Site of the Chao Ley or Sea Gipsy village, many restaurants and bungalows, shell handicraft shops, and both fishing and charter boats to the nearby islands. The beach itself is suitable for swimming. Rawai is 7 kms. west of Chalong Circle.
The smallest of Phuket's three main tourist beaches, Kata is different in appearance and style from Karon or Patong. The beach itself is broad and curving, and structures bordering it are low–rise. The waters are perfect for swimming, and at the north end is a coral reef with many varied corals and fishes which stretches out toward Poo Island., about 1/2 km off shore. Facilities for every price range include hotels, bungalows, tour companies, restaurants, bars and clubs. There is regular bus service to and from Phuket town during daytime.
Kata Noi Beach
South of Kata is Kata Noi, a smaller beach with only a few hotels and little other development. The beach is superb. Many fish inhabit the rocks and corals along the beachless shoreline stretching south. To get there take the narrow beach road up over the hill from Kata.
The second largest of Phuket's principal tourist beaches. Large resort complexes line the road back of the beach, but the strand itself, long and broad, has no development. The sand is very white, and squeaks audibly when walked on. The southern point has a fine coral reef stretching toward Kata and Poo Island. Restaurants, bars, tour companies and other non-hotel businesses are at the north end, near the traffic circle, and at the south, on the little road connecting the back road with the beach road. The narrow road between Kata and Karon has a number of small businesses as well as the Dino Park Mini Golf facility. Karon is the most up-scale of Phuket's beaches. Regular daytime bus service to and from Phuket Town.
Nai Han Beach
A popular swimming beach and yacht anchorage during the dry season. The beach is fine, but big waves strike it during the wet season, making swimming dangerous. Regular bus service to and from Phuket town during daytime. Nai Han is just north of Phrom Thep Cape.
From this point can be seen the bays of Kata Noi, Kata and Karon, and also Poo Island. It is one of the island's best views. A large public sala, or shelter is there for visitors, and several vendors sell food, drinks, and souvenirs in the area when the weather is nice. The viewpoint is between Kata and Nai Han Beach.
This is Phuket's central tourist and night time entertainment district. Over the years, Patong has turned from a fishing village into one of the island's two cities. The famous bay and 4 km. beach is know as a centre of entertainment with restaurants catering to every nationality. Live music can be found in most pubs and bars. Accommodations range from budget to five-star. Shopping opportunities appear to be endless. In addition, there are many tour companies waiting to help visitors plan their vacations. Some of the options available are listed below.
Among the larger attractions are :
Pirate's Cove Miniature Golf
36 holes of miniature golf. 2 courses to choose from : The Jungle Course or Blackbeard's Challenge. Internationally rated; fast food restaurant and bar. Located on Song Roi Pi Rd., the next road back from the beach, next to Holiday Inn Hotel. Tel. (076) 342951; open 10:00 a.m. - 11.00 p.m.
Phuket Water Ski Cableways
An inland water skiing course on a man–made lake. Skiers are pulled round the oval track at speeds of up to 30 kph by overhead cables. Instruction is free for beginners. Located over the hill northeast of Patong at 86/3 Moo 6 Soi Nam Tok Kathu, near Kathu Waterfall. Tel. (076) +22 525-7; open daily 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
This transvestite show features dozens of gorgeously appareled boys dancing and lipsynching to popular songs. Costumes, choreography and pacing are very impressive; sound system and staging are state–of-the-art. Two shows nightly. Located on Patong-Karon road. Tel. (076) 34+211-5
Tarzan's Jungle Bungy Jump
Jump from the top of a 53 m crane toward a pond while connected to a long elastic bungy cord; very exhilarating. Note : This is not recommended for the aged, the infirm, or those with chronic heart problem. Located over the hill northeast of Patong at 61/3 Moo 6 on the road to Phuket Town. Tel. (076) 321351.
Tarzan's Catapult Bungy
It uses an elastic cord similar to the one mentioned above, but relies upon a catapult to shoot customer up in the air. Located on Soi Sunset at Patong Beach, near the Expat Hotel. Tel. 01-4641581.
Patong Go–kart Speedway
A well planned raceway and high–powered go–karts await go-karting enthusiasts. Located over the hill northeast of Patong at 118/5 Vichit Songkram Rd., near Kathu District office. Tel. (076) 321949; open 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
is an amusement park with many different attractions, located in the same area of Phuket Water Ski Cableways. Open daily from 11:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. Tel. (086) +23005-6.
at Patong, features scene from 16 famous horror movies. Open 5:00 p.m. - 12.00 p.m. Tel. (076) 293123.
