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Phuket

Thailand Travel Guide: The Best Bits of Phuket

Thailand Travel Guide: The Best of Phuket

Phuket is a large island in the south of Thailand. It’s so big, at 49km long, that it doesn’t actually feel like an island at all. Famous for it’s stunning beaches and tourists who love to party, the beautiful hospitality and rich culture of this part of Thailand can be overlooked.

Whether you spend a few days or a week in Phuket, here are five ways to spend your Thailand vacay that will leave you feeling refreshed, enriched and enlightened.

Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Beaches
There is no doubt that the beaches in Thailand are just stunning and you can’t write a guide to Phuket without mentioning them. White sand and clear blue water –  the beaches in Phuket are just heavenly. Depending on the time of year you visit swimming at the beaches may or may not be an option. During the wet season, box jellyfish are more prevalent, so keep a look out. Some of the Phuket beaches are also known for heavy rips, so be safe when you swim.

Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

Big Buddha
It’s hard not to notice Phuket’s Big Buddha from around the island. The imposing 45 metre tall statue and temple sits on top of is one of the the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and is one of the island’s most important and revered landmarks.

Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

The view from the top of the hill is also stunning, making it a popular place to watch the sunset.

Phuket Old Town, Thailand

Old Phuket Town
Take a stroll through Old Phuket Town to discover shrines, temples (Buddhist and Chinese), beautifully preserved ‘shophouses’ and little cafés. The town was built during Phuket’s tin boom of the 19th Century and has several excellently preserved, grandiose Sino-colonial mansions once lived in by the tin barons over a hundred years ago.

Phuket Old Town, Thailand

While you will need to hire a car to get to Phuket Old Town, it’s small enough to walk around in when you get there. If it’s raining or too hot, the Phuket Trickeye Museum is a fun place to stop by in Old Phuket Town with kids.

Wat Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Wat Suwan Khiri Khet (Karon Temple or Wat Karon)
Wander through the main road in Karon and you’ll find the stunning Wat Karon. This relatively new temple is a stunning place to visit any day of the week. We met kind monks who introduced us to one of their chickens, George.

Wat Karon, Phuket, Thailand

On Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 4pm the Karon markets pop up inside the compound.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Day trip: Phang Nga Bay
The islands surrounding Phuket are just gorgeous. We took the Two Sea Tour sea kayaking around Phang Nga Bay. You can read more about it here.

What to avoid:
Please don’t ride elephants, watch an elephant show or have your photo taken with an animal on the street (such as monkeys). These animals are treated cruelly and participating in these activities enables the businesses to continue to run. More info on animal cruelty in Thailand here.

When to visit Thailand:
We visited Phuket at the end of monsoon season (early October), and did experience quite a lot of rain. The rain was mostly in the mornings and late afternoon/evening, however, so there was still enough of the day that was try to get out and enjoy.

What to pack:
Mosquito repellant
Sunscreen
Scarf to cover shoulders if visiting temples
Loose, light layers
Hat, swimmers, sunglasses, goggles
Comfortable walking shoes

What to wear:
The Thai people tend to dress quite conservatively. Tourists can wear shorts and tanks tops, but avoid showing too much skin when you’re not at the hotel. If you’re visiting a temple, wear pants or a skirt that covers your knees. Some temples will also require shoulders being covered.

Money in Thailand
1AUD is about equal to 30THB. A plate of Thai food at a local restaurant will cost about 50-60THB.

Getting around: common forms of transport
Red buses: We caught one and it cost 40THB for the three of us. It’s basically a small bus with the back area wide open. Please jump on and off when they need to.
Tuk-tuk: Around 100THB for a short distance. Ask for the cost in advance and wedge kids in the middle, tight.
Taxi: Arrange the amount in advance. Call for a taxi from hotels.
Hire car and driver: We hired a car and driver to take us to Old Phuket Town and Big Buddha. It was quite pricey, at 700THB an hour, with a minimum of three hours plus the fourth hour for free.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Where to stay:
In Phuket we were hosted at the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort for three nights, and the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa for three nights. Both hotels were gorgeous, 4-star properties.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Thailand Travel Guide: Phuket With Kids

Thailand: Phuket With Kids

Thailand is famous for it’s stunning beaches, beautiful hospitality and enriching culture. In recent years Thailand has become a popular place for families to vacay – a part of which might be attributed to how strong the Aussie dollar is against the Thai Baht. In Thailand, it’s very possible to stay at a 4 or 5-star resort for a fraction of the price of a similar hotel in Australia.

