Phuket (pronounced 'Poo-ket') is a large island in the off the Thailand's west coast, in the Andaman Sea. The island is about the size of Singapore, with some 40kms (25 miles) of beaches. Phuket is located about 900 kms south from the nation's capital, Bangkok, and is connected to the mainland by a 100 meter-long causeway.
Phuket's population of 1.6 million people ranks sixth among all provinces in Thailand. The province is the richest in Thailand (on a per capita basis) and second only to Bangkok in real terms.
In the past, the island derived much of its wealth from tin production, which began in Phuket over 500 years ago. The presence of tin attracted European colonial powers such as the Portuguese and British. Many Chinese and Malay workers also came to Phuket as labourers to work in the tin mines. This mix of different cultures has given Phuket a flavour of its own. The influence of the Chinese and Portuguese are still evident in the old town today. There is also a strong muslim community in Phuket, with about 35% of the island's population being muslims of Malay descent.
Only a few of Phuket's cities are not on the beach.
Phuket Town - The administrative center of the province, and the island's main population center. Has the cheapest accommodation, but no beaches.
Chalong Bay - On the east coast, home to Phuket's most popular yacht anchorage and the primary gateway to the islands off Phuket
Map of Phuket
The major beaches from north to south are:
Mai Khao (Sai Kaeo) - near the airport, very quiet (aside from the planes!) and far away from it all
Nai Thon and Nai Yang - two quiet beaches in Sirinat National Park
Bang Thao (Laguna Beach) - long, very quiet beach
Surin and Pansea Beach - an up-and-coming upmarket destination
Laem Sing - small bay with stunning views, between Kamala Beach and Surin Beach
Kamala Beach - a quieter beach to the north of Patong
Kalim Beach - a series of small beaches just to the north of Patong
Patong Beach - the largest beach resort, known for its nightlife
Karon and Karon Noi Beaches - the second most-developed beach after Patong
Kata Yai Beach - busy, clean tourist beach with good surf
Kata Noi Beach - quieter sister of Kata Yai
Nai Han and Ao Sen - a quiet beach (probably the best) in the south, near Phromthep Cape view point
Ya Nui Beach
Rawai, Mittraphap and Laem Ka - set off point for lots of local islands, popular with locals for eating on the beach
Cape Panwa - home to Phuket Aquarium
Sunset at Bon Island
There are dozens of small islands (ko) between Phuket and Krabi. The following have accommodation:
Ko Bon — 10 minutes from Rawai, an ideal island for a day of snorkeling and relaxing.
Ko Hae (Coral Island) — 15 minutes by speedboat from Chalong Bay, accessible all year.
Ko Lon — quiet, mostly Muslim island with a few bungalows
Ko Mai Thon — gorgeous little island with only one (expensive) place to stay
Ko Maphrao (Coconut Island)
Ko Racha (Ko Raya) — consists of two islands (Yai and Noi), popular with scuba divers and a relaxing snorkeling destination.
Ko Sire (Ko Si Le) — Sea Gypsy colony, connected to the mainland by a causeway
Ko Yao — two islands halfway to Krabi, with four upmarket resorts
Phuket nestles in balmy Andaman Sea waters on Thailand’s Indian Ocean coastline 862 kilometres south of Bangkok.
Phuket formerly derived its wealth from tin and rubber, and enjoyed a rich and colourful history. The island was on one of the major trading routes between India and China, and was frequently mentioned in foreign trader’s ship logs.
In recent times, though, Phuket's top earner has been tourism, which has transformed the island into Thailand's wealthiest province. The west coast of Phuket was hit severely by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, but almost no evidence of the damage now remains.
Phuket enjoys great popularity as a travel destination. Most beaches are on the west coast, with Phuket Town to the south-east and the airport in the north.
Phuket is hot and humid throughout the year. The hot season is generally considered to be from November to May. During the summer monsoon season, mornings and afternoons are still sunny and clear, but it tends to rain in the evenings and water clarity goes down. Locals consider May to October the "cool" season, and the weather is quite tolerable, much more so than in the tourism centers around the Gulf coast. It's comparable to Florida's summer weather in temperature and intensity of rain storms: 25-33 deg C, flying clouds, short and thunderous rainfalls in the afternoons and evenings. Surfing is possible off the western beaches.
Phuket is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas is Muslim. Outside of the provincial town, the rural folk speak with a thick Southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand. The provincial town’s economy having boomed over the past decade has lead to a lot of the youngsters leading similar lives to those in Bangkok. Altogether, the lifestyle of the urban Thai-Chinese resembles that of Bangkokians.
