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Phuket

Phuket - Thailand

Phuket - Thailand

Phuket (pronounced “Pooket”) is the largest island in Thailand measuring 540 square km it is compared with Singapore that is a similar size.

It is difficult to state the number of people living in Phuket with the number of tourists that visit the island together at any one time but is considered over 250,000 persons.

The main town is “Phuket Town” and has the largest number of inhabitants and well worth a visit especially at ‘festival time’

There are around 35 beaches on Phuket - some well known by the tourists and some are quite stunning and secluded with clear waters but difficult to find and we call them 'secret beaches'. However in time we fear these will also be developed to accommodate the beach hungry tourists. 

Patong beach is the most popular beach located on the west coast and is now more or less a resort rather than the fishing village it was around 15 years ago and tourism here gives a big boost for the Phuket and Thailand economy.

Agriculture including the farming of coconuts, bananas, pineapples etc is still a major source of income for Phuket as well as the fishing industry and a number of rubber plantations cover large areas of land.

About Phuket

Phuket is the most visited tourist spot in Thailand and attracts more than 3 million visitors annually and it's sheer size and what it offers allows visitors to escape from the madding crowds.

Limestone cliffs and palm-fringed tropical beaches and calm azure blue waters give Phuket it's popularity and are its biggest draw with each beach having a character and charm of its own separated by picturesque headlands. However exploration by trek or by elephant of the inland areas can be an interesting diversion with it's plantations, rice paddies and rain forest.

Phuket's weather conditions are dominated by monsoon winds that blow year round. It is therefore always warm and humid. There are two distinct seasons -- the green season ( May - October) where the climate is pleasant and cooler but expect some heavy showers - and the hot season (November - May) when short heavy thundery showers give a welcome relief to the humidity at this time of the year.

The Andaman Sea is blessed with crystal clear water, beautiful geography and warm weather all year round. It remains Thailand's leading destination for sailing, and one of the primary sailing centers in South East Asia.

The clearest and the calmest waters are off the west coast of the island near Patong. Sailing and yachting around Phuket offers some resplendent sights to the north, west and south of the island. The highlights include Pi Pi Islands, Phang Nga, Krabi, Similan Islands and Surin Islands.

Attractions to visit

Phuket has a number of watersport based and other activities to choose from as listed in the 'Activities' section however we have listed below a few of the many attractions that can be seen at a leisurely pace.

Aquarium and Marine Biological Research Centre
The Phuket Aquarium is located in the south of Phuket at Cape Panwa and gives a good introduction to the marine life found in the waters around Phuket. It has recently undergone an extensive renovation and now one of the highlights is a 10 metre long underwater glass tunnel.

Old Phuket Town
Take a half day trip and see the beautiful shop houses of Old Phuket town to these old Sino Portuguese streets which also has many cafes, bakeries and other eateries to enjoy. There is also a 'walking street' market on Sundays.

Phuket Fantasea
This show is quite an extravaganza very professionally presented. Including traditional dancing, trapeze artists, Thai warriors on elephants and everyday scenes recreated with a great sound-and light show, it provides a glimpse into some Thai myths and legends as well as a bawdy pantomime style entertainment.

Simon Cabaret
In the land of the "katoey", Simon Cabaret is one of the biggest, glitziest, most glam cabaret shows around. The entertainment features a spectacular musical, performed by this very professional, entertaining troupe of "girls" all wearing out-of-this-world feathered and sequined numbers, and performing choreographed routines. Fabulous fun.

Spa and Wellness

Many arrive in Phuket having heard about the benefits of the various treatments derived from ancient traditions and looking to achieve physical and mental well being which is a key to maintaining health and beauty. Phuket is also paradise for spa lovers and boasts world class spas offering luxurious and rejuvenating body and facial treatments, aromatic steam baths, expert massages and yoga classes. If you feel like leaving the your luxury Phuket villa for a treatment there are many Spa and Well Being centres in Phuket most of which are attached to the Resort hotels

Where is Phuket?

The island is approximately 860 km south of Bangkok and located in the Andaman Sea off Thailand's west coast that is part of the Indian Ocean, Phuket or 'The Pearl of the South' is connected to the mainland by the Sarasin Bridge.

How to get to Phuket

Phuket airport is an international airport and Thailand's second busiest hub behind Bangkok.
Flights arrive direct from all over the world including Singapore,, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Penang many cities from Australia and Europe as well as domestically from other Thailand destinations.

There are no direct train rail services to Phuket, although a train from Bangkok will take you to Surat Thani where a bus can be taken for a 2 - 3 hour journey to Phuket.

