Phuket has it all and makes it a perfect holiday destination whether you are honeymooning, travelling as a family or on your own.
Stunning scenery will make you believe that you are getting a glimpse of heaven – crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and dramatic limestone formations.
The island is full of culture, and while you will eat authentic Thai food and learn about Thai customs, you will also learn about the Chinese, Malay, European, Indian and Nepalese influences on the island in Old Phuket Town.
Get a glimpse into this dream destination from The Fantasy of Phuket, and then use my personal tips below on getting the most out of your holiday, halal style.
Thailand offers accommodation for literally every type of tourist.
A range of hotels and serviced apartments cater to Muslim needs and offer great rates. 99 Residence in Patong, Phuket, offers rates as low as £14 a night and has great reviews. You get what you pay for though, so do watch out about going too cheap.
If you are able to splash out a little more, luxury halal resorts offer halal dining options, private alcohol-free villas, female spa therapists and kids’ games rooms. The Naka Island, for example, offers all the above and is located off the coast of Phuket. Like I said, you get what you pay for, and stays at the boutique resort do not come cheap.
If you are looking for a budget price without compromising on comfort, your first stop should be Air BnB. This is particularly suitable if you want to make Thailand your honeymoon destination. Many of the rentals offer great value for money but are also well furnished, modern and comfortable. Some even come with their own pool, which is perfect for those of us that value a little more privacy.
One of the things that makes Phuket a great destination for any Muslim traveller is the availability of halal food. Depending on where you are staying halal food is generally readily available, much like in nearby Malaysia. In fact this is partly because there is a substantial Malay population, particularly in the south. In Phuket and it goes without saying that it also offers the crystal blue waters and sandy beaches that Thailand is famous for.
As a general rule, you will find halal eateries near mosques- this is true for anywhere in the world.
Kusuma Seafood on Aroonsom Arcade (Krung Thai Bank), Patong, Phuket, is a favourite with both locals and tourists and has great online reviews. They offer a range of local dishes and are reliably good.
By the beachfront are stand-up restaurants serving halal local dishes, such as pad thai. If you are craving something more familiar, there are a number of Middle Eastern restaurants in Patong. For those of you that can’t do without junk food, you will be pleased to know that some branches of McDonalds and KFC offer halal meat – woohoo!
For a list of halal dining options in Phuket, click here.
If you are flying from England, the flight duration is around 12 hours (direct). A variety of airlines fly to Thailand, giving you a range of options to choose from when booking your ticket. China Southern generally offers the lowest price (depending on when you book), but their flight time is also the longest. Etihad and Singapore airlines come second for price, and both are generally considered to offer good quality service. Don’t underestimate how important this is for such a lengthy journey!
Many of the hotels and resorts are within walking distance to a beach – check when you are booking – so you may not be so reliant on public transport. However, as Phuket is an island there isn’t very much in the way of public transport.
We recommend the use of a song teaw, a converted truck with two rows of seats at the back. It is cheaper than travelling on a tuk tuk and is fairly easy available.
Top tip: agree the price with your driver before you board.
If you prefer more independence, renting a truck or small car is fairly affordable at around 700 baht a day, and petrol comes relatively cheap.
What to pack
The items below are essentials for your trip to Thailand:
1. Strong mosquito repellent. If you are taking a child in a pram, invest in a mosquito net. It isn’t advisable to put insect repellent on children (though tea tree oil does the trick), so the net comes in very handy when you are out and about.
2.Waterproof camera case: To catch those all-important underwater shots.
3.Loose, light clothing: Thailand can get very humid, and sometimes there is nothing more comfortable than an abaya or thowb to keep you cool.
Due to the large proportion of Muslims in Thailand – Islam is the second largest religion – prayer facilities are not hard to come by. Patong mosque is possibly the most famous in Phuket, though you can probably ask the locals for directions to the nearest mosque if you get stuck. There are an estimated 3.5 thousand mosques in the country, so needless to say you will not need to worry about where to pray jumuah!
Click here for a list of mosques in Phuket.