Our morning started a little later than our normal day, but we didn’t mind. We didn’t have set plans but knew we wanted to explore. Thanks to our hostel, Bearpacker Hostel, we ultimately made the decision of renting scooters in Phuket for the day. They assisted with locating a motor scooter rental place right near the hostel, which made the process seamless.
Renting Scooters in Phuket
When renting scooters in Phuket the prices range anywhere from 250-400 depending on the rental company. Most places require some form of written document with a select amount of personal details. They also require a deposit. I have found that in Thailand, companies require a passport or 5000 baht in cash as deposits. Most places are secure, and I personally have never had any issues with leaving my passport. But, please use your own judgement in this matter.
I am not a huge fan of having passengers on my bike when I am driving distances. Thankfully, Chris was on board with each of us having bikes. It does save money to rent one scooter between two people, but not always necessary in the short term. Unless you are very comfortable on the roads, I don’t recommend it.
For a one day rental, our scooters ended up costing 300 baht each, or USD10. We had other excursions planned so we only needed the scooter for one day. Chris and I would have probably enjoyed more than one day to explore, but due to prior commitments, it was all we could fit into the schedule.
With a later start to our morning, we still managed to get out of Patong before noon. I felt it was still ample time to drive around majority of the island. However, it did mean we needed to be a little more speedy than either of us were wanting. Renting scooters in Phuket the day before, although more money, probably would have saved us a huge hassle in the morning.
Phuket is a large island on the west coast of Thailand. It is in fact the largest of all the Thai islands. Based on the maps, there doesn’t appear to be a multitude of “main” roads going across the islands. But, similar to many Thai cities, there are countless backroads. But you need to be careful with backroads, many of them just end abruptly.
For our week in Phuket, we were staying in a neighborhood called Patong. It is a popular beach town destination for backpackers and travelers alike. It is located on the West coast of the island and a decent location. To get from Patong to the main city, it only took us a few turns and a stretch on a main road.
BEWARE: because Phuket, and particularly Patong, are both major hubs for travelers, there were a few police check points along the roads. This does including inside the city center of Patong, especially at night. Chris and I did get stopped, as they do tend to stop you if you are a foreigner. We also got fined for not having the appropriate license. It is a 500 baht fee and the ticket lasts 72 hours.
Don’t argue with the police officers. If you are renting scooters in Phuket and you do not have the appropriate international drivers license with motorcycle endorsement, you will likely have to pay a fine.
I knew why we were stopped. I simply said “Mai Mi,” which translates into “I don’t have,” followed the officer, paid the fee, and continued driving.
The main city on the island is Phuket City, or in Thai, Amphoe Mueang Phuket. For us, we knew we wanted to make this our first destination. I really wanted Chris to experience a less touristy side to Thailand and more of what my daily life is like here. Plus, we both wanted to explore the historic Old Phuket Town.
Old Phuket Town
I honestly didn’t do much prior research on things to do in the Old Town. Chris wanted to explore. The old city, I was told, has a few places to explore. It didn’t take us very long to before arriving into the Old City. We immeditately, we found a cute coffee shop called Old Phuket Coffee “Coffee Station” and decided to park and have some coffee.
It was a good start to the afternoon. The coffee shop was decently busy and on the main road. Once we finished, we headed off on foot walking along the side streets making our way to a local temple. We ended up stumbling upon one of the main historical street, filled with colors and street art.
Old Phuket Town is home to the Sunday Walking Street Market, which opens at 4pm. If we were staying in Phuket on a Sunday, I probably would have spent time wandering the markets. Markets in Thailand are enjoyable and you never know what you’re going to find.
After a little time wandering the city, which wasn’t largely busy at the time, we headed off to another destination. I found this destination while at the coffee shop and a quick five minutes of research. It was a local rum distillery, located about 8km south of the old town.
If you know anything about me, you’ll know I love a good beer or liquor tasting. I love learning about how each distillery or brewery makes their products and if there is anything special about their products. Thankfully, my friend was a easy-going guy and was up for the tour. I really didn’t know at this time just how unique of a rum distillery this place was. I honestly thought it would be fun to say “we’ve toured a rum distillery in Thailand.”
Chalong Bay Rum Distillery, located in Chalong Bay, makes their rum from sugarcane, which differs from other rums. Majority of rum is made from molasses, including the rums made in the Caribbean. During the tour, we learned that less than 5% of all white rum is made directly from sugarcane. Thailand, which has over 200 types of sugarcane, is the 4th largest producer.
Fun Fact: Did you know sugarcane actually originated in southeast Asia and was exported to the French Caribbean by Christopher Columbus?
