You can’t say you have been to Thailand until you have ridden on one of these gentle giants. Through the jungle and along the coast, an elephant trek is a scenic, wonderful experience with Thailand’s most cherished icon. Even if you don’t fancy a ride, you can spend time with the elephants, feed them and even get a kiss if you wish.
John Gray’s Sea Canoe
This is an awesome and exhilarating experience, silently journeying through the postcard scenery of Phang-Nga Bay. The adventure takes you through hidden sea caves that are only accessible during low tides. Sometimes it’s a tight squeeze but on the other side you are rewarded with something few have seen. Operated by renowned American environmentalist, John Gray, this canoeing experience is highly recommended.
Phuket is one of Asia’s top diving destinations. Calm crystal seas almost all year round and a healthy diversity of marine life attracts divers from all over the world. The nearby Similan and Surin Islands rate among the best dive sites anywhere. Phuket has hundreds of diving companies offering everything from introductory dives to live-aboards. The Village’s front desk staff will recommend some high quality tour operators.
A 410m lake was specially designed for this scenic cable ski course. Located near the Kathu waterfalls, in the central Phuket valley, the scenery is great and the skiing is fun.
These guided tours through the Phuket rubber plantations and jungle forests show a side of Phuket that most tourists miss out on. Expert guides teach you how to drive the all-terrain vehicles before you set off. During the tour he’ll introduce you to local forest workers and tell you more about the natural Phuket environment.
For riders of all levels, this is a fun and romantic way to explore Phuket. Professional instructors, guides and escorts are provided for your rides through jungles and plantations, small inner roads and long beach stretches. Phuket has two riding clubs;
Phuket Laguna Riding Club in Bang Tao; and the Phuket Riding Club in Rawai.
Dino Park is great fun for all the family. The mini golf course travels around an active volcano where you escape through prehistoric caves with roaring dinosaurs. Dino Park also has an open–air restaurant and a street-side bar. Located in Kata.
Every year hundreds of people fly to Phuket just to play golf at one of the eight excellent courses on offer. From seaside fairways to tricky jungled areas the Phuket courses have something to offer golfers of all levels.
- Loch Palm Golf Club
With a layout that surrounds the largest lake on any Phuket golf course, Loch Palm Golf Club is an 18-hole, par 72, 6,555 yards course offering a great challenge for golfers of all abilities.
- Red Mountain Golf Course
A sister course to nearby Loch Palm, Red Mountain is a canyon and mountain-styled course considered to be one of the best in Southeast Asia. Relatively new and challenging for even the scratch golfer, Red Mountain offers spectacular vistas amidst some of the most beautifully landscaped holes the island has to offer.
- Blue Canyon Golf Course
With two unique 18-hole courses, the Canyon and the Lakes, golfers will find Blue Canyon to offer the penultimate ‘golfer ambiance’. Framed against a beautiful clubhouse, both courses offer challenging layouts that can be enjoyed by everyone from the novice to professional. The course has hosted several ‘Johnnie Walker Classics’ over the years and will not disappoint!
- Laguna Phuket Golf Club
Anchoring the world-renowned Laguna Phuket resort, the Laguna Phuket Golf Club offers a relaxing environment for the discerning golfer. Site of the annual Singha Thailand Golf Open, Laguna Phuket is a resort-styled set of links. The course has an opulent clubhouse located next door to the Banyan Tree Resort, one of the island’s five-star resort properties.
- Mission Hills Golf Course and Phuket Country Club
Both of these golf courses flesh out the golf offerings on Phuket, with the Mission Hills club located on the upper east coast of Phuket, designed links-style and touching on Phang Nga bay. Phuket Country Club, the island’s oldest course, is a classically designed golf layout popular with the retired expat crowd, notable for its close proximity to Patong.
Read further about golfing in Phuket
The Sino-Portuguese architecture in Phuket Town is a major draw card for tourists interested in the history of Phuket. Several 19th century mansions are open for viewing as