Travel Phuket

Tourist information for Phuket, Thailand

Sights

Travel Phuket

There is so much to see and do in Phuket, the challenge is to find sufficient time to fit everything in. But because the island is relatively small (measuring only 210 m² or 544 km²), with good planning, tourists can experience the very best "the pearl of the Adaman" has to offer.

There are top quality hotels and resorts throughout Phuket, so you can base yourself in one spot, or plan your island adventure so that you spend time in various different locations. There are lots of different transportation options, from hiring a car or motor cycle, to catching taxis or buses. Alternatively you can hook up with tour operators who will take you wherever you want to go.

Here is just a tiny taste of what you can expect to find.

Beaches

Phuket is blessed with some of the most beautiful palm-fringed beaches in the world. You'll find the very best of them on the west coast, where the sand is beautifully white and fine. Some are very popular – and therefore more populated in tourist season – while others are incredibly quiet.

Your choice of beach will also be determined by what you want to do. For instance if you want to walk and watch birds of the feathered-kind, then Layan Beach to the north is a great place to go. If you want to swim and/or snorkel, there are several options, although Kalim Beach to the north of the popular Patong Beach is a favorite. Patong Beach, along with Bang Tao and Karon Beaches are people places where you will rub shoulders with other tourists for sure. If you're looking for a hideaway, there are several, some of which are rarely advertised. One gorgeous little beach is just 5 miles or 3 km to the south of Patong Beach; it's just 150 m long and it's called Paradise Beach.

National Parks

It is not surprising, with its wealth of natural beauty, that Phuket should boast so many National Parks. There are a number of major parks and several smaller ones, all located in various parts of the island.

The Sirinat National Park in the north of the Phuket is the closest park to the airport. If you are a keen camper, Mai Khao Beach (which is within the park) is a great destination; and if you're there is spring, you might get a glimpse of endangered giant leatherback turtles, because this is one location where many of them they lay their eggs.

One of the most beautiful national parks is Khao Phra Thaeo, which is a protected rain forest offering the opportunity for sublime hikes.

The Khao Sok National Park, with its glorious forests, tropical plants and unusual animals, is no less beautiful. You might want to consider joining an eco-tour to get close-up with nature.

Islands

The island of Phuket is literally surrounded by a host of other islands, many of which boast the most incredible coral reefs. Some of these islands are inhabited, others are not, but hundreds are accessible by small boats of various types.

When you get to Phuket, you will notice that there are essentially two different types of island, each of which has its own appeal. Surin and Similian Islands, for example, are low, flat granite intrusions, while many of the others, including the Koh Phi Phi group of islands, are formed from limestone, and are much more dramatic in appearance.

Options for exploring the islands range from a thrilling speedboat trip to a romantic evening cruise. If it's diving, snorkeling or swimming you want to do, then you'll want to choose your island destination carefully.

The largest islands include:

  • Naka Yai, off the north-east coast,
  • Lone Island, in Chalong Bay on the south-east coast,
  • Coral or Hae Island, to the south of Phuket
  • Racha Yai Island, which is even further south than Coral Island.

Buildings and Architecture

The architecture in Phuket is fascinating since it shows the influences of different nations, including the Chinese who mined tin there during the 18th century, and the Portuguese who came later. The most famous type of architecture is reflected in the Sino-Portuguese buildings which reflect a combination of Chinese and Portuguese input during the tin boom of the 19th century. You'll find many examples of these buildings in old parts of Phuket Town, the province's capital city. But also look out for the many shrines and temples (both Chinese and Buddhist).

There are 29 Buddhist temples on the island, the most important of which is Wat Chalong, which is dedicated to Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, two monks who used their deep knowledge and experience of herbal medicines to help injured tin miners who participated in the rebellion on the island in 1876.

There is also a fascinating monastery – Samnak Song Nai Han – which dominates the most southern beach, Nai Harn.

And that is just the beginning ...