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Amazing Phuket: 10 Ways to Explore the Island
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Amazing Phuket: 10 Ways to Explore the Island

You can surely spend time on the beaches of the biggest Thai island but instead you can enjoy adventures, culture, sport and the many other sights that make Phuket such an interesting destination.

Come and See the Big Buddha

There are more than a thousand Buddhas in Thailand. Each region has its own unique, sacred, and revered statue. In Phuket, this is the Big Buddha, which is worshiped by locals and is a great walking destination for tourists. This snow-white alabastar 45-meter tall Buddha visible from almost all Phuket  is sitting at the top of the Nakkerd Hill. The statue was erected not so long ago: in remembrance of the King Bhumibol Adulyadej who passed away in 2016.

We recommend to start climbing to the top of the hill on the path starting from Karon Beach. The way won’t be easy, you will need to hold the ropes in some areas, but the goal is worth it! Of course, you can easily reach the destination by tuk-tuk or taxi within few minutes, but when you get to the top on food you will be at least proud of yourself. The main bonus is that you will see the whole beauty of the island, get the monk’s blessing and a string on your wrist for good luck. It is best to go see the statue in the early morning. Do not forget water!

Useful information: the road to the Big Buddha is full of cafes offering great views and elephant nurseries, where you will have every chance to make an unforgettable selfie.

The main bonus is that you will see the whole beauty of the island, get the monk’s blessing and a string on your wrist for good luck

Big Buddha view point Phuket

Big Buddha view point Phuket

Visit the Elephants

If to speak about elephants, they are treated with respect in this country. (переклад вище) After 60 years of wor, elephants retire with a monthly allowance of 5,000 baht. Of course, you can feed the animals in the nursery and even go to the show where the elephants draw pictures, but we highly recommend you visit Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, or, in simple words, elephants’ nursing home. Here they don’t ride them. This is the place where retired animals rest after the years of hard work. You will learn far more about elephants, watch how they communicate, bathe, and play. And after that, you may never want to ride these beautiful animals. Moreover, the “boarding house” occupies 122 hectares of great jungle so you will have a chance to walk as well.

Useful information: the Sanctuary offers a morning and a longer afternoon program, where you will have breakfast, lunch and dinner and you will have the opportunity to treat pensioners with pineapples and bananas.

 Elephants are highly respected here. After 60 years of wor, elephants retire with a monthly allowance of 5,000 baht

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

After 60 years of wor, elephants retire

After 60 years of wor, elephants retire

Enjoy Waterfalls and the Jungle

The mountainous Phuket is just made for impressive waterfalls. Have a walk in the afternoon when it’s not so hot. Be ready to swim side by side with the locals who come here to refresh and have a small picnic. Do not miss Kathu Waterfall. Kathu Waterfall is the most picturesque but is quite small. At least it is just near Patong Beach with its tourist attractions. The water here does not fall from a height but flows down the terrace steps so on a hot day you will find it pleasant to refresh in a stone bowl as if specially created for baths.

Kathu waterfall

Kathu waterfall

Bangpae waterfall, the largest and most beautiful in Phuket, is 15 meters high.  It is hard to imagine a better place for relaxation.

The jungles around Ton Sai waterfall are full of tropical birds and tourists rarely drop in here. So if you like birdwatching alone, this is the place for you. Moreover, there are two walking paths in the nearby jungles that are worth exploring. The forest here is extremely photogenic.

Useful information: If you plan to go to the Kathu Waterfalls, don’t miss a chance to visit the Palazzo restaurant and a pool to practice wakeboarding. Of course, if you are fond of this sport. While walking around Bangpe, you can drop in the elephant and gibbons nursery.

Bangpae waterfall, the largest and most beautiful in Phuket, is 15 meters high.  It is hard to imagine a better place for relaxation

Ton Sai waterfall

Ton Sai waterfall

Taste Thailand

While staying on Phuket, you have all chances to dive into a culinary adventure. You will not only try all Thai delights but also cook them! Moreover, it is much more pleasant to spend your bahts on something new and more useful than on souvenirs that only overweight your luggage.

Culinary schools usually combine an interesting visit to a food market with the cooking of popular Thai dishes, such as rice and mango dessert, all types and varieties of curry, and seafood delicacies.

There are several popular culinary schools in Phuket but we would like to recommend Kata Thai Cooking Class and Phuket Thai Cookery School. The first is right on the Kata beach. One class here takes about four hours when you will not just learn to understand Thai fruits and cook four dishes but will also try what you cooked.  The second school is located in Koh Siray. A class here also includes a visit to the market, cooking, a nosh-up. You will also get the recipes as a souvenir.

Useful information: A cooking class is the best souvenir you can bring home from Thailand. Just don’t eat anything before visiting the class!

Culinary schools usually combine an interesting visit to a food market with the cooking of popular Thai dishes

Thai cooking

Thai cooking

Dive into a culinary adventure

Dive into a culinary adventure

Learn Some of Thai Boxing

Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is incredibly popular in Thailand. Unlike in usual boxing, not only fists but also knees, elbows, and lower legs are used here. The sport is effective, energetic, and elegant. Of course, you can just visit one of the matches at Bangla Stadium, which will be a great alternative to the trivial bar party. But even more interesting will be to learn the basics of this art and take a couple of lessons. There are lots of boxing clubs on Phuket and all of them provide group and individual lessons. The best are Tiger Muay Thai, Sinbi Muay Thai, and Sumalee Boxing Gym. Useful information: Thai boxing schools also offer fitness classes, intensive weight loss programs, yoga classes, and healthy food restaurants. In Sinbs, among other things, you will find the largest Thai boxing accessories shop on the island and a huge open-air gym. As for Sumalee, there are long jogging tracks.

Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is incredibly popular in Thailand. Unlike in usual boxing, not only fists but also knees, elbows, and lower legs are used here.

Learn Some of Thai Boxing

Learn Some of Thai Boxing

Muay Thai is incredibly popular

Muay Thai is incredibly popular

Learn Surfing

Surfers discovered Phuket not so long ago. Waves here are not as hight as in Bali or in Australia, so Phuket will be a very comfortable place to start learning this fascinating sport. West coast is the best for surfing. We recommend the beginners to start at Kata Beach, where you will find excellent coaches and can rent everything you need to feel like an experienced surfer. The local surfing school even has artificial waves for the beginners that are created by a special device. But remember that this is the most popular place among surfers in Phuket, so it’s always crowded. If you don’t like the crowds, head to Kamala or Patong beaches.

Useful information: If you are good in mountain skiing, it will be easier for you to learn how to catch the wave. It will be enough to have a 2-hour class for the first time. Balancing on the board is a rather tiresome task.

We recommend the beginners to start at Kata Beach, where you will find excellent coaches and can rent everything you need to feel like an experienced surfer

Learn Surfing

Learn Surfing

Catch the Tail Wind

If you are brave, look for adventure, and want to try something special, try yourself in kitesurfing. You will really be full of emotions and adrenaline. Phuket has everything to be a popular location for kitesurfing mostly due to steady breeze available throughout the year.  Beginners will find the waters of the island ideal. Just choose the school. You take classes at Kite School Phuket or KiteZone Phuket located on Nayang Beach and the Chalong Bay. Have in mind that Thai kite-schools migrate after the wind, so they have several locations. For example, from November to April, the Kite School accepts students in the Chalong Bay, and from May to October – at Nayang Beach (near the airport). Here there is a big bay with good waves and two reefs. You can take a long-term course but we recommend to start with an introductory lesson.

Useful information: If you are an experienced kitesurfer, we can recommend exploring other cool places for kitesurfing in Thailand, such as Hua Hin and Samui. 

 Thai kite-schools migrate after the wind, so they have several locations

Try yourself in kitesurfing

Try yourself in kitesurfing

Phuket is a popular location for kitesurfing

Phuket is a popular location for kitesurfing

Go Diving

Phuket is one of the most popular diving sites in the world so you should spend at least one day admiring its underwater landscapes. The whole island is just perfect for getting the PADI certificate (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). So if you are ready, go ahead. Your first discovery may be Phi Phi island where you can take a day trip to.  The main sight here is the foundered King Cruiser ferry. Not to mention that the shipwreck site is located just next to the colourful Anemone Reef. In a few years the ferry itself turned into an artificial reef where neon fish like to settle. Another place not to be missed is the Shark Point. The name itself tells why it is so popular: these waters were chosen by leopard sharks, which are not dangerous to humans. Uninhabited Racha islands with clear glass water seem to be specially created for diving lovers. We can say the same about Khai Nok and Khai Nai islands swarming of colourful fish. In our opinion, this will be one of the most interesting tours. First, you can feed the fish here. Secondly, dolphins can often be seen in the coastal waters.

Useful information: Koh Dok Mai is an ideal place for night diving. Ready to dive? Push the boat out for a waterproof camera to take a video.

Phuket is one of the most popular diving sites in the world and is just perfect for getting the PADI certificate

Go Diving

Go Diving

The island is perfect for getting the PADI

The island is perfect for getting the PADI

Take a Cruise

Phuket is surrounded by plenty of small and picturesque islands. To reach some of them takes less than an hour. Others are farther. In any case, it is easy to get there – just rent a boat or a yacht. Love picturesque, recognizable, and cinematic views? Be sure to have James Bond Island on your itinerary. In fact, its original name is Khao Ping Kan but the new name is so popular now that nobody even remembers the true one. Of course! After all, “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed here, and there are so many sites for selfies around. Love to watch the underwater life? Go to the twin islands of Koh Rok Nai and Koh Rok Nok, where the Clownfish reef looks just like the one in the cartoon about Nemo fish.

Useful information: Feel more of Thailand stopping on Koh Panyee Island with its picturesque “floating village”. The village has very interesting history and even more exciting architecture: all the buildings here, including restaurants, are on numerous piles.

Go to the twin islands of Koh Rok Nai and Koh Rok Nok, where the Clownfish reef looks just like the one in the cartoon about Nemo fish

Take a Cruise

Take a Cruise

Phuket is surrounded by plenty of picturesque islands

Phuket is surrounded by plenty of picturesque islands

Explore Phuket by Bicycle

A bicycle journey may help you see familiar places from another angle. Not to mention the area you can cover. If you have already explored the “resort jungle” of Phuket, leave the tourist routes. Go, for example, to the quiet Koh Yao Noi island and feel like you appeared in the past century. People still earn their living here by fishing and growing rice. You will have the opportunity to watch the life of the islanders and enjoy the diversity of nature. Special cycle paths twine through the markets, rice fields, forests, ponds, and beaches. For example, Ao Kian, is part of the Phang Nga Bay National Park, so there are few people and more than enough recreational opportunities: snorkeling, boat trips, jungle trips, fishing, and spelunking. Tha Khao beach is interesting because at low tide you can reach the neighboring island of Koh Nok on foot.

Useful information: A scooter or a motorcycle trip around Phuket will be no less interesting. Must-see: The Old Town, European and Chinese mansions of the early twentieth century, the post office, a spice shop, and waterfalls.

Special cycle paths twine through the markets, rice fields, forests, ponds, and beaches

Explore Phuket by Bicycle

Explore Phuket by Bicycle

Quiet Koh Yao Noi island

Quiet Koh Yao Noi island

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