Travel Lens: a Tour of Phuket, the ‘Land of Smiles’

Travel Lens: a Tour of Phuket, the ‘Land of Smiles’

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Photo credit: Binder.donedat

Think of Phuket and it won’t be long before you find yourself daydreaming about its famous, movie-set-worthy beaches and vibrant nightlife. But there is a second life to this stunning island away from the usual tourist haunts: bustling markets with delicious and authentic Thai street food, beautiful heritage architecture, revered Buddhist shrines, and above all, the infectious Thai smile and happiness – all waiting to be discovered on a tour of Phuket, the ‘land of smiles’.

Here we showcase the work of five photographers take us on a photographic tour of Phuket.

Parasol paradise

Motoi Matsukura: ‘You have to start a tour of Phuket with its idyllic beaches. Phuket’s beaches are among the most picturesque anywhere in the world and have been photographed numerous times. But you can find the quirky side of it when you visit a small island nearby; it is the paradise of colourful rainbow-parasols.

‘Here, the delicate white sandy beach takes on a playful and charming personality; it almost feels like these parasols have their own souls and are ready to welcome each boatful of tourists with a splash of colour.’

When tourists meet Buddhists

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Dawn Farrell: ‘Whilst I was taking a tour of Phuket I took a short boat trip to enjoy snorkelling and kayaking in nearby Phang Nga Bay, the monks were travelling from Phuket to Koh Yao Noi with Blu Anda to spend some time meditating in the forest.

‘I came to Phuket in 1987 on a short holiday but immediately fell in love with the place and here I still am! For me, Phuket is not only about idyllic beaches but a place where different cultures have come together in harmony, where you can experience the old traditional lifestyles and enjoy the different food cultures. But the one thing that probably makes this place somewhere I can call home is the warmth of the local people, something I have never found anywhere else.’

 Let’s talk history

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Jerome: ‘While you see Phuket through its beaches and natural beauty, you experience Phuket through its old town. Old Phuket Town is a clear demonstration that the province is more than just stunning scenery — it’s also a melting pot of Southeast Asia. A walk through the area is a reminder that there was, and still is, an active local culture.

‘What’s particularly striking about the neighbourhood is the way old meets new, something I felt was captured perfectly in this frame. Throughout the old town, the Sino-Portuguese architecture and infrastructure are very well preserved, but the contemporary shops make it more than just a stagnant museum; they give the quarter life and make it a must-see for the curious traveller on a tour of Phuket.’

Off the beaten track

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Michaël Massart: ‘Dragon Cape is one of Phuket’s most beautiful, yet hidden viewpoints. Located closed to Nui Beach, the journey to this discrete place is long but always colourful and scenic, not to mention off the beaten path. After visiting many wonderful spots on a tour of Phuket, this one felt particularly special, almost like a lost and peaceful world. So even in a very touristic location like Phuket, you can find amazing unspoilt places that stay true to the spirit of Asia.’

 Weird and wonderful delicacies

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Court Richards: ‘A tour of Phuket is not complete without a journey to the Phuket Weekend Markets, locally known as the Naka Market. Here you will find everything from fake handbags to fried insects, to curry pastes and all the ingredients required for a fresh, authentic Thai meal.

‘After entering the market I was immediately struck by the size of the market, the various smells emanating from the stalls and most of the all the sheer volume of people buzzing from one place to another. Despite the manic state, I spotted this particular food stall, the woman behind the counter working calmly and diligently as if the surrounding chaos was nothing out of the ordinary.’

When in Phuket, Chic Collection recommends staying at Kata Rocks and Amatara Resort & Wellness. Both properties offer sheer indulgence amidst the backdrop of Phuket’s barefootchic charm.

Copyright notice: All images in this article are copyright protected and must not be used for any purpose without prior consent from the photographer.