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October 15th, 2013

Postcards From Phuket.

Postcards From Phuket.

Surf, sand, sun. You can’t beat it.

The first time I visited Thailand I stayed in the heart of Patong Beach. It wasn’t for me – I was looking for a quiet beach haven and what I got was a bustling nightlife.

On my most recent visit back to Phuket, I stayed on the other side of the island at Cape Panwa. This was more like it.

I stayed at Cape Panwa Hotel and fell in love with their pool, beach, rooms (with my own Jacuzzi on the balcony) and restaurants. Everything met my tropical getaway expectations.

Here’s how I spent my five days in paradise.

Chelsea xx

PS. Five days was too short. If you’re going, definitely stay longer.

The Resort.

Cape Panwa Hotel is a stunning resort. They have EVERYTHING in one place. Two pools, rooms to suit every budget, a private beach, spa, too many restaurants to count and plenty of activities to keep you entertained, including moonlight cinemas and scuba diving classes.

This is the private beach at Cape Panwa Hotel. It’s one of the best beaches I’ve ever seen (worldwide). Picture perfect.

Poolside under the cabanas.

This is all yours if you stay at one of the Pool Villas.

Panwa House is a Sino-Portuguese mansion that has been transformed into a Thai restaurant. The architecture is stunning and much of the original decor has been preserved. The food is amazing, too.

The staircase inside Panwa House.

The lobby decor. These cane fish decorations are everywhere around the resort. I love them.

Cocktails at Otter’s Bar.

They call this radioactive looking blue cocktail the Panwa Beach – Smirnoff vodka, Triple Sec, Blue Curacao, lemon juice, pineapple juice and grenadine. It got me in the holiday mood instantly.

Another pic from the beach.

Yoga By The Sea.

Check out that view. We moved the furniture aside in the new Absolute Suite and had a yoga session with Becky (who is available for private classes at the hotel). A great way to start the morning.

The Absolute Suite is a two bedroom, two level penthouse (on its own block to the side of the hotel) with wall to wall glass that opens up to stunning sea views. Leonardo DiCaprio stayed here once. It has an infinity pool, spa treatment room, personal butlers, access to the hotel’s yacht and guests can enjoy use of a Mercedes-Benz car during their stay.

Our yoga session was followed by breakfast cooked by our private chef (a feature all guests at The Absolute Suite can enjoy). I highly recommend you order the crab omelette.

Phuket Exploring.

There’s little need to leave the resort but if you do, stop by Old Phuket Town for some market shopping and culture.

Give yourself an hour or two and do this walk (see map) – it includes antique shopping, the quaint street of Soi Romanee (one of the oldest streets in Phuket Town) and museums and temples.

Pictured (clockwise from top left): The colourful terrace houses down Soi Romanee; the Downtown Market food stalls along Ranong Road; a petrol station themed cafe around the corner from Soi Romanee.

Snorkelling off Coral Island.  I mean, just look at that crystal clear turquoise water.

You can hire your own boat or have your hotel drop you off at this island for the day. It has a lovely beach, a reef to snorkel and restaurants. There are plenty of other little islands around the coast of Cape Panwa that you can also stop by.

Don’t Leave Without…

Drinking coconut water from a fresh coconut. You can’t beat it. We drank one with every meal.

Hitting the spa. I loved the Cape Panwa Spa – the decor, the staff, the treatment – they were all top notch. I had the Full Moon Anti-Stress treatment, which included a foot soak, head, shoulder and back massage, and a warm herbal compress. I’ve never heard of a herbal compress before but the theory is a lot like hot stones – they warm the muscles while the scent of the herbs soothe the body and mind.

The herbal compress.

The Food.

As soon as I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted with a plate of Pad Thai. The fabulous food kept coming all week long. The seafood barbecue was an absolute highlight, but I couldn’t fault a single meal. Here are just some of my amazing meals.

Just a sample of the seafood feast we had on the balcony of Top Of The Deck.

Banana and pineapple fritters with vanilla ice cream and chocolate wafer sticks, drizzled in chocolate sauce. Yep.

The Seafood Basket at Cafe Andaman.

Thailand lobster. Sooo good.

At Top Of The Reef restaurant, when you order crepe suzette for dessert (same goes for the Cesar salad) the waiter brings out his trolley and cooks it in front of you. Dinner and a show. Loved it.

For an early dinner on the way to the airport we stopped by local hot spot, Raya. Don’t let their down-played interior fool you, their traditional Thai food was phenomenal.

A mismatch of Thai dishes at Raya.

We had a Thai cooking class with Chef Chamnan Koboukaew at Cafe Andaman. You get to eat what you cook – luckily Chef Koboukaew is a good teacher and everything I made tasted amazing!

This is what I made. And ate.

Postcards From Paradise.

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I visited Phuket courtesy of Kasemkij Hotels Group but all opinions are my own. I genuinely loved my stay at Cape Panwa Hotel and everything I did during my time in Thailand.

  • Corina

    I just DON’T get it?! Everyone always raves about how fantastic Phuket is but no one ever mentions the disgusting smells that are EVERYWHERE, the pollution, the rubbish and the inevitable “Bali belly” that is part and parcel of a holiday there! My family and I went to Phuket and stayed in a luxury 5 star resort a year ago for s month. The people and the resort were amazing but we would NEVER go back because of the reasons listed. Every beach we went to was covered in litter and due to the fact that their sewers run INTO the ocean it is not advisable to swim or eat seafood. I think there needs to be more honesty surrounding tourism to Thailand!

  • Chelsea @LifeStyled

    Hi Corina,
    I completely understand where you’re coming from – I felt the same way as you after my first trip to Thailand. But this time my experience was completely different. The beach at Cape Panwa Hotel was absolutely stunning and rubbish-free. All of the above pictures I took myself – that’s honestly what the beach looked like. The water was crystal clear too. I also didn’t have any issues with the food – everything was fresh, delicious and I didn’t experience any ‘Bali belly’ while I was there.
    I appreciate your reservations about going back, but I hope you’ll give it another go – I saw a different side to Thailand on my second trip and would definitely go back again.
    Chelsea xx

  • Emily

    Hi Chelsea,

    just wondering what brand the coral pink top in picture 20 is?

    you take beautiful pictures! i’ve only been to northern thailand which was amazing so maybe a trip down south is in order!

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Stunning pics!

  • amholt

    Spell or proof read :)

  • Chelsea @LifeStyled

    Thanks Lisa – the stunning scenery made it pretty easy for me to take such great pics! Cx

  • Chelsea @LifeStyled

    Hi Emily,
    The top is from Zara. I bought it in Singapore in April but I’m pretty sure I saw it in a Zara here in Australia not too long ago.
    Thanks for your kind words :) If you make it to the south you’ll have to let me know how it compares to the north xx

  • Corina

    Thanks Chelsea
    You never know. Maybe one day? I think we might head to Fiji next time. I just feel so disappointed in Phuket and I don’t know whether I could risk it?
    Corina x

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