Phuket is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighbouring provinces are (from north clockwise) Phang Nga and Krabi, but as Phuket is an island there are no land boundaries. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, approximately the size of Singapore. The island is connected to mainland Thailand by a bridge. It is situated off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. The region has an area of approximately 570sq. kms. and is made up of 1 large and 39 small islands. Phuket formerly derived its wealth from tin and rubber. The island was on one of the major trading routes between India and China, and was frequently mentioned in foreign trader’s ship logs. The region now derives much of its income from tourism.
The view from the cape is like a huge eternity pool from which you can mentally project the far-flung shores of Sri Lanka and the Indian Subcontinent and when night falls here you can peek down to the twinkling lights of Nai Harn Beach and Le Royal Phuket Yacht Club. Some people make the rather demanding trek down to the end of the cape but most stay up in the viewing part for sunset. By the car park there is a handicraft shop and a series of stalls that sell shells, batik, snacks, sarongs, shawls, toys and beachwear.
Not far up the coast road from Phromthep you will see several tall, slim white windmills that look just like airplane propellers on top of a hill and facing out to sea. This is the Phromthep Alternative Energy Station and the wind-driven electricity generators stand at this great viewing spot with a vista not unlike that of Phromthep Cape itself - only with much more intimacy as there is just enough room for a few cars to park here.
The daytime view down on Nai Harn and Ya Nui beaches is the sort of stuff that will have you kicking yourself if you have left your camera at the hotel. There is an open-sided sala, or pavilion where a rather eccentric (but harmless) jewelry maker plies his wares and a snack bar to the side. Local enthusiasts fly model airplanes up here to ride the thermals and if you are lucky you will witness sea eagles hunting over the sea between here and Kho Man, a beautiful uninhabited island lying off the coast below this cape.
Halfway between Chalong and Kata on the hill there is a sign saying 'Hilltop Restaurant.' This is the now-closed-down Plub Pla site. There is a one-way system operating on this side road and it's a good thing as the gradient is very steep. Park at the top and peek down at both Chalong and Kata from the gardens above the restaurant.
Phuket FantaSea show
It's wacky but fun and very professionally done. Trapeze artists, elephants on stage and pyrotechnics combine in a Las Vegas-style show. You'll see nothing else like it anywhere on the planet. Combining Thai traditional myths with humour, fantasy and a loose plotline that keeps getting more and more amusing, FantaSea's extravaganza is a highly entertaining theme that must visit.
Phuket Simon Cabaret
Simon Cabaret - probably the biggest "transvestite" cabaret show to be found locally. This show features a spectacular musical floor show performed by the world famous "ladyboys" of Simon Cabaret. See for yourself - guys, can you tell the difference? And ladies - wouldn't you just die for a figure like that? Fabulous costumes, glitzy and fun.
Khao Sok Jungle Safari Overnight Tour
Rafting down Mountain Rivers, elephant trekking through the leafy jungle, observing wildlife in its natural habitat and witnessing the spectacle of Phang Nga Province's Ratchaprapha Dam; you can do all this on the Khao Sok Safari Overnight tour. 'Base Camp' is made up of tailor-made luxury tents and from here you can venture forth to see wildlife unique to this area – the largest tract of tropical rainforest in southern Thailand. You will never forget the majestic Ratchaprapha Dam with its Cliffside walls rising vertically out of indigo-blue water and its teeming wildlife.
Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay is another world by night. Its silent serenity can leave a lasting impression on you and the sense of timelessness in this beautiful place is tangible. This cruise brings out the romantic in you: watch the sun sinking behind Phuket into the Andaman as you sip a glass of wine and watch the amazing scenery float by. Enjoy a Thai buffet while drifting in the velvet darkness listening to the night's million sounds all around you. Stretch out on the cushions strewn out on deck and count the stars above.
Full Day Phi Phi Island Tour by Speedboat
Our Number One tour gets you away from it all to one of the world's most beautiful islands and its surroundings in a matter of minutes. While everyone else is on their way to Phi Phi you're already there, island hopping, dropping in on the monkeys at Ao Ling, snorkeling the crystal clear waters in Hin Klang, and enjoying a fabulous lunch buffet on Phi Phi Island itself.
After lunch relax for an hour of two, get some shopping in and then check out beautiful Maya Bay, where 'The Beach' was filmed and also where tropical fish swarm around you as you swim among them.
Similan Island Stopover
It takes just 90 minutes to reach the Similans from Phang Nga Province. Majestic rock formations and lush verdant jungle await you with a marine life as rich and varied as it is world famous.
The diving and snorkeling at this nine-island archipelago is legendary and all this is augmented by the fact that there's absolutely no hurry to leave. You're here for the night so let the sounds, sensations and the atmosphere of these magical islands sink in and work its magic.
Phang Nga Bay Cruise on June Bahtra Junk
Our Number Three tour comprises good food, fantastic seascape and leisurely cruising; surely the hottest recipe going for a great day out. There are several ways to visit the majesty of Phang Nga Bay but this, cruising in a genuine Chinese junk, is the most laid back and idyllic way.
Visit a sea gypsy village perched above the water on stilts at the top of the bay, check out the 'Man with the Golden Gun's' lair at James Bond Island and take in some of the most impressive rock formations in the world. All this and a delicious Thai buffet, too. Superb.