In addition to being an affordable holiday, Thailand is very welcoming to families. We visited Phuket with our five-year-old and found plenty to see outside of the resorts that spanned nature, culture and religion, all in just a few short days.

Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Beaches
There is no doubt that the beaches in Thailand are just stunning. White sand and clear blue water – just heavenly. Depending on the time of year you visit swimming at the beaches may or may not be an option. During the wet season, box jellyfish are more prevalent, so keep a look out. Some of the Phuket beaches are also known for heavy rips, so be safe when you swim.

Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

Big Buddha
It’s hard not to notice Phuket’s Big Buddha from around the island. The imposing 45 metre tall statue and temple sits on top of is one of the the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and is one of the island’s most important and revered landmarks.

Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

The view from the top of the hill is also stunning, making it a popular place to watch the sunset.

Phuket Old Town, Thailand

Old Phuket Town
Take a stroll through Old Phuket Town to discover shrines, temples (Buddhist and Chinese), beautifully preserved ‘shophouses’ and little cafés. The town was built during Phuket’s tin boom of the 19th Century and has several excellently preserved, grandiose Sino-colonial mansions once lived in by the tin barons over a hundred years ago.

Phuket Old Town, Thailand

While you will need to hire a car to get to Phuket Old Town, it’s small enough to walk around in when you get there. If it’s raining or too hot, the Phuket Trickeye Museum is a fun place to stop by in Old Phuket Town with kids.

Wat Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Wat Suwan Khiri Khet (Karon Temple or Wat Karon)
Wander through the main road in Karon and you’ll find the stunning Wat Karon. This relatively new temple is a stunning place to visit any day of the week. We met kind monks who introduced us to one of their chickens, George.

Wat Karon, Phuket, Thailand

On Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 4pm the Karon markets pop up inside the compound.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Day trip: Phang Nga Bay
The islands surrounding Phuket are just gorgeous. We took the Two Sea Tour sea kayaking around Phang Nga Bay. You can read more about it here.

What to avoid:
Please don’t ride elephants, watch an elephant show or have your photo taken with an animal on the street (such as monkeys). These animals are treated cruelly and participating in these activities enables the businesses to continue to run. More info on animal cruelty in Thailand here.

When to visit Thailand:
We visited Phuket at the end of monsoon season (early October), and did experience quite a lot of rain. The rain was mostly in the mornings and late afternoon/evening, however, so there was still enough of the day that was try to get out and enjoy.

What to pack:
Mosquito repellant
Sunscreen
Scarf to cover shoulders if visiting temples
Loose, light layers
Hat, swimmers, sunglasses, goggles
Comfortable walking shoes

What to wear:
The Thai people tend to dress quite conservatively. Tourists can wear shorts and tanks tops, but avoid showing too much skin when you’re not at the hotel. If you’re visiting a temple, wear pants or a skirt that covers your knees. Some temples will also require shoulders being covered.

Money in Thailand
1AUD is about equal to 30THB. A plate of Thai food at a local restaurant will cost about 50-60THB.

