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PHUKET ATTRACTIONS

Phuket Interesting Places

Thailand’s tropical island paradise, Phuket draws large crowds into South East Asia with its alluring combination of breathtaking natural beauty, inspiring temples, renowned hospitality, mouth-watering cuisine and ruins of mysterious ancient kingdoms.



Phuket is home to more than 20 scenic white-sand beaches, clear sea waters, jungles with whispering waterfalls cascading into rock pools, coral reefs rich in marine life as well as dozens of inviting islands waiting to be explored. All these have made Phuket a popular water sports destination where adventurers can indulge in scuba diving, yachting, waterskiing, windsurfing, jet-skiing and parasailing.

The island’s excellent weather patterns and mesmerising landscape are the main reasons why many movie directors have used its magical shores to shoot their blockbuster films. Phang Nga Bay, situated to the north-east of Phuket, was the preferred filming location for two James Bond stories.

Apart from its stunning beaches, Phuket boasts paddy fields, rubber plantations and orchid farms carpeting the countryside. The city streets are dotted with quaint shops, colourful department stores, a few flea markets and even Sino-Portuguese shop-houses, remnants of the island’s heritage. Phuket bubbles with exciting activity, ranging from horse-riding, jungle-walking, dancing, elephant-trekking to playing golf. Several deluxe Phuket hotels offer ‘in-house’ entertainment options, including the above as well as their own gymnasiums and saunas. Enjoying Phuket is not only for the rich and famous, but for everyone. Phuket invites the world to experience the delight of a holiday in the paradise of South East Asia.


Beach


Patong Beach

Patong has suffered from a lot of negative publicity in recent years for being over-developed and its hedonistic party scene. However, the majority of visitors to Phuket still choose to spend their time in Patong and for good reason. Patong has much to offer and despite its reputation for naughty nightlife, Patong is also very popular with families.

Patong Beach is the most popular beach in Phuket. Patong Beach is almost 3 km
long and has a beautiful white sand and crystal clear water to swim in. Patong Beach it
self is in a oval formation set in the middle of two green mountains.


Patong is the most famous - some would say infamous - beach resort on Phuket. With its wide variety of activities and nightlife, Patong is an ideal place to party and play.

Visitors hoping for a glimpse into the exotic East will likely not find it here among the McDonald's, KFC, Boots and Starbucks outlets, though the steaming hot streets, neon lights and chaotic atmosphere of Patong can be overwhelming for the new arrival. The key to full enjoyment of the place is to pace yourself, drink lots of water and learn the meaning of 'mai pen rai' - which translates roughly to 'It doesn't matter' or 'Don't worry, be happy'.

By day, Patong's curved sandy bay is a hive of activity with parasail and jet-ski operators, boat drivers, beach vendors and masseuses all vying for the attention of the many visitors relaxing on the beach chairs.

Those looking for more to do than sunbathe can try their hand at diving, sailing, elephant-trekking, ATV-riding, Harley Davidson tours, sea canoeing, bungy jumping, water-skiing and more, all of which can be arranged at the many tour desks set up around town and in the hotels. And those needing some pampering can indulge themselves with a relaxing massage, spa or beauty treatment.

Activities on the beach include Thai traditional massage, parasailing, water jets and sailing. Take a longtail boat tour to Freedom Beach and enjoy the snorkelling. The longtail boats depart from the south side of Patong Beach.

There are all types of accommodations available in Patong all from cheap guesthouses to 5 star hotels. The number of hotels and rooms are growing rapidly so does the city Patong.

The nightlife is what most people think about when they think about Patong you can find any thing here you can be sure on that their will always be some place that suites you and your evening, nightlife interests.