If you prefer a bus ride the overnight air conditioned bus from Bangkok is the best option and will take 12 - 14 hours to Phuket.

Phuket Locations

Not sure where to stay in Phuket? Thailand Retreats has a wide range of villas to rent across Phuket. Here's our insider knowledge of each area. Close to the bustling nightlife of Patong? Our chic and elegant villas areas of Kamala and Surin in the north of the island, the popular beaches and town of Kata or the chilled out south of the island at Chalong and Cape Panwa. Choose what's best for you.....

Ao Yon Beach

A picturesque beach in the south of Cape Panwa and although generally a quiet beach with no sun loungers it is worth a visit to have lunch and enjoy the stunning scenery of the marine activity.

Bang Tao Beach

One of the longest beaches in Phuket stretching for 8km with lovely bleached white sand. Some up market resorts are located on this beach set around a series of lagoons that have been converted into Marinas.

Freedom Beach

Quite an exclusive and beautiful beach with white sands and turquoise water just north of Patong beach accessed by a short long boat trip from Patong beach or alternatively can be accessed down a number of steps from a parking lot off the main road. No vendors operate here and is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Patong beach.

Kamala Beach

Kamala is a nice quiet escape from the frenetic pace of its busy neighbor Patong. This relatively small beach is fairly developed but sees little of the 'day traffic' that Patong experiences, and is merely a 10 minute tuk tuk ride from the main action further south. A nice beach with clear water in high season and a decent amount of dining and shopping options

Karon Beach

This is the second longest beach in Phuket located just south of Patong with a wide stretch of sand and not as busy as Patong beach. Here again new laws in Phuket has meant that new laws in Phuket has meant that all illegal commercial outlets on the beach have meant that commercial outlets have been moved off the beach including sun lounger vendors.

Kata Beach

A great family beach adjacent to Karon beach with beautiful white sands and incredible blue sea and an island offshore which features in many sunset photos. The beach is one of the most popular offering the same amenities as the larger beach of Patong but quieter and offering good dining and shopping opportunities.

Kata Noi Beach

A great little bay you would probably miss if you did not know about it as not much goes on and has only 2 resorts located on the beach. Lovely sands and clear water and at the northern end of the beach there is occasionally some decent waves for learning to surf until the low season when the bay s rougher and the surf is more challenging.

Laem Singh Beach

A beautiful sandy cove nestled just south of the headland before Surin beach and accessed down a pathway from the Kamala - Surin road .The beach can be busy in the high season with open air restaurants on the road running parallel with the beach road. Swimming is better at the south end whilst some snorkeling is possible at the north end of the beach.

Layan Beach

Layan Beach is located just north of Bang Tao Beach and very little boundary between the two beaches. This is a very quiet and beautiful beach especially at the northern end where you would probably have the beach to yourself. Bordered by pine trees for shade and having a scattering of restaurants at the southern end Layan Beach is popular with residents.

Nai Harn Beach

This quieter beach than the other west coast beaches is in a protected bay and popular with locals and expats with a number of shops and restaurants near the shoreline. During the high season the water is extremely calm and Nai Harn is a popular anchorage for yachts at this time of year.

Natai Beach

The beach takes it's name from the area and this quiet and pristine Natai Beach stretches for 2km, with a backdrop of rich rainforest scenery and is a pearl that only a few travelers have found so far. Facing the Andaman Sea it has golden sands and clear water and bordered by boutique hotels and luxury villas.

Patong Beach

Patong beach is the pulsating heart of Phuket where there is everything going for a fun holiday with a super white soft sand beach and crystal clear water, plenty of watersports, excellent shopping and an abundance of restaurants and bars nearby. What makes this beach popular for some might not be the choice of others.

Rawai Beach

This beach located in the south of the island is not your usual beach destination as it is not a swimming beach having been previously a bustling fishing village and is now favoured by the locals ex pats for it's picturesque setting overlooking nearby islands. One side of the bay is taken up as an anchorage for dozens of long tail boats and speedboats and is a great place to enjoy seafood.

Surin Beach

This large beach has a fun and relaxed atmosphere and has beautiful sand and amazing clear blue water. In previous years the beach clubs that lined the beach tumbled on to the sand in the busy seasons had sun loungers 4 or 5 rows deep however under new laws ( this year) all illegal commercial outlets have now been relocated to the opposite side of the beach road leaving the beach clear of vendor outlets including sun loungers.