Getting around: common forms of transport
Red buses: We caught one and it cost 40THB for the three of us. It’s basically a small bus with the back area wide open. Please jump on and off when they need to.
Tuk-tuk: Around 100THB for a short distance. Ask for the cost in advance and wedge kids in the middle, tight.
Taxi: Arrange the amount in advance. Call for a taxi from hotels.
Hire car and driver: We hired a car and driver to take us to Old Phuket Town and Big Buddha. It was quite pricey, at 700THB an hour, with a minimum of three hours plus the fourth hour for free.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Where to stay:
In Phuket we were hosted at the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort for three nights, and the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa for three nights. Both hotels were gorgeous, 4-star properties.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Hotel Review: The Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

For first timers to Thailand like us, the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort is a great place to stay. The 4-star resort is a short walk from Surin Beach, a quiet beach area about 25 minutes from Phuket airport.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

The resort is large without feeling overwhelmingly huge – it’s big enough to have a lot of great facilities, but small enough to get to know the staff and for them to learn our names.

The 254 rooms, ranging from standard rooms to two-bedroom suites, are airy and light, with polished wooden floorboards, tea and coffee making equipment, mini fridges, flat-screens and free WiFi.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

We arrive after a long flight from Sydney, extremely tired and ready to lie down. The staff meet us at the lobby with friendly, welcoming smiles, a special welcome drink and the sweetest smelling flower bracelets. It’s clear from the start that the caring staff at the Surin Beach Resort will do anything they can to make our stay happy and memorable.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

In our rooms await surprises that make us forget our exhaustion. Adorable towel animals on the beds, pastries to revive us and a little surprise for Cheese to excite her about the activities that await her the following day.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

Our room is huge – so much space for our luggage, and then even more for us to all spread out. We have a poolside terrace suite that has direct pool access and a sitting area that doubles as a second bedroom. It’s light and bright and has very powerful air conditioning.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort
Photo © Matt Burns http://www.southeastasiaimages.com S.E.A Images Co Ltd

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

While we have the option of dining at one of the hotel restaurants, we order from the 24-hour room service menu because we are too tired leave our room.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

We are up before sunrise the next morning and are the first to the breakfast buffet. It’s an incredible spread that includes food of various ethnicities – something to make everyone feel at home.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

We sample dishes from every table. The “Popcake” mini pancake machine is a favourite with my daughter, while I love the fresh fruit, yoghurt and eggs. Alec tries the Asian breakfast options and loves the noodle soup, and we all try the donuts (who can resist?!).

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

Since we’re done with breakfast by 7:30am, the pool is the next stop. We spend almost five hours straight in the various pools, swimming, playing and enjoying the slides. The pools are just gorgeous – large enough to accomodate lots of people without feeling crowded, and of varying depths so kids of all ages can find an area suitable for them and their swimming abilities. While there is no actual shade cover, the plants surrounding the pools throw plenty of shade so we never feel too hot.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

We are supremely waterlogged after the morning and we take Cheese in the afternoon to the kids’ club, called Kids’ World, for activities that don’t involve getting wet. The staff are delightful, incredibly sweet ladies who are very accomodating and help us find fun things to do.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

There are scheduled activities hourly every day for kids to enjoy, and we try nail painting (Cheese gets cupcakes painted on her nails) and then painting on what I think was rice paper, which was our favourite.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

The facilities include an area with computers and games, a TV room with bean bags to relax in, and a large upstairs section with a ball room, soft play area and craft tables. Kids can be dropped off at the kids’ club, or parents can accompany their kids to play and relax together.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

While Cheese and her dad continue to play games at the kids’ club, I take a well-earned break at Breathe, the spa facilities at the resort. I choose a 90 minute relaxation massage that is such heaven that the time just races by (900TBH or $33 AUD). It’s completely affordable bliss and I wish it would last forever!

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

We stay three nights in total at the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort, and during our stay we enjoy dining at their main restaurant, Asia Alive. The head chef, Jason, is a friendly American who is happy to chat about the local dishes, and is especially accomodating to vegetarians, which I highly appreciated.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

On our last night we enjoy delicious two-for-one Mai Tais at happy hour while Cheese watches a Barbie movie in the kids’ entertainment area next to the bar, followed by divine local dishes at the restaurant – spring rolls, deep fried corn fritters, Pad Thai and a beef and asparagus dish that had my husband swooning.
Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

Cheese chooses a Pokemon-themed dish that was a cleverly disguised plain pasta noodles and tomato sauce with parmesan cheese on the side, and was presented with an incredible dessert that looks like a monkey.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

