Phuket (75,000 citizens) is a coastal city in southern Thailand. It's a characteristic town, in the architecture you can see the influences of the Portuguese. On the other hand, Phuket is traditional largely populated by Chinese. This can also be seen when you walk through the city, where there are many traditional Chinese shrines. In addition Phuket is renowned for its culinary food, with dishes which are primarily fish and sea life oriented. Of course there are many sights and tourist attractions in Phuket. In Amphoe Thalang is the Two Heroines Monument and not far away is the Thalang National Museum.
Phuket also has beautiful beaches and coves such as Patong, Karon and Kata. These three areas are packed with hotels, restaurants and shops. The nightlife is most active in Patong and least active in Kata.
Sights and Tourist Attractions
Two heroines Monument
Location: 7.5mi from city center - 15 minutes drive | Category: Cultue and History
The Two heroines Monument was built in honor of the heroines Thao Sri Sunthon and Thao Thep Kasattri and in memory of the resistance of the local population against the invasion of the Burmese in 1785. At that time when the the governor of the island died, his widow (Thao Thep Kasattri) and her sister organized the resistance and gathered all the women. These women were dressed as male soldiers, which made the army of Phuket appear many times larger than it actually was. After months of attacks the Burmese army give up and retreated.
Thalang National Museum
Location: 7.5mi from city center - 15 minutes drive | Price: 100THB | Category: Culture and History
In the Thalang National Museum you can see a permanent collection of ancient artifacts, relics found on the beach and materials that were used in the war against Burma. There are rooms designed to provide information and give an impression on different ethnic groups living in the region, such as the sea gypsies. This gives a good view on how life must have been in Phuket.
Location: 7.5mi from city center - 20 minutes drive | Price: 100THB | Category: Nature
The Phuket Aquarium was reopened in 2005 after a renovation of over 2.5 years. It is part of the Phuket Marine Biological Center. This center conducts research on marine life and its protection. In the aquarium are many basins where all kinds of marine life can be seen. It is also possible to walk through a tunnel of glass. This way you get the feeling like you are really standing between the fish.
Location: 100mi from Centre – 2½ hours drive | Price: THB 200 | Category: Nature
Khao Sok is a park of over 115,000 acres. This park is situated in the south of Thailand near Surat Thani. Most of this park is covered bythe oldest rainforest in the world. Khao Sok has a diverse wildlife and it's possible to encounter (amongst others) Tigers, elephants and bears. The chance of this encounter is relatively small as they are very cautious and are most active at night.
Location: 0.5mi from Centre – 5 minutes drive | Price: 1,900 THB | Category: Culture, Food & Entertainment
Phuket Fantasea is a themepark. The park is divided into three areas: Festival Village, Palace of the Elephants and Golden Kinnaree Restaurant. Upon entering the park starts at Festival Village. This "village" is in traditional Thai style and consists of Thai art and handicrafts shops where you can buy their products. The Palace of the Elephants is the theatre of the park. Here a spectacular traditional daily show is staged in the Sukhothai-style. In this show you can see beautiful special effects with a crew of 500 men and about 30 elephants. The Golden Kinnaree restaurant is a buffet restaurant where you can dine before the show. You can enjoy a lot of different tasty traditional Thai dishes here.
Location: 5.5mi from City Centre - 15 minutes drive | Category: culture, history and Religion
The Chalong Temple is the largest Buddhist temple complex of Phuket. In the great Pagoda on the grounds is a splinter of the bone of Buddha. The walls are painted with the story of Buddha and there are different displays of Buddha. In general the temperature inside is somewhat coooler than outside which makes it a pleasant place to visit. There is also an exhibit room with statues of wax of famous and important persons.
Phra Thong Temple
Location: 13mi from Center - a 25 minute drive | Category: culture and Religion
The Phra Thong Temple is the oldest temple on the island. In this temple there is a Golden Buddha statue. According to the myth a Buddha statue arrised out of the ground. Only the Golden tip of this statue came above ground. Because people were afraid this gold would be stolen, they put a statue of Buddha (shoulders and head) on it. That is the statue which you can see now.
Phuket Big Buddha
Location: 5.5mi from City Centre - 15 minutes drive | Category: culture and Religion
The Phuket Big Buddha statue is located in the area called Nakkerd Hills. On the top of 1150ft high Nakkerd Hill stands the Buddha statue. The statue itself is 150ft high. From this location you have a beautiful panoramic view over all of Phuket. On one side you have a view over the sea and several seaside resorts, on the other side you look out over the nature reserve and see Phuket in the distance. This is an ideal location to see how green Phuket and how beautiful the surrounding sea is.
