Phuket is a large island and southern province of the Kingdom of Thailand, famous for its picturesque hills, tropical forests, wide bays and lagoons.
Who and why should come to Phuket
Phuket, located on the coast of the Andaman Sea in the Indian Ocean, is a very popular Thai resort. The main secret of its attractiveness is a wide coastline covered with white fine sand, a gentle and smooth entrance to the sea.
Well-maintained and crowded beaches are located in the southern and western parts of the island. In Patong, Nai Harn, Karon, Kalima, hotels, water attractions, shops, restaurants are waiting for guests.
Phuket offers active people kayaking in Phang Nga Bay, river rafting, scuba diving, surfing, sport fishing. Extreme lovers go to the Adventure Park. There, among the tops of the trees, cables and suspension bridges are stretched, along which you need to walk while maintaining balance. It is easy to get a dose of adrenaline on karting — the island has adult and children’s tracks that allow you to feel like a real racer.
The Thai resort is famous not only for entertainment and beautiful nature. Tourists come here to see luxurious temples, Buddha statues, the historical center of Phuket. The National Museum and the Seashell Museum are very popular.
The island provides a varied cultural program for parents with children: swimming on the beach, riding the rides in Fantasia Park, walking in the botanical garden and the Sirinat nature reserve.
On vacation, you should try Thai national cuisine, which is distinguished by a combination of spicy, sweet, sour and salty tastes. The hallmark of the resort is fried rice, tom kha coke soup, papaya salad, seafood skewers and tropical fruits.
Old Phuket Town
In the 19th century, tin reserves were found in the depths of the island. The discovery attracted investors and Chinese settlers, who built the city of Phuket around the deposit, the architecture of which clearly shows Asian-Portuguese features.
On the central streets, low houses with columns and arches, decorated with Chinese lanterns, gongs, and carved figures of dragons, have been preserved. In the Old Town there are cozy cafes, massage parlors, hotels, museums, restaurants, Buddhist temples.
Bangla Road runs along the chic Patong Beach. Here are places of entertainment that attract tourists from all over the island. A brisk trade continues around the clock. Shops and street stalls are bursting with various goods.
In the evening, car traffic stops, and until the morning the street becomes a pedestrian zone. Dancers, singers, circus performers perform on the pavement flooded with bright lights. On both sides of the road, sports bars, cabarets, discos, and restaurants lure guests.
Night Bazaar in Phuket Town
In the Old City near Rama IX Park, it is easy to find a large weekend market, operating from sunset until midnight. Under the picturesque canopies are shops, stalls with goods. Here you can buy high-quality fakes of branded items, handmade souvenirs, live snakes, hamsters, fruits, Thai delicacies.
Buyers are waiting for massage parlors, restaurants, hairdressers. People come here to find out local news, make new acquaintances, buy things and products at a bargain price.
Previously, on the site of an ethnic village there was a real settlement with an original way of life. To attract foreigners, it was turned into a colorful attraction that introduces the customs and culture of the Thais. Today the village is the entertainment center of the island, built up with traditional houses.
The living quarters contain household items typical of the 19th century. In craft workshops, they show how to weave baskets, make clay pots, and sew clothes. The cafe serves national dishes and organizes cooking master classes. Local trainers tell how to hunt wild animals and teach how to deal with elephants, horses, bulls.
In the south of the island is a large Buddhist temple, Wat Chalong. The sanctuary, founded at the beginning of the 19th century, is under the patronage of the royal family and is a center of pilgrimage. The architectural complex consists of the main temple, a pavilion with statues of the gods, the abbot’s cell, a farewell hall, and outbuildings.
Big Buddha Statue
Between Kata Beach and Chalong Bay there is a mountain, on top of which there is a statue of the Big Buddha. The height of the white marble sculpture is 45 meters, the weight is 135 tons. The deity sits in a lotus position, his head is crowned with a golden pointed cap.
A huge statue, turned to face the sunrise, seems to be hovering over the island and looks calm and peaceful. To see all the details well, it is better to examine it from afar. There is a small museum next to the monument. The exhibition tells about Buddhism and the construction of the facility.
Wat Phra Nang
Phra Nang, erected 500 years ago, is considered the oldest in Phuket. The complex, surrounded by a bright fence, includes a wide courtyard, the main temple, and several ceremonial buildings. The sanctuary was built under the influence of Thai and Chinese mythology.
The interior is dominated by gold jewelry, red fabrics, paintings describing the life of the deity and historical events. In the courtyard there is a gilded sculpture of Buddha in the lotus position, a small reclining Buddha, statues of lions, tigers, dragons.