Other dining options include the Champion Bar & Grill (which serves American-style food like burgers and has a pool table that we can’t keep Cheese away from), and the Board Walk Pool Bar, which has a great range of light meal options great for lunch and afternoon hunger attacks.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

If you desperately need something light or sweet to keep you going, there is also the food store in the lobby, which serves pastries, salads and other take away food, plus has a variety of toiletries for sale that travellers usually forget to pack.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

The Novotel hotels pride themselves on being family-friendly, and this Novotel was no exception. For 299THB per child per day ($11AUD), kids at the resort can enjoy an all-inclusive kids’ menu, smoothies and soft drinks, a welcome surprise and daily treats (we found milk and cookies to wish us sweet dreams one night!), kids’ club and in-room kids’ movies and daily kids’ activities at the hotel including handkerchief batik painting, jelly candle making, photo frame making, hair braiding and bracelet making.

While a lot of guests enjoy staying at the resort and don’t feel the need to go anywhere else, the resort offers a free daily shuttle to Patong, the largest area for dining, shopping and entertainment – one round trip per day with pick up at 11am and return at 4pm (Advance reservation is recommended).

Surin Beach, Phuket

If you want to get some beach action, Surin Beach, across the road from the resort, is a very quiet spot with stunning clear water and soft sand. It’s too dangerous to swim while we are there, unfortunately, due to the large waves, but it’s still a gorgeous, quiet spot.

If you’re after a quiet taste of Thailand, with plenty of amenities and at an affordable price, then the Novotel Phuket Surin Resort can’t be beat.

Our stay was over far too quickly, and we were sad to leave such a friendly and welcoming resort.

When to visit Thailand:
We visited Phuket at the end of monsoon season (early October), and did experience quite a lot of rain. The rain was mostly in the mornings and late afternoon/evening, however, so there was still enough of the day that was try to get out and enjoy.

What to pack:
Mosquito repellant
Sunscreen
Loose, light layers that offer additional sun protection and also cover knees and shoulders if you are planning on visiting any of the temples.
Hat, swimmers, sunglasses, goggles

Thinking of visiting the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort? See their current promotional offers here.

Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort
106/27 Moo 3, Cherngtalay, Talang, Surin Beach, 83100 Phuket, Thailand
PHONE +66 76 303 300 FAX +66 76 300 303
E-mail : info@novotelphuketsurin.com
novotelphuketsurin.com

Thank you to the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort for hosting our stay. All opinions are my own. Additional images thanks to the Novotel.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Phuket Day Trips: Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phang Nga is a shallow bay spanning 400 km² in the Strait of Malacca, between the island of Phuket and the mainland of the Malay peninsula of southern Thailand. A large section of the bay has been protected as the Ao Phang Nga National Park since 1981.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

While many visitors know this area as “the place with the James Bond Island” there are actually 42 islands in the bay, many of which are more spectacular than the movie set location and well-worth visiting.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

We discovered geological formations that awe awe inspiring: soaring limestone cliffs, secret caves, forested wetlands, mangroves and wildlife galore. Mudskippers, fruit bats, fiddler crabs, monkeys, kingfishers and sea eagles were just some of the wildlife we encountered during our day at sea.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

In order to see this beautiful part of the world, a boat is obviously required. We chose the highly rated tour group Two Sea Tours – a company unique in this particular tour with their extremely early departure time. The majority of tour groups leave mid morning and all arrive at the same locations at the same time, making them crowded. In contrast, we were picked up at our hotel at 5:30am. By 6:30am we were speeding through the emerald-green waters, watching the sun rise.

