An island with so much to do and so large, that it doesn’t even feel like an island, Phuket Island is Thailand’s largest measuring an impressive 48km in length. Phuket is located in Southern Thailand, on the west facing Andaman Sea coastline. Phuket is divided into four main regions: Western Phuket (the most popular region known for its calm waters and nightlife), Southeastern Phuket (off-beat beaches), Interior Phuket (largely untouched by tourists and consists of fishing villages, small Muslim communities, and shrimp farms), and Phang Nga Bay (a series of beautiful islands known for its beautiful beaches.)
Phuket’s Big Buddha sits atop the Nakkerd Hills and is visible from half the island. The 45m high Buddha sits on Phuket’s finest viewpoint. Construction of the Bidg Buddha began in 2007 and is generally referred to as Phuket’s most important project in the last 100 years. Phuket’s most southern point houses Laem Phromthep which provides great views of the Andaman Sea.
Phuket also houses the impressive Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife & Forest Reserve which protects 23 square kilometers of island rainforest. The Reserve is home to wildlife such as tigers, Malayan sun bears, rhinos, and elephants. The highest point of the Reserve is Khao Phara.
Thalang National Museum is an excellent museum that chronicles the island’s history from prehistoric times with Thai and English language displays. Sirinat National Park comprises of the beaches of Nai Thon, Nai Yang, and Mai Khao. It is a park that encompasses over 20 kilometers of coastal land plus 68 kilometers of sea, stretching from the northern end of Ao Bang Thao to the northernmost tip of the island. Wat Chalong is a three tiered salmon pink temple that has 36 Buddhas seated around its elaborate exterior. Other highlights on Phuket include: Wat Phra Thong, Phuket Thaihua Museum, Chyn Pracha House, Khao Rang, Wat Karon, Phuket Art Village, and Thavorn Hotel.
Due to its location, visitors can opt for visiting various Thailand islands from Phuket for magical day trips. Visitors can travel by motorboat and kayaks to less visited parts of Phang Nga Bay where they will be able to see caves and secret lagoons. In addition, visitors will be able to swim in the beautiful turquoise waters. Visitors can also take a boat to neighboring Phi Phi Islands which are considered the most beautiful islands in the Anadaman Sea. Here visitors will be able to discover the tropical landscape of Maya Bay as well as enjoy delicious dining options. For those that would enjoy a more adventurous excursion, visitors can go on a half day safari tour on the Chalong highlands.
Phuket is accustomed to visitors from other parts of the world so there are variety of accommodation options including luxurious hotel resorts, mid-range hotels, bed and breakfast establishments, inns, motels, and vacation rentals. Lodging inland is generally less expensive than staying near the water/beaches, and the city center is generally overlooked because of the beach. Consider staying close to downtown to get a taste of local life.
As mentioned before, Phuket is a large island and public transportation is very limited, so it is recommended to take taxis or their native tuk-tuks. Hotels generally offer shuttle bus service and also have taxi and personal driver services for hire.
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