I had NO IDEA. I’ve been to rum distilleries before, but never knew this piece of information. It was quite a fantastic experience at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery learning about how unique their rum is and highly recommend a visit.
The tours can be booked online or at the distillery. They run everyday, every hour starting at 2:00pm until 6pm and cost 450 baht. They also offer cocktail workshops every day at 4pm, which require prior bookings and costs 1,700 baht. There is also a restaurant which serves Asian inspired cuisine and tapas and is open from 11am-11pm.
Chris and I opted for the distillery tour. Included in the price is a 30 minute guided tour, a free mojito, and a tasting of 4 different rums. Totally worth the visit!
Phuket Fit Street
From the rum distillery, we headed south towards an area called “Fit Street.” A friend, of a friend of a friend from Arizona, coaches CrossFit at one of the big gyms in Chalong. I recently started training in Muay Thai and I thought it would be fun to see how these Muay Thai gyms run. I also heard that Phuket is a popular destination for serious training.
Holy smokes. I was not prepared for what we saw in Phuket. My friend’s particular gym, Tiger Muay Thai, was MASSIVE and was more than just Muay Thai. I couldn’t believe how many people were training at one time. Tiger Muay Thai has a combination of mixed martial arts, Muay Thai and CrossFit; each with their own building around the campus. I thoroughly enjoy our brief visit to the gym.
It was also nice meeting my friend, who lived in Phuket. She became an excellent resource for things to do around the island, since I didn’t know. We were closing in on sunset and were hopeful for a place to watch it. Joy was able to provide us with a few places we could go to watch the sunset along the western coastline.
One of the places she mentioned was Promthep Cape. Apparently, this location is one of the most popular locations on the island. We thought it sounded like a great place to go, so we jumped back on our bikes and headed southwest to this cape. Once we arrived, we quickly realized how truly popular Promthep Cape was at sunset. There were several tour vans, massive buses, and loads of bikes and cars parked along the road.
At the cape, there are a few places you can stand to watch the sunset. You can stand on the hill, just follow the road. Or, you can take a mini hike towards the end of the peninsula, which was a decently easy hike. It only takes about eight minutes, and I recommend going out to the peninsula.
Unfortunately, watching the sunset at this point was pretty anti-climatic. It was cloudy and the sky wasn’t really changing colors like we were hoping for.
We ended up leaving the cape because of this and began driving back north towards Patong Beach. Chris was leading and all of a sudden, Chris turns into a random beach parking lot.
It wasn’t a very large beach, but it had these beautiful rock formations that were great for photo opportunities. A short time after we arrived that out of nowhere, the sunset turned the sky into beautiful shades of pink and purple. It was absolutely breathtaking and totally worth stopping. Of course, a mini photoshoot occurred. However I was not totally understanding what Chris was trying to tell me, and well the pictures speak for themselves.
After sunset, we continued on our way, driving through Kata Beach and Karon Beach before returning to Bearpacker Hostel. Katat Beach and Karon Beach both appeared to be great places to stay and many people wandering seemed to be more families. It was diffidently quieter than Patong, but also filled with beach shops and restaurants.
We decided it was better to keep the bikes for the next morning even though we had a tour scheduled. The tour wasn’t until 11:30 and we knew it was plenty of time to find a spot for sunrise. Renting scooters in Phuket was definitely worth it for 300 baht with the amount of exploring we were able to do.
Once we returned from scootering around Phuket, we headed out for dinner. We also decided tonight was a perfect night for a Thai massage. We quickly found a massage parlor close to the market near our hostel. Massage parlors are vastly popular around Phuket and Thailand. Many of them offer the same options and for very similar prices.
This particular massage parlor was roughly 350 baht for 1 hour, which is more expensive than I normally pay. However, because of the location prices are going to be more expensive in a more touristy location, like Phuket.
My preferred type of massage I typically get is a traditional Thai Massage. I like that it is full body and they usually will do some body movements in addition to the rubbing, pressure massage. Unfortunately, Chris’s first experience with a Thai massage wasn’t very traditional. It was a light pressure rub down, verses the movement, strong pressure.
I was a bit sad because I was really hoping he’d get a great experience. It just meant we would need to get another one before the week was over.
Our night ended reasonably late even though we had another early, early morning for sunrise, but thankfully our dorm-mates went out partying, so we had the place to ourselves. It’s something we got very lucky with during our stay, which isn’t always the case in hostel dorms. As it was Chris’s first time in a hostel dorm like this, I’m glad it was very mild and the noise/partying wasn’t affecting our stay or our adventures.