Note: For Shore Excursion (Shorex), it’s always advisable to go with the cruise’s pre-set excursion packages even if you were to incur some extra cost on top of the cruise amount you have paid. Since it’s the official Shorex by the cruise, you would be assured of getting onboard on time before the ship departs from the port. Since those packages have limited seating capacity, you are advised to pre-book your choice of excursion at the Shore Excursion Counter at Deck 4 Mid as soon as you had embarked onto SuperStar Libra to avoid any disappointment.
Depending on the weather and tide, SuperStar Libra might berth at different locations. It’s either at Deep Sea Port @ Chaophaya Terminal International Co. Ltd. (GPS: 7.820233, 98.404803) with/without ferry shuttle transfer to pier or anchorage at Patong Beach and ferry shuttle transfer to the pier (GPS: 7.887548, 98.288576) in front of Avantika Boutique Hotel, Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand. It’s about 10-15 minutes of the ride. You have to check with your travel agent on the port of call prior to traveling to plan your personal itinerary well.
Firstly, you have to check on the timetable below on how much time you have at a specific port of call.
Basically, you would have approximately 10 hours in Phuket but that does not mean you have those exact hours on land. There are many hidden time constraints during each port of call and you might end up with barely 6-7 hours on land which would also include time spent on transportations in between destinations.
IMPORTANT PROCEDURES TO TAKE NOTE:
1. Queueing up for Access Card scanning/face check upon disembarking would require some time. It could be few minutes until an hour or more with so many passengers onboard.
2. One thing great about berthing in Phuket is that the cruise management, regardless of which port of call, would assist you in getting your passport stamped by the Thai Immigration. All you need is to take along with you a photocopy of your passport. Coming back from your personal expedition to get onboard is also quite easy as you would need to just scan your Access Card.
3. Please pre-plan your personal itinerary in advance prior to the trip so that you would not lose out valuable time on land. That would include your waiting time for a cab.
4. Cabs would be easily accessible at the entrance/exit of the port but make sure you agree on the fare before you engage them. If you need to use GRAB, please install the App in advance for your IOS/Android mobile. Please ensure that you have your relevant country SIM card or roaming services activated to do so.
5. It’s also the cruise’s major rule that you have to check in and be onboard NOT LESS THAN 90 MINUTES before departure time.
6. BARRED ITEMS ONBOARD: Due to health and hygiene issue, all outside food, especially cooked or uncooked meat items are not allowed to be brought onboard after your shore excursion. If you were to buy some edible local products home, it’s advisable to make sure that they are vacuum packed properly. Fruits such as durians, mangosteens and rambutans are STRICTLY PROHIBITED to be brought onboard. All baggage would be screened upon embarking.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IN PHUKET THEN?
If you are traveling on your own either via the local cab or GRAB, it’s advisable not to travel more than 25km radius (30-35 minutes) away from whichever port of call (Patong Beach or Deep Sea Port) as you would need to be back as early as 2-3 hours before departure time. Do try to stick to one district and not to be too ambitious by running all over Phuket as traffic jam could be bad at times. Here are some suggestions which would enable you to return safely and on time.
1. Check with your travel agent on the transportation to Patong Beach as it might be free, especially when the ship is anchored offshore Patong Beach. If not, it’s advisable to purchase their “Round Trips Transfers to Patong Beach (Without Meal)” package since you are on foreign land and everything from shopping, dining, beach trekking, massages and more would be inclusive. Places of interests would include:
Jungceylon Shopping Complex: You would have Robinson Department Store and Big C Extra within plus around 200 more stores for your shopping, souvenirs and snacks needs.
Jungceylon Shopping Complex | 181 Ratuthit 200 Pee Road, Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Chang Wat Phuket 83150, Thailand. | Tel: +66 76 600 111 | Operation Hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm | GPS Coordinates: 7.892209, 98.299072 |
Thanon Bangla (GPS: 7.893163, 98.298205): This is a street filled with night life once the sun sets with all the top night clubs scattered on both sides of this famous Bangla Road. To be able to have a sip or two here would depend on your cruise time of arrival in Phuket, whether in the morning or evening.
