Phuket is a fantastic island destination gateway with plenty of halal eateries and halal-friendly hotels. This is due to South Thailand in general, is still pretty much Muslim friendly as most of the Muslim population is concentrated here. Although Phuket is usually popular amongst the western tourist (read: Russian) for their non-Sharia compliant reasons and attractions, it is still a very nice destination for Muslims alike. Just avoid those places with a lot of clubs and you’ll be fine.
Let me share with you my four days three nights itinerary for this trip. Hope it helps for you to plan you holiday gateway in Phuket.
Accomodation: The Nai Harn @ Nai Harn Beach
Halal status: Not a Muslim managed property, halal food option including separated plates/cutleries available upon request, selected dishes with halal poultry/meat available in daily breakfast buffet
As per most hotel establishments in Phuket not managed by Muslims, I believe this is the best that you can get if you’re looking for halal friendly option. If that is not acceptable, you can always opt to not include the buffet breakfast at the hotel and look for Muslim stalls and eateries. There’s a halal restaurant at the entrance of the hotel but the food is so-so, we believe you can get better value elsewhere.
Our sole reason choosing this hotel is that it has the highest rating with the largest room at the cheapest price. My wife and me did not want to feel cramped especially when travelling with our little one, thus the added room space is just terrific so that our daughter can have her own space to run around.
The beach is at the hotel’s doorstep and the location itself is generally far from the hotspot beaches, thus less crowded.
The downside of the location is that you need your own transportation to get to the nearest Family Mart. There are other sundry shops along the road leading to the hotel, but option is limited. If you like more privacy and less people, this area might just be the perfect spot for you.
The Nai Harn is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World Group, so no doubt about its quality, service and property. The rate we got was quite attractive compared to other hotels in Phuket with the same rating. As per other popular tourist destination, rates are heavily depending on the high/low tourist season.
Day 2: Ban Zaan Seafood Market, Chillva Market Phuket & Patong Roadside Night Market
We rented a scooter for the day. Apparently this is the best mode of transport throughout the island if you don’t want to spend a fortune on Taxi rides. Riding a bike in Phuket is fairly safe contrary to popular claims from other western tourist that it isn’t. Seems that they are just not used to the hecticness in the city of a South East Asian developing country. Bali is worse.
Along the scenic route, you will pass by some places of interest such as Karon Viewpoint, Kata Beach, Karon Beach before arriving in Patong. The roads on this side of the island (the other side is the one leading to Phuket Town) is the best as there’s no constuction work ongoing. Just cruise at a safe speed and keep a safe distance especially on the hilly roads and you’ll be fine.
Banzaan Fresh Market in Patong opens daily but the stalls upstairs might be closed on Sundays. Safest bet is to come here during weekdays. You start by checking whether the halal stall upstairs is open or not, check out their menu and proceed with purchasing your seafood. For Malaysians, the owner of the stall speaks Malay with Kelantanese dialect. There are two halal stalls, another one just a couple stalls further. We went to the popular one since we already planned to go there.
Then you proceed to the fun part, buying your seafood. There are more than 10 stalls selling almost the same thing and all stalls follow the same standardised pricelist. So it all comes down to your negotiating skills after choosing what you think is the best. We bought 1x 450g local lobster, 2x squid and 6x prawns at a price of THB 1200. If you have been there, please share what did you get and how much in the comments below.
Brought everything to the stall and waited for it to be cooked. Was charged THB 650 for it. The result as per photos.
We left the market happily. Money well spent. Cooking was delicious without the excessive oil. Since it has already passed noon and the heat was starting to become unbearable, we went back.
After getting some rest, we went out again heading to Phuket Town. This was a really long journey despite actual distance was only 20 km.
Stopped by at Prompthep Cape for the sunset. Major crowd here with busses of tourist coming in, expect situation to become worse on weekends. Didn’t hang out too long and continued our journey.
Journey to Phuket Town was a dreaded one. Construction along the way, 70% throughout the main road. They are upgrading the route into a highway. Coupled with the rush hour people getting back from work, it was hell. Arrived at Chillva Market about an hour+ later feeling exhausted due to the bad traffic.
Chillva Market is for the young. It’s simply a flea market with various vendors setting up stalls selling various item. If you’re not able to visit the weekend market, then this is a good option. However, it is not a must-go. Plenty of food stalls including halal ones. Managed to try the Thai-style roti, not much difference compared to the Malaysian style, but still good. We left Chillva and head back to the hotel via Patong.
The distance is longer but route to Patong is much better, in fact no construction work at all as they had completed it already. The road is wide, comfortable enough for bikers. Patong is as usual very much alive at that time.
We accidentally stumbled upon this stretch of road between Patong and Kalim Beach, nearby Novotel where there are about 10-20 street stalls open up by the roadside. Can safely say 90% of them or it not all are Muslim food hawkers, probably this is where muslims are concentrated in Patong as there are a several mosques nearby. All kinds of food with most people seeing here are locals. They bought the food from the stall and sit on a picnic mat by the roadside overlooking the sea. Guess this is the best way to end the day for the locals here.
We bought some grilled chicken skewers back for breakfast the next day (it was really good) and head back.
Day 3: Beach & Sea
We didn’t go out much during the next day as it was the royal cremation day for the late King Bhumibol. Most shop are closed.
We head to the beach but Naurah was not adventerous this time. She cried and screamed and wouldn’t want to get into the water, be it the sea or swimming pool at the hotel which is weird since on other occasion, she’s always the curious one wanting to play with water.
Day 4: Went Back
Nothing much on this day except going back to KUL. We did not see any halal certified eateries at the airport. The airport is swanking new, comfortable and clean.
If I were to visit Phuket again, I’ll explore Patong a bit more since the city is very lively day and night with plenty of halal eateries, go to Phuket town only for the weekend market and maybe stay again at this hotel by the Nai Harn beach. Initially thought that it would be hard to find halal food in Phuket but as it turns out, that is not the case at all.