Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, about 543 square kilometers in size. The jewel in the crown of Thai tourism, Phuket is blessed with several soft-sand beaches along its western shores, lush interiors and a wide range of dining, entertainment, and outdoor activity options.
The world’s best diving and sailing sites, including the Similan Islands, Surin Islands, Phi Phi, and Koh Racha are all easily accessible and affordable for water sport adventurers.
Since its heady days of tin mining from the 16th to 19th centuries, Phuket has attracted people from all over the world seeking sun, fun and fortune. Today is no different, since Phuket has developed into a major tourist and vacation property centre, attracting about 5 to 6 million tourists per year.
Good roads, broadband internet and international fashion brand retailers have joined the elephants and long-tail fishing boats as an integral part of the Phuket scene.
And though it has grown substantially in recent decades, there are still many areas of Phuket that have retained the charm and laid-back lifestyle of the past.
Phuket – it truly is a tropical playground, and a fantastic place to call home!
Visible from most of the south of Phuket, the Big Buddha is a recent arrival to the island. The image stands on the top of the Nakkerd Hills and looks down over Chalong, Kata and Rawai. It cost 30 million baht to construct and is 45 metres high. Next to it stands a smaller, golden image that is actually made of brass and there is a shrine near the site’s car park. The drive up to the Big Buddha takes you through the ‘real’ Thailand and the view from the top is enhanced if you take a map to identify the many, many sights.
Wat Chalong and Phuket Temples
Wat Chalong is one of Phuket’s most important temples and visited by thousands each year. It’s beautifully decorated with infinite reflections from hundreds of tiny glass pieces and several pagodas. On special holidays Wat Chalong hosts ‘country fairs’ with a real local flavour where you can buy just about anything and snack on Thai food to your heart’s content. Wat Chalong has an interesting history and is Phuket Island’s spiritual centre. You haven’t seen Phuket if you’ve never visited this fascinating temple. See Phuket Temples, some
Phang Nga Baya
Phang Nga Bay is unique. A day out here is an unforgettable experience that will definitely get you thinking. A distinctive feature of the bay is the sheer limestone cliffs that jut vertically out of the emerald-green waters. These islands are home to sheltered fauna that are possible to observe on certain tours. James Bond Island and Koh Panyee are just two of the more famous spots in this bay.
By far the best means of enjoying the spectacular scenery is to take one of the boat trips from the northern end of Phuket. A leisurely day trip cruising through the dramatic limestone islands, occasionally stopping to enjoy quiet beaches, is far more rewarding than the standard bus-boat tour
Phuket Vegetarian Festivals and other Events
Whether they’re held to honor a religious belief or just for fun, the festivals of Phuket are exciting, sometimes bizarre spectacles – and they’re certainly never bland. The Vegetarian Festival draws people from all over the world. It’s colorful, it’s deafening and sometimes fascinatingly gruesome. Vegetables gruesome? Come and see for yourself… Phuket’s Gay Festival falls at the same time as Thailand’s Songkran Water Festival and both are fun-filled, full-on parties that celebrate life’s exuberance in a most decidedly Thai way.
Simon Cabaret Show
Simon Cabaret – probably the biggest transvestite cabaret show to be found locally. This show features a spectacular musical floor show performed by the world famous Ladyboy”s of Simon Cabaret. See for yourself – guys, can you tell the difference? And ladies – wouldn’t you just die for a figure like that? Fabulous costumes, glitzy and fun
Phuket FantaSea Show
It’s wacky but fun and very professionally done. Trapeze artists, elephants on stage and pyrotechnics combine in a Las Vegas-style show. You’ll see nothing else like it anywhere on the planet. Combining Thai traditional myths with humor, fantasy and a loose plotline that keeps getting more and more amusing, FantaSea’s extravaganza is a highly entertaining and riveting show that deserves to be top of our Top Ten Must See and Do in Phuket list
There are many viewpoints looking out over east and west Phuket affording sunrise as well as sunset views. Ok, so everyone goes to Promthep but it doesn’t make it any less spectacular. There, you’ll get fabulous views over the ocean stretching as far as Phi Phi Island on a good day. Check out Phuket’s other viewpoints such as the ‘Three Beaches’ hilltop venue on the road between Nai Harn and Kata or sip a cocktail at the After Beach Bar (also on the same road) while the golden ball slips into the western horizon
Thai Boxing (Muay Thai)
Rapidly gaining popularity all over the world, Muay Thai is an electrifying spectacle to watch. Visit Saphan Hin Stadium in Phuket City to see regular matches with well-trained martial arts experts. Or try Patong Beach, where you can also see the skill and dexterity of these super-fit fighters. Tradition and courtesy are at the heart of this dangerous contact sport and a good Muay Thai participant is ultra-disciplined in spirit as well as body. Join the spectators and feel the rush. to see regular matches with well-trained martial arts experts.
Bangla Road Nightlife
There are few things in this world to prepare you for an after-dark stroll down Patong’s Bangla Road. However, a sense of humor and an open mind are prerequisites if you’re looking to have some fun. In fact, there’s only one undeniable and obvious fact about Bangla – it’s nothing like home. With its Ladyboys, exotic girls, enchanted westerners (mostly male) and enough extraverts to fill a Disney cast of thousands, shopping or sipping on a beer at Bangla Road at night is a definite ‘Dear Diary’ moment.
Old Phuket Town
Sino-Portuguese splendors and funky shops in the most unlikely places will surprise and delight you in the heart of Phuket’s sleepy provincial capital. Phuket town offers much more than you think with some excellent restaurants and local sights. The unique blend of colonial and Chinese architecture along with a tangible quaintness makes for a fascinating and unforgettable afternoon spent sauntering around Phuket’s Old Town. Expect the unexpected and don’t forget your cameraBack to top