Boasting phenomenal sunsets, crystal clear waters, lush green hills and spas aplenty, Phuket is perfect for honeymooning couples. Emma Higgins offers tips for newlyweds travelling to Thailand's biggest island
Phuket's most popular beaches - Patong, Kata, Karon - are a little too busy to feel romantic, so you're better off venturing to its quieter coastal areas. Hat Nai Han on the south coast is a small, peaceful beach, with a handful of restaurants set back from the shore. Visit in the early evening to take a romantic stroll and enjoy one of the best sunset views Phuket has to offer.
Slightly to the west of Nai Han, a quick drive through The Royal Phuket Yacht Club and out the other side, is Ao Sane, a very small, rocky beach visited by only a handful of people a day - an ideal hidden escape for couples.
Despite the underlying resort feel, Phuket is home to some interesting cultural hotspots. Phuket Town - the island's only city - is a fascinating blend of east-meets-west, with Sino-Portuguese architecture and Asian temples sitting side-by-side. A stroll through this area of the island makes for an offbeat day out with your beloved.
The town is full of art galleries, and one of the most unusual is Wua Art Gallery & Studio, run by the mysteriously-named 'Mr Zen' and spread across two locations on Pang-nga Road. Home to some of Phuket's most interesting modern art, Wua makes you feel like you've stumbled into a trendy gallery in London or Berlin.
Laem Phromthep, on the southern tip of the island, is Phuket's most popular viewpoint. It's undoubtedly a romantic spot to look out over the ocean, but it can get very crowded, which takes away a lot of its charm. Instead, enjoy a cool drink at Sabai Corner - a bar on the hills in Phuket's southwest - from which you can catch views of the setting sun and surrounding shoreline.
For a lookout point further inland, taxi it up to Tung Ka Café, on top of Khao Hill in Phuket Town. This magical treehouse setting offers views over Phuket's urban corners and rolling green hills. Sit out on the deck, surrounded by jungle foliage, and drink it all in.
Get into the spirit of island life with some relaxing evening cocktails in Phuket's beautiful bars. Café Opera, near Kata Beach, is one of the island's most elegant hangouts, serving up dangerously good mojitos for 99 baht (£2), plus excellent Thai and western food. Live music is often played (but there are no set nights - ask staff for details) and tunes are atmospheric and relaxed - ideal dinner-and-drinks entertainment for newlyweds.
Massage parlours are ten a penny in Thailand, and you'll be able to find one along almost every street in Phuket. The price for a one-hour Thai massage in these places is around 300 baht (£6), but couples might want to opt for some a little more special.
Head to one of Phuket's luxury spas for indulgent treatments from expert beauty therapists. Banyan Tree Spa is among the most decadent, offering a variety of different massage and spa treatments, as well as full-day pampering packages, all in a tropical garden setting. Also take a look at the spas in large resort hotels such as the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa and the Mandara Spa at JW Marriot, which has 16 couples treatment rooms. Prices at these spas are much more expensive (upwards of 2,500 baht (£51) for a massage) but you pay for the skilled treatments and unique, relaxing atmosphere - a honeymooning in Phuket essential.
Image: Sunset at Hat Nai Han Beach, Emma Higgins
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