Phuket, a rainforested, mountainous island in the Andaman Sea, has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, mainly situated along the clear waters of the western shore. The island is home to many high-end seaside resorts, spas and restaurants. Phuket City, the capital, has old shophouses and busy markets. Patong, the main resort town, has many nightclubs, bars and discos.
Visible from most of the south of Phuket, the giant Buddha image sits 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 tall. 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.
Phi Phi Island
Phi Phi Island is Thailand’s superstar island, particularly famous for its central role in the 2000 movie The Beach. It’s the topic of conversation for travellers all over Thailand. For some, it’s the only reason to touchdown in Phuket. Even with all the hype, it doesn’t disappoint. Phi Phi’s beauty is a large chunk of the allure. The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to beach-fronted jungle. It’s love at first sight.
Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
For any keen rum drinkers the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is sure to whet your appetite, the company produces high end white rum which is now starting to be noticed around the world. There is lots to do when you arrive at the distillery, you start by taking a tour where you will learn about the way the rum is produced before taking a look at the work that goes on behind the scenes. The final part of the trip is in the cocktail workshop and bar, here you will learn how to make various cocktails that all include Chalong Bay Rum and then relax while you sample them.
Karon View Point
Sitting just to the south of Kata Noi Beach is Karon View Point, it is the most popular viewpoint in Phuket and is normally crowded with tourists on a daily basis. The viewpoint looks out over the Andaman Sea in one direction and the other direction points towards the three west coast beaches on the other side of the island. If you like looking at white sandy beaches and beautiful blue seas you will understand why it is so busy at the top.