Phuket Thailand has so much to do for the whole family.
Most people seem to think that Thailand Phuket definatly is in no way a destination to bring the family. This however is a long way from the truth. Yes there is a large party town on the island called Patong. In Phuket scuba diving is just one of many exciting things to do. This in itself is a large town and the bar and night club area is located in one main street. The rest of the town is a normal everyday beach town. There are many towns and villages all over the island all offering quiet scenic beaches away from the crowds. Karon beach has a very long beach and the town in comparison is small so there is plenty of space for the whole family. There are large comfortable hotels with very well maintained swimming pools, resturants that serve western style food all day. There are many shaded areas around these pools and hotels for the young and for the hottest part of the day.
Patong itself has some nice quiet suburbs which is perfect. Quiet locations but only minutes from all the fun of the biggest towns on the island. There is plenty of shopping in and around Patong with several markets that offer cheap clothes, bags, gifts, beach wear and 1,000s of other things. There is also the huge shopping center Jungceylon. This offers all the branded shops mixed with resturants, cafes and a couple of bars. Even a German micro brewery which offers a great selection of German beers. The central areas of the shopping center are full of cheap gimmick stalls, cheap clothes, silver, sunglasses, T-shirts and electronics. On the upper floor they have a bowling alley and a 6 screen cinema complex with current English speaking movies. You will never be stuck for things to do in Phuket.
As for the beach as long as you avoid the very center of the beach that can get crowded during high season both North and South end offers plenty of space, nice warm water with not much in the way of waves or currents. The rocks at the North end are a good place for snorkeling and the south end is where you can hire a long tail boat to take you to any number of more isolated beaches only available by boat. Phuket snorkeling is really very very good just as long as you get off of the main beaches. There are however what some may see as draw backs. There are roped off areas reserved for swimming that means you are safe from the jet skis and parasailing boats. These areas are small and again crowed and the rest of the beach you do have to be aware of the jet skis going in and out. All day long there are people selling food, cool drinks, ice creams, sun glasses, massages, aloe vera and plenty of other things.
When you get tired of the sun and the beach, Phuket has so many other activities to do. Phi Phi Bamboo island Phuket is a very popular tour. This is a speed boat tour that offers snorkeling in 3 different locations, sight seeing, monkey beach, swimming and a visit to Maya bay the location of the Hollywood movie “The Beach”. With this tour just beware of the waves as it can be a long way if the sea is rough. Also during high season it can be very crowded with the Chinese sight seeing tours.
James Bond island is a better bet as it offers snorkeling, canoeing, sight seeing and a stop at Christopher Lees island in the James Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun. this tends to have less people and a more varied day than Phi Phi Bamboo as it is not just snorkeling.
Like many places in the far East elephant treking Phuket is a popular tour away from the water and the ocean. This day tour can also be combined with white water rafting Phuket or A.T.V. riding. These three activities can be done in any combination or even all three in one day. These tours tend to start around 7.30am and return between 4 and 5 pm. They all include hotel transfers, lunch, drinking water and fresh fruit. The rafting can be a bit hectic in low season after a few weeks of rain but it makes the ATV Phuket much more fun.
Phuket Thailand has a great day out for the more adventurous. A visit to Phuket wave park offers great and safe wake boarding in a state of the art center for all levels of wake boarder from total novice with top instruction right through to professional. This is so much safer than than the boats on the beach as everything is built purely for wake boarding with safety a priority.
For those of you that are wanting to fill the need for speed or just missing driving but not ready to risk the Phuket roads just yet there is Phuket Speedway Go kart Track. Here is a well designed raceway suitable for all. the track is well built and organized. For those who want a bit more action there are other modes of transport. From beach buggies, ATVs and even rally cars. This is a really great fuel injected day.
North of the island is a bit more rural and this continues up onto the mainland. here we have the Khao Lak and Khao Sok national parks. Here we have Gibbon sanctuaries, stunning jungle walks, swimming in the cool waters and waterfalls, drifting along the mangroves on bamboo rafts or canoes, rice farms, rides through the jungle on elephants or in buffalo pulled carts. These are great days for taking photos and seeing so much more of Thailand than just the beach resorts.
There are also many half day tours and activities such as going up the mountain to “Big Buddha” which is a huge Buddha built just after the tsunami of 2004 along with a temple complex looking out to where the tsunami came from to ensure it can never happen again. The view from the top is stunning on a clear day as you can see the ocean and the thousands of islands that stretch to the horizon. There is a shooting range where you can shoot almost anything you like. Phuket rollerball or Zorbing. Rolling down a hill in a large inflatable ball. Visit the many temples, markets, farms and explore the old town of Phuket.
