Top 10 Things To Do in Phuket
Beautiful white-sand beaches, lush tropical forests, and a nightlife rivaled by few other cities in the world, Phuket, Thailand is an irresistible attraction for both beach lovers and eco-tourists alike. Take a second, unwind and explore Phuket’s 10 most picturesque attractions.
Phang Nga Bay
Dramatic limestone formations jut from this bay, creating a picturesque backdrop for cruises, kayaking excursions, or island-hopping tours. Sights range from movie sets to villages on stilts. Eco-friendly kayaking tours explore sublime lagoons that retain the signs of an earthly Eden, while numerous deserted beaches, tiny island hideaways, and underdeveloped tropical lands wait to be discovered in Phang Nga Bay. Meanwhile, Ko Phi Phi enjoys a status worldwide for its natural beauty and for its reputation as a vibrant island party destination.
Similan Islands National Park
Impossibly soft white-sand beaches and emerald-coloured waters set the breathtaking backdrop for this island paradise. Renowned as one of the world’s top scuba diving destinations, the underwater world here is stunningly beautiful, populated with magnificent corals, colourful fish and dramatic rock formations. The nine Similan islands also offer remarkable snorkeling and make for great day trips. Make sure you plan your trip to the Similans with a tour operator based on the mainland – scuba diving equipment is not available on the islands.
Although historical records are unclear, Wat Chalong was probably first constructed during the reign of King Rama II (1809-23). The temple moved locations at one point, and the original structure no longer remains. Today, this complex features sacred imagery, including sculptures and mural paintings that depict Buddha’s life. The holiest object is a bone fragment of the Lord Buddha, now housed inside the Grand Pagoda. The temple is known as Wat Chaitararam by royal decree, but everybody refers to it as Wat Chalong.
If you are dreaming of a sleepy tropical hideaway, you might want to look elsewhere – Patong is full of action. The most popular tourist area is Phuket, it features a great range of hotels, restaurants and nightlife options. Many of the area’s high-end resorts are sheltered enclaves with lush gardens and private swimming pools. The seemingly endless shopping options, coupled with wild entertainment venues, legendary nightlife, and a host of daytime activities make Patong a favourite destination for people who crave activity on their beach holidays.
Khao Phra Thaeo National Park
Spread across 23 sq km of virgin rain forests, this national park in northeast Phuket provides one of the last remaining natural habitats for exotic and endangered animal species on the island. This pristine forest offers a quiet place where visitors can immerse themselves in the jungles that once covered much of the island. Khao Phra Thaeo offers picturesque waterfalls, raw hiking trails, and a rehabilitation center where gibbons receive care and treatment. The park is also home to rare plants, flowers and trees.
The historical and administrative center of Phuket traces its roots back centuries – first, to the early European traders and later to the Chinese immigrants who arrived here during the local tin mining boom of the 19th century. Today, Phuket Town continues to thrive as one of the island’s most authentic cultural areas, punctuated by magnificent architectural treasures, Chinese shrines, colourful open-air markets, and restaurants that serve some of Phuket’s most delicious local cuisines.
Sirinat National Park
A rugged and pristine beachfront, lined by pine trees, runs along Phuket’s northwest coast and marks three largely undeveloped beaches: Mai Khao, Nai Yang, and Nai Thon. Founded in 1981, Sirinat National Park covers an area of 90 sq km, of which more than three quarters is marine territory. The clean blue waters feature large, healthy coral reefs, and Mai Khao beach, in particular, has become a well-known sea turtle nesting site. At the northern end of Sirinat is a small, but unspoiled, mangrove forest.
Framing an idyllic bay on the island’s southwestern tip, Naiharn Beach remains one of Phuket’s most pristine waterfronts. The kiliometre long white-sand beach is flanked by green hills and lapped by turquoise waters. While nearby Naiharn Village has been modernized with cafes, art shops and guesthouses, the beach and surrounding hills maintain a tranquil, non-commercial vibe, with hotels congregated along only one end. During the high season, a number of private yachts drop anchor in the bay, making Naiharn their temporary home.
Located just south of Karon, the scenic Kata Beach, comprising two bays separated by a small rocky headland, offers an ideal balance of tropical scenery and well-developed tourism infrastructure. Kata has a number of high-end resorts, making it a popular destination for couples and families. Palm trees fringe the white-sand beach, and the turquoise waters offer good swimming conditions throughout the year. One can even swim to nearby Ko Pu, a small island, passing lovely coral reefs along the way.
Khao Sok National Park
With a land mass encompassing more than 700 sq km, this national park, located about 175 km north of Phuket, represents southern Thailand’s largest virgin forest. Older and more diverse than even the Amazon rain forest, Khao Sok is home to numerous exotic animal and plant species, and has breathtaking natural scenery. Nature lovers will find inspiration in the park’s majestic limestone cliffs, rough jungle trails, and placid waterways.