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All About Flights to Phuket

in Destinations/Tips by
Phuket Airport

When it comes time to book flights to Phuket, Thailand,  this holiday hotspot offers a myriad of options.  The newly revamped Phuket International Airport is the international gateway to the island of Phuket and all of its touristic charms.

What’s there to know about

Phuket International Airport – or ท่าอากาศยานภูเก็ต in Thai – is the second busiest airport in the Kingdom of Thailand. 
Phuket International Airport (HKT)
Mai Khao, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand, Phuket Province 83110

“Phuket International” is quite compact and easy to navigate. However, if you have never been to Phuket before it is important to note that the airport is home to two terminals, Domestic and International. While the terminals are within walking distance of each other, it indeed makes travel easier if you are heading in the right direction from the start.

The airport hosts domestic, regional and international passenger and cargo services for over twenty-five airlines. It’s a primary flight connection hub for Thai AirAsia and Thai Airways International.

Are there fights from… to Phuket?

There are 49 cities which offer non-stop flights to Phuket, which makes Phuket International Airport a very busy place. A high volume of passengers arrive early in the morning or late at night on daily flights from China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

As Phuket is a popular destination for holidaymakers from around the globe, flights from countries such as Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey and recently India make up a lot of the airport’s traffic. It is estimated that at least 16 million people pass through the gates of Phuket International Airport yearly.

Can I bring my… to Phuket, Thailand?

On arrival to Phuket International Airport, international travellers are expected to clear immigration. After a long-haul flight this can seem like quite a tedious task, however, it is necessary before entering the Kingdom.

Make sure that you have filled out your international arrival cards that would have been presented on the flight over, and be prepared to queue. While the immigration lines do often appear overwhelming, rest assured that they do move along at a rather quick pace. After clearing immigration, it is time to retrieve your luggage, head out the door and enjoy your holiday!

When is the best time to fly to Phuket?

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Spilling the beans – Chef Aoy, Villa Ananda

in Dining by

One of the great expect of staying in a luxury private villa is the superb food prepared exclusively for you by skilled in-house chefs – many of whom have trained in internationally renowned restaurants. Villa menus comprise of an extensive range of Asian delights and cater to every guests’ tastes, however every chef has his or her very own ‘special’ recipe that proudly reflects their culinary expertise. After a little arm twisting we have managed to prise the standout recipes from a few of our chefs.

Chef Aoy and her specialty

Chef Aoy is the outstanding creator of food  at Villa Ananda, (one of the stunning beachfront Jivana Beach Villas on Natai Beach) and has kindly offered her version of the all time classic – Pad Thai with prawns.

This is  equally popular street food as it is  on every menu in Thai restaurants, hotels and cafes and is arguably the National Dish of Thailand.

It can be with made with prawns, chicken, crispy pork or just tofu.

 

Prawn Pad Thai Recipe
Ingredients

  • 5 peeled Thai shrimps 1 Tbsp.
  • chopped garlic 1/2 tbsp.
  • red pepper flakes 3 tbsp.
  • vegetable oil 2 tbsp.
  •  fish sauce 1 tbsp.
  • tamarind juice 1 tbsp.
  • finely chopped shallot 1 tbsp.
  • Thai Radish, finely chopped 1 tbsp.
  • roasted peanuts 50 grams
  • palm sugar 10 grams
  • dried shrimps 50 grams
  • firm tofu, thinly sliced 150 grams
  • thin noodles, 100 grams
  • bean sprouts, 20 grams
  • chives, cut in one inch lengths
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 lime

Chef Aoy's Prawn Pad Thai

Top tip: Prepare your ingredients beforehand and have them nearby. Timing is of utmost importance. Making Pad Thai isn’t hard; it does, however, require a fairly high level of concentration.

Directions

Step 1.  Soak the thin noodles for 5 minutes in water before cooking to soften.

Step 2. Heat 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a pan, fry the garlic and shallot, then add the thin noodles and sprinkle with water until the noodles are soft.

Step 3. Add fish sauce, palm sugar, red pepper flakes and tamarind juice.

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Michelin Guide Restaurants in Phuket

in Dining by

In May 2018, the Michelin Guide held a press conference in the heart of Phuket Old Town to announce the inclusion of restaurants in the other regions of Phuket & Phang Nga to the 2019 edition of the Michelin Guide Thailand. The announcement set the island’s culinary scene on fire, especially due to the fact that in Phuket the existing competition amongst chefs and restaurants is already fierce.

The Michelin Guide is sure to add a bit of refined flavour to restaurants in Phuket, but what does it all really mean? To break it down, the southern regions of Phuket & Phang Nga continue to grow and expand with gastronomy offerings, and the inclusion into the Michelin Guide ensures that the area’s unique cuisine and culture will be preserved through food in the years to come.

Now that the announcement has been made, the preliminary legwork of establishing the Michelin Guide Thailand in the south is truly on the way. Here at Elite Havens we couldn’t be more thrilled. We love good food and we are excited to see if some of our favourite restaurants will be awarded with the recognition that we think they deserve.

