多年來，一群又一群的旅客蜂擁至稱為「安達曼珍珠」的泰國最大島嶼，這個向外突出的半島的海岸線西面擁有著柔軟的沙灘。雖然布吉是個度假熱點，但只要您找對地方，您還可以發掘到隱密的海灣。您可以在這個多山的島嶼找到狀態良好的西莉那國家公園 (Sirinat National Park) 和布吉市中心。這個舊城區 (Old Town) 曾是錫材貿易中心，周圍都是色彩繽紛的中葡風格建築、歷史悠久的寺廟和時髦又可在 Instagram 打卡的咖啡店。
Brilliantly compact, Phuket Old Town (it is bordered by Ranong Road in the south and Dibuk Road in the north) is really just a handful of roads packed with stylish boutiques, souvenir shops and restaurants. Chino Cafe Gallery is a great spot for ice-cold smoothies or a snack – go for a famous bite-sized Tao Sor pastry, made with either green beans or salted egg yolks – and at the front has a small, curated selection of batik clothes and gifts.
For sweet treats, there is A Dessert Moments cafe, which has a seaside vibe and a wooden swing seat at the front, and the quaint Crepe is Crepe that serves delicious savory and sweet crepes. Or join the locals on Phang Nga Road for super-spicy green chicken curry and excellent fried rice with chilli paste shrimp (the no-frills restaurant doesn’t have an obvious name but it is to the right of second-hand bookshop South Wind Books).
When you do want to head to the ocean, low-key Freedom Beach near Patong, which is backed by dense jungle, is a good bet. The fact that it is only accessible by longtail boat means that this 300m-long bay remains relatively peaceful (speedboats and motorised watersports are also banned) even during high season. There is also laid-back Kata Noi, south of Karon beach (not to be confused with Kata, the larger, neighbouring crescent bay), which is as great for surfing as it is for sunbathing.
And further south, Ya Nui beach is a charming cove with the small, uninhabited rocky island of Koh Keyao Noi within easy kayaking distance. Above it, to one end is Phromthep Cape, one of the island’s best-known hills which gets incredibly busy with crowds at sunset (there is also a lighthouse here, from where you can see the Phi Phi islands).
If you are determined to tap into the island’s undeveloped side, head to the Sirinat National Park in the northwest. This protected coastline is split into four equally deserted beaches – Mai Khao (the longest beach in Phuket and a breeding ground for leatherback and hawksbill turtles), Nai Thon, Nai Yang and Sai Kaeo – backed by mangrove forests.
There is very little to do other than loll on the sand and swim in the sea – and that’s the point. This is one of the sweetest spots on the island and a world away from the crowds elsewhere.