top of page

Ruth’s Blog: Tantalising Thailand. First stop, Phuket.

Thailand was the last trip I managed to sneak into 2021. Having had my 50th birthday celebrations curtailed in 2020, I wanted to ensure I was making full use of the opportunity to travel and explore the wonders of this amazing country.

Due to the existing Thai quarantine rules, I had to fly into Phuket so it was delightful to finally get to stay at The Slate Hotel where I’ve sent many clients to.

I am well versed with the testing and documentation required to enter. Keeping your boarding pass with you is a must, as it will be checked as soon as you leave the aircraft. Once in the arrivals hall, all other documents are checked before being able to proceed. The system runs seamlessly, and I was out of the airport within the hour.

The Slate is around a 10-minute drive from the airport, through Sirinat National Park which has a 13km coastline. On arrival, I was greeted with a cold towel, a fresh juice and a big ‘welcome to Thailand’ smile.

The lobby at The Slate
The lobby at The Slate

Check-in was swift and I was soon in my enormous D-Buk suite awaiting the PCR result. It came six hours later, which gave me plenty of time to explore my room, unpack and grab some chill time. Room service can be ordered if you get peckish. The suite comfortably sleeps two adults and two children and has two balconies.

The hotel’s inspiration is taken from Phuket’s famous tin mining era with attention to detail consistent throughout, all the way down to the room essentials. The unique décor transports you to a bygone era sprinkled with the touch of modern times.

The bathtub in the D-Buk Suite
The D-Buk Suite

The beds are huge and comfortable with crisp white and cool linen and pillow menus are also available. Everything in the room, including the bed, is available to buy from the ‘The Stockroom’ - a gift shop with a difference.

Once my result came back negative, it was time to find a local restaurant to eat. I love to explore the local cuisine when I travel - it’s more authentic and, more importantly now, it gives back to the decimated local economy and community who rely almost exclusively on tourism to survive.

My favourite: Massaman curry
My favourite: massaman curry

I settled on a local restaurant close to the hotel, just across the road from the beach, and eagerly tucked in to a massaman curry, a favourite dish discovered on my first trip to Thailand in 2004. The meal with a beer mind-blowingly cost less than £5. You can eat incredibly well here for very little.

With a seven-hour time difference from the UK, it was time to get some rest. Turndown includes the lighting of oil burners which add to the room’s ambience, and I picked some up in the gift shop to be able to recreate my Slate experience at home.

The Tin Mine restaurant
The Tin Mine restaurant

Breakfast, served at the ‘Tin Mine’ restaurant is divine, with an immense choice, including cereals, fresh juices and a good old English fry up. An egg station is available, and if your sweet tooth is calling, pancakes and waffles are available. For the more adventurous, try a traditional Thai breakfast. The food is fresh, local and delicious, and will set you up for the day, whether you're sightseeing or lazing around by one of the three pools or at the beach. A little tip for tea drinkers - ask for an extra tea bag in the pot for a stronger taste.

This trip was predominantly about spending time with my brother who lives in Bangkok and whom I hadn’t seen for over a year. He flew down for my three nights in Phuket and we spent a lot of time walking and catching up.

A stroll along Nai Yang Beach
A stroll along Nai Yang Beach

We managed 7km on our first morning along the glorious nearby beach which, although not private, was pretty deserted. The ocean colours and sounds are spectacular and gave me some new content for my YouTube channel.

Although the hotel was busy, it didn’t seem crowded. There was lots of space around the pool and plenty of sunbeds available. Pool towels are provided, and it was fabulous to see people enjoying the facilities and fully relaxed in their surroundings.

I was keen to explore the area as well as spend time at the hotel. We took a 40-minute taxi ride for about £9.50 to Old Phuket Town, with its coloured shuttered windows and beautifully decorated shops. It was a pity that it wasn’t busy, but a Sunday afternoon is the ideal time to visit when there is an afternoon market.

Back to Nai Yang Beach for a foot massage costing a little less than £4.50 for a full hour, which after the long flight and much walking was very welcome. Dinner that evening was teriyaki salmon with rice, again very reasonable and tasty.

After more walking the following day, I met with Claude Sauter, the hotel’s manager and spent time talking and looking in detail around the hotel. He’s not been there long but it’s clear that he loves what he does and that shows throughout the hotel.

Phang Nga Bay by boat
Phang Nga Bay by boat

I quizzed Claude on his 'Three must dos in Phuket'. Here are his suggestions:

  1. Visit Phang Nga Bay, where you will find James Bond Island amongst the mangroves, limestone cliffs and rock formations

  2. Sunday afternoon in Phuket Old Town when the local market is in town

  3. Get down south to Rawai Beach, a traditional Thai fishing village

This is, of course, in addition to the snorkelling, long tailed boat trips and shopping to be done in Phuket.

Rawai Beach
Rawai Beach

After a beer on the beach, taking in the most magnificent sunset, it was time to get ready for our meal at Black Ginger. I’m not going to spoil any surprises, but suffice to say, you need to have at least one meal here. The whole experience is so unique - it needs to be seen to be believed.

Black Ginger restaurant entrance
Black Ginger restaurant entrance

Our flight was the following morning, so my stay at The Slate this time was short, but I loved the hotel and will be back soon.

Next stop: Bangkok!


bottom of page