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Places to visit in Phuket

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Shiney, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. Shiney

    Shiney New Member

    We (my friends and I) and putting some plans together to go for a girly holiday abroad somewhere. One of the places we plan to consider is Phuket in Thailand.
    We want first to know what places to visit in Phuket and what it would have to offer for us, girls.

    We are an adventurous lot and are practically into anything and everything. We also love water sports.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Shiney! Welcome to the forum!

    Considered as the largest island in Thailand, Phuket is located in the southern part of the country, in the Andaman Sea. For the past few years, it has become the most popular island in the country and attracts throngs of tourists all over the world. Phuket has plenty of natural attractions like beaches, forests, smaller islands and some lagoons. It also has a number of manmade attractions like temples, monuments and parks. Here are some of the best rated attractions around Phuket:

    Places to Visit Around Phuket

    • Big Buddha - There are many statues of Buddha around Phuket but the one located in Nakkerd Hills is considered as the biggest one yet. It stands tall on a hillock, viewable from any part of southern Phuket. The statue was completed in 2011, but it still isn't fully complete as its base is under construction even until now. Uniquely enough, the statue was funded by donations and even you can be part of this. You can purchase a block of tile and your name would be written upon this. This will then be used as a part of the base of the statue. Visiting the statue doesn't require any charge though and make sure you get your camera ready from the amazing views of the city from it.
    • Wat Chalong - With its red sloping roofs, white facade with accents of gold, the Wat Chalong looks quite stunning whether in day light or night time. Inside the main temple, you can find various statues of Buddha gilded with gold. As you reach the upper floor, you can find the sacred area where a relic of the Buddha can be found. The main temple has three floors to explore, make sure that you pay attention to the walls with paintings depicting the life of Buddha.
    • Wat Suwan Khiri Khet - Relatively small yet this temple exudes serenity. It is located just close to the Karon Beach so you can combine a day trip for the two. Before you enter the temple, there are two Naga images guarding it across the stairs leading to it. Across the main temple, there's another building which houses a statue of a black Buddha. Outside the building, there are images of dragon-like beings, referred to as Yaksha in Buddhism. You might also spot monks around the temple, tending to the gardens or just taking care of the surrounding areas.
    • Wat Phra Thong - With such an interesting story behind it, the Wat Phra Thong attracts tourists from all over the country and the world. The temple is famous for its half-buried Buddha, which even after numerous attempts, cannot be dug up from the ground. And even those who tried and touched the statue, the first one being a local boy who tied his buffalo to the top portion of the Buddha, were cursed and even died. As such, the local monks just erected a temple around the statue and now, it has become a revered place for Buddhists. You can see the original image of the statue but you cannot touch it, there's a newer statue though that you can pay your respects to.
    Wat Phra Thong in Phuket
    • What Suwan Khiri Wong - This is also known as the Patong Temple. From the outside, the facade of the temple is very simple, with just sloping red roofs and golden accents. Its simplicity continues on the inside, with just a Buddha statue in the main hall. There are other buildings around the temple though, but they are mainly the monks' quarters and dining hall. The temple is a nice change of perspective, especially after exploring the busy scenes around Phuket. Its serenity haunts you, in a good way.
    • Wat Khao Rang - This temple is located on Khao Rang Hill, hence the name. It is famous for its golden sitting Buddha, which was the largest statue of Buddha for a while before the Big Buddha in Nakkerd Hills was completed. This temple is less crowded and even less touristy than Wat Chalong. The golden sitting Buddha is located above the monks' quarters and the other building is the one open for visitors. At the entrance of the temple, below its stairs, the mighty Nagas and Yaksha stand guard to the premises. Take a glimpse around the walls of the temple and you'd fine even more sculptures. The main hall is elegantly designed with numerous wall paintings of Buddhism, monks and even previous kings of Thailand.
    • Old Phuket Town - Once upon a time, the Thalang Road in Phuket became the hub of tin mining in the country. As such, traders all over the world came to this part of Thailand, most especially the Chinese merchants. Old Phuket, comprising only of Thalang Road at that time, soon expanded and gave rise to many more streets around like Ranong Road, Yaowarat Road and Krabi Road. This is the place where the Chinese merchants setup their homes and even built Chinese Buddhist temples. Thus, most of the structures here are reminiscent of the Sino-Portuguese architectural style. You can find various houses, shops, restaurants and all sorts of establishments here. But taking a stroll around the area takes you back to the bygone era.
    • Tsunami Memorial Park - The 2004 devastating tsunami disaster in Phuket had taken a lot of lives, especially around the surrounding areas of the city. The Tsunami Memorial Park in Kamala gives tribute to the lives lost, both locals and tourists alike. The memorial area is comprised of two walls, one of which has the names of all the lives lost during the tsunami, the other is shaped like a wave reaching the other wall.
    • Heroines Monument - While we know of most heroes to be men defending their country from intruders, there's Chan and Mook, the heroines of Thailand. These women led their people into defending their town, Phuket, from the Burmese invaders. They are respected well and was even given a monument in Thalang. Below the main monument, there is a small shrine with a mini statue of the two heroines where people pay their respects to.