This beach is really a continuation north of Patong's strand, from which it is separated by some rocks. It is not yet developed and thus affords some privacy. At the back of the beach are accommodations. The waters contain extensive coral reefs.
Kamala is a Muslim fishing village north of Patong. Tourist development on the beach much of which is covered by a Muslim graveyard and a police outpost has been slow in coming. Buffalo herds still come down to the beach to cool off in the afternoon. The beach is beautiful and about 2 kms. in length. There are accommodations ranging from guesthouse to international class, and a number of small Thai restaurants specializing in seafood for the tourist.
Kamala is the perfect place to get away from it all and has little to offer in the way of entertainment for that go across the mountains to Patong. Regular bus service to and from Phuket Town during daytime; tuk-tuk service available to Patong, 5 kms. away on the new road.
A large–scale nighttime amusement center on 350 rai (140 acres ) near the village of Kamala Bay, 4 kms north of Patong. Thai cultural traditions are mixed with the latest technology in "Las Vegas style". Magic elephants disappearing into thin air, gymnastics, musical fountains, and a circus are among the many attractions. For more information, Tel. (076) 271133-5
Thalang National Museum
Ancient artifacts from Phuket 's long history are on display; the oldest were found on the west coast. In addition there are exhibits detailing the famous Battle of Thalang involving the Two Heroines, daily life in Phuket, and the Sea Gipsy culture. Tel. (076) 311025, 311426; open daily except holidays 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Located just east of the Two Heroines Monument on the Pa Khlok Rd.
This small, quiet island with fine sandy beaches lies just off Phuket's northeast shore. Waters are suiable for swimming. One item of interest at Ko Nakha Noi not found in many other places is its pearl farm. Boats can be hired from Ao Po Pier, off Pa Khlok Rd., for travel to Ko Nakha Noi, and package trips are available at tour agencies, generally including lunch and a visit to the pearl farm.
Phra Nang Sang Temple
The grounds of this historic temple are where the Battle of Thalang took place in 1785. Inside are three very old statues wrought in tin of the Buddha; they are the largest in the world and date from a time when tin was regarded as a semi-precious metal. The bellies of the three big statues each contains a smaller statue, from which derives their name, "Monks in the Belly" in local vernacular. or "The Three Kings" in formal language. Located on Thep Krasatri Rd., in Thalang Town at the tracffic light.
Phra Tong Temple
This temple enshrines a golden Buddha image that sprang up from beneath the earth long ago. The story is of a young boy who tied his buffalo to what he thought was a post; it was in an area at that time given over to the raising of animals. After doing so, he fell down in agony and died. The father of the boy dreamed that the reason his son had died was for the sin of tying a filthy buffalo to a sacred object, that what the boy thought was a post was in reality the golden peak of the Buddha's conical cap. He told his neighbors the dream and they all went out to dig up the statue but had no success.
Later, at the time of Thao Thep Kasatri's heroic defense against the Burmese in 1785, the invaders tried to succeed where the villagers had failed; their intention was to take the Buddha image back to Burma. Sacred objects and slaves were then the most sought after spoils for armies. The Burmese, however, were unable to retrieve the golden Buddha despite several attempts; they were finally driven off by a swarm of angry hornets.
After this the villagers decided to protect their miraculous statue by covering the part that stuck up from the ground with a plaster cast of Buddha's head and shoulders's which is the way it is today. Located north of the traffic light on the outskirts of Thalang Town. A large sign shows the entrance.
Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Conservation Development and Extension Center
22.28 square kilometers of virgin forest are coverd by this park, which also actively conserves a number of wild animals; they would otherwise be extinct in fast-growing Phuket. It is a center for study of the environment. Forest vegetation is spectacular : Giant trees supported by huge buttresses are thick with creepers and climbers of every description.
One species of palm found, the Governor's Palm or White Back Palm (palm lang khao in Thai) is especially rare. Langurs, barking deer, mouse deer, deer, bear, wild boar, monkeys, gibbons, and many species of birds inhabit the forest. Khao Phra Thaeo serves also as one of Phuket's most important water sources.