Festivals and Events
Phuket Vegetarian Festival - an annual event held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. It is believed that the vegetarian festival and its accompanying sacred rituals bestow good fortune upon those who religiously observe this rite. During this time, local residents of Chinese ancestry strictly observe a 10-day vegetarian or vegan diet for the purposes of spiritual cleansing and merit-making. Sacred rituals are performed at various Chinese shrines and temples and ascetic displays such as walking barefooted over hot coals and ascending ladders with bladed rungs are performed by entranced devotees known as "Ma Song".
Thao Thepkrasattri and Thao Sisunthon Fair is held on March 13 every year to commemorate the two great heroines who rallied the Thalang people to repel Burmese invaders. Many activities and celebrations are organised.
Seafood Festival , held around May yearly, is designed to publicise the delicious seafood of Phuket and attract visitors during the rainy season. Activities include a Marine Tourism Resources Parade, seafood stalls, demonstrations of regional cuisines and cultural shows.
Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is held in December. The Kata Beach Resort hosts international yachtsmen, largely from neighbouring countries who compete in the Kata Beach area for royal trophies.
Phuket Raceweek Four days of professionally-run, international-standard yacht racing, off Phuket's East Coast..
Laguna Phuket Triathlon is held in each December. The triathlon (a 1,800 - metre swim, a 5.5 -kilometre bike race and a 12-kilometre run and a 6 –kilometre fun run) attracts world-class athletes from all over the world.
Phuket Travel Fair , starting from November 1, is usually called the Patong Carnival, from the place where celebrations occur. Colourful parades, sports events, and a beauty competition for foreign tourists are major activities.
Chao Le (Sea Gypsy) Boat Floating Festival , falls during the middle of the sixth and eleventh lunar months yearly. The sea gypsy villages at Rawai and Sapam hold their ceremonies on the 13th; Ko Sire celebrates on the 14th; and Laem La (east of the bridge on Phuket’s northern tip) on the 15th. Ceremonies, which centre on the setting adrift of small boats similar to the Thai festival of Loi Krathong, are held at night and their purpose is to drive away evil and bring good luck.
Phuket International Sportfishing Tournamen,. An annual big game fishing tournament around November. This event attracts friend of big game fishing from around the world.
How to get there
Several domestic discount airlines fly here, including Air Asia . Tickets from Bangkok can cost under 1000 baht one-way if booked well in advance, or around 2000 baht (including taxes) if bought on the day.
Thai Airways flies from Bangkok (both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports) several times every day, as well as once daily from Chiang Mai (but there are no direct flights in the opposite direction). Additionally, they sell tickets from/to many domestic and international destinations with stopover in Bangkok - which are usually cheaper (especially international) than if you book separate tickets. Cheapest (non-exchangeable and non-refundable - though taxes are refunded even in the unfortunate case of no-show, if you call them later) one-way ticket from Bangkok, as of April 2008, costs 2320 baht - worth checking if you book just a few days before flight, as low-cost airlines may cost only 200-300 baht less in this situation, but you get world-famous Thai Airways service, and free onboard meals too.
Bangkok Airways has a monopoly on direct flights between Phuket and U-Tapao (Pattaya / Sattahip) and Ko Samui. They also have 4 daily flights from Bangkok - fares are around 1700 baht inclusive of taxes when purchased on the airline website.
Destination Air Shuttle offers direct seaplane transfers (some of which operate seasonally) between Phuket and Ko Lanta, Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, Ranong, Trang, the Similan Islands, and other popular Andaman coast destinations.
To get from the airport to your destination, there are several options:
Limousine (blue) taxis from the airport are expensive, costing 500-600 baht to Patong Beach or Bt 400 Phuket Town. The airport co-op booth tucked away towards the back is a little cheaper than the competition.
Metered (yellow) taxis (available outside the car park gates) cost 300+ baht. You may stumble upon a freelance taxi driver that will take you from the Airport to Patong for the flat fee of 400baht. If the driver is pleasant, you may wish to ask for his mobile number for the return trip later. The same driver can take you from Patong to Phuket Town for 350 to 400 baht.
Minibus services (basically door-to-door share taxis) charge 150-250 baht per seat. Any travel agent can arrange a ride for the way back to the airport, but if you want one from the airport, you'll usually need to charter the whole thing for over 1000 baht.
Airport shuttle bus service (6:30-20:30, every 30 minutes) to Phuket Town bus station costs 82 baht; local buses run from there to all the major beaches until around 18:00.
