A rain-forested island in the Andaman Sea, Phuket is home to Thailand's most popular beaches!
Phuket is famous for
Must see in a lifetime
Serene beaches and Southern Thai culture
I am heading to Phuket
Getting to Phuket
Transit time: 8hrs from major cities
Cost ₹11,180 per person
Find yourself get lost in paradise as you spend time in Phuket. The sandy beaches, the exotic food and the closeness of nature that one gets to encounter can be the experience of a lifetime. From sin city to maritime adventure activities, the collection of islands caters to various types of tourist activities.
Phuket first finds mention in the chronicles of Portuguese explorer and adventurer, Fernao Mendes Pinto. During the 16th century, Phuket was named "Junk Ceylon" by most European explorers. Junk Ceylon at the time was a destination port where trading ships usually stopped over to resupply their stocks with various provisions. The port soon fell into disrepute in the following years as the Islands became the regular haunt of pirates. The port further reduced in popularity as the waters were often rough and unpredictable.
That soon changed when it was discovered that the Island was a rich source for Tin. The colonial powers, namely the French, Dutch and English began to compete in an attempt to gain access and influence in the region. The French gained a complete monopoly in 1685 but were soon expelled after the Siamese revolution in 1688.
Phuket had another aggressor in 1785, this time from Burma. The Burmese laid siege to the island for over a month but were finally repulsed by the brave and heroic town folk. It is said that the women played a vital role in defending the island, so much so that King Rama I showered titles upon them.
Phuket was in the news in 2004 as a devastating Tsunami hit its shores on 26 December 2004. The tsunami, which was triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean, resulted in the death of 250 tourists in Phuket. Many of the hotels and resorts received massive damage as a result of the tsunami. The government of Thailand was caught unprepared as this was a freak show by nature. The region is not known to have had tsunamis before. The government, however, started an aggressive campaign to restore all damaged sites. Today one would find it hard to see any of the damage sustained during the tsunami. As an extra precaution, Thailand has placed 22 Tsunami Buoys in the Indian Ocean to give advance warning of any tsunami in the region.
Type of holiday experience
Phuket offers a fun-filled holiday for people of all ages
â— One can explore the light blue waters that surround the Island. The shallow waters allow the light to penetrate the waters all the way to the bottom at many locations. Phuket is an ideal location for water activities such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking and much more.
â— Embrace mother nature and all its creations by interacting with various animals. From Elephants to monkeys, Phuket is as diverse as it is harmonious.
â— Phuket has a vibrant nightlife with a plethora of shows and activities to show to choose from. Clubbing, live shows, stage performances, music festivals and Thai wrestling are just a few of the many attractions. So get ready to awaken the night owl within if you so choose!
â— No place in Thailand can be mentioned without talking about its food. Phuket is no different. The lovely aromas that fill the air along with the various dishes with spices are the heart and soul of the Thai experience.
â— To all the night owls looking for a fun night, Bangla road in Patong Beach is the place for you. As the sun sets, the people pour into the streets and the neon lights get switched on. Clubs, bars, and girls often compete with each other to get your attention.
â— To those interested in a nature walk, Monkey hill is the right place for you. It is a steep uphill climb for about an hour where you get to encounter batches of friendly monkey troupes. The view on top is phenomenal and the watching the well-mannered monkeys can be a treat in itself.
â— The SOI Dog Foundation is an NGO that takes care of injured, sick or destitute dogs. Dog lovers would love this place and while adoption can be a bit tricky, the large canine population would leave any dog lover starry-eyed.
â— Surf house is a great way to experience surfing without actually riding the waves. This artificial tide simulator allows people to experience the thrill of surfing without much risk. Even a novice can try their hand out and the funky beats playing in the background gets you pumped up and ready for action.
â— The Phuket Trickeye Museum is a fun filled attraction when compared to other museums. An imaginative endeavour by the establishment, the entire museum is a photoshop software come to life. The photo gallery lets you share space with some famous celebrities, become part of modern art or transport you to into comical situations.
â— Nai Harn Beach is flanked by hills on either side, thus keeping the waters relatively calm compared to other beaches. The light blue water is clear enough for one to see the aquatic life scurry away as you reach towards them. A perfect destination for children and families, Nai Harn Beach provides people of every age the thrill to just enjoy the fruits of nature. The rocky backdrop against the cyan coloured water makes you feel as though you've landed in a tropical paradise.
â— The Tiger Kingdom park is an attraction that cannot be missed. The tiger population around the world are dwindling to abysmal levels due to poaching. In light of this, the Tiger Kingdom initiative is mainly directed at increasing the population of tigers through captive breeding. The money is raised by allowing tourists to pose for photos alongside these killing machines. To say that it is an exhilarating experience to sit next to this terrifying predator is an understatement. Unlike their counterparts in the wild, these tigers are docile and friendly due to their extensive interaction with people.