Two Sea Tour owners Mam and Philippe both have extensive experience in the travel industry – which is evident in their very-well thought out tour of Phang Nga Bay. While the boat is registered for 55 passengers, the maximium they will take out at a time is 16, so the boat and also the stops on the way, are never crowded.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Our first stop was Panak Island, where we canoed with our guide, Suk, a local Thai national, through caves filled with fruit bats to an internal lagoon. The silence in the lagoon hung like a mist on us – to say you could hear a pin drop would be an understatement.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

In hushed awe we paddled through the lagoon, each wondering, “Are we on a film set? A new Jurassic Park movie, perhaps? How was it possible that such a stunning and solitary place on Earth existed?”. With mud skippers flapping in the shallow water around us, and a brightly coloured fiddler crap marching among them, it felt like we had jumped back into a time from long ago.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

The second stop on our sea kayaking adventure was Hong Island, kayaking past the spectacular limestone karsts that jut vertically out of the water into another private lagoon. Our private paradise was occasionally disturbed by the odd person or two with a private boat, but we pretty much had the bay to ourselves.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Stop number three was Khao Ping Gan, also known as “James Bond Island”. The famous rock, Koh Tapu, only briefly featured in the 1974 film, The Man with the Golden Gun, but it was long enough to attract a steady influx of daily visitors ever since.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

A quick walk around the island is long enough to spend there, and within half an hour we are speeding off again on our boat, enjoying a delicious, freshly cooked Thai buffet lunch, on the way to our last stop for the day, Lawa Island.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Lawa Island is a tiny, remote island jutting out in the bay with a private sandy beach for us. We spend a peaceful hour swimming, canoeing and watching a wild monkey stalk his way up and down the beach in search of snacks.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

We are back at our hotel at around 2:30pm, tired from our early start, but with eyes full of the breathtaking scenery we witnessed during our day.

What memories to be made, indeed.

This is Thailand as we had hoped to find it – a small slice of paradise leaving us speechless with wonder.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

More info:
We booked our tour directly through Two Sea Tours twoseatour.com.

Fresh fruits, snacks, pastries, cookies, soft drinks and water were provided (free) all day.

If giving a tip (and we recommend that you do), the suggested amount is around 200 to 500 baht with a minimum of 100 baht.

Tour price: for 2 adults and one child in one canoe, 10,400 TBH ($390AUD)

Where to stay:
In Phuket we stayed at the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort for three nights, and the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa for three nights. The tour picks up from both hotels.

Thanks to Two Sea Tours for use of the additional pics.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

When choosing a Phuket hotel to relax and indulge with the family, the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa is an ideal choice.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

This beautiful Phuket resort has a fantastic location for travellers wanting to be close to tourist attractions such as the Big Buddha, but far enough away to feel like you’re staying in a small village. Really, it’s the best of both worlds.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa is about an hours drive from Phuket airport, 10 minutes from Patong, and directly across the road from gorgeous Karon Beach. The low-rise resort sprawls around three pools, with a distinctly jungle-feel to it thanks to all of the gorgeous plant life.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Our Plunge Pool Suite was just divine. We had a main bedroom with a king bed plus tent for the little one to play in, overlooking our own private plunge pool. Swoon.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The connecting living area had a rollaway bed for the kiddo to sleep in, but she often ended up sleeping in the big bed with us.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The little details told us loud and clear that families were incredibly welcome at the resort. The tent in our bedroom was filled with toys for our daughter to play with, she found a little treat on arrival and discovered a scavenger hunt trail to get her busy around the resort.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Phuket is crazy hot when we visited, so the powerful air conditioning was very welcome! Our room also featured a massive bathtub, rain shower, free wifi and tea and coffee making facilities.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Each morning of our three-night stay we enjoyed breakfast at the Horizon Cafe, where a buffet served up Asian and international cuisine.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

My fave was the omelette station, but I also couldn’t resist the pancake machine. There was a wide variety of food to try: pastries, bread, brioche, muffins, yogurts, cereals, fruits, salad, cheese, pancakes, crepes, sushis, congee, stir fried noodles, fried rice … there wasn’t enough time to try it all.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The resort has five restaurants including the Horizon Cafe. During the day, we enjoyed lunch at Joe Kool’s Poolside Grill, where our choices include traditional Asian cuisine or more Western fare – perfect for fussy little eaters like our daughter.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

One evening, we indulged in a fancy dinner at TAi restaurant, where we were served upmarket, traditional Thai cuisine.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

While the husband and I love all the Thai food our fussy daughter is happy to dine on fish and chips, pasta and very cheesy pizza.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

We dined almost every meal at the resort and thought the prices were extremely reasonable. An average adult meal would cost around 250THB (around $10AUD), and we were extremely happy with the quality of the food, as well as of the resort itself.