Departure tax is now included in the ticket price. The airport is notionally divided into Terminal 1 and 2, with some charter and low-cost operators using the second, but these are only a few hundred meters apart and connected by an air-conditioned walkway.
From Town to Beaches:
There are local-bus services between town and tourist beaches. Local buses leave for the beaches at the market on Ranong Road at half-hour intervals until 6 p.m. After that, you must hire a taxi. Bus fares range from 25-35 baht.
By songthaew or bus
Public transport within Phuket is limited to a radial network connecting Phuket Town to the beaches. There are a few full-size buses, but most lines are operated with songthaews, basically converted pick-up trucks serving as buses. The fare is 25-35 baht up on distance, and there are no set stops - they pick up and drop off as requested. Most local bus services stop at around 18:00.
Most operate from the local market (Talad Sod or Ban San); those to major beaches go via Phuket Town bus terminal. The main lines connect to Patong, Kata-Karon, Chalong Bay, Rawai-Nai Han beach, Panwa (Aquarium), Mai Khao, and Surin-Kamala. There are very few "cross-beach" connections, and eg. traveling from Surin to Patong (15 min by taxi) requires an hour-long detour via Phuket Town.
Upon your return, though, often the bus will drop you off not at the main terminal but at a bus stop somewhere in the middle of Phuket town, where travelers will immediately be set upon by the rip-off tuk-tuk and taxi drivers. Tourist beware!
Phuket has three types of taxi - millions (or so it seems) of small songthaew-style minivans (usually bright red, occasionally bright yellow) called Tuk Tuks, a much smaller number of conventional sedan-style taxis (yellow and red, with a "TAXI-METER" sign on top), and random indistinguishable vehicles that serve as unofficial taxis.
The minivans are universally referred to as tuk-tuks (even though they have four wheels, not three). They have no meter, and their drivers are notoriously mercenary, so always agree a price beforehand and do bargain hard. Short hops around town shouldn't cost more than 40 baht, but good luck getting from Patong to Phuket Town for under 400 baht. Tuk-Tuks should be avoided at ALL times, these are run by what locals call the "Thai Mafia" and charge you 200 baht for less than 1km runs.
Metered taxis are a much better option when available, being safer, more comfortable, and usually cheaper than tuk-tuks. However, they're often hard to find, and during peak periods their drivers will also ignore the meter and demand flat fares. You can arrange one by telephone on +66-76-232157.
Finally, many beaches have little shacks with "TAXI" signs, sometimes unofficially supported by a hotel, offering quick transport at high prices. There are usually pricier than the tuk-tuks, with most fares exceeding 500 baht, but there are usually air-conditioned and more comfortable.
By motorbike taxi
There are also motorbike taxis (motosai). While you should never hop on the back of just anyone's motorbike, motorbike taxi drivers wear bright numbered vests and are usually the cheapest way to go. However, these are more dangerous than a Tuk Tuk, for obvious reasons, and are not comfortable for long trips. However, if you just need to get around town, they are a great way to go.
By car or bike
Renting a car or motorbike to explore the island on your own is a cost-effective way of getting off the beaten track. However, given the driving habits of most locals and the resulting carnage on Phuket's roads every year, the risks do demand careful consideration. Driving habits are Thai style ignoring all the rules and keeping going at all costs, not much worse than Naples, but like there it keeps traffic moving. Traffic lights have just made things worse in the last few years.
Due to the geography of the island with its winding hilly roads and poor vision, Phuket certainly gets more than its fair share of accidents. In fact, the death and injury statistics are more than high. More than 10,000 people are injured and over 250 killed every year in road accidents in Phuket. Nine out of ten accidents involve motorbikes.
Drive very defensively at first and watch what the locals do. Of course, it helps if you are accustomed to driving on the left side of the road, which in itself could be enough to detract some North American or European drivers. Driving under the influence of alcohol is both illegal and dangerous, and driving at night also increased the risk of accidents — even if you're sober, many others aren't.
Motorcycle and scooter rentals start at around 200 baht/day, coming down to 150 baht/day for rentals of a week or more. There is a theoretical crash helmet requirement, widely ignored by locals, but farang riding around without one will be taxed 300-500 baht by the police for their stupidity. You must also have a driving license with you, or you'll be slapped with a 500 baht fine.
Renting a car usually costs between 1000-1200 baht if you want to go for an ecomonical one like a Toyota Vios (stay away from the jeeps). Several rental companies are located in and around airport. Avis is located within the airport while Hertz, National and six are located walkable distance outside the airport (across the road). Bookings can be made online for these. Reputable local car rental companies, which are often a little cheaper, include:
Be careful to check the level of insurance on a hire car, as many local companies say they have 'full' insurance when in fact it is only a very basic level.