â— Wat Chalong is an important piece of history in Phuket. An imposing building with an ornate rooftop, this building is the most revered out of a set of 29 Buddhist temples that at located in Phuket. It is dedicated to Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang. These heroes led the locals in the Chinese rebellion of 1876. It is said that they used their special knowledge in herbal medicine to heal the wounded. The temple is 60 m in height and houses a splinter of bone from Buddha. The walls and ceiling are rich with illustrations of the life of Buddha as well as numerous golden statues.
Favourite Local Foods
â— Massaman curry is a delicate, silky and rich chicken dish. Ingredients include chicken, coconut milk, tamarind pulp, and Massaman curry paste. The dish is rich in oil and goes great with rice, roti, and parathas.
â— Gai Med Ma Muang is a sweet dish made of chicken, cashew nuts, water chestnuts, and spring onions. This subtly spiced dish is the perfect dish for those whose palates have not gotten accustomed to the spiciness of Thai cuisine. This stir fried dish is easily available as fruits are found in abundance in Phuket.
Favourite Local Things to Buy
â— Figurines of elephants and frogs are one of the most popular souvenir items in Phuket. They come in great a many sizes and can be made of either lacquered wood, metal or stone. Starting at a little over 50 Bahts, these household decorations can be purchased from the Expo in Phuket.
â— Phuket is home to some very exotic species of fruit. When in Phuket don't forget to try out some of these exquisite delights. The Durian fruits, known as the king of fruits tops the list. Though some find its smell repulsive and putrid, the majority of Phuket's inhabitants consider this sweet fruit a mix of cottage cheese, onion sauce and sherry. The Mangosteen is Thailand's national fruit and has a delightful sherbet-like taste. The Rambutan, which has a hairy exterior resembles that of lychee in texture and tastes more like a grape. Finally, the purple dragon fruit is a must try before leaving Phuket. Don't let its devilish looks fool you as it's creamy insides are intricately dotted with small black seeds and are a visual treat.
â— The Phuket walking street is a newly started, weekly market catering to a more family oriented crowd. The market has a mix of Chinese, Muslim and Indian shops. Food, local handicrafts, and gift stalls predominate the market. Souvenirs are the hottest selling item in this marketplace. Some enterprising young locals also sell T-shirts in the vicinity. A free trampoline and presence of toy stalls are specially kept to entertain the younger crowd.
â— The Phuket Weekend Market, known locally as the Naka Market is a shopper's haven. Open on the weekends from 4 pm to 9 pm, this semi-open market is a mixed bag of second-hand goods, curios, live animals, pirated items and local food stalls. Those who want to partake in some delicious treats can do so at the entrance, which fills the air with mouth-watering aroma. Spicy sausages, grilled chicken and even fried insects make it to the menu here.
â— What shopping guide of Phuket would be complete without mentioning Thai silk. Thai silks which can cost an approximate of 500 baht and upwards. Always beware of cheap imitations that are also available in the marketplace. The most reliable outlet to shop for Thai silks is at Jim Thompsons.
Things to do in Phuket
â— Getting too tired of lazing on the beautiful beaches? Pump up the adrenaline by taking up some go-karting. The race track with three sharp turns is enough to give you a rush for the rest of the day.
â— Phuket beaches have many water sports activities that one can take part in. Kite surfing, snorkelling and surfing are some of the activities one take part in while in Phuket.
â— Try out the elephant safari in Phuket through Siam Safari. A trip on top of these gentle giants will take you up the hill from where you can have a good view of the bay below.
â— With so much Thai Food around, wouldn't it be a great idea to try to learn some of it yourself? Phuket is filled with crash courses on how to cook authentic Thai Food. The language of instruction is normally in English. Courses often range from as little as five days to as long as a month. At the end of the course, some even provide you with a diploma in Thai cuisines.
Indian Food Joints
â— Curry Night Indian Restaurant is an authentic Indian restaurant serving the best of Indian cuisines. From South Indian pappadams to Kashmiri Naan, the Restaurant covers the length of India in terms of cuisine. It has a host of vegetarian dishes such as Palak paneer and onion bhajis.
â— Don't let the name fool you; the Arabian restaurant offers some exquisite Indian food. Chilli chicken, chicken vindaloo, paneer masala, and samosas are all cooked to perfection in this restaurant.
â— Get ready to loosen your belt buckles at ICC Indian Curry House. The delicious food served includes some heavenly butter chicken, garlic naan, and biryani. With excellent service and free wifi, what more could one ask for?
Best Time to Visit Phuket
June to October is the rainy season in Phuket. Much like India, Thailand also experiences the monsoon. Hotels and restaurants usually see a drop in footfall and the prices drop accordingly. Those who don't wish to spend lavishly can benefit by visiting Phuket during this time.
November to February is the cool season in Phuket. The time is pleasant, and the crowds are plentiful. During this time of the year, the temperature does not cross more than 30-degree celsius. One can relax for long hours on the beach without worrying too much.
March to May are the hottest months in Phuket. The Thai new year and the Songkran festival are celebrated during this time of the year. Those who love festivals can't miss out on this and can make travel plans for this time of the year.
There is so much to see in Phuket.
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