Patong Beach (GPS: 7.894141, 98.295181): The beachfront is at Thanon Thawewong, about 5 minutes of walk away from the start of Thanon Bangla and Thanon Ratuthit Songroipi junction near Jungceylon Shopping Complex. If your time is right, you might catch the sunset here. There are quite a number of seafood restaurants scattered all along Thanon Thawewong.
There are many massage shops surrounding Patong Beach area and if you like those professional and certified ones which are also family friendly, you could consider paying a visit to Salika Massage and Spa Co. Ltd., about 7 minutes of walk from Starbucks at Jungceylon Shopping Complex. The published rates here can be quite reasonable.
Salika Massage and Spa Co. Ltd. | 219 Ratuthit 200 Pee Road, Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Chang Wat Phuket 83150, Thailand. | Tel: +66 86 954 6148 | Operation Hours: 9.00am – 12.00am | GPS Coordinates: 7.889073, 98.295703 |
2. Travel to Old Phuket Town by chartering GRAB Cab Thailand for 6.5 hours: Approximately THB1500 excluding THB100-200 tips
Finding a restaurant which serves healthy and clean food in Phuket, Thailand can be rather rare but I managed to drop by O-OH Farm Ta-Eiad to have a taste of their specialties.
Some of the recommendations include Spaghetti Phad Ee Mao (Spicy Spaghetti with Bacon – THB180), Khao Phad Sapparod (Pineapple Fried Rice -THB180), Avacado Charcoal Ice Cream (THB80) and more. Verdict: A must visit café in Phuket. They have two outlets in Phuket, Thailand.
O-OH Farm Ta-Eiad | 18 Chao Fah Tawan Tok Road, Tambon Chalong, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat Phuket 83000, Thailand. | Tel: +66 88 762 4834 | Operation Hours: 8.00am – 11.00pm | GPS Coordinates: 7.858320, 98.341662 |
The Old Phuket Town or known as Talat Yai, has many attractions such as boutiques, cafes, mural arts, street food, temples, etc, which would keep you occupied for the whole day but what could you do when you have barely a few hours to capture the experiences? It would be ideal if you have done some homework to prioritize the places to your interest. Do also take note that most of the shops would be closed around 6.00pm (Thai time). Basically, with such a short period of time, you could only cover a small section of the old town along Yaowarat Road, Thalang Road, Dibuk Road, Thepkasattri Road and Phuket Road, with many alleys (soi) in between.
Yaowarat Road has many cafes and eateries and most noted one with a striking colored exterior would be the Phuketique Coffee Bar, at the roundabout of Ranong Road and Yaowarat Road. If you are not planning to have heavy meals of burgers, you could go for their waffles or chips over some coffee or maybe beers.
Phuketique Coffee Bar | 2 Ranong Road, Phuket Town, Phuket 83000, Thailand. | Tel: +66 81 974 1559 | Operation Hours: 10.30am – 11.30pm (Closed on Tuesdays) | GPS Coordinates: 7.883411, 98.387223 |
Walk further up and turn right into Thalang Road until you have reached an alley on your left. That’s Soi Rommanee where the famous Phuket wall murals are.
Phuket Wall Mural | Junction of Thalang Road and Soi Rommanee, Phuket Town, Phuket 83000, Thailand. | Tel: N/A | Operation Hours: 24 Hours | GPS Coordinates: 7.884937, 98.389069 |
At the end of Soi Rommanee is Dibuk Road. Go across the road and you would reach Wat Mongkol Nimit (วัดมงคลนิมิตร). You can walk around the temple or perform some prayers while enjoying the beautiful architecture of the temple.
