Can you picture this: lying back on a beach chair in the cool shade of an umbrella? Beautiful turquoise water gently laps a pearly white soft sand beach. Puffy white cotton ball clouds just hang in the sharp blue sky. There is no sound. It is idyllic.
Nearby, a Thai lady is massaging a client in the deep shade of her awning. The client is almost asleep. The massage is heavenly.
Further back from the beach is a beautiful resort; far enough away to give you a sense of isolation, but close enough for you to return to your room, or the pool, or to a favorite bar.
You are not worrying about the bank manager as this trip is not costing you an arm and a leg. You think you have arrived in heaven on Earth. You have.
Phuket and the surrounding Andaman Sea area is frequently voted one of the top tourist destinations in the world for very good reasons.
The area is stunningly beautiful, with fine white sand beaches overhung by tropical green trees, warm clear waters offering a huge range of marine sports activities, amazing sea cliffs, warm friendly Thais, and some of the best food available anywhere in the world.
It is a holiday-maker’s playground with something to offer no matter what the season is, backed by a wide range of accommodation – from the super luxurious, to the very best deluxe, to basic and budget.
Some say it is paradise on Earth. Others say it is heaven on Earth. Whatever label you want to use, Phuket is certainly a great destination for the tourist.
The following is some general information that we hope readers find helpful. There is also some specific information of which travelers might want to take note.
Phuket has two seasons. The “dry” season running from November to May and the “wet” season running from May until November. Both offer quite different activities for visitors and both are worthy of consideration.
Many tourists visit Phuket during the “dry” season when the breeze comes in from the north-east. This normally means the western beaches along the island are near flat calm with either a gentle lapping of sea on these beautiful west-facing beaches, or a nice friendly swell if a wind is coming in from the Indian Ocean.
It can be a busy time for tourist operators with many day trips to the outer islands like Phi Phi Don or Phi Phi Lei, or trips into the other section of Phang Nga Bay.
During the “dry” season, the temperatures range from 21 to 34 degrees Celsius with the cooler period running from November to February. April is the hottest month of the year.
The wind comes from the south-west during the “wet” season which can create surf along the west coast of Phuket, but very calm conditions in Phang Nga Bay. This season is more humid and it can pour with rain, but this rain normally clears quickly leaving a clear sky. This can be a spectacular time of the year for photographers.
So what can you do with your time in Phuket?
Many tourists just lie on the beaches. These are generally wide with soft sand and backed by trees for shade. Many of the popular beaches feature loungers and umbrellas, which you can rent for the day. Most beaches during the “dry” season are safe with no undertow.
On some beaches you can take a para-sail. These are huge parachutes towed by a speed boat. A guide will “fly” with you and help with the take-off and landing. They are very exciting. Most of the big beaches also have massage facilities as well as some drink and food.
Many of the hotels, resorts and spas are close to the beach. Some back on to the beach so you can choose either to hang out around the hotel pool or swim in the sea, or both. All have information on the things you can do during your stay in Phuket.
A popular thing to do is take a trip in a speed boat to Phi Phi Don and/or Phi Phi Lei. The latter was made famous by the film
The Beach. The huge limestone cliffs on both islands will give you a sense of what you could see if you take another trip to the northern end of Phang Nga Bay.
In the north of Phang Nga Bay are more than 40 islands, many of them gigantic limestone sculptures that rear vertically from the ilky-green sea. You will never forget a visit to this area, never.
If you are keen on fishing, then there are many possibilities. These range from trips for beginners, to serious big game fishing excursions, normally to the south end of Koh Racha. Your hotel will help with recommendations.
Scuba diving trips are normally to the area around Phi Phi Don and there are longer live- board excursions to the Simian Islands, rated in the top ten dive sites in the world. There is excellent snorkeling as well.
And then there is the night life. Most hotels, resorts and spas have their own entertainment, but there is also plenty of action to be found around the island. A good introduction is to wander down Bangla Road in Patong after 6.30pm. The road runs from east to west towards the beach. It is a walking street, closed to traffic at night, when it becomes the haunt of many, including the famed “ladyboys.”
There are a huge number of bars and restaurants to choose from and the Jungceylon and Promenade Shopping Malls are always a good escape from the heat and noise. Don’t forget to visit the Surin area in the north and Karon, Kata and Rawai in the south. All are worth a visit and each area has its own special appeal.
And don’t forget the center of the island around Central Festival, and Phuket Town itself. The latter is the main administration center. It also includes a very old “Sino-Portuguese” area bounded by Dibruk, Phuket, Rasada and Yaowarat Roads. There are excellent restaurants in this area tucked away and not always obvious. Get yourself a brochure and map and go visit.
Transport across the island is cheap. There are Tuk Tuk trucks and even motor bikes for the adventurous. Some of the out-of-theway places to visit include the Royal Phuket Marina (restaurants, art gallery, coffee shops and a very exclusive Paul Ropp clothing store), the seafood restaurants at Laem Hin Port just north of Phuket Town (rustic but a real gem for foodies) and the Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening market on Anuphas Road (which runs east/west between Chaofa West and Phuket Town.
Scuba diving trips are normally to the area around Phi Phi Don and there are longer live-aboard excursions to the Simian Islands, rated in the top ten dive sites in the world.