Kamala Beach

Kamala Beach, Puket is a Muslim fishing village north of Patong. Tourist development on the beach much of which is covered by a Muslim graveyard and a police outpost has been slow in coming.Buffalo herds still come down to the beach to cool off in the afternoon. The beach is beautiful and about 2 kms. in length. There are accommodation ranging from guesthouse to international class, and a number of small Thai restaurants specializing in seafood for the tourist. Kamala is the perfect place to get away from it all and has a little to offer in the way of entertainment for that go across the mountains to Patong. Regular bus service to and from Phuket Town during daytime; tuk-tuk service available to Patong, 5kms. away on the new road.

This well-enclosed bay and fishing village surrounded by forested hills is one of the
most beautiful beaches in Phuket.

Tranquil and calm, the pretty white sands of Kamala beckon most people by day, but if you're seeking more than sunbathing on a perfect beach, there are other options. Hire a long-tail boat and go snorkeling at the north end of the beach, explore the neighbouring beaches of Laem Sing or Surin, or take an island tour.



Karon Beach

Karon, featuring an incredibly long stretch of squeaky white sand, is less hectic than Patong but it still offers a full range of facilities, dining and activities. While it's a fast-growing area, Karon is nicely spread out and rarely feels crowded.

At 4km, Karon is one of Phuket's longest beaches. Although there are a few large resorts and hotels, they are spread out and the area feels very relaxed. As in Patong, the hotels are separated from the beach by a road. However, unlike Patong, the beach is always fairly quiet. The beach itself is quite exposed, with little or no natural shade. The sand is so fine and powdery that it squeaks when you walk on it.

Karon is concentrated around three main areas. In the Karon Plaza area on the south end there a number of budget guesthouses, restaurants and bars. The side sois are worth exploring, particularly the one that leads to a small art community, where some budding Thai painters have built a complex of huts, pubs and art galleries in which they live and work. Nearby, on the beach road leading to Kata, is the newly opened football stadium, which hosts both local and international sporting events.


The sprawling grounds of Thavorn Palm Beach Resort and the Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa dominate much of the central part of Karon, then just north of these is Aroona Plaza. Aroona, which opened a few years ago, houses a range of nice handicraft shops, good restaurants and cafes, a few bars and a hotel modeled after the Sino-Portuguese architecture of Old Phuket. The nice, wide avenue is ideal for taking an evening stroll and doing some shopping.

The north end features the Karon Circle, which has sculptures of workers commemorating Phuket's tin-mining and agricultural past. The busy Patak East Rd leading back from the circle is a jumble of bars, restaurants, all kinds of shops and small hotels. While Karon's nightlife is more subdued than Patong, the bars along this road can get lively and loud in the evenings. Just north of the circle is a small lake, around which a public park and outdoor theatre are being developed.

Unlike Patong Beach, big-name restaurants and fast food chains have yet to arrive in Karon, but it is by no means lacking in dining options. The restaurants of the larger resorts offer gorgeous settings and fine food, while the streets are clogged with a range of seafood, Thai and Western restaurants. For a spectacular sunset view, drive just a few minutes' north of the beach and stop in at one of the cliffside restaurants up the hill.



Kata Beach

The pleasant bay of Kata, just a few minutes south of Karon Beach, entices many with its white sands and clear waters.

The monsoon season of May-October can make for rough swimming conditions, but it's this time of year that the surfers come out. The south end of the beach is the best place to watch, or join in on, the surfing action. Rentals are available for those who leave their boards at home.

Late in the year as the waters turn calm, Kata bay becomes populated with beautiful
yachts, which arrive from all over the region to compete in December's King's Cup
Regatta, Asia's premier sailing event.

While Club Med takes up most of the beachfront, a shaded footpath along the road fronting the resort makes for a pleasant stroll. Continuing on through the village, walkers will find an abundance of shops to browse in, from souvenir and ready-to-wear outlets, to 7-11 and local mini-marts, to name brand fashion stores. There are also plenty of dive shops and tour operators to assist those looking to explore beyond the beach..