Wat Mongkol Nimit | 8/1 Moo 2 Wichit, Dibuk Road, Amphoe Mueang Phuket Chang Wat Phuket 83000, Thailand. | Tel: N/A | Operation Hours: 7.00am – 6.00pm | GPS Coordinates: 7.886655, 98.389317 |
As you come out of the temple, turn left until you have reached a junction. Turn right into Thepkasattri Road. Walk on for about 30m and you would see a cat café on your left. That’s the only cat café in town. They have a full meal menu here but I went for only some drinks and dessert while enjoying the company of the cats there. Most of the cats here are pedigrees, ranging from Maine Coon, Siamese, Persian and more.
B Cat Cafe and Restaurant | 33-34 Thepkasattri Road, Phuket (City), 83000 Thailand. | Tel: +66 89 471 7776 | Operation Hours: 11.00am – 8.30pm (Closed on Wednesdays) | GPS Coordinates: 7.885518, 98.390785 |
If you don’t fancy cats, you could always head on to a few doors away to The Tent to savor some their signature pasta, desserts and smoothies. Just as its name, the ambiance is filled with Red Indian style tents as the backdrop.
The Tent | 16 Thepkasattri Road, Phuket (City), 83000 Thailand. | Tel: +66 76 217 775 | Operation Hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm (Closed on Tuesdays) | GPS Coordinates: 7.885075, 98.390836 |
There’s no law to obstruct you from getting a quick haircut in Phuket. You could always head a few doors away to Ducky Cutz for a THB200 trim. The team is also professionals in creating hair tattoos. Iced beverages are also available here at about THB25-30.
Ducky Cutz | 10 Thepkasattri Road, Phuket (City), 83000 Thailand. | Tel: +66 94 501 7556 | Operation Hours: 8.00am – 10.00pm (Closed on Wednesdays) | GPS Coordinates: 7.884892, 98.390866 |
Walk along Thepkasattri Road until you reach another junction. Turn left into Thalang Road and you would see a beautiful golden dragon monument further up. That’s the Hai Leng Ong Statue (Golden Dragon Monument), located within Queen Sirikit Park, Phuket, Thailand. Locals as those of Chinese descent would make their offerings with light incense and candles to the statue to honor the golden dragon and request the protection of Phuket and its people.
Hai Leng Ong Statue (Golden Dragon Monument) | Talat Yai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand. | Tel: N/A | Operation Hours: 24 Hours | GPS Coordinates: 7.884803, 98.391562 |
Go out to the main junction and turn left into Phuket Road. Walk about 50m further on and you would see a wooden structure café on your left. That’s Rasta Café. This might be your last destination before calling for a cab to head back to the ship, so enjoy your dinner over some chilled beers.
Rasta Cafe | 15/1 Phuket Rd, Muang Yai District, Phuket Town Chang Wat Phuket 83000, Thailand. | Tel: +66 88 760 9713 | Operation Hours: 4.00pm – 1.00am | GPS Coordinates: 7.884003, 98.390947 |
Since I’ve some time left and I could anytime grab some Thai stuff from 7-Eleven nearby my berthing port, Deep Sea Port, I headed to Central Festival Phuket, Thailand, to run some last minutes errands.
After getting my stuff from the Central Food Hall, I went over to Food Patio, the mall’s food court, to grab some food. The system here is the same as most of the food courts in malls where you would need to top up a prepaid card to order your food. The balance would be reimbursed.
We just ordered a bowl of Egg Noodles with Roasted Duck (THB75) and Spicy Tomyam Noodles with Mixed Seafood (THB189). Verdict: Until now, I’ve yet to find a food court outside Bangkok which could easily please my appetite and taste bud, the best being at Level 6, Platinum Mall, Bangkok, Thailand.
Central Festival Phuket | 74-75 Moo 5 Wichit, Muang Phuket, Phuket 83000, Thailand. | Tel: +66 76 291 000 | Operation Hours: 10.30am – 10.00pm | GPS Coordinates: 7.892068, 98.368535 |
I hope you have a great cruising journey and experiences with SuperStar Libra. Bon Voyage!