Pud-Jor Temple, dedicated to the Chinese goddess of mercy Quan Yin, is revered by the locals. People come here to ask for happiness in family life, health and good luck. To achieve the favor of the goddess, pilgrims leave gifts: candles, incense sticks, pearl necklaces, lotus flowers, fruits or pies.
The temple is furnished with sculptures of the goddess, red Chinese lanterns. The walls are decorated with gilded patterns, drawings and sculptures.
The center of Phuket Town is decorated with a three-tiered white tower, built in the neoclassical style in 2003. The graceful building has an arch and an openwork balcony.
At the top is a round clock. Around the building are planted flower beds, equipped with fountains and benches. Nearby there is a shopping center with shops, restaurants, a massage parlor, a children’s playground.
Phuket is the largest Orthodox church in Thailand, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The golden-domed church, lined with white marble, was built in Thalang in 2011 with donations from believers.
The interior walls were painted by artist Roman Bychkov. Next to the church is the Theological School. It includes a teaching church, a Sunday school building, and administrative buildings.
Monument to the Heroes of Phuket
In Phuket Town, not far from the building of the National Museum, there is a monument to two brave women who participated in the 1785 war with the Burmese. The sisters Chan and Muk took up arms, gathered a detachment and forced the enemy to retreat from their hometown. In 1967, a bronze monument was erected to them.
The white pedestal with statues reminds of the heroic past of the island. A wide marble staircase, decorated with stone sculptures of elephants and flowers, leads to it.
The famous landmark of Phuket is the Seahorse, which towers over the square in the eastern part of the Old Town.
A two-tiered fountain topped with a figure of a horse is surrounded by green lawns and neatly trimmed fruit trees. Smooth alleys are laid along the square, there are decorative flower pots, benches for rest. In the evenings, the walking area is illuminated by bright lanterns.
In Phuket Town, near Chinatown, you can see a beautiful stone dragon covered in gold paint. It was installed with the money of local businessmen in 2006.
The grand opening of the monument was timed to coincide with the birthday of the Thai Queen Sirikit and held with great pomp. Tourists combine visiting the Golden Dragon with a visit to the city park, planted nearby.
The largest museum on the island has opened its doors in Thalang, telling about the turbulent history of Thailand. Archaeological finds, ancient stone statues, medieval weapons, household items, national costumes, jewelry made of gold, pearls, sea shells, statues of gods and things raised from sunken ships are exhibited in spacious halls. Separate expositions tell about the heroism of the warrior sisters and the tsunami that hit Phuket in 2004.
Apichart Art Gallery
An art gallery has been opened in Patong, attracting connoisseurs of contemporary art. The guests are presented with paintings in the style of modernism, expressionism, avant-garde. Among the exhibits are engravings, clay vases, marble sculptures.
All works of art are for sale. The purchase is easy to checkout at a reasonable price. Local artists who work at the gallery paint portraits and landscapes to order.
A fun pastime for the whole family is provided by the 3D museum, equipped in Phuket in 2013. It allows you to become the hero of three-dimensional paintings on various topics. Visitors have access to masterpieces of world art, stories from cartoons, natural landscapes, architecture of cities around the world. During the tour, you can relax and take amazing photos.
In the Rawai area, not far from the beach, there is a Seashell Museum. The exposition occupies two tiers in a multi-storey building. On the ground floor there are shells found in different parts of the globe. The collection includes murex with spines, giant snails covered with patterns, corals, cephalopods, pearls.
There is a gift shop on the ground floor. On sale are paintings of shells, pearl jewelry, corals and shells found off the coast of Thailand.
In Phuket, a Chinese-colonial architectural complex has been preserved, including a beautiful mansion, a cozy courtyard, and outbuildings. The interior of the estate clearly demonstrates how the family of a wealthy planter of the last century lived.
Part of the house has been converted into a museum and is available to tourists. Visitors are shown Italian floor tiles, antique furniture imported from China and Europe, a collection of paintings, pottery, kerosene lamps.
Tai Hua Museum
There is a large colonial mansion in the Old City — it used to be a school for Chinese settlers. Now it is a public building, where a museum and temporary exhibitions are open. On the tour, guests watch documentaries about the history of Phuket and learn about the role of the Chinese in the development of this province.
Among the exhibits of the museum are tools for tin mining, rare photographs, documents and things belonging to famous people of the city.
Natural attractions and parks
Several hectares of land in the Muang area is occupied by a botanical garden. Trees and shrubs are planted in traditional Thai style. The territory is decorated with ponds, Chinese lanterns, benches, fountains. Along the paths are sculptures of animals and deities. Golden carps live in the lakes.