Phuket is a relatively large island, and provides a whole host of attractions for the visitor. Phuket's great advantage is that there's always something to do on and off the island whether it's raining or shining.

From the relaxing, out of-the-way beaches and villages to the hustle and bustle of the tourist strips and Phuket town, there are things to see and do around every corner. Choose to do nothing or everything - the opportunities are endless.

Watersports and Sea Tours

Sailing Trips /Sailing School

Have a beautiful experience and cruise the amazing islands in Phang Nga Bay even by chinese junk (take a weekend or sunset trip). Yacht charters and sailing lessons are available mostly in Chalong in the south of Phuket.

Surfing

Surfing is not a major sporting pastime due to the lack of surf waves but at certain times of the year this s possible on the wst coast beaches such as Kata in the south and Kalim further north. You will find the hire of boards and equipment as well as instruction also at these locations

Water Ski/Cable Ski

The waters around Phuket are pefect for waterskiing in between November and April and operators located on the busier beaches offer trips as well as the usuall banana boat rides. Cable ski and Wakeboarding can be found on an artificial retangular lake inland near Patong.

Diving and Snorkelling

There are many operators offering diving courses for all the family (8 years up) as well as snorkeling tours in the islands surrounding Phuket

Yacht Charter

Chartering a yacht in Phuket is one of the most luxurious ways to experience the west coast of Thailand and the beautiful waters of the Andaman. The yacht charter option provides flexibility and comfort. A number of yachts are available for charter on the island.

Waterpark

Thrilling rides, exhiliarating slides, lazy river and a 6 level wave pool at the Splash Jungle Waterpark located at the Centara Grand West Sands Resort in the north west of Phuket provide fun for all the family.

Kiteboarding

Kitesurfing lessons and kitboarding trips are available from the beaches in the south of Phuket where there is low tides and shallow water on a sandy Bay. Kitesurfing Phuket is based on Friendship beach in Chalong Bay and has a fully equipped shop and reaturant and bar facilities.

Kayaking

Rent a kayak for a few hours or venture off for a day or so and explore the beautiful islands of Phuket individually. Recommended however are the Kayaking group trips offered including a guide to discover the beauty of the small islands and it's wildlife including monkeys, sea eagles and other birdlife.

Other Activities

Temple Visits

Visit The Big Buddha standing 45metres high&nbsp;</span><span>looking over the south west and southern bays of Chalong, Rawai and Kata as well as the many temples throughout Phuket </span>that are certainly worth a visit to experience.

Jungle Safari Tours

Khao Phra Thaeo National Park is a jungle region located 20km north of Phuket Town and is great for trekking. There is also a Gibbon rehabilitation project, and two waterfalls that are popular bathing and picnicking spots. A full day tour may take in canoeing and a visit to an elephant camp.

Golf

There are 8 golf courses on the island and can be challenging for the beginner or experienced golfer. The most well known is the Laguna Phuket Golf Course located in the north west and the Red Mountain Golf Club in the centre.

Go Kart and Off Road Fun

Safe for all the family and well worth a visit.

Escape Hunt

It is exciting, addictive, challenging, educational and above all, fun! Voyage back 100 years in time &amp; play the part of a famous London detective solving our mysteries set in an old house in Phuket.

Cinemas and Ten Pin Bowling

There are quite a few cinemas and bowling alleys in Phuket - 3 of which are located in Phuket. A great rainy day activity

Thai Cookery School

Learn the secrets of authentic Thai Cooking from a number of venues around Phuket.

Shopping

Phuket has upmarket boutiques and antique stores situated in renovated Chinese shophouses, or Sino- Portuguese buildings. For western stile shopping visit the two mega malls on the island - Jungle Ceylon in Patong and Central Festival on the route to Phuket town.

Muay Thai Boxing

Thailand's Naional sport and a popular spectator sport which is now practiced all over the world. In the area of Patong there are nightly desplays of boxing accompanied with a frenzy of betting

Eating out in Phuket

Phuket offers so much for everyone. Walk through some bustling open-air markets laden with the freshest seafood, fruits, vegetables, and sample from vendors selling all manner of tasty treats.

Not only do most of the major hotels and resorts offer a wide selection of quality international restaurants and bars, featuring cabaret shows and live music, but every tourist centre has numerous other entertainment venues

Phuket Nightlife

Patong is undoubtedly the epicentre of the island's entertainment scene, boasting a wealth of bars, clubs, live music, and cabaret shows, yet there is still plenty to discover around the island, with Kata/Karon and Phuket town offering such a diverse range of clubs and nightspots.

Googlemap of all Phuket villas


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