Old Phuket Town is rich in history and culture and reflects the melting pot that Thailand has become over the centuries. Visit one of the many Buddhist or Chinese shrines and temples, have a cuppa in one of the little sidewalk cafes, imagine yourself living like the rich barons 100 years ago in their massive colonial mansions or explore the former mini red-light district.
Phang Nga Bay
The bay is famous for its dramatic limestone features, including gigantic pinnacles and obelisks randomly spiking out of the emerald green water. The area is also full of hidden lagoons, caves and mangroves adding a touch of adventure to your trip as you never know what’s around the corner. James Bond Island located in the bay got its name from being featured in “The Man with the Golden Gun” in the 1974 British spy movie.
Phi Phi Islands
Phuket is known for pristine beaches and incredibly clear waters, and one of the undoubtedly most beautiful spots in the area are the Phi Phi Islands. They look like straight out of a movie scene, and that’s exactly what they are. In 2000 the region was featured in “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, before a tsunami wiped out most of the Phi Phi Islands in 2004. However, Phi Phi has since grown and changed back to its natural wonder, attracting thousands of tourists each year.
Nightlife on Bangla Road
Even if you don’t consider yourself a party animal, Bangla Road in Patong Beach is worth the experience. The entire road is closed off to traffic once the sun sets and turns into a gigantic festival of lights, music and drinks. The choice is yours from hundreds of pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs and shops. Street performances are also part of the deal and will make your night out one to remember forever.
Built in 2004, the gigantic Buddha statue on top of Nakkerd Hills is a pilgrimage site for around 1000 people daily. They visit the impressive monument to leave messages in the memory of loved ones that are lost, and to enjoy the 360-degree views over the island.
With its clear blue waters and white coral-sand beaches the Similan Islands are among the most popular dive spots in the world. Only open to the public part of the year, this area is home to the most spectacular corals ever to be found. Visitors can also marvel at the strange rock formations and boulders scattered across each of the islands.
If you’re looking for some authentic Thai souvenirs or traditional cuisine, the night markets in Phuket are not to be missed. Enjoy delicious food, street performances and lively music. There are plenty to choose from, with bohemian style Chillva Market and the culturally diverse Walking Street being among the favourites.
The attitude towards animal welfare in Asia is changing, and nowhere else will you witness the shift more than in Phuket. Elephants previously used in the logging and trekking industry are now retired in so-called Elephant Sanctuaries where the wellbeing of these gentle giants is top priority. Ethical tourism might mean you don’t get to ride on an elephant’s back any more, but you will be able to get close up with these majestic animals and in some cases even become involved in their daily rituals. Fancy a mud bath in the river?