The Michelin Guide Explained

A series of guide books published by the French tyre company Michelin for over a century, The Michelin Guide is synonymous with annually published Michelin Red Guide, which is the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide. Michelin Guide awards up to three stars for excellence to a select few establishments every year. For those in the dining industry, Michelin is the only guide book that counts and being awarded a star can have a profound effect on the success of a restaurant.

In addition to the much coveted Michelin Star, the Michelin Guide awards Rising Stars, which indicates that a restaurant has what it takes to qualify for a star or perhaps even earn an additional star. The Michelin Guide also highlights restaurants which offer exceptionally good food at moderate prices. This award is known as Bib Gourmand, and in order to qualify, restaurants must offer a variety of menu items priced below a maximum based on local economic standards.

For those in the industry,

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I’ll have the เป็ด…

in Dining by

Host to thousands of famed authentic Thai restaurants and plenty of newer culinary hotshots too, each with several exotic dishes to sample, choosing where to dine out in Phuket can be overwhelming. One piece at a time is the best way to take it all in, and this feature serves up recommendations about how and where to enjoy one very specialty entree.  

… THE DUCK, PLEASE.

From a plethora of duck or เป็ด entrees popular in Phuket, we found four dishes most likely to wow visitors and leave a lasting impression.

1- Duck Tamarind

The Duck Tamarind is a choice ambassador of the Blue Elephant’s Bohemian/Buddhist charm. Roasted duck breast is elegantly stacked atop a bed of fried, shredded kale and topped with crispy fried onions. The rice server glides from table to table, offering never-ending servings of steamy white Jasmine or organic black rice. The tart and sweet tamarind sauce provides an adhesive element for this interesting, impressionable cuisine. The crispy, savory, and tart flavors of the dish left me eagerly anticipating the next bite before I was done with my first.

The Blue Elephant
Governor’s Mansion, Phuket Town, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000

The Blue Elephant is located inside the historic governor’s mansion in Phuket Town. The trail up to the mansion is lit by tiki torches and blue string lights dangling from lanterns hanging from massive tree branches. The mansion’s green and white checkerboard floor blends well the limestone colonnades and dark-wood ceiling. The lighting from the antique chandeliers and the brass, orchid-themed sconces create an ambiance that is sleek, historical, and hip all at once. Also, there’s an abundance of blue elephant sculptures scattered about, along with traditional Thai art and pictures of King Rama IX.

Afterward, I was given a brief tour of the Blue Elephant Cooking Class room, the famous Blue Bar, the main kitchen, and the upstairs seating for larger parties. The wooden floors, contemporary shark paintings, vintage Buddhist artwork, and blend of freshly cut flowers create an ambiance that the Blue Elephant has become famous for.

The Duck Tamarind is a dish that is justifiably representative of this established restaurant’s history. The Blue Elephant has locations in Bangkok, Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, Malta, Dubai, Jakarta, and Phuket.

2- Stewed Duck and Egg Noodle Soup

Kitti Duck Noodle
367/30-31 Yaowarat Road,

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Thai King’s New Baht Banknote

in News/Tips by
New Baht Thailand Currency

For travel in Thailand, money basics are a need to know. The Thai Baht (pronounced /bɑːt/ and abbreviated to THB, or ฿) is the official currency of Thailand. Thai Bhat is a common misspelling! In Thai, it is written: บาท and subdivided into 100 satang. Coins come in denominations of: 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht, as well as 25 and 50 satang. Banknotes come in denominations of: 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 baht.

A Fresh New Look

What you may not know is that in April 2018 the Bank of Thailand (BOT) began circulating a brand new family of banknotes, ‘Series 17’, the first ever to feature a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, whose revered father, the late King Bhumipol Adulyadej passed away in 2016, ending a world record-breaking seven-decade reign. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as Rama IX, has appeared on baht banknotes for the past 70 years.

The main colours and sizes of the notes haven’t changed, with the back designs featuring images of the Kings of Thailand from past to present. The 20, 50 and 100 baht banknotes were released on Chakri Memorial Day, April 6, 2018. The final two denominations of 500 and 1,000 baht will be issued on the new king’s birthday on July 28, 2018.

Current (left) V. New (right)
Banknotes (Photos via Bank of Thailand)

The Bank of Thailand will issue a new ‘Series 17’ set of banknotes on July 28 featuring a portrait of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun in the Royal Thai Air Force uniform, to mark the 66th birthday of the King. Current ‘Series 16’ banknotes of the late king will remain in circulation. 

Creative Design & Functionality

Unlike some countries in South East Asia the banking sector in Thailand has, over the years, proven to be a major stabilising force for the Thai economy. Lessons learnt from the industry collapse over 20 years ago have seen Thai banks showing fresh resilience today, due in no small part to the regulation of financial institutions.

Once approved by the Minister of Finance, the BOT is responsible for the design, print, issuing, and management of banknotes. Although no longer hand drawn, banknote designers must be able to combine visual artistry and technical expertise with cultural identity and counterfeit deterrence features.

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