Getting Off the Beaches of Phuket
Every year millions of tourists make their way to the sandy shores of Phuket. These picture-perfect beaches leave lasting images on the mind of every traveller to Phuket, and make great settings for Hollywood movies like The Beach. It’s the perfect place to read a good book while laying under the tropical sun and sipping fresh coconut juice just a few steps away from the warm blue water. If you’ve already been there to do exactly that, we’re about to give you several reasons why you should return and be pleasantly surprised by the abundance of things to see and do beyond Phuket’s beaches.
See the Animals
Photo: An elephant at the Phuket Zoo
A great option especially for families is a visit to the animal conservation parks. The Gibbon Rehabiliation Centre can be found in the Khao Pra Theaw Non-Hunting Area near the Bang Pae Waterfall. They welcome guests and volunteers to learn about gibbons and make a contribution to their conservation. There is also the Phuket Zoo where daily shows are offered. Another favourite is the Siam Safari Elephant Camp, where visitors can trek through the jungle while riding on an elephant’s back. Guests are also educated about the elephant conservation project during this tour.
Phuket also has an abundance of Nature Parks. Khao Sok National Park is the largest area of rainforest in Southern Thailand. On a safari tour through this area, you get a chance to ride down the pristine Sok river in inflatable canoes while your guides help spot free roaming animals like the hornbill, kingfisher, and even some monkeys.
Photo: Diving into the water in Khao Sok
Many tend to overlook that Phuket also has an urban city with old charms. Phuket City is a great place for affordable shopping and good Phuket restaurants. If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Phuket, check out places like Thalang National Museum or Wat Chalong—the most significant of Phuket’s temples. Head up to Laem Phromthep for a breathtaking view of the islands.
For centuries Phuket was an important trading town known for its abundance of tin. Many foreign traders, more notably the Dutch, Portugese, French and Chinese, used it as a central port for early commerce. All that’s left today are the remnants of their mansions, and a walk through Phuket’s charming Old Town gives you a peak on what it must have been like during that era. See the traditional architecture along Thalang Road, Soi Romani and Dibuk Road, where you might find familiar edifices from the movies, all alive and very well-preserved.
Photo: Wat Chalong is Phuke's most important temple
If you’re getting tired of lazing on the beach all day and looking for something more action-packed, head over to Saphan Hin Stadium in the city or Patong Beach and watch a Muay Thai match. Also known as Thai kickboxing, this martial art isn’t famous all over the world for no reason. Another interesting Southeast Asian sport is Sepak Takraw, where a rattan ball is tossed from one side to the other using only feet, almost like Volleyball but without using one’s hands. This unique and very difficult sport can be seen on the streets after work or school, but if you’re looking for a serious game, check out Suan Luang (King Rama IX Park) on Chao Fa Road or Sappan Hin in the sports centre.
These are just a few examples of alternative, less “touristy” things to do in Phuket besides all the action on the beach. Get out of your comfortable Phuket accommodation and hop on a tuk-tuk, take a stroll, head up the hills, or go on a unique Phuket tour. No matter where you go and what you do, you are bound to discover something utterly unique everyday in Phuket, which gives you every reason to come back.