For many tourists, Phuket & the Andaman Sea¬†area is a heaven on Earth¬†Phuket is frequently voted one of the top tourist destinations in the world because of¬†its beauty, the warmth of the Thai people, its food and culture, and because it is still¬†one of the most cost-effective places to visit in the world.
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.
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‚Äôs playground with something to¬†offer no matter what the season is, backed by a wide range of¬†accommodation ‚Äď 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 ‚Äúdry‚ÄĚ season running from¬†November to May and the ‚Äúwet‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúdry‚ÄĚ 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¬†orthern section of Phang Nga Bay.
During the ‚Äúdry‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúwet‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúdry‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúfly‚ÄĚ 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¬†‚Äúladyboys.‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôt 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‚Äôt 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 ‚ÄúSino-Portuguese‚ÄĚ¬†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.