This provides a pleasant view of town while dining, and has a Fitness Park, a series of hillside sculptural tableaux which enhance calisthenics.
The Thai Village
Also on Thepkasattri Road, the village serves daily a typical southern Thai lunch that is followed by a spectacular cultural show including Thai dances, sword-fight
Thalang National Museum
Located near the Two Heroines Monument, this museum contains permanent exhibition of life in old Phuket, ancient artifacts and remains discovered on the coast and materials used during war with Burma (Myanmar).
Phuket's glory is its magnificent coastline. Beaches range from gentle crescents of white sand with calm waters to rocky headlands pounded by raging surf. Counterclockwise, from Phuket's northern tip, where the Sarasin Bridge connects the island with the mainland, Phuket's major beaches (and temples and botanical gardens) are as follows:
Mai Khao Beach (40 kilometres from town)
This pine-lined stretch of sand is Phuket's longest beach. Each year, from November through February, gigantic sea turtles struggle ashore to lay their eggs on Mai Khao Beach.
Nai Yang Beach (30 kilometres from town)
This forms part of a national park. The tranquil surroundings are ideal for relaxation, picnics, swimming and snorkelling.
Wat Phra Thong
Inland from Nai Yang Beach, the temple enshrines a famous, partially buried Buddha. Local legends relate how a boy tethered his buffalo to a post protruding from the ground. Subsequently, both boy and animal fell mysteriously sick. Suspicious villagers uncovered the post and discovered it was the decorative topknot of a buried golden Buddha. They were able to unearth no more than the upper part of the image, over which they constructed the present chapel. Burmese invaders attempted to remove the image in 1785 but failed when they were attacked by vicious hornets.
Ton Sai Waterfall Forest Park & Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Park (22 kilometres from town)
The 22-square-kilometre area teems with various mammals, including bears, porcupines, gibbons and macaques, reptiles and lizards, and over 100 bird species, in an idyllic setting cooled by sonorous cascades.
Pansea Bay, Surin Beach (24 kilometres from town)
Sing Cape & Kamala Beach
These unfold in rapid succession. Swimming is not recommended at Surin Beach due to powerful surf and a treacherous undertow. The beach is a favoured spot for witnessing sunsets. The northern end of Kamala Beach is suitable for swimming.
Patong Beach (15 kilometres from town)
Phuket's most developed beach offers numerous leisure, sporting, shopping and recreational options along its 3-kilometrelong cresent bay. Windsurfing, snorkelling, sailing, swimming and sunbathing number among popular daytime activities. Patong is equally well known for its vibrant nightlife, among which seafood restaurants prominently feature.
Karon & Kata Beaches (20 & 17 kilometres from town)
Both beaches are impressively long, relatively peaceful and eminently suitable for swimming, snorkelling, sailing, windsurfing and sunbathing.
Nai Han Beach (18 kilometres from town)
The white beach fronts a shallow lagoon between rocky headlands. Swimming, windsurfing, sailing and sunbathing number among popular activities.
Adjacent to Nai Han Beach, Phuket's southernmost point is the perfect place from which to view spectacular sunsets.
Rawai Beach (17 kilometres from town)
The palm-fringed beach is best known for 'sea gypsies', a formerly nomadic fishing minority believed to be of Melanesian descent.
Chalong Bay (11 kilometres from town)
This beach has several restaurants selling some of Phuket's best seafood.
A few kilometres inland from Chalong Beach, this Buddhist temple enshrines statues of Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, Phuket's most revered monks.
Phanwa Cape (10 kilometres from town)
The southernmost tip of this cape is home to a Marine Biological Research Centre and Phuket's Aquarium where visitors may inspect several hundred exotic, grotesque and flamboyantly colourful marine species found mainly in Phuket's teeming waters.
Pearl farms are located on islands neighbouring Phuket, including Nakha, Rang Noi, Rang Yai and Bon. Special permission is needed to visit threm. Details are available from Phuket's TAT office.
There are now 4 challenging, 18-hole golf courses in Phuket, including the Phuket Country Club (Tel: (076) 321-038-40) in Kathu, Blue Canyon (Tel: (076) 327-440-7) in Thalang district nears the airport, the Banyan Tree Club (Tel: (076) 324-351-60, 324-358) at Bangtao beach and the Phuket Century Country Club (Tel: (076) 321-929, 321-933-4) ain Kathu. All courses offer reasonably priced golf club rentals, green fees and caddy services.
Three riding clubs, one on Patak Road, on the way to Kata Beach, Ban Sai Yuan on the way to Nai Harn Beach, and Laguna Phuket, Bangtao Beach, offer facilities for beginners and experienced riders alike.
This popular sport is enjoyed at most major beaches. Boards may be rented by the hour, half-day, full day or week. Expert tuition from Thai teachers is free.
Enjoyed mostly at Nai Han, Patong and Kata beaches. Toppers and dinghies are available at Patong. Catamaran, Hobie Cats and Top Cats are available at Kata.
Popular at Patong on a half-hour or hourly basis. Automated cable water-skiing is available at the Phuket Waterski Cableway behind the Phuket Century Golf Course in Kathu district.
Deep Sea Fishing
Daily tours are available, making early morning departures and late afternoon returns, mostly to lesser islands to fish for Red Snappers, Rainbow Runners and other game fish.
This can be enjoyed throughout the year, and is mostly safe. However, undertows can be problematic during the Rains Season. It is best to seek the advice of local people regarding swimming conditions.
This can be enjoyed in sheltered bays all around Phuket. It is particularly enjoyable at easily accessible reefs at Patong, Karon and Kata beaches. Fins, mask and snorkel can be rented on a daily basis from shops all over the island.
Expeditions regularly leave Phuket for dives around neighbouring islands, and further afield, most particularly around the enduringly popular Phi Phi Islands in neighbouring Krabi province, some 2 hours east of Phuket, and the Similan Islands, in Phangnga province, some 110 kilometres northwest of Phuket, and the Raya Islands, 1-3 hours due south of Phuket, depending on the type of boat. Several dive shops concentrated in the Patong, Kata and Chalong areas have Asian and European expatriate(s) (speaking English and several other languages) and bi-lingual Thai dive instructors who offer inexpensive beginner's courses. All and Krabi province, where mangrove swamps and island grottoes are accessible only by canoe.. Complete details of the several companies offering such tours is available from the TAT office in Phuket, and the TAT information centre in Krabi.
Yachtsmen visiting Phuket can enjoy a full range of services, including dry dock facilities and boat repairs, and safe and secure moorings, principally at Ao Chalong, the Phuket Boat Lagoon Marina and Laem Prao Marina. Yachts of ever shape and size can be chartered, either as bareboats or with full crew. Please check with the Phuket Immigration Office for details regarding bringing in a yacht, or leaving by yacht.
This form of eco-tourism is available in several forms, as popular one-day tours, or more extended tours involving overnight camping on island beaches, and occurs principally in the neighbouring Phangnga Bay Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as being a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph, or do anything that might show lack of respect.
It is considered rude to point your foot at a person or object. Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, both literally and figuratively. Therefore, they do not appreciate anyone patting them there, even as a friendly gesture.