I'm travelling to Phuket with my partner the week before Christmas 2013. We've booked flights from Bangkok to Phuket, and have three full days at the end of our holiday, so wanted to spend that time relaxing and preparing for another 12 hour flight to get us back to NZ (we're start our journey in London).
A friend of our who has lived in Thailand has scolded us for trying to book everything before we go, and has suggested we just turn up as hotels and flights are so much cheaper if you do this apparently. I'm a bit of a planning freak, and don't think this is a good idea for my sanity or stress levels.
My main question is - where would you recommend we stay? We don't mind travelling from Phuket Airport to anywhere on the island, or to one of the surrounding islands. We'd like to stay somewhere where we can walk to local markets and get street food, but not that is as touristy and I've heard Patong to be. We were also considering a pool villa - is this advisable? Or will we not really make use of it? If not, would a property on the beach be a good idea?
Any help and recommendations are appreciated!