As you can’t drink tap water in Thailand, the hotel provides plenty of complimentary bottled water in the rooms every day. If you dine at any of the restaurants, however, and ask for water, you’ll be charged 45THB for it. A small amount, but you can also just carry the bottles from your room around with you for free.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

There are three gorgeous pools to keep visitors cool. The main pool, the Lagoon, has a swim up bar and fun activities during the day such as the “walking on water” blow up balls, or water volleyball.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The Oasis Pool is quiet, set in a secluded area with a jacuzzi.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Lastly there is the Kids’ Pool, where a twisting waterslide and mushroom shower have been built to entertain the little ones. The slide is sadly closed for renovation, but the pool is so shallow that it’s still a fave.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

When the heat gets too much, there is the fantastic kids’ club, Kids World, to provide entertainment.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Parents are welcome to join their kids, or drop them off if they are over four years of age.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Daily scheduled activities run to keep kids amused, such as umbrella painting, fan painting and pop up card making – or kids can just play with the toys, take time out watching a movie and play video games (this was a huge hit with the dads!).

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Kids who enjoy cooking can try a pizza making class. We’ve been cooking a lot at home so this was a fun activity to try. Cheese made her own pizza from kneading the dough to putting on the toppings, placing it in the oven, and then, of course, eating it when it was done.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The Novotel hotels pride themselves on being family-friendly, and this Novotel was no exception. For 299THB per child per day ($11AUD), kids at the resort can enjoy an all-inclusive kids’ menu, smoothies and soft drinks, a welcome surprise and daily treats, kids’ club, in-room kids’ movies, and daily kids’ activities at Kids World.

We found this to be a particularly good deal as it would cover our daughter’s lunch and dinner plus any snacks/drinks she wanted during the day.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

It’s not a relaxing holiday without a visit to the spa, and the Novotel’s In Balance Spa was just what I needed. After choosing my oil from one of five “scents” (I went with relaxing lavender) my 90-minute stress relief massage flew by. At 1600 TBH ($60AUD) it’s an incredibly reasonable deal.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Our stay at the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa was over way too quickly. It’s such a gorgeous spot with so much to do that it’s easy to see why so many families with little kids come to enjoy themselves and never leave the resort! If you do, however, feel like exploring there’s plenty to see.

Places of note nearby:

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Wat Suwan Khirikhet

Karon Night Markets

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa
Karon Beach (with playground)

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa
Karon village

Patong is a short car or shuttle away

Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

Big Buddha (depending on traffic, 15-30 minutes drive)

Old Phuket Town, Thailand

Old Phuket Town (30 minute drive)

We rented a car through the hotel to take us to Big Buddha and Old Phuket Town. The cost was 700THB per hour, with a minimum of three hours required for booking, and the fourth hour free.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

When to visit Thailand:
We visited Phuket at the end of monsoon season (early October), and did experience quite a lot of rain. The rain was mostly in the mornings and late afternoon/evening, however, so there was still enough of the day that was try to get out and enjoy.

What to pack:
Mosquito repellant
Sunscreen
Loose, light layers that offer additional sun protection and also cover knees and shoulders if you are planning on visiting any of the temples.
Hat, swimmers, sunglasses, goggles

Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa
568 Patak Road, Karon, Muang Phuket, Phuket 83100
Tel: +66 (0) 76 358 666
Fax +66 (0) 76 358 645
E-mail: H8825-RE@accor.com
Website: novotelphuketkaron.com

Thinking of staying at the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa? They are currently offering this this half board promotion.

Thank you to the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa for hosting our stay. All opinions are my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.