Phuket is an incredible tourist destination, located in the sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea, on the south-west coast of Thailand. Acknowledged as the ‘Pearl of the South’ and the ‘Jewel of the Andaman Sea,’ Phuket is only an hour flying from Bangkok.
Phuket is also the largest island in Thailand, and is credited to be the only island in the country with status of a province. Formerly known as Talang, Phuket boasts of a rich as well as long history dating back to more than 500 years. Phuket once served as an important trade route between India and China.
The island also flourished as a center for tin manufacturing processes, which in turn attracted many Europeans including the Dutch and the British. Perhaps, the most important segment of Phuket’s history is the Battle of Thalang, during which Burmese invaders were defeated. Phuket still retain its old world charm, and provides gamut of attractions, covering impressive palm-fringed beaches, beautiful coves and bays, lush green mountains, cascading waterfalls, and ancient mansions reflecting Indo-Portuguese architecture.
The prime draw of Phuket is undoubtedly its gorgeous coastline, which is a fine blend of amazing white sandy beaches, rocky outcrops, and spectacular limestone cliffs. Many of the top beaches in the area are clustered around the western coastline, such as Patong Beach, Kamala Beach, and Karon Beach. Kata Beach, Surin Beach, Bang Tao Beach, Laem Sing Beach, Chalong Bay, Panwa Beach, Nai Ham Beach, Nai Yang Beach, Mai Khao Beach.
Rawai Beach are the other popular beaches in Phuket. With these scores of beaches, Phuket is truly a haven for water sport lovers. Just think of any of the water sport activities, it would be easily available in Phuket.
A range of tour operators and dive shops operate here to provide you excellent choices to enjoy a variety of water sport activities such as fishing, kayaking, diving, snorkeling, rafting, sailing, scuba diving, and more. Many of them even provide services of an expert guide in order to assist you in enjoying water sport activities. Phuket is not only a destination to enjoy water sport activities but also to enjoy a range of other activities such as golfing, trekking, and nature walks.
No visit to Phuket would be complete without touring its historical and cultural sites such as Old China Town, dotted with elegant Sino-Portuguese mansions. Also, take a tour to the elegant temples in the region, like, Wat Chalong – one of the biggest shrines in the region; Wat Phra Thong, whose highlight is a huge half buried image of the Buddha; and Wat Phranangsang, dedicated to two heroines who defeated the Burmese invaders in the Battle of Thalang. Equally worth mentioning are the interesting museums of the region, including, Phuket Sea Shell Museum and Thalang National Museum.
Covered with forested hills, the island is also home to such attractions as Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, which comes with dazzling waterfalls and unique as well as rich flora and fauna, apart from an eight-kilometer hiking path. Phuket’s attractions also include Butterfly Garden and Insectarium – a large open-air enclosure housing thousands of varied butterflies amid lush greenery; Marine Biological Research Centre – an aquarium featuring a variety of saltwater and freshwater fish; Promthep Cape – providing enchanting views of the sunsets; and Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre.
A specialty of Phuket is its fresh, authentic sea food cuisines, which is famed across the world. Likewise, after a day of adventure sports or sightseeing in Phuket, don’t forget to take a rejuvenating spa massage. A plethora of spa therapy centers and spa resorts are available across the island, providing relaxing spa treatments and massages. Along with other activities, Phuket provides superb options for shopping in the form of a multitude of stores and bazaars and night markets.
If you are looking for something different during your stay at Phuket, then head to Phuket Town to view Muay Thai, a kind of Thai boxing. There are even training centers to master this traditional discipline. Above all, a great attraction of the island is its exciting as well as vibrant nightlife, with a variety of pubs, bars, nightclubs, go go bars, and restaurants to choose from.