For a bit of island hopping the longtail boats are a great way to do so. Prices must be negotiated and are app. 500 Baht per hour or no more than 1,800 Baht per day.
Phuket is one of Thailand's premier tourist destinations and (basic) English is very widely spoken, especially in the beach areas. That said, even a little Thai will draw smiles and can be useful in the less touristed areas of Phuket Town.
Phuket Town retains some interesting examples of Sino-Portuguese architecture, which reflect the town's past as an important trading post.
Two Heroines Monument Phuket’s most famous monument in Amphoe Thalang is the memorial statue of the heroines Thao Thepkasattri and Thao Sisunthon, who rallied islanders in 1785 to repel Burmese invaders.
Thalang National Museum This is located near the Two Heroines Monument. The museum contain permanent exhibition of life in old Phuket, ancient artefacts and remains discovered on the coast and, materials used during war with Burma (Myanmar). It is open daily except national holidays from 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Admission is 30 baht. For more information call 0 7631 1426, 0 7631 3397, 0 7631 1206.
Wat Phra Thong Situated some 20km from Phuket town past the Thalang district office, this temple enshrines a golden Buddha image that sprang up from beneath the earth long ago. The story tells of a young boy who tied his buffalo to what he thought was a post. After doing so, he fell down in agony and died. The father of the boy dreamed that the reason his son had died was for the sin of tying a filthy buffalo to a sacred object, that what the boy thought was a post was in reality the golden peak of the Buddha's conical cap. He told his neighbors the dream and they all went out to dig up the statue but had no success.
Wat Phranang Sang This temple is located 20km from town on the Thepkasattri Road at Thalang district. An old and historical landmark of Phuket, the temple was once a fort resisting Burmese invasion around 1785. Inside the old chapel are enshrined the three oldest and largest Buddha statues made of tin. Called the Three Kings, they are positioned in the midsections of another three large statues.
Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Conservation Development and Extension Centre Its duty is to promote, distribute and wildlife within Khao Phra Thaeo wildlife park. The park is located near Thalang district, 22 kilometres from Phuket Town. 22.28 square kilometers of virgin forest are coverd by this park, which also actively conserves a number of wild animals; they would otherwise be extinct in fast-growing Phuket. It is a center for study of the environment and the forest vegetation is spectacular. Giant trees supported by huge buttresses are thick with creepers and climbers of every description.
One species of palm, the Governor's Palm or White Back Palm (palm lang khao in Thai) is especially rare. Gibbons, civet, macaques, squirrel, flying squirrel, bat, flying lemur, chameleon, mouse deer, wild boar, and many species of birds inhabit the forest. Khao Phra Thaeo serves also as one of Phuket's most important water sources. Major attractions include:-
Ton Sai Waterfall A small falls, over which pours a great volume of water during the rainy season. The trees, watercourses, and pools nearby provide one of Phuket's loveliest scenes. The park headquarters with an excellent view are also at Ton Sai.
Bang Pae Waterfall Another waterfall in the sanctuary which is located at Tambon Pa Khlok past the Two Heroines Monument. There is an arboretum and a nursery to rehabilitate captured gibbons before returning them to the wild.
Animal sanctuary Visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project by the beautiful Bang Pae waterfall. They have a visitor centre manned by Western volunteers and English speaking Thai staff who will talk to you about the project. Talks are free, but please support the project by buying a souvenir, sponsoring a gibbon or giving a donation. Don't have your photo taken with a captive gibbon in Phuket or on the beaches.
For nature enthusiasts, the sanctuary has mapped out some walking trails. Further information, please contact the centre, call 0 7631 1998.
