Phuket is Thailand is largest island, approximately the size of Singapore. Phuket nestles in balmy Andaman Sea waters on Thailand’s Indian Ocean coastline 862 kilometres south of Bangkok.Phuket formerly derives its wealth from tin and rubber, and enjoyed a rich and colorful history. The island was on one of the major trading routes between India and China, and was frequently mentioned in foreign trader’s ship logs.
The Portuguese, French, Dutch and English traded with Phuket. Other visitors were less friendly. Phuket’s most famous monument is the memorial statue of the heroines Thao Thepkasattri and Thao Sisunthon, who rallied islanders in 1785 to repel Burmese invaders.
Hat Patong : Hat Patong Phuket’s most developed beach offers numerous leisure, sporting, shopping and recreational options along its 3-kilometre-long cresent bay. Windsurfing, snorkelling, sailing, swimming and sunbathing number among popular daytime activities. Patong is equally well known for its vibrant nightlife, among which seafood restaurants prominently feature.The following places offer enjoyable activities:
Hat Kamala : Hat Kamala is a 2-kilometre-long beach north of Patong. The beach is beautiful and queit. Accommodation and seafood restaurants are available.
Hat Kalim : Once in Patong, turn right to Hat Kalim which is a small beach with large rocks and coral reef. Accommodation is available.
- Phuket Water Ski Cableways , Tel: 0-7620-2525-7
- Simon Cabaret, Tel: 0-7634-2011-5
- Tarzan’s Jungle Bungy Jump, Tel: 0-7632-1351
- Tazan’s Catapult Bungy, Tel: 0-1464-1581
- Patong Go-kart Speedway, Tel: 0-7632-1949
- Phuket Joyland, Tel: 0-7620-3005
- Horror House, Tel: 0-7629-3123
Phuket Fantasea : Phuket Fantasea A large-scale night time amusement centre on 140 acres near the village of Kamala Bay, 4 kilometres north of Patong. Thai cultural traditions are mixed with the latest modern technology in Las Vegas style. Magic elephants disappearing into thin air, gymnastics, musical fountains, and a circus are among the many attractions. For information,Tel: 0-7638-5000
- Ao Bang Thao : Ao Bang Thao is a large open bay with one of Phuket’s longest beaches. It was once used for tin mining, but has since been developed into a luxury resort. Most of it is occupied by the Laguna complex, a massive five-hotel development with golf course. There are, however, accommodations available outside Laguna at the bay’s south end which can be reached by taking the road north from Surin beach.
- Hat Surin : About 24 kilometres from town is Hat Surin , which can be reached on Route No. 402. After reaching the Heroines Monument, turn left and proceed on for 12 kilometres. The beach borders on a hillside. To the north are groves of large pine trees and a golf course. Surin beach is not recommended for swimming because of its steepness and heavy seas and winds during the Monsoon season.
- Laem Sing : About one kilometre from Surin beach is Laem Sing which offers small but white sandy beach; to the left is a scenic rocky cape.
- Sirinat National Park : Sirinat National Park is about 30 kilometres from town. Proceed on the Thepkasattri Road past the Thalang intersection. Take a left turn at Km.21-22 or go straight on to turn left for 2 kilometres at the road to the airport. The park occupies a total area of 90 square kilometres, and has an uninterrupted 13-kilometre-long stretch of beaches:
Hat Nai Thon nestled at the foot of high hills has a fine strip of sand. This quiet bay is suitable for swimming.
- Hat Nai Yang is where the park headquarters are located. The beach is blessed with shady pine trees providing excellent opportunity for swimming and relaxation. Off-shore is a large coral reef which serves as habitat for several species of sea life, particularly the sea turtles.
- Hat Mai Khao , also known as the Airport Beach (Hat Sanambin), can be reached by taking the Thepkasattri Road on to the Thao Thepkasattri Bridge, then take a left turn at the direction sign pointing to Mai Khao Beach. It is the habitat of the sea cicadas and turtles.
- Hat Sai Kaeo , just the northern portion of Mai Khao beach, is a long white sandy beach with groves of pines along the shore.
- Mangrove Forest , situated on the island’s northern tip, cover a large area of 320 acres. A nature trail has been cleared for the convenience of visitors with signs indicating and explaining the various species.
- Thalang National Museum : Thalang National Museum is located near the Two Heroines Monument. The museum contain permanent exhibition of life in old Phuket, ancient artefacts and remains discovered on the coast and, materials used during war with Burma (Myanmar). It is open daily except national holidays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information call 0-7631-1426, 0-7631-1025.
- The Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary : The Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Thalang district about 20 kilometres from Phuket town. Declared a wildlife sanctuary in July of 1969, it has 13,925 rai (5,570 acres) of rich and fertile land and is the habitat to several types of wild animals. Major attractions include:-
- Namtok Ton Sai, 22 kilometres from town on the Thepkasattri Road past the Thalang district intersection, then turn right and proceed on for another 3 kilometres to the fall. Although small in size, it nevertheless provides a cool, shady area for relaxation and the flow during the rainy season is quite strong.
- Another waterfall in the sanctuary is Namtok Bang Pae which is located at Tambon Pa Khlok past the Two Heroines Monument. There is an arboretum and a nursery to rehabilitate captured gibbons before returning them to the wild. For nature enthusiasts, the sanctuary has mapped out some walking trails. Further information may be obtained from the Nature Study Centre.
- Wat Phra Thong : Wat Phra Thong is where only the upper half of a large Buddha statue emerges from the ground. Legend has it that during the invasion of Thalang town in 2328 B.E. (circa 1785), the Burmese tried in vain to excavate the statue to take to back. Each time they dug into the ground, swarms of hornets would swoop on them and they had to give up. Later, the visible part of the statue was covered with gold by the villagers and has remained as such until today. It is located about 20 kilometres from Phuket town past the Thalang district office.