Ao Phang Nga
Category: Nature and Sea & Beach
Ao Phang Nga is a marine park in the Andaman Sea between Phuket and southern Thailand. This park consists of about 40 Islands and has a total area of 100,000 acres, of which 80% sea. The most famous island in this group is probably Koh Tapu. This island was used for the film "The man with The golden gun". In this region drawings on the wall and attributes were found, which in some cases are over 10,000 years old. Off course there are beautiful beaches in this area. The mangroves are used by the locals as waterways. These mangroves are the largest in Thailand. Not surprisingly there is an awful lot of exotic wild life here.
Phuket is ideal for the so-called sun, sea and beach holidays. In Phuket and surroundings are several beaches worth visiting. The beaches at Kata, Karon and Patong are crowded. At these beaches are also plenty of hotels and activities.
On the beaches of Phuket are a lot of possibilities for watersports. You can jetskis on almost each beach.
In some cases scammers calculate unfair damages and you will be forced to pay for repairs. In many places you also can book cruises, kayaking trips and seafishing excursions.
In the Andaman Sea you can snorkel perfectly all year. The water temperature is very pleasant and the sea is crystal clear. Marine life near the coastline is also quite diverse. Especially in the period november-april the sea the is at its calmest and most suitable for snorkeling.
In the period may-October the currents can be very strong and soemtimes dangerous.
Phuket is according to many in the top 10 of the best dive locations in the world. The Andaman Sea is one of the clearest in the world. In combination with the many beautiful locations it makes it the ideal destination for diving holidays. Daily diving excursions leave from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi. Also for the novice diver this location is perfect. There are several locations where you can take diving lessons, even with children.
Op Phuket are many golfcourses. You can play golf in the beautiful nature of Phuket. There are golfcourses that lie in a forrest area or courses with stunning views on the Andaman Sea. Most golfcourses on Phuket are perfectly maintained. For a small fee you can hire a caddy who knows the golfcourses at heart.
In Phuket are different locations where it's possible to take cooking courses. These courses can be one day or even up to seven days. During these days chefs will teach you the secrets of Thai cuisine. In many cases you will be cooking with local ingredients. The chefs will inform you what products you can use to replace the local products at home in case these are not available.
Entertainment and Nightlife
The Phuket nightlife offers many possibilities to go out. Especially in Patong nightlife is very busy. In the towns of Kata Beach and Karon Beach nightlife is not so crowded and extensive as in Patong. These locations are particularly focussed on tourists. If you are interested in the night life of the local Thai then you can go to Phuket Town, where it's less crowded by tourists.
Dining in Phuket is ideal for lovers of seafood. On many locations on the island it's possible to dine for reasonable prices. It's a good place for the fish lovers, vegetarians or those who love meat. The types of kitchen range from Western to Asian and everything in between.
How to get there
You get to Phuket on various ways.
From Bangkok it will take 12-14 hours by bus to reach Phuket. These buses leave from the Southern bus station "Sai Tai Mai". There are several types of buslines. The prices are different per chosen company. The most popular options are the overnight trips, because of the comfort that these busses offer.
Travelling by car is perhaps the nicest way to get to Phuket. This way you can stop at many beautiful locations. It's recommended to bring a map or other type of navigation in case you get lost. If you travel by car it will take you approx. 12 hours (540mi) to get to Phuket.
You can also reach Phuket by train. Only it isn't possible to get all the way to Phuket by train. The train leaves from the Hua Lamphong railway station in Bangkok and after arriving at Surat Thani railway station you have to take the bus to Phuket. De nighttrain is more comfortable than the overnight bus.
Many international locations have a(n) (in)direct flight to Phuket (Phuket International Airport). In many cases there may be a transfer in Bangkok or other Asian cities. It's also possible to get to Phuket with domestic flights. There are daily flights to Phuket from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Koh Samui. There are several companies that offer the flights, such as; Air Asia, Nok Air and Thai Airways. A ticket from Bangkok costs approx. 1,500 THB for one way. A ticket from Chiang Mai cost approx 2,500 THB. From Koh Samui and Pattaya one way cost around 3,000 THB.
In Phuket are many locations to stay. The most famous and most visited are Patong, Karon and Kata Beach. At these locations are many hotels and resorts, from quite comfortable to extremely luxurious. Most locations are on the boulevards with direct access to the beach. Obviously, prices of guesthouses are much lower than hotels and resorts. For each budget it's possible to stay in Phuket. Phuket is not really focused on the low-budget traveler, so it will be harder to find cheap guesthouses here.