The Big Buddha of Phuket Formerly, officially known as “Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri” and now called the Mingmongkol Buddha image, it is still referred to as the Big Buddha by everyone in Phuket. Sitting serenely in the mating posture and on a dominant hilltop between Karon and Chalong it overlooks Chalong Bay and far beyond. So dominant is the Big Buddha that it can be seen from many of the southern parts of Phuket Island as well as nearby islands. At a height of 45 m and width at the base of nearly 25m it is completely covered in white Burmese marble tiles which signify purity. The base of the Buddha is wrapped in giant white marble covered lotus leaves signifying love and happiness. It is the largest white marble Buddha image anywhere in the world and has already become a very popular attraction for tourists and a place of significance for local Thai people and the many who visit from other regions. A smaller Buddha image made from 22 tons of brass and 12 m high sits along side the Big Buddha and joins the many other statues, images, sculptures and bells of worship. The Big Buddha was constructed in devoted to the King of Thailand, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 80th birthday and the smaller Buddha in devotion to the Queen, HM Queen Sirikit. Completion is not far away and will eventually include a 7 hectare Buddha-Utthayan” Buddhist garden landscaped with rock features, grassed areas, flowers, shrubs and natural environment. It will be designed for peace, relaxation and mation. Some say that the early morning is the best time to visit the Big Buddha, with cooling sometimes cold winds you can watch the sun rise across Chalong Bay and the beauty of the suns reflection in the calm waters. Looking from the other side of Chalong Bay it is an awe inspiring sight to watch the sun slowly setting behind the Big Buddha, slowly forming a silhouette of this remarkable image as its features are darkened. The Big Buddha is atop a 400m hill offering spectacular views of Phuket Town, Chalong bay and the islands beyond. It is found by following the signs along Choafa west road on the left side just over 2km north of the Chalong roundabout or if traveling south less than 1km past Wat Chalong on the right side , look for the ample signs. As the crow flies it is 3km to the Big Buddha from Choafa Road, the road is fairly steep in parts but concreted or sealed so perfectly safe. This is a Buddhist temple and the usual rules of modest dressing, strict respect for Buddha images must be observed and please remove your shoes in areas where you see others removing theirs. At the end of the main reception area you can [after removing your shoes] approach the seated monk, try to make yourself at a lower height than him by stooping or shuffling along on your knees. Watch what the Thais do and do the same, you will then receive a special blessing, and a charm to tie on your wrist. Remember that a female can not receive this charm directly from the monk, he will place it in front of you or ask a male to give it to you. And if you got now the blessing from a monk, you should know something about the 2500 year old Buddhism. The Buddhism monks are learning to see the things as they are and not as they should be, to split yourself from illusions and expectations to get a better human. Work on this simple thing and every day will be your day. Only a short information at the end. The total amount of the building was made from donations and if you enjoyed your visit, then show your gratitude, drink two bottles singha less in the evening and give some donation in one of the boxes around, or write your name onto the backside of a marble plate with them the base of the Buddha will be covered soon.
What to do
Scuba diving, snorkeling, SNUBA, yachting, jet-skiing and parasailing are the most popular activities on the island. Most dive sites are off nearby islands, but distances are fairly short and there are dozens of dive shops and boats to cater to your needs, mostly based near Chalong Pier. In addition there are good snorkeling locations located off several of the most popular beaches. Seek local information regarding riptides, currents, and safe snorkeling areas.
Sailing and Yachting
Phuket has become the sailing and yachting center of Thailand and adjacent countries. It's home of the Phuket Race Week, Kings Cup Regatta, 4 marinas and some well sheltered anchorages which are teeming with yachts. The marinas are all located at the eastern side of the island which makes them an ideal starting point to explore the nature wonders of the Phang Nga Bay. An entire fleet of traditional junk rigged boats is located there, offering day trips. But as well real sailing yachts are on offer for this. Phuket has sailing yachts of virtually every size and for all budgets on offer to explore the surrounding beautiful islands on a yacht charter. Sailing Thailand Island Cruises operates a wide array of sailing catamarans from budget to luxury, most of them located in Chalong Bay. Small sailing craft like Hobie Cats and Lasers are available at most of the tourist hot spots on the west side, e.g. Patong and Kata.
Yacht charter Thailand Windward Islands , one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to luxury yacht around Phuket, Thailand and South East Asia. Operating from different offices worldwide (UK, USA, Honk Kong, Dubai, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland).
Phuket Island has some decent dive sites and the largest diving center in Thailand. The reefs around the area are in a healthy condition with both solid and colorfully soft corals. There is also an abundance of marine life. Most of the dive locations are suitable for all levels of divers but there are also some that are quite deep.
The most well-known dive site in the Phuket area is Racha Yai with its sloping rocky reefs and its plentitude of solid coral forests. There is also Ter Bay where there is an exciting wreck in the depths of 25-35 meters. The area south Racha Yai, Racha Noi, is a haven for experienced divers as the depths are greater and the currents stronger. The overall topography is strikingly different from Racha Yai with huge granite boulders. The diving in Racha Noi compared to Racha Yai is definitely more challenging but the rewards are far greater.
