Pa, but on arriving there we found nothing. Maybe it has not been a success? Not to worry, we then drove back to Phuket from there via Phang Nga on a beautiful road that we'd never taken before. Always something new to find, especially if you just "go for a drive"!
Lampi Waterfall - Location Map
View Lampi Waterfall in a larger map
Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2014
Published 10:20 am, 7 Aug 2014
Time for an update - this is a new Top 10 / Best Phuket Hotels list which I have again based on TripAdvisor rankings as they were in February 2014. For each hotel there are links for checking online rates and availability - I suggest using Agoda.com if you want to book a hotel in Phuket. There are also review links - also mostly from Agoda where possible - only people who have booked the hotels through Agoda can make a review (I've left some reviews myself), and if you check the reviews, they tend to be very honest reviews, with plus points and minus points and you can be pretty sure they were left by actual guests. Hotels get average scores out of 10 on Agoda, so you can easily compare. but Agoda does not have any ranking lists, so the top 10 here has to be based on TripAdvisor. Here we go ... the 2014 version of the Top 10 Phuket hotels.
1. Trisara Resort Villas
Trisara was 4th last year, and I'd say .. If I have the money it would be my choice. Trisara offers private pool villas on a private beach just north of Bang Tao beach in the north of Phuket. Trisara is a "secluded, luxury, amazing views, forget-your-worries" style hotels. Only 39 villas, lots of space, no crowds. Villas from 2 - 6 bedrooms, so can be ideal for families or big groups, or weddings. Or just for a relaxing trip for a couple. And yes, it's miles from any busy areas, so don't complain that you have to get taxis everywhere :)
• Trisara - Online Booking
• Trisara Reviews
2. BYD Lofts (Patong Beach)
Up from 3rd place last year, BYD Lofts is not really a hotel, as it offers serviced apartments, with a "view over beautiful Patong" rooftop pool, near the center of Patong Beach. There are 1 / 2 bedroom apartments of various sizes. A good place to stay if you like to be near the center of all the action (that's Patong) but need a quietish place to retire to. I tend to avoid Patong, but for sure it's convenient as a visitor to have a lot of restaurants, shops and tour counters near you. And bars and nightlife.
• BYD Lofts - Online Booking
• BYD Lofts Reviews
3. Rising Sun Residence (Chalong)
Not a beach hotel, Rising Sun Residence has 12 villas in the hills in the Chalong area near Chalong Temple. There are seven three-bedroom villas, four of these have a private pool and jacuzzi, kitchen and large living room. The five one-bedroom villas are built around a large pool with sun deck and jacuzzi. Long way from the beach, so would suit people who want to explore Phuket (it would be a very good idea to have your own transport if you stay here) and "come home" in the evening. Jamie's Phuket kind of people!
• Rising Sun Residence - Online Booking
• Rising Sun Residence Reviews
4. The Baray Villa by Sawasdee Village (Kata Beach)
The Baray Villa has just 14 luxury villas, which are run by the Sawasdee Village Resort, and yet separate from the resort. Villas are 2 floor with huge rooms, jacuzzi, direct pool access, set in tropical gardens, with a spa available. Reviews make the villas sound fantastic! It was number 1 in 2012. Yes, please!
• The Baray Villa - Online Booking
• Baray Villa Reviews
5. The Shore at Katathani (Kata Noi Beach)
Katathani has been around for many years on Kata Noi beach. The Shore is their newer luxury "pool villa" development, opened in 2010. And it sure looks good! Pool villas, some with seaview (note: the view does vary from villa to villa), all with private pools. As I said, this "private villa" thing seems to be the trend in the last few years. A great hotel for couples. I see lots of honeymoon reviews.
• The Shore at Katathani - Online Booking
• The Shore Reviews
6. Andara Resort and Villas (Kamala Beach)
A 5 star resort, on the hillside near Kamala Beach with luxury villas. It was rated number 1 on the top 10 family hotel list, providing relaxation in comfort for the whole family, and since it's individual villas with private pools, will suit families as well as couples. I'd happily stay here, thanks! Andara resort is not right on the beach - it's on the hillside. Many of the villas have great sea views. See there really is a trend of non-beachfront luxury these days ...
