Still relatively unspoiled, Phuket provides a blissful timeout during a sightseeing trip to Southeast Asia. Recently, the lush and hilly island off the west coast of Thailand has seen the opening of several new hotels, including a property by noted Singaporean hotelier Christina Ong, and the evolution of one of the best restaurant scenes in Asia.
Tipped off to these developments by expatriate friends living in Hong Kong, I added the island to my itinerary during an extended visit to the region. Phuket already has three of my favorite resort hotels — Amanpuri, Six Senses Yao Noi and Trisara, so I was curious to see how the new contenders would stack up.
On arrival at Phuket’s international airport, I was taken aback to see that many of the official signs are now in both Russian and Chinese. Many Russians, it seems, have bought property here as a safe investment outside of the ruble zone, while the Chinese have fallen in love, like everyone else, with the friendly people, reasonable prices, delicious food and gorgeous beaches.