There are two waterfalls of note:
A small falls over which pours a great volume of water during the rainy season. The trees, watercourses, and pools nearby provide one of Phuket's loveliest scenes. The park headquarter and a small restaurant with an excellent view are also at Ton Sai. Located near Thalang Town, 22 kms. from Phuket Town.
Best known now as the site of the Gibbon Fund, a project to return domesticated gibbons to the forest, Bang Pae is a small waterfall with a shady forest and thick foliage surrounding. To get there go to the Two Heroines Monument and take the road running east, the Pakhlok Rd., 7 kms. to Bang Pae. Look for the posted signs.
Evergreen trees rim this small, curving bay beneath the foothills north of Kamala. Surin is home to Phuket's first golf coures, a nine-hole course laid out more than sixty years ago during the reign of King Rama VII. It is now largely in disuse except as a park. The steep incline of the beach, turbulent water, and big waves make Surin a dangerous place to swim during the rainy season.
Located at the end of Sri Sunthon Rd., the road running west from the Two Heroines Monument, 24 kms. from Phuket Town. Accommodations and restaurants are nearby.
The name means Lion's Point in English. The beach is in a small, curving bay with rocky headlands at the foot of forest-fringed cliffs and is among Phuket's most beautiful spots.
Located about 1 km. south of the entrance to Surin Beach. Look for signs indicating the path down to the beach.
Bang Thao is a large open bay with one of Phuket's longest beaches. It was once used for tin mining, but has since been developed into a luxury resort. Most of it is occupied by the Laguna complex, a massive five-hotel development with golf course. There are, however, accommodations available outside Laguna at the bay's south end.
Dry season swimming is excellent, and at the bay's north end is a smaller bay, almost completely enclosed, at the mouth of which is some fine coral. Plenty of places to eat, tour companies, and other tourist facilities available either at Laguna or in the nearby town of Choeng Thale.
The beach is located off Sri Sunthon Rd., in Choeng Thale. As for access to Laguna; the south end of the bay may be approached by taking the road north from Surin Beach. To get to the far north end from Sri Sunthon Rd., take the road leading to Laguna, but do not enter, continue on to the town of Bandon where there is an intersection of asphalted roads, and take the one leading west toward the sea. This road leads also to Nai Thon Bay and makes a very pleasant drive. Along the way are some small bays with good swimming and no development.
Sirinat National Park
Located near Phuket International Airport, the national park covers an area of 90 square kilometers. The park stretches all the way to the island's northern tip. There are a number of interesting places to visit :
Nai Yang Beach
This is where the National Park office is located. The beach itself is on a long curving bay lined with evergreens that provide shade to picnicker. The large coral reef is home to many different species of fish, and Nai Yang is well known as a site where sea turtles come to lay their eggs during the period from November to February; the population of these has however, dropped off greatly.
First class accommodations are available and small food vendors cater to the many day trippers. To get there take the Nai Yang Rd., and look for signs indicating the park entrance.
Nai Thon Beach
This quiet bay nestled at the foot of high hills has a fine strip of the sand. There are some accommodationes but virtually no other business. Located between Bang Thao Bay and Nai Yang Beach, Nai Thon Beach can be reachd by taking Thep Krasatri Rd. Turn at the first traffic light north of Thalang Town to Nai Yang Rd. Look for signs indicating the turn-off to Nai Ton.
Mai Khao Beach
Many kilometers of deserted beach characterize Mai Khao where there is little tourist business. The water is fine for swimming during the dry season; the rainy season brings big waves and strong currents that are dangerous.
This lonely beach is another area where sea turtles come to lay eggs. It is also home to what the Thais call a sea cicada, which is a form of marine life. To get there go to the northern tip of Phuket; the beach lies along the road's length
Sai Kaew Beach
This strip of sand is just the north portoin of Mai Khao Beach and has much the same character. Located west of the bridges spanning the channel between Phuket and Phang–nga provinces.
Situated in Sirinat National Park near Ta Chatchai on Phuket's northern tip, the mangroves--saltwater swamps with unique eco-systems much prized by scientists searching for clues about adaptation and evolution--cover about 800 rai. Anyone with an interest in horticulture will be interested in the many unusual perennial plants found here: mountain ebony (kong kang bai lek), red cycas (prong daeng), black myrsina (samae dam), the Lady's Nails quisqualis (leb mue nang), and various creepers and climbers are among the more significant.
There are also many mongrove-dwelling animals with unique evolutionary characteristics. A nature trail has been cleared for the convenience of visitors with signs indicating and explaining the various species.