• Andara Resort & Villas - Online Booking
• Andara Resort & Villas at HotelsCombined.com
• Andara Resort Reviews
7. Mom Tri's Villa Royale (Kata Noi Beach)
Up from 10 to 7 this year ... The Villa Royale was built by the same original owner of the Boathouse on Kata beach (Mom Tri) on land which used to be the location of his home, on the headland overlooking Kata Noi beach (just south of Kata beach). Steps from the hotel takes you down to the beach. Great views from the rooms and from the restaurant too. It's got a touch of class and olde Thai style, and is often fully booked even in low season!
• Villa Royale - Online Booking
• Villa Royale Reviews
8. Renaissance Resort and Spa (Mai Khao Beach)
7th last year, 8th this year. Mai Khao Beach is still one of Phuket's quiet places. It's about 10km long with maybe 10 plus a couple of small bungalow operations. Renaissance is one of the best in the area (as evidenced by it's high ratings), close to the airport (don't worry, there's no noise) and right on Mai Khao beach which is never, ever crowded. There's a variety of rooms - simple "deluxe" rooms up to pool villas with seaview. Mai Khao Beach is way up in the north of Phuket, it's over 40km from here to Patong, Karon and Kata. If you want solitude, it's ideal and why would you visit the busier beaches anyway?
• Renaissance Resort - Online Booking
• Renaissance Resort Reviews
9. Pen Villa (Surin Beach)
6th last year and still in the top 10 ... Pen Villa. It's a newer, smaller hotel at Surin beach, and I'd really not heard of it before writing the 2013 Top 10. Only opened a couple of years ago, and looks like the kind of personal place which requests guests that they make reviews on TripAdvisor. Every year there are a couple of places that make me say "Where?". Power of the internet. I'm sure it is very nice though!
• Pen Villa - Online Booking
• Pen Villa Reviews
10. Twin Palms (Surin Beach)
Surin Beach, despite rampant hillside development manages to retain a laid back feel on the beachfront with small restaurants and bars although they tend to be a little expensive, and yet Surin is so so different to the big beaches it's nice to come here for a meal and drink sometimes. Twin Palms is not huge, under 100 rooms - the more luxury rooms are huge duplexes and penthouse suites. Twin Palms also has its own semi-private beach club (Catch Beach Club) right by the sea. Yeh, Surin is "beach club" country.
• Twin Palms Booking - Online Booking
• Twin Palms Reviews
That's the Top 10 best hotels in Phuket as of March 2014. Maybe you have booked a hotel that's not listed, but you think it should be? Phuket has a very confusing mix of old and new resorts, big hotels and small guesthouses, villas for rent, hillside, beachfront, busy areas, quiet areas... There's something here for everyone, but some research does pay off especially with regards to location. There is a trend in recent years for new luxury resorts in more remote areas and for sea view hillside (not on the beach) villas. Land prices and rent are very high these days in Phuket, so it's hard to think about opening a small hotel or guesthouse. I'd say Phuket is slowly heading upmarket. Older tourist areas like Soi Bangla in Patong are being redeveloped. Out with the bars, in with aircon shopping centers and new resorts. And dotted around the coast, many new 5 star resorts have opened in the last 10 years.
Here's a few more Best / Top 10 hotel lists for families, luxury and romantic places to stay...
• Best Phuket Family Hotels
• Best Phuket Luxury Hotels
• Best Phuket Couples Hotels
I recommend you check Agoda.com for booking - it's what I use myself for holidays. On the subject of reviews, by all means read them, but do think also about actual hotel features - location, size, room type, price(!), suitability for kids etc.. one person's heaven may be another person's holiday nightmare! Some like it quiet and secluded, others want action. Some want great views from a hillside, some want beachfront.... Any questions about hotels, please do leave a comment on the Jamie's Phuket Facebook Page.