Just off Phuket, is the limestone island of Koh Doc Mai that soars vertically from the sea-bed. It is home to a diversity of fish and offers the opportunity to view leopard sharks, moray eels, octopus and turtles. Further afield, most particularly around the enduringly popular Phi Phi Islands in neighbouring Krabi province, some 2 hours east of Phuket, and the Similan Islands, in Phang-nga province, some 110km northwest of Phuket, and the Raya Islands, 1-3 hours due south of Phuket, depending on the type of boat. Diving in Phuket’s warm clear blue waters is best from mid-October to May, when the calm seas and rain free days make Phuket diving a truly unique experience.
This form of eco-tourism is available in several forms, as popular one-day tours, or more extended tours involving overnight camping on island beaches, and occurs principally in the neighbouring Phang-nga Bay and Krabi province, where mangrove swamps and island grottoes are accessible only by canoe.
Cultural Shows and Entertainment
Phuket Fantasea The very biggest of all Phuket's extravaganzas, Fantasea brings Hollywood-sized, Las Vegas-style entertainment to the island. Remarkable acrobatics, dazzling light work, stunning set design and a host of animal action combine in a song and dance spectacular that brings to life tales of history and mythology that will leave visitors in no doubt that Phuket was at least as, if not more, exciting way back when.
Set upon 140 acres in Kamala Bay, this unique cultural theme park houses an immense theatre, a festival village offering carnivals, games and handicrafts, and reportedly the world's largest buffet of Thai and international cuisine. For information, Tel: 0 7638 5111 Fax: 0 7638 5222
Palace of the Elephants: Palace of the Elephants is a modern theater with traditional acoustics. The theater has seating for 3,000 persons. It is a reconstruction of a Sukhothai-era stone palace, with interesting elephant statues. Visitors can admire a fascinations show which mixes both culture and illusion fronted by a glorious reconstruction of a Sukhothai-era stone palace, with intriguing elephant statues.
“Fantasy of a Kingdom” Culture – Illusion Show: Created by international experts and local professionals, the ultimate in Las Vegas-style theatrical productions, this theater puts on a fascinating show combining culture and illusion. The nine themes are: Thai culture, magical illusions, 4-dimensional effects, aerial performance, acrobatics, indoor pyrotechnics, special effects, elephant circus and stunts. The show is from 9PM til 10:15 and reservation is recommended.
Festival Village: Home to the Kamala people, this village is a haven for shoppers. Things on sale includes the likes of: silk, leather, handicrafts, ceramics, jewelry, souvenirs, unusual items about elephants and Siamese twins etc.. Shoppers can also admire a demonstration of traditional and crafts and enjoy cultural parades, pageants, street shows and elephant rides. Park Operating Hours: 17:30 p.m. – 23:30 p.m.
Simon Cabaret: There's not a diva in the West who can compare, and many a catwalk model has turned green with envy at the sight of the lady-boy performers of Simon Cabaret. This hugely popular tourist attraction, on the hill just outside Patong, has been wowing audiences for years with its exotic, hilarious and transvestite cabaret. With sets and choreography that would do Broadway justice, and gowns dripping with diamante, the boys who are girls stiletto-strut their stuff to full houses each night at 7.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. Tel. 0 7634 2011-5, 0 7634 2114-6 Fax. 0 7634 0437. Admission is 500-600 baht.
What to buy
Phuket is the source of cultured pearls, nielloware, pewterware, ornaments and dried seafood. Specialist shops dealing in souvenir products can be found on Ratsada, Phang-nga, Montri, Yaowarat, and Tilok-U-thit roads, in Phuket Town, Thepkasattri Road, north of town and at the beach centres of Patong, Kata, Karon and Rawai.
Phuket's larger beaches are ravaged by ravenous hordes of touting tailors, who are certainly cheap, but will screw you over if they can — for example, suits done in 24 hours are usually just glued together and will fall apart the first time you bring them to a dry cleaner. Choose your own fabrics (you can buy them at Thalang Rd in Phuket Town), insist on multiple fittings and check the quality of work carefully. It makes little difference which tailor shop you choose, since they're all just sales fronts for a few central sweatshops.
There are two giant shopping malls in Phuket: Central Festival, at the northwest edge of Phuket Town, and Jungceylon, in Patong.
What to eat
Food in Phuket is surprisingly cosmopolitan, especially in Patong Beach, as many foreigners have set up shop to cater to their fellow travellers. All the usual Thai favorites are of course still available, with a particular emphasis on seafood. See the individual town articles for detailed listings.