Golf at Blue Canyon
Hit the green with the greats. If Tiger Woods says Blue Canyon is, "One of the best I have ever played on" then who are we to argue against? With 720 acres of lush greenery and the mountains of Phang Nga Bay as a backdrop as you tee off at one of the two award-winning 18-hole courses, Blue Canyon at once impresses with its easy rapport with Mother Nature.
Built around, not over Mother Nature's contours, the courses are sumptuous yet challenging. Take the family – there are great facilities, including a top-rate spa, a large swimming pool, shopping and fine dining.
Sea Kayaking Hong by Starlight
The best of both worlds; Phang Nga Bay is rated tops in the 'Wow' factor by day but just imagine exploring it by night… Head off after lunch to discover the unforgettable sights of this scenic wonderland.
Dine on board your 'mother ship' and as the sun goes down paddle silently into the 'hongs' or caves of this magic domain and discover just what Mother Nature gets up to by night. Access to these hongs is only possible at certain levels of the tide so put yourself into the experienced hands of John 'Caveman' Gray and take it all in.
Whitewater Rafting and Elephant Trekking
The watery arteries of lush Phang Nga Province, just north of Phuket, are gush down from the mountains from June to November each year and this is when you can experience the thrill of your life by whitewater rafting down them.
Everyone knows that elephants are gentle creatures and what better way to get to know them better than by gently riding through the jungle on the back of one? You'll be amazed just how dainty a powerful pachyderm can be!
Phuket Eco Extreme by ATV
What's better than learning fascinating facts? Learning fascinating facts while having loads of adventurous fun, that's what. Zoom through the jungle, along beaches, through mud puddles while learning about the flora and fauna of Phuket. Experienced guides stop at key locations and point out unusual and interesting facets of wildlife on Phuket. The great thing about this tour is that although it's top-drawer adventure, it's very well thought out and absolutely safe as houses so take the kids along and discover more in a few hours than in days of reading about the jungle.
Old Phuket Town
Sino-Portuguese splendours and funky shops in the most unlikely places will surprise and delight you in the heart of Phuket's sleepy provincial capital. Phuket town offers much more than you think with some excellent restaurants and local sights. The unique blend of colonial and Chinese architecture along with a tangible quaintness makes for a fascinating and unforgettable afternoon spent sauntering around Phuket's Old Town. Expect the unexpected and don't forget your camera.
Patong's Bangla Road
There are few things in this world to prepare you for an after-dark stroll down Patong's Bangla Road. However, a sense of humour and an open mind are prerequisites if you're looking to have some fun. In fact, there's only one undeniable and obvious fact about Bangla – it's nothing like home. With its ladyboys, exotic girls, enchanted westerners (mostly male) and enough extraverts to fill a Disney cast of thousands, shopping or sipping on a beer at Bangla Road at night is a definite 'Dear Diary' moment.
Wat Chalong is one of Phuket's most important temples and visited by thousands each year. It's beautifully decorated with infinite reflections from hundreds of tiny glass pieces and several pagodas. On special holidays Wat Chalong hosts 'country fairs' with a real local flavour where you can buy just about anything and snack on Thai food to your heart's content. Wat Chalong has an interesting history and is Phuket Island's spiritual centre. You haven't seen Phuket if you've never visited this fascinating temple.
Phuket's waterfalls are not the biggest in the country but they are interesting gathering places for those seeking a cool place for a dip or a picnic. There are two major falls, Ton Sai and Bang Pae and they are both located in Khao Praew Thaew National Park 22 kilometers north of Phuket Town. Best visited in the monsoon season from May to October, the surrounding jungle is great for trekking through and there's also the worthy Gibbon Rehabilitation Project right by.
Chalong Big Buddha
Visible from most of the south of Phuket, the Big Buddha is a recent arrival to the island. The image stands on the top of the Nakkerd Hills and looks down over Chalong, Kata and Rawai. It cost 30 million baht to construct and is 45 metres high. Next to it stands a smaller, golden image that is actually made of brass and there is a shrine near the site's car park. The drive up to the Big Buddha takes you through the 'real' Thailand and the view from the top is enhanced if you take a map to identify the many, many sights.
Vegetarian Festival and Gay Festival
Whether they're held to honour a religious belief or just for fun, the festivals of Phuket are exciting, sometimes bizarre spectacles – and they're certainly never bland. The Vegetarian Festival draws people from all over the world. It's colourful, it's deafening and sometimes fascinatingly gruesome. Vegetables gruesome? Come and see for yourself… Phuket's Gay Festival falls at the same time as Thailand's Songkran Water Festival and both are fun-filled, full-on parties that celebrate life's exuberance in a most decidedly Thai way.
The Phuket International Airport is located in the north of the island. There are many scheduled flights and chartered flights from domestics and other countries in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America landing in Phuket.
There is no rail-line to Phuket, but the trains do run to nearby Surat Thani. Songthaews (passenger pick-up vehicles) are a common mode of transport on Phuket. Phuket’s songthaews are larger than those found in other areas of Thailand. They travel between the town and beaches. There are also conventional bus services and motorbike taxis. The latter are found in large numbers in the main town and at Patong Beach. The traditional Tuk-tuks have been replaced by small vans, mostly red or some are yellow. Songthaews are the cheapest mode of transportation for travel from town to town.