- Wat Phranang Sang : About 20 kilometres from town is Wat Phranang Sang , located on the Thepkasattri Road at Thalang district. An old and historical landmark of Phuket, the temple was once a fort resisting Burmese invasion around 1785. Inside the old Ubosot are enshrined the three oldest and largest Buddha statues made of tin. Called the Three Kings, they are positioned in the midsections of another three large statues.
- Ao Chalong : Ao Chalong , Phuket’s principal boat anchorage and the island’s larest bay, is 11 kilometres south of the town. It is very picturesque but not suitable for swimming. Boats can be chartered to go to some small island south of Phuket. A number of restaurants are on the road leading to the bay.
- Ao Sen or Sen Bay : A small bay next to Nai Han past the Phuket Yacht Club is Ao Sen or Sen Bay , peaceful and picturesque with white, clean sand.
- Hat Karon and Hat Kata : 20 kilometres and 17 kilometres respectively from town are Hat Karon and Hat Kata . Both beaches are long and peaceful and eminently suitable for swimming and sunbathing.
- Hat Nai Han : Hat Nai Han is located next to Phromthep Cape about 18 kilometres from town. Although not so long, the beach has white, clean sand. Beyond the beach is a swamp called Nong Han. Not recommended for swimming during May-October because of the Monsoon season.
- Khao Rang : Khao Rang , a small hill northeast of the town, provides a pleasant view of town while dining, and has a Fitness Park, a series of hillside sculptural tableaux which enhance calisthenics.
- Ko Kaeo : Ko Kaeo is an offshore isle about 3 kilometres out from Rawai beach and can be reached in 30 minutes by boat. It offers picturesque beaches and underwater scenery. There is also a replica of the Holy Footprint on the island.
- Ko Si-re : Ko Si-re , a twenty-square kilometre island, separated from the main island only by the small Thachin canal, is some 4 kilometres northeast of the town and hosts the biggest Sea Gypsy village in Phuket.
- Laem Ka : Laem Ka , at the extreme southwest of Chalong Bay, is suitable for swimming.
- Phromthep or Phromthep Cape : The nearby Laem Phromthep or Phromthep Cape forms Phuket’s southern most point and is the perfect place from which to enjoy spectacular sunsets and the sea.
- Phuket Aquarium : Phuket Aquarium is located at Cape Phanwa, on the island’s extreme southeast. The aquarium displays hundreds of exotic, grotesque and flamboyantly colourful marine species found in Phuket’s teeming waters. Open daily from 8.30 in the morning until 4 o’clock in the afternoon. A local bus can be taken from the town’s fresh produce market. Called 0-7639-1126 for more information.
- Phuket Butterfly Farm and Aquarium : Phuket Butterfly Farm and Aquarium is only 3 kilometres from town via Yaowarat Road and the Sam Kong intersection. It has a fascinating collection of such tropical creatures as butterflies, insects, marine life all arranged in natural surroundings. It is open daily from 9 p.m.-5 p.m. Tel: 0-7621-5616, 0-7621-0861
- Phuket Sea Shell Museum : Phuket Sea Shell Museum is located near Rawai Beach on the island’s southwestern shores. The emphasis is on shells from Thai waters, which are among the most sought-after by collectors, however shells from every part of the world are featured. There are numerous rarities and freaks including the world’s largest golden pearl (140 karats), large sections of sedimentary rock containing shell fossils, and a shell that weighs 250 kilograms. The museum is open daily from 8 a.m. till 7 p.m. Tel: 0-7638-1266 or 0- 7638-1274
- Phuket town :Phuket town serves mainly as a dormitory and shopping centre. Splendid colonial style residences built by late 19th-century tin and rubber barons and shophouses from the same period provide distinctive character.
- Phuket Zoo : Phuket Zoo ,located on the way to Chalong Bay, contains a collection of Asian and African mammals and birds. Elephant and crocodile shows are performed every day. Call 0-7638-1337, 0- 7638-1227 for details.
- Rawai Beach : To the south, the palm-fringed Rawai Beach about 17 kilometres from town hosts Phuket’s Chao Le people (sea gypsies). Several offshore islands have gleaming white beaches and dazzling underwater scenery which attract fishing enthusiasts and scuba-divers. To the south, the palm-fringed Rawai Beach about 17 kilometres from town hosts Phuket’s Chao Le people (sea gypsies). Several offshore islands have gleaming white beaches and dazzling underwater scenery which attract fishing enthusiasts and scuba-divers.
- Saphan Hin : Saphan Hin is a public park near the sea at the end of Phuket Road. In the circle is the Tin Mining Monument, shaped like a large drill bit, dedicated to the memory of Captain Edward Thomas Miles, the Australian who brought the first in dredge to Phuket in 1909.
- Thai Village and Orchid Farm : Thai Village and Orchid Farm , on Thepkasattri Road about 3 kilometres from town, serves daily a typical southern Thai lunch that is followed by a spectacular cultural show including Thai dances, sword-fighting, Thai boxing southern customs and elephants. Handicrafts are also on display. Call 0-7621-4860, 0- 7623-7400 for details.
- The View Point : The View Point is located mid-point between Nai Han and Kata beaches. The scenic Kata Noi, Kata and Karon beaches, and Ko Pu Island can be viewed from this point.
- Wat Chalong : Wat Chai Tararam, or Wat Chalong, is the most popular temple in Phuket. Built in 1837, a recent additon to the temple is a 61.4-meter high chedi containing the Phra Borom Sareerikatat relic, a piece of Buddha’s bones brought over from Sri Lanka. Combining the architectural styles from the Southern, Central and Northeastern Thailand, the chedi is the first in this region to house this holy relic.