Currently residing in Hong Kong with her family, Valerie Ng has literally lived all across the globe. She shares with us top tips on one of her favorite cities – Phuket – including a wide range of activities for the kids and family, and an unforgettable adult night out!
Describe Phuket in 3 words
A relaxing, pampering, paradise
Best hotel in Phuket when travelling with kids
It’s a tie between Andara and Trisara
Your favourite place to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner? Why?
In bed at our place at Andara whilst watching the sea… but most places in Phuket have sea views. If you want to get out of bed early, go for an early power walk along Kamala beach and have breakfast at Rockfish, opposite the entrance to Andara Villas.
Trisara – I love, love, love it and they have a great kids club which means a very enjoyable and peaceful lunch! Just be aware that during high season they may not accept reservations due to being at full capacity with their in-house guests.
If you want scenic, go to Baan Rim Pa, as it’s classic colonial Phuket. If you want trendy go downstairs at the aptly named Joe’s Downstairs.
Best places to eat with kids?
Go to Catch Beach Club on Tuesday and Saturday nights as the restaurant is on the beach, they serve a buffet and you can light the traditional lanterns and make wishes, which the kids love. If that’s not enough you can buy them a gazillion led lit gadgets and finish them off with the delicious chocolate fondue! It’s also fun to take a fisherman’s boat and putt putt along to Banana beach, choose your fish and tell the lady how you like it and a few minutes later you are eating fresh food on a gorgeous beach. Best time to do this is Christmas as in summer the sea tends to be too rough to get there.
What is your favourite thing to do with your kids in Phuket ?
Take them to the various beaches, and do all the rides – on fishermen boats, banana boats and elephants. Swim with the fish among the islands of Phang Na.
There’s a butterfly museum which is beautiful and educational but the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center near the Khao Phrao Thaew Royal Wildlife and Forest Reserve, is the place for kids to learn a little something about the mistreatment of animals.
Best outdoor activity
Simply swimming in the pool and spending time at the beach.
Andara, Trisara, Banyan Tree, Amanpuri there are endless high end choices. For the less expensive ones the HideAway Day Spa in Laguna is meant to be good. One really fun thing to try out is the Japanese Facial shops in Jung Ceylon. You get a 60 or 90mn facial for nothing and you get to lie on a bed and get tended to by a facialist in the company of another 30 people doing exactly the same thing. Not for the shy or the faint-hearted!
I get my hair done at…
Andara, but there’s lots of salons around that can sort you out a blow-dry… I just wouldn’t venture on anything requiring chemicals or scissors.
The three shops I can’t live without are…
Carrefour now rebranded as Big C, Lola at Surin Plaza and the Lemongrass House.
Who I have on my speed dial and why…
Grace Solomon, assistant manager extraordinaire at Andara. She can get anything/everything done, like magic! My trainer Boy, who’s dedicated to getting me into better shape every time he sees me and teaches me Thai words to boot!
Best place for ice cream / burgers / sushi / pizza
Ice cream is Jansens at Jung Ceylon, burgers go to Joe’s Downstairs while for Sushi it has to be Fuji Sushi at Jung Ceylon, and pizza at Catch means you can ‘catch’ the sunset whilst you’re at it!
Your favourite souvenirs
Where do I begin? Crocodile skin bags, essential oils from Lemongrass House (all natural products), pretty things from Lola and Ginger at Surin Plaza… While you can buy gems from an industrial size compound near Phuket Town and have your favourite designs copied at a fraction of the original price.
An unforgettable moment?
Seeing James Bond Island in Phang Na. The whole place is just like a movie set.
Can’t live without…
Mosquito spray and sunscreen.
Ka Jok See in Phuket Town for an unforgettable adult night out!
Favourite time of year in Phuket, why and what do you love to do?
I like it at Christmas for all the pizzazz and parties but love it in August because it’s so quiet and the beaches feel like your own private beach.
What advice would you give families visiting?
Go for it, without any hesitation, sign up for all the activities, elephant riding, snorkelling with the fishes, and go to the Aquapark if you find the time!
Of all the tourist spots Phuket has on offer which would you try not to miss?
Ka Jok See and Phang Na.
Tell us one thing about we don’t know about Phuket
There’s this place called the Blue Elephant. It is a restaurant, a museum and a cooking school. It’s brilliant to get a taste of Thailand in a very short time!
Valerie Ng is half French and half Danish and was born in Lebanon, growing up between the Middle East, France and England. She started her career in film distribution before moving into VIP client relations at Christie’s. Valerie supports a number of charities and was on the Childline Committee in the UK. Now based in Hong Kong she has joined the fundraising and events committees for Room To Read. She lives in Hong Kong with her Hong Kong born husband and two children.