    View Points
    • Phromthep Cape - This is perhaps the most popular view point in Phuket. Most tourists flock to the place just before the sun sets and the view point does give a great view of that. Make sure though that you reach the place early so you can find a secluded spot for you and your friends. The view point also has a rocky outcrop, which is easy to reach too, but can be dangerous if you have smaller children with you. Numerous food stalls and shops line the view point too in case you want to eat or do some shopping. The nearby lighthouse has an in-house museum housing maritime artefacts. The view of the nearby Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi are also quite stunning from here. And lastly, another must visit here is the shrine surrounded by carvings of different sizes of elephants.
    • Karon - Also known as the Three Beaches View Point, this is yet another popular view point in Phuket. From here, the nearby beaches of Kata, Kata Noi and Karon can be viewed. Even the Big Buddha of Nakkerd Hill can be viewed from here. The view of the beaches along with the surrounding greenery begs to be photographed, hence you can find both professional and amateur photographers here. Some food stalls line the view point along with some shaded gazebos.
    • Khao Rang Hill - Aside from being a view point, Khao Rang Hill has an assortment of cafes that provide some fulfilment for the tummies of the tourists. While the views here aren't as spectacular as the former view points, you can still enjoy the view of the city here. It's also not as crowded as the other view points and you might find locals hanging out here, instead of foreigners. This gives the view point a unique atmosphere and vibe, as it tends to be more serene and authentic than the former ones. Do try the Tunk Ka Cafe here, it's even older than the view point itself.
    • Windmill View Point - It's hard to miss this view point as there's a huge windmill that serves as your landmark below. The view point provides stunning views of both the Nai Harn Beach and the Yai Nui Beach. It is relatively less crowded too as compared to the first two view points. Plus, you can spot people enjoying paragliding along the beaches and even people flying their remote-controlled airplanes. This is actually a good view point for laid-back people or even families. There are not many food stalls here though so make sure that you bring your own food and beverages.
    • Kao Khad - Also referred to as Panwa Cape, this view point features a tower in which tourists can climb to enjoy the surrounding views. The amazing thing about this view point is that even Phi Phi Islands, about 50 kilometres away from Phuket, can be seen from here. The Chalong Bay and Kho Lon Island can also be easily seen from this view point. It does take a bit of a climb to reach the top but it's all worth it. Since Cape Panwa isn't as visited unlike the other cities in Phuket, the view point is also less crowded and more quiet.
    • Trick Eye Museum - Hilarious replications of cult classic paintings like the Mona Lisa and The Gleaners can be found in this museum. However, they are far from the original as they have been turned into 3D paintings. Like Mona Lisa's painting which was connected to a bicycle pump, thereby giving it an appearance of being pumped by the bicycle pump. There are also images of giant feet seemingly stepping over the spectator. Or even of butterfly wings and angel wings as well life-size bubbles. So go on, strike a pose with these 3D paintings and have loads of fun with your friends and loved ones.
    • Phuket Aquarium - The Phuket Aquarium is located in Cape Panwa. The Aquarium has several sections including a coral reef section, a tunnel section, exotic species section and a turtle hatchery section. The main attraction is the tunnel section, where you can take a glimpse of the rich marine life while walking amidst a seemingly short tunnel. The exotic species section features species like the piranha and electric eel. At the back part of the aquarium is the turtle hatchery section, which most people forget to check out. This is the place where the turtles are kept before they are released into the seas again.
    • Sea Shell Museum - Established in the year 1997, this museum was created from the efforts of Somchai Patamakanthin. Here you can find various sea shells, in all their different forms and structures. The main attraction here though is the Golden Pearl, the largest pearl in the world. The other exhibits are labelled quite nicely so you can read more information about the items. You can also visit the small souvenir shop located within the museum and buy a few items to take home. There are jewelries made of pearl, key chains and other handicrafts here made from shell.
    • Tiger Kingdom - Although this tiger centre has been under the heat for a while now, it's still worth a visit. You can just choose not to get close to the tigers as there have been an incident of a tiger mauling a human here. For the experience though, you cannot get as close to a tiger as here, except in other similar places in Thailand like the Tiger Temple and Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai. The management does claim that these times were trained by humans and so they won't harm tourists.
    • Kok Chang Safari - Elephant safaris are also possible in Phuket, specifically at the Kok Chang Centre. Here, you can indulge in an elephant safari along the different forest areas in Elephant Kraal. Rates differ depending on the time but expect to pay around ฿ 600 to ฿ 1,000. You can also enjoy feeding the elephants, free of charge in the centre. The centre also has their own bar/restaurant offering drinks and snacks to guests for a nominal fee.
    Theme Parks
    • Phuket Fanta Sea - While visiting the Phuket Fanta Sea might be extremely touristy, there's no doubt that it's a once in a lifetime experience worth having. It is a full theme park, along with a carnival village, restaurant and a theatre. The main attraction is the Elephant Palace Theatre, wherein a live show is held every evening. It's not just a show, it's a showcasing of the rich cultural heritage of Thailand, along with the full ornamentals like tigers, elephants, acrobatics and special effects. After the show, you can venture into the numerous shops and arcades around the theme park.
