white sands of a beach
Phuket, Thailand

How to Spend a Fabulous Cheap Week on Phuket Island

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Phuket is a holiday destination you either love or hate.

And it totally depends on what part of the island you enjoy most.

You have the “seedy side” of nighttime at Patong Beach or the amazing resorts of Phuket coastline.

When you book a vacation to Phuket, keep this in mind as it will make a lot of difference to your Phuket experience.

How to Get to Phuket from Bangkok

Your best option is to book a flight from Bangkok to Phuket. The flight takes just under 1.5 hours plus time for customs and immigration.

Check first with iVisa to determine if you need a visa to enter Thailand.

The island of Phuket is connected to the mainland, so alternative options are:

  • Ferry
  • Hire Car
  • Bus

Just remember the time difference if you are arriving from another Asian country. Phuket is the second busiest airport after Bangkok, so flights from Singapore, KL, and Australia arrive most days too.



Getting from Phuket International Airport to Patong

Patong is the largest city of Phuket and is a 45-minute journey by taxi.

And don’t expect a slow ride, the driving is fast with constant lane changes, motorbikes dodging between cars and trucks, and your driver thinking he’s a rally driver.

Be aware, your taxi driver may stop at his company office on the way. It’s for the purpose of a hard sell to buy travel packages to some of the islands.

If you aren’t interested and just want to get to your hotel, politely give them the “hurry up.”

Where to Stay in Patong

Woman in a pool
Beach resort of Phuket

Patong Mansion in the center of Patong was perfect for our first night.

The hosts of the hotel were awesome with great advice on where to go and places to eat. And having a rooftop pool to cool down was perfect.

With breakfast provided, you can enjoy the fruit bowl of tasty pineapples, mangoes, papaya, and watermelon.

Location: 29/1 Soi Prasertsub 1, Pa Tong, Kathu District


See why Nightime in Patong is Intoxicating

Sunset at Patong Beach

Make sure you get down to Patong Beach for sunset.

The glorious vision of the sun changing color from yellow, to orange to red, as it got closer to the horizon, is truly spectacular.

And there are plenty of beachside bars for a beer and a cocktail to savor the moment.

And if you want to experience the vibrancy of Phuket, Patong at nighttime is “full-on.”

There is a stall for everything from food markets, general merchandise bazaars, restaurants, bars, and girly bars. The streets are full and Bangla Walking Street is bright and inviting.

colorful lights on a street with people
Nightime on Patong Street


Unusual Things to See on Patong Beach

Sandy beach and water
Patong Beach is busy from early morning

Be prepared for speedos galore on Patong Beach as early as 9 am.

It’s the perfect time for a swim or organizing beach activities.

Patong Beach is free of charge for swimming and soaking up the sunshine.

There are plenty of casual restaurants for a pizza and a beer. Maybe even try the chili oil on your pizza for a new taste sensation.

A Week of Cheap Accommodation with a Twist

Our 7 day stay at the new resort Twin Sands Spa and Resort was only USD50. But there was a catch. It was a timeshare resort with a compulsory half-day sales meeting.

Unfortunately, the reception at the resort was appalling so we cooled off in the pool.  This was a good idea as we got chatting to a Perth couple who had checked out and said the reception was mayhem.

We grabbed some lunch and checked in later only to be advised the room would be ready at 3 pm, so back to the pool. And our Perth couple who had too much duty free gave us a bottle of lime-infused vodka. Perfect.

However, the apartment of Twin Sands was first-class being brand new.

They also have a courtesy van to and from Patong Beach as certain hours of the day.

Location: 97 Muen Nguen Road Tri Trang Beach, Patong

Exploring Beaches around the Resort

Sunset on an island
Sunset at Merlin Beach, Phuket

We were surprised to find some of the beaches of Phuket charge an entrance fee.

Having walked early from our resort to Paradise Beach, it was closed until 9.30 am. The drawcard was apparently the beach was less crowded and clean. But it had a 500 Baht charge.

We walked back to our resort to the beach behind it which was stony, but free to swim.

There was a massage tent on the beach. But it was the small family restaurant with spectacular views we returned to often.

You Pay the Price for Freedom Beach

Woman in front of a blue water cover
Freedom Beach is crystal clear

Up early again we walked the dirt road to Freedom Beach from the resort.

But at the pathway leading to Freedom Beach, we were stopped by locals wanting USD5 each for beach access. We haggled it to USD3 each and were greeted with the most beautiful sight of crystal clear water.

The swimming was amazing and before long the sun was increasing in heat. The shade was minimal and deck chairs were under the trees are USD5.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of rubbish up near the bush cliff which did spoil the adventure.

However, it was such a beautiful way to spend the morning, having the beach to ourselves until lunchtime.

When the longboats started coming in, ferrying people who didn’t want to do the trek like us, it was time to leave.


Swimming at Merlin Beach

White sand beach
White sands of Merlin Beach

The closest beach to Twin Sands Resort is Merlin Beach.

With the tide coming in we watched crabs clambering over rocks and lots of little tropical fish swimming about.

We found purple and green coral before diving beyond the reef into the deeper water.

For lunch, it was a walk up the hill to a local restaurant for yummy Thai cuisine.

food on a plate
Thai cuisine


Select and Cook your Lunch at Rawai Fishing Village

Boat on the water
Fishing boat at Rawai village

A lovely Perth couple at the resort suggested a seafood lunch at Rawai Beach.

We caught a taxi from the resort and went via Karon Beach arriving at the fishing village around 12 noon.

Noon is when the local fishing boats arrive with all the fresh seafood.

We wandered up and down the stalls viewing some very large prawns and interesting looking fish, crabs and crayfish.

Now all you need to do is go shopping.

The fish selection at Rawai village
Beautiful and colorful crab

Once you have decided on what seafood you desire, the next thing is to find a restaurant.

One side of the street is seafood stalls, the other side is restaurants.

When you have your seafood selection, you walk across the road and ask the restaurant to cook your food. The restaurant will give you a menu of options for cooking, like garlic and herb, steamed or battered.

For the four of us, we selected prawns and squid cooked in a variety of ways. The taste of the seafood was just amazing.

Man in front of a fish stall
Time to choose lunch


Leaving Phuket Island after a Memorable Day

four people at a table
Dinner for four at Merlin Beach

Our last day for the beach and lying by the pool so we made sure we spent the time well.

Merlin Beach was stunning again with all the tropical fish. But the water was so warm we got back to the resort pool to cool off.

Dinner tonight was with Phil and Heather at a local restaurant above Merlin Beach with the setting sun.

But with an early start at 4.15 a.m the next morning to Bangkok, our memorable stay was over.

Sunset with a parachute
Sunset at Patong Beach


  1. Liz McKay says:

    Awesome!! Thailand was my fave of all – lazy days swimming, sunbathing and eating! Food soooo yum and soooo cheap!! Very very jealous 😒

    • Terry&Maura says:

      Yip to all that – the sea water was too hot at one stage so had to stand up to cool off. Had a lovely meal last night from a local restaurant overlooking the beach which wa great. Just arrived in Bangkok after a 4.15 am start

  2. Marlene Paddy says:

    That must have been some spider antics! Almost nightmare stuff eh! And those sunsets! They have awesome ones in Greenland but different I guess. So much fun enjoying your adventures.

    • Terry&Maura says:

      Yes the spider wasn’t pleasant and very cautious using the stairwell a couple of times after that. The locals sprayed it so they can’t have been keen on it either.
      Sunsets have been amazing – viewed one last night from a local restaurant above the beach.
      Arrived in Bangkok so off to explore and eat

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