Steak and seafood seem to be the most common offerings of Kata's many restaurants. Most roadside restaurants display their selection of lobsters, tiger prawns and plump fish right in front of their shop for all to see - and for diners to handpick. There's no shortage of Thai restaurants, and for international fare there's Scandinavian, Tex-Mex, Indian and Italian places to choose from, just to name a few.

Among the hotels and bungalows available in Kata, Mom Tri's Boathouse boutique resort offers the most elegant option, not to mention an award-winning wine cellar at its restaurant.


Rawai Beach

Rawai Beach is 17 kms south of Phuket Town along Highway number 4024, site of a Chao Ley or Sea Gipsy village, a community of formerly nomadic fishing folk with their own language. Many of the young man have changed to land-based employment. Rawai Beach is a great place to dine tasty sea food at 1 of the many out door restaurants along the beach. Their are many shell handicraft shops and hand painted batik shops.

The waters are okay for swimming, snorkelling on the reefs off shore. Rawai Beach is
somewhat rocky and inferior to the cleaner beaches at Karon, Kata and Patong, but Rawai
Beach is safe to swim all year around since their is no riptides or undertows during the
monsoon season. Rawai beach is popular with Thai families and it is many foreign scuba enthusiasts.

Rawai is 7 km west of Chalong Circle. Along the beach road their are many restaurants serving good seafood to even better prices! This is a perfect place to spend a late afternoon having a dinner looking at all the movement on the beach. You sit under some trees so you have shadow and a light breeze from the Andanamen Sea.

...In the days before Phuket became a popular holiday destination, Rawai Beach was where locals from Phuket Town would come to enjoy the seaside. These days, the beach itself is not that nice with many small boats anchored off the shore, although it is safe to swim all year round due to its position facing Phang Nga Bay.

On the other side of the cape from Nai Harn beach is Rawai Beach, a very casual place with only a few bungalow operations, restaurants and smaller resorts along the main beach.

Rather than a place to sunbathe and swim, Rawai is a launching point for island excursions. Many longtail boats available for hire line its shores, where you can arrange a trip to Coral Island, Koh Lone or Racha Island,or a fishing or snorkel trip.

Rawai was once a popular spot for beachfront dining, but all the open-air restaurants have now been cleared away. Some are still open, but they are set back opposite the road that lines the beach - so it's more difficult to enjoy the view. Nikita's restaurant and bar still remains on the beach, tucked into one corner. Good place for a cool drink in the afternoon or evening.

Just west of Rawai is Promthep Cape (Laem Promthep) a small peninsula that provides a great sunset viewpoint over the ocean beyond. Great views over the whole area can be seen from The Mangosteen Resort, located in an elevated area above Rawai.


Bang Tao Bay

Bangtao Beach, Phuket 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. Dry season swimming is excellent, and at the bay's north end is a smaller bay, almost completely enclosed, at the mouth of which is some fine coral. Plenty of places to eat, tour companies, and other tourist facilities available either at Laguna or in the nearby town of Cherng Talay.

Bang Tao is a study in contrasts, with the luxurious resorts and villas along its
8-kilometre stretch of beach just a few minutes' away from the town of Cherng Talay,
where many villagers still make their living as their ancestors did - by fishing, farming and rubber tapping. The northern tip of the beach, so far untouched by development, is still an area where visitors might find that they have the beach to themselves.

A wide range of activities - including a ropes course and rock climbing, windsurfing, elephant riding and kids' sports - is available for guests of Laguna's Sheraton Grande, Dusit Laguna, Laguna Beach, Allamanda and Banyan Tree Phuket resorts, and some are open to outside visitors as well. Play a round of golf at the Laguna Phuket course, practise your swing on the driving range nearby or go horseback riding along the beach. Afterwards, indulge in a massage and spa treatment at the world renowned Banyan Tree spa or at other retreats nearby.