    Phuket Fanta Sea (Image Courtesy of Into Phuket)
    • Surf House - Located nearby the Kata Beach is the Surf House. If the waves of the beaches of Phuket aren't quite up to your taste, you can head on to the Surf House. Here artificial waves are available all day, everyday and you can indulge in water sports like surfing, wake boarding and body boarding. You would need to pay a registration fee of ฿ 200 plus the fee for the entrance, which differs depending on the hours you're staying in the surf house. Minimum stay is 1 hour at ฿ 800, so it's not that bad.
    • Nai Harn Beach - With its golden sands and clear blue water, the Nai Harn Beach in Rawai is a perfect beach just for lazing around. It is not as crowded as the famous Patong Beach but it still has its fair share of visitors. There are only a few accommodation options around the beach though, in fact, only two. This makes the beach serene and more quiet. There are numerous beach shacks and restaurants though, mostly serving delicious Thai dishes to tourists. There's not too many water sports that you can do here though aside from surfing and body surfing.
    • Kata Noi Beach - A little bit further from the Kata Beach is the Kata Noi Beach. It is very secluded owing to the main luxury resort occupying a huge space in the property. You can still go to the beach despite this as it has some areas that the resort does not own. This resort is the Kata Thani Resort, a five-star resort which has made a name for itself in the couple of years. While there's not much you can do around the Kata Noi Beach, its white sands and clear waters would lure you in. During monsoon, it's a hot spot as well for surfing, when the waves are higher and stronger.
    Kata Noi Beach in Phuket (Image Courtesy of Into Phuket)
    • Patong Beach - The most happening beach in Phuket, that is the Patong Beach. During day time, it's a venue for numerous water sports like jet skiing, paragliding, surfing and boating. The assortment of hotels and restaurants around the beach also ensures that there's a huge crowd of tourists here especially during peak season. During night time, the beach becomes more alive with the numerous bars and night clubs surrounding it. Shopping is also possible here, with the flea markets and hawkers surrounding the shores. It is not the most beautiful beach in Phuket but it still has that charm and it's a great place to see an intermingling of the different cultures in the city.
    • Kata Beach - Located close to the Karon Beach is the Kata Beach. It is one of the most popular beaches in Phuket yet it remains relatively clean. Its sands are also white and powdery with clean blue water. The good feature of Kata Beach is that it has plenty of accommodation options despite being lesser crowded. Water sports are also widely available here and since the water is clean, even children can partake in these activities. Even during night time, the beach is lively with bars and shopping areas around it. As such, the beach is popular amongst families and even the locals prefer this beach over the Patong Beach.
    • Karon Beach - This beach is located in between the Kata Beach and the Patong Beach. The beach is relatively cleaner as compared to Patong Beach but it is also highly developed. Numerous resorts, guest houses and hotels line the shores. Restaurants of varying cuisines are also abundant here. The beach is best visited during high season though when the waves are calm. During monsoon season, the waves here can be very rough and dangerous so exercise some caution. The nearby Karon Temple is also worth visiting and it hosts a Tuesday and Saturday Flea Market as well.
    • Bang Tao Beach - This is a beach of contrasts, at one end you can find luxury hotels and at one end, there's the fishing villages of Phuket. As such, the beach remains fairly deserted and clean. It has white powdery sands, very fine and clean, along with shades of trees along the shores. The water is also very clean, perfect for swimming. There are not much water sports here though apart from jet skiing or banana boating. There's a baby elephant roaming around here though that gives rides to guests for a fee.
    • Ao Sane Beach - Located a few kilometres away from Nai Harn Beach, you need to trek a bit to reach it, is the Ao Sane Beach. Its shores are lined with a few rocks which give it a unique appearance. The pristine beauty of the beach is apparent, with its clear waters and serenity. There are a number of beach huts and bungalows around the beach where you can stay in for the night. They are nowhere luxurious though but for the surrounding views, they will do. Being a remote beach, there's not much you can do in Ao Sane Beach but enjoy the views and swim in its virgin waters.
    • Coral Island - About a 15-minute ferry ride away from Phuket is the Coral Island. It's a popular destination for snorkelling, scuba diving and parasailing. The island can get very busy though despite being away from Phuket. As such, make sure that you book a hotel in advance if you intend to stay here. Otherwise, a day trip to the island is fine since it is fairly small and there are only a few beaches that you can explore here.
    • Koh Yao Yai & Koh Yao Yi - These two islands are about an hour away from Phuket with a ferry ride. They are popular honeymoon destinations and there's not much you can do here. However, the beaches here are very beautiful, untouched by commercialism. There are only a few accommodation options too, mostly by eco-friendly resorts and home stays. This is definitely the hidden paradise of Phuket and worth a visit for nature lovers.
    • Koh Racha Yai - This island is about 45 minutes away from mainland Phuket. This is the best place for scuba diving and snorkelling as the marine life here is quite abundant. There are only a few accommodation options here though there are some luxury ones, perfect for couples. For backpackers, options here might be lesser. It's also a fairly small island so a day trip is possible too.
    Enjoy your trip to Phuket!:)