Berlitz and Insight Guides
WHAT TO DO
Phuket boasts a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities to suit all ages. Be sure to check in advance for details of festivals at your time of travel. Many are extravagant, unique and well worth witnessing.
The main attraction of Thailand’s largest island lies in its sandy beaches and sapphire water. A lot of visitors are content to take part in no physical activity beyond the flipping of book pages and basking in the sun, but Phuket has more to offer than relaxation and a guaranteed tan.
Boats, jet skis and surfboards can be hired along the main beaches, where rides on banana boats and rubber rings are also arranged. Hat Patong is the best place to head for jet skis and parasailing, where surfboards and windsurfers can also be hired. These are more popular however around the headlands of Hat Kata, where the Quicksilver surfing competition takes place each September.
Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta and Krabi are all only a few hours away, and a number of smaller islands to the south of Phuket can be visited by longtail boat on a day trip.
For a rush of adrenalin – not to mention the scare of your life – Jungle Bungee at the base of Patong Hill offers the chance to leap from a crane suspended over a large lake. Also on Patong Hill are two go-kart tracks, which are open daily and equipped with floodlights to enable night rides. There are ATV quad bikes, paintball, a shooting gallery and snakes shows at various locations around the island.
Thai cookery courses run from a half-day to a full weekend. Most begin with a visit to a local market to select fresh foods, followed by a guided demonstration on how to prepare and cook some of the more common dishes.
‘[FEATURE]’ Safety by the sea. Phuket’s waters are generally very calm, and it is usually only outside of the high season that they become choppy. Lifeguards patrol the main beaches and the internationally recognised coloured flag system is always in use. Particularly during monsoon season, surface waters that appear deceptively calm can mask strong undercurrents and around a dozen tourists drown each year despite warnings. Do not risk becoming a statistic and if you see a red flag, do not go in the water. In the worst case scenario, should you get caught in a rip do not try to fight it. Swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the rip and can make your way back to shore safely. With its close proximity to the equator, just 10 minutes on a Phuket Beach is comparable to around one hour on a scorching day in Europe. Sea breezes and a humid atmosphere mask the suns full power, making heatstroke, sunstroke and severe sunburn extremely common. Use a higher factor than you think you need and avoid the midday sun. ‘[FEATURE]’