Some of the island's best finds for antiques and other treasures can be found at Laguna's Canal Village and in the rows of shops just outside the Laguna entrance. The open-air village markets are also worth visiting, if only to take in the sights and sounds of a typical Thai bazaar. While there are many fine dining options within Laguna's resorts, a decent range of bars and restaurants have also sprung up down the road in recent years to cater to the increasing number of visitors to the area.


Other Interesting Places


Phuket Town
Old buildings of Sino- Portuguese or Chinese architecture dominate Phuket town. Build by the Chinese merchants during the tin mine booms of the 19th century this town has old charms and lots of history that dates back way before the early Chinese and Portuguese traders entered Phuket. Some of these structures are privately owned and off limits to visitors. However a number of the old buildings are open to visitors including old public places such as the Provincial Hall, Phuket Courthouse, and the Nakhon Luang Thai Bank building.


 Phuket Aquarium
Phuket's main aquarium has recently undergone an extensive renovation which took about two and a half years. One of the highlights of the new aquarium is a 10 metre long underwater glass tunnel.

The aquarium is quite small and you'd be hard pressed to spend more than an hour there, though you get your monies worth as the entrance fees are very low. Nevertheless, its well laid out and the labels and information are in English as well as Thai. If you are interested in diving, a trip to the aquarium will provide a good introductory course to the marine life found in the waters around Phuket.

As Thailand's major marine biological research station, the centre conducts research on tropical reef ecosystems, commercial fisheries, and other projects. The centre also hatches and breeds species of endangered sea turtles in order release them back into the sea.

Opening hours:
08.30 am - 04.00 pm

Admission fee:
Adults: 100 Baht
Children: 50 Baht


 Phuket's Sea Gypsies
 
The Mokkens or Chao Leh, (sea-gypsies) to this day lives along the coastal areas in the village of Rawai and Sapam. They are said to be among the earliest permanent residents of Phuket. An annual event called the Boat Floating festival takes place during the middle of the sixth and eleventh lunar months yearly. This event sole purpose is to chase away evil and bring good fortune to the sea-gypsies. The sea-gypsies of Rawai and Sapam hold their ceremonies on the 13th day. The ceremony takes place at night and is highlighted with the setting adrift of small boats, similar to the Thai festival of Loi Krathong.


 Thalang National Museum  
Built in a southern architectural style, Phuket's national museum possesses and display ancient artifacts from Phucket's long history as well, display details of the famous Battle of Thalang. It also holds a considerable amount of information about daily life of the early Phuket inhabitants, their culture and belief. Located just east of the two Heroines Monument on Pa Khlok Rd. Open daily from 9.00am till 4.00pm. Close on national holidays.

Opening hours:

09.00 am - 04.00 pm


 Wat Phra Nang Sang   
The temple enshrines a most respected and valued Buddha image called Phra Thong or the golden Buddha, the only solid gold half image Buddha in Thailand. The Buddha image was covered over with plaster after invading Burmese troops unsuccessfully tried to dig it up. There is also a museum on the temple ground, which exhibits a collection of historical objects. Wat Phra Thong is just passed Talang off Thepkasatri road. Proper clothing must be worn when visiting Wat or temples, no short shorts, no reviling clothing and remember to remove your shoes before entering.


 Khao Phra National Park
The National park is actually Phuket's virgin rain forest, which is positioned in the northern part of the island. It sustains an amazing variety of plants birds and animals. Take pleasure in a leisurely walk in the park, as an 8-kilometer trek from Bang Pai goes all the way through to Ton Sai or visit Tonsai waterfall.

Guides are readily available in the park to escort upon request. A small museum and information center are situated close to the waterfall. This is a great opportunity for nature lovers and those wishing to experience the forest and all its beauty. Opening hours are from 6.00am till 6.00pm Take note: Close shoe is highly recommended when visiting the national park, do not wear sandals or open shoes.

Opening hours:
06.00 am - 06.00 pm

Admission:
THB 200.00

 
   


       
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