Phuket has its own style of preparation and cooking. Some of interesting local dishes include:
Fried or Boiled Noodle Dishes , usually with pork or chicken, are available at many noodle shops in the town such as Mi Ton Pho, Mi Sapam, Mi Ao Ke, Mi Hun Pa Chang, and etc.
Khanom Jin , a version of noodles taken at breakfast, usually served with a spicy curry sauce and fresh vegetables.
Nam Phrik Kung Siap is a mixture of dried chili and smoked shrimps eaten with various fresh vegetables.
Cashew nuts and pineapples are grown in Phuket and available all year round. The nuts are available dried, fried or coated. Phuket pineapples are some of the most delectable, sweet and firm.
3 Sirirat Rd. Patong Beach, Patong district,
Kathu, Phuket 83150 Thailand
Tel: 0 7634 5949-50, 0 7634 5957-60, 0 7634 5050
Fax: 0 7634 5958
Accommodation : 50 rooms
Room Rates : 1,200 - 6,000 THB
The Royal Paradise Hotel & Spa, Phuket
123/15-16, 135/23 Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee Rd., Patong Beach, Patong district,
Kathu, Phuket 83150 Thailand
Tel: 0 7634 0666, 0 2559 2196-9
Fax: 0 7634 0565, 0 2559 2200
Accommodation : 350 rooms
Room Rates : 1,900 - 33,000 THB
Andatel Patong Phuket
41/9 Rat-U-thit 200 Pee Rd., Patong Beach, Phuket 83150 Thailand
Tel: 0 7629 0480
Fax: 0 7629 0475
Accommodation : 53 rooms 0 Unit
Room Rates : 1,200 - 4,200 T
C & N Hotel
151 Rat Uthit 200 Year Rd., Patong,
Kathu, Phuket 83150 Thailand
Tel: 0 7634 0475, 0 7634 1892-3
Fax: 0 7634 1895
Accommodation : 104 rooms
Room Rates : 1,000 - 2,000 THB
A P K Resort
95 Soi Prasertsup 1 Rachapathanusom Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 6437, 0 7629 6752
Website : http://www.apkresort.com
Price Rates : 700 - 3,800 THB
Number of Rooms : 99 rooms Unit
A1 Island Guesthouse
240 Sainamyen Rd. Pathong Beach, Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 5015
Website : http://www.a1islandguesthouse.com
Price Rates : 500 - 800 THB
Absolute Sea Pearl Beach Resort
42/1 Thaweewong Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7628 2401, 08 6959 5536
Website : http://www.absoluteseapearl.com
Email : ,
Price Rates : 2,900 - 16,600 THB
Number of Rooms : 60 rooms
Absolute Patong Ville
19 Sirirat Rd. Patong Beach, Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 4500-2, 0 2711 7476-7
Website : http://www.absolutepatongville.com
Price Rates : 1,800 - 3,200 THB
Number of Rooms : 18 rooms Unit
48 Pisitkoranee Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 08 1677 6670, 0 7634 2898-9
Price Rates : 500 - 1,000 THB
Number of Rooms : 19 rooms Unit
145/2 Rat Uthit 200 Year Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 5733-42
Website : http://www.phuket-aloha.com
Price Rates : 1,400 - 3,800 THB
Number of Rooms : 121 rooms
Amari Coral Beach Resort
2 Muean Ngoen Rd. Patong Beach, Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 0106-14
Website : http://www.amari.com
Price Rates : 2,860 - 14,000 THB
Number of Rooms : 197 rooms
Amanta House Hotel
5/17 Hat Patong Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 0401, 0 7629 0402
Website : http://www.amantahouse.com
Price Rates : 1,000 - 2,500 THB
Number of Rooms : 10 rooms Unit
269, 271 Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 4344
Website : http://www.anchaleeinn.com
Price Rates : 800 - 3,600 THB
Number of Rooms : 27 rooms Unit
Andaman Beach Suites Hotel
60/12 Rat-Uthit Song Roi Pee Rd. Patong Beach, Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 1879-83,0 2693 3245-7
Website : http://www.beachsuites.com
Price Rates : 2,500 - 10,750 THB
Number of Rooms : 98 rooms
Andaman Hill Hotel
193 Nanai Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 0743, 08 1271 2575
Website : http://www.hotelandamanhill.com
Price Rates : 1,000 - 3,000 THB
Number of Rooms : 21 rooms
62 Prabaramee Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 2690
Website : http://www.andamanhouse.net76.net
Price Rates : 850 - 1,700 THB
Number of Rooms : 24 rooms Unit
34/1 Nanai Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 4778-9
Price Rates : 600 - 2,500 THB
Number of Rooms : 20 rooms Unit
64/1 Nanai Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 2782-3, 0 7634 2851
Website : http://www.arimanahotel.com
Price Rates : 550 - 1,600 THB
Number of Rooms : 49 rooms
5/41-51 Haad Patong Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 5234, 0 7634 5104
Website : http://www.asperyphuket.com
Price Rates : 1,000 - 6,400 THB
Number of Rooms : 76 rooms Unit
32/1-3 Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 0350
Price Rates : 750 - 3,800 THB
Number of Rooms : 68 rooms Unit
Avantika Boutique Hotel
4/1 Thaweewong Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 2801-5
Website : http://www.avantika-phuket.com
Price Rates : 3,900 - 6,900 THB
Number of Rooms : 30 rooms
Azzurro Village Hotel
107 Raj-U-Thit 200 year, Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 1811
Price Rates : 700 - 1,900 THB
Number of Rooms : 34 rooms Unit
B&B Patong Beach House
212/15-16 Soi Kebsup Taweewong Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 4123, 0 7629 2880, 08 9651 6030, 08 7417 4523
Website : http://www.bb-beachhouse.com
Price Rates : 400 - 1,500 THB
Number of Rooms : 15 rooms Uni
Baan Boa Guesthouse
186/2 Pisitkorrani Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 6366-7, 08 1893 1253
Website : http://www.baanboa-guesthouse.com
Price Rates : 500 - 900 THB
Number of Rooms : 18 rooms
Baan Bussaracum Apartment
21/1 Soi Nanai, Nanai Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 08 7884 6441, 08 7149 7956
Website : http://www.baan-bussaracum-apartments.com
Price Rates(Day) : 550 - 850 THB
Price Rates(Month) : 10,000 - 15,000 THB
Number of Rooms : 9 rooms Unit
217 Nanai Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 2221, 08 1978 1815
Number of Rooms : 21 rooms
Baan Karaket Boutique Guesthouse
80-82 Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee, Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 0237
Website : http://www.baankaraket.com
Price Rates : 500 - 1,400 THB
Number of Rooms : 12 rooms Unit
10/1 Soi Nanai 2, Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 2179, 08 7891 2648, 08 9867 4141
Price Rates : 600 - 1,300 THB
Number of Rooms : 15 rooms Unit
Baan Laimai Beach Resort & Spa
66 Thaweewong Rd. Patong Beach, Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 2956-9, 0 7634 0460
Website : http://www.baanlaimai.com
Price Rates : 1,600 - 4,200 THB
Number of Rooms : 86 rooms
Baan Mon Inn
58-60 Pisit Koranee Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 2463
Price Rates(Day) : 400 - 500 THB
Price Rates(Month) : 4,500 - 5,000 THB
Number of Rooms : 12 rooms
Baan Nern Sai Resort
7 Muean Ngoen Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7636 4549-51
Website : http://www.baannernsairesort.com
Price Rates : 900 - 2,800 THB
Number of Rooms : 24 rooms
3 Chaloemprakiat Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 08 5000 7511, 08 7886 0710
Website : http://www.baanorchidguesthouse.com
Price Rates : 900 - 3,000 THB
Number of Rooms : 7 rooms0 Unit
104 Pisitkorrani Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 4046, 08 1893 8921
Number of Rooms : 12 rooms Unit
31 Prabaramee Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 08 9866 3205, 08 6274 5949
Number of Rooms : 7 rooms Unit
Baan Sukhothai Hotel & Spa
70 Bangla Rd. Patong Beach, Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7634 0195-6 , 0 7634 1394-7
Website : http://www.phuket-baansukhothai.com
Price Rates : 1,970 - 5,850 THB
Number of Rooms : 85 rooms
Baan Tee Thai (Add Mansion)
209/25-26 Rat Uthit 200 Year Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 4430-1
Website : http://www.baanteethai.com
Price Rates(Day) : 400 - 1,500 THB
Price Rates(Month) : 8,000 - 12,000 THB
Number of Rooms : 37 rooms
Baan Tonsai Garden Resort
186 Nanai Rd., Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 2829-30
Website : http://www.btonsai.com
Price Rates : 320 - 1,500 THB
Number of Rooms : 185 rooms Unit
231/7 Nanai Rd. Patong Beach, Tumbon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Changwat Phuket 83150
Tel : 0 7629 2237, 0 7651 2013
Website : http://www.veerakit.com
Price Rates : 850 - 2,000 THB
Number of Rooms : 15 rooms
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Location: Latitude=8.003681, Longitude=98.329582