The park area is divided into zones. The largest are:
- tropical fruit garden,
- artificial forest with palm trees, ferns and lianas,
- english park,
- rose garden,
- pavilion with orchids, medicinal herbs and spices.
Farm in Chalong is an exciting attraction that introduces king cobras and Thai python. During the 45-minute show, the trainer makes the snakes do a variety of tricks and amuses the audience.
After the performance, tourists take pictures with poisonous cobras and go to a store selling drugs from snake venom, Korean ginseng, reishi mushroom. The local restaurant serves coffee, buns and snake dishes.
To admire the natural landscape, people go to Promthep Cape. The picturesque mountain in the south of the island is a natural viewing platform — from it you can see a gorgeous panorama of the sea and sandy beaches.
On the hill rises a lighthouse erected in honor of King Bhumipol the Great. Nearby are a shipping museum, a temple of the god Brahma, cafes, and souvenir shops. Around the houses are numerous painted figurines of elephants made of stone and wood.
In the northwestern part of the island, the Sirinat National Park is located, consisting of the purest white sand beaches. From November to February, giant tortoises can be seen coming ashore to lay their eggs. The beaches are lined with tropical forests, mango and almond groves.
Magpies, nightingales, drongos, sea eagles, kingfishers and spotted pigeons nest in the trees. The animal world is represented by snakes, lizards, monkeys. At a distance of 1000 m from the coast there are coral reefs. Shrimp, sea bass, rays and jellyfish live in the water.
A private farm in Phuket, opened in 1973, specializes in growing orchids. Garden workers cross varieties and create new types of royal flowers. Numerous flower beds are planted with orchids of various shapes and sizes. Tourists can buy their favorite seedlings in the store.
The bird park in Phuket has become home to 1,000 birds from Asia, Africa, and South America. The vast open-air area is surrounded by a fine mesh. Inside, among the trees and shrubs, cockatoos, macaws, grays, lovebirds, hornbills and ostriches live.
All visitors are shown an interesting show with the participation of birds. For a small fee, adults and children can buy a piece of corn and feed the parrots, which are not at all afraid of people.
Bang Pae Waterfall
The largest waterfall on the island is located in the vicinity of Phuket Town in the Khao Phra Theo National Park. This is a great place for a picnic and family vacation. The trail to the waterfall passes through the jungle.
A gibbon rehabilitation center has been opened in the shade of trees. Huge monkeys are kept in cages, and you can’t get close to them. A ten-meter steep waterfall flows along the rock and falls into a picturesque lake. On the shore of the reservoir there are cafes and places for barbecue.
The Royal Tiger House opened in Phuket in 2008. This is not an ordinary zoo, but a research center where the most comfortable conditions for animals are created. Big cats live in spacious enclosures, surrounded by care.
The staff of the center offer tourists to watch an entertaining show, communicate with animals, and take vivid photographs. Tiger Kingdom has a restaurant overlooking the park and a gift shop selling soft toys, key chains, calendars, bags and clothes.
The wide coastal zone in the west of the island is covered with fine white sand with a high content of quartz. The southern part of the beach is surrounded by a reef with branched corals of purple, blue, green, yellow. Sea sponges, crustaceans and molluscs live in the water.
In the north side of Karon water attractions, bars, cafes and restaurants are concentrated. Hotels and hotel cottages rise along the beach, interspersed with car parks.
An oceanarium has been opened in Phuket to get acquainted with the marine fauna. It contains large and small reservoirs with water, in which hundreds of fish, molluscs, and algae live. The collection includes seahorses, clownfish, electric stingrays, perches.
The main highlight of the aquarium is a tunnel that simulates diving to the seabed. Passing through it, tourists watch fish in their natural habitat, admire corals and giant shells.
A large pearl farm is located on the small island of Coconut near Phuket. Anyone can order a visit to the enterprise. During the tour, guests are told how artificial pearls are grown and show all the stages of working on it.
The exhibition hall contains large and small pearls, as well as jewelry made by local jewelers. All products can be bought at the farm store. There are also gold and silver bracelets, rings, earrings with pink, white or silver pearls on sale.
Entertainment complex “Fantasy” on the coast of Kamala guarantees a lot of positive emotions. Playgrounds, modern attractions, bars, restaurants with Thai delicacies, themed clubs are concentrated here.
Resting in the park, adults and children ride elephants, feed golden carps in the local pond, look into the village of crafts, learn how to perform tricks, admire the pyrotechnic show and dances.