Then of course there is the scuba diving Phuket has some of the best diving in the world. . When in Phuket diving is a must. The warm clear waters are teeming with life. Turtles, Nemo, manta Rays, Whale Sharks and thousands of different tropical reef fish. Diving in Phuket is awesome.
On the island there are many “agents” that offer scuba diving. Its far better and safer to go to a Phuket dive center and talk to the English speaking instructors as this way you can be sure of what you are getting. In Phuket scuba diving is excellent for all levels. The locations are idea for teaching with plenty of shallow reef for even the most nervous of beginner. Phuket offers everything. For those wanting to Discover scuba diving Phuket is a perfect location. A one day taste where all instruction is given on the way out to a shallow reef so you can do two real dives in the protected bays of near by islands. The good Phuket dive shop include a cooked breakfast, lunch, Afternoon tea, all equipment, return transfers to and from your hotel, tea, coffee, chocolate drinking water and plenty of fresh fruit. Phuket Thailand is one of the most perfect locations to get you PADI Open water or advanced diving license. These worldwide diving licenses and valid for life. There are a few centers that offer much much more right upto instructor training.
There is still more diving. The similan islands are just about an hour and a half off the east coast. These islands coupled with the Surin islands make for one of the best liveaboard destinations on earth. They include Koh Tachai , Koh Bon and a day diving Richelieu Rock which is listed as one one of the top ten dive sites of the world. To do a complete circuit takes 5 days and 4 nights but its possible to dive the similans for just one night or as many as you want. The trips leave everyday and return everyday so you choose when to go not the dive boat. If you want to stay longer, fine, as long as the cabin is free then just pay on board for another night. A Similan island liveaboard is a trip of a life time.
Then after a long day have a dip in the sea as the sun sets over a stunning island paradise before a choice of just about anything for dinner. Phuket has resturants from just about every country in the world. Phuket being an island has more fish resturants than anything else with an endless supply of great food. However there are a couple of tips. First is trying to avoid the places that have sharks on display outside. These are normally young sharks and although not yet illegal there are very few adult sharks left as they young are vanishing fast. This is something that is on a long list of things that need addressing as Thailand understands the need to preserve the ocean that surrounds it as it supplies so much of its food, income through export and tourism. Point 2 is when in a fish resturant stick with the fish as although rare sometimes the meat can be a slow seller and may have been there some time, where as the fish will fly out the door. Most other places sell such a large selection that nothing stays for long. Do not be afraid to say ” I am not Thai. Please only very little spice.” they are used to it.
As for the world famous night life of Phuket has everything to offer. From excellent beach side cafes and resturants, karaoke bars and now live music has become very popular. There are many live acts some of whom are very good. They do requests and if they dont know it they will learn it and play it in a day or two’s time. There are classic venues such as hard Rock Cafe, Rock City and Hooters. However the best ones tend to be the local bars with local bands. Some of the big hotels have Elvis nights and the like if thats your thing. There are as expected many “beer” or girly bars clustered together in one street. There are also many fast food outlets here too such as KFC, Burger King, Subway but the best is by far the Thai street sellers. The food is always well cooked and fresh so very safe. The big international outlets are more likely to give problems as the food is frozen and shipped about. The chances of old stock or a box defrosting in the heat at some point from factory to being cooked is higher than fresh food being around long enough to go off.
There are several great night time food markets where you can try a thousand different dishes. There are a few “Irish” bars around but if you thought drink prices in your country are expensive Guiness in Thailand is double. Most towns have a night club or two that will be open till well into the dawn if not longer. Patong has half a dozen. Most ask you to pay to get in then give the first drink free. The most popular for tourists is Tai Pan as this is free entry and you get a free shooter with your first drink. The prices are not too bad here as well. Other night clubs are prefered by the local bar girls as they will get free entry may be free or cheap drinks inside. These tend to be less busy in quieter times of the year and can be expensive. Most night clubs empty out between 4am and 6am. But for the best nights out then you need to look for the live music bars like Waves Bar in Soi Freedom with the resident band is the best on the island and can play just about anything you ask for.
There are also many shows like Fantasy or Simon Cabaret which are good family fun. Fantasy is almost a circus and you can go for the show only or have an evening meal included. So as you can see in phuket scuba diving is just one thing available. There is a great selection of things available to suit all tastes. Your trip to phuket thailand will be a holiday to remember for everyone. Why not come and see what you are missing.