Phuket is more than just a tropical getaway.
When it comes to tropical getaways, Phuket is usually top of the list. Each image is laced with crystal clear water, stunning beaches and luxurious resorts. But, Phuket is much more than this. Think night strolls through busy bazaars and grooving through the evening in bars and nightclubs. Think eclectic theme parks that are reminiscent of Disneyland showcasing amazing circus-styled shows and performances. Think a resplendent pilgrimage through the spiritual side of Thailand.
Here are five reasons why you need to visit Phuket, Thailand.
The best beach-spotting in Asia
Before we get into the other eclectic activities you can do in Phuket, we must mention the beaches. You don’t visit this part of Thailand without having beach-spotting on the agenda. It is, after all, tropical. One of the popular beaches in Phuket is Freedom Beach (pictured above) which can be reached by hiring a longtail boat in Patong. The best and smallest beach is Ya Nui Beach. It’s under 200 metres long but packs a punch with the tourists. But, the ultimate beach spotting is on a longtail boat to Phi Phi Islands. The steep rock formations that surround these islands are distinct to the region and really bring out the sandy beaches that are scattered around it. Plus, for the movie buffs, Phi Phi Islands was also featured in a range of films including James Bond Tomorrow Never Dies starring Pierce Brosnan.
Experiencing the night-time economy
By day, Phuket is a tropical oasis, especially between the months of November and April when the weather is balmy and pretty. But by night, the main city hub becomes a beating drum with markets and bars bringing vibrancy to the area. The markets are unlike others in the western world, where live entertainment becomes the drawcard. Speaking of live entertainment, we recommend checking out the local cabaret scene, where ladyboys share acts that range from comedy to visually stunning musical numbers. Lastly, we can’t forget the clubbing scene. We recommend Dream Beach Club.
Lapping up nature on foot
Beaches are nice and all, but don’t forget to trundle inland and up mountains to get the full beauty of this wonderful place. The most notable natural attraction is Khao Phra Taew National Park which is the last natural rainforest in Phuket. Visiting during the wet season will give you a grand showcase of the famous waterfall, Ton Sai. We recommend taking guided hikes through these parts of Phuket. But be warned that most of the hikes are not recommended for beginners or physically challenged.
Making a day out at Phuket FantaSea
This is a theme park in the literal sense. Don’t expect to find cool thrill rides and rollercoasters, but do expect to see and witness some of the most culturally exciting shows and scenery. It is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture that is enjoyed in this part of Thailand. The main attractions range from bazaars, animal viewings, restaurants, theatres and a fireworks extravaganza. But what you’ll most enjoy here is the themed areas, sharing mystic creatures, animals and quirky performers.
Uncovering the remarkable history
One of the most important reasons to visit any country or region is to uncover its past. Phuket is no different, featuring a long and wavering history. It was an important pit stop for ships travelling to India from China, where they’d wait for the monsoon rains to pass before continuing their journey. Fun fact: Phuket was a major source for tin and rubber, with the latter causing irreparable destruction of most of the environment on the island. It was only in the 1970s when Phuket began to grow into a popular tourist destination. The reason why it’s important to uncover the past is that it brings meaning to our own lives. Perhaps the future of Phuket can be seen in their Big Buddha statue that was erected in 2004. Peace will continue to reign in this powerful part of Thailand.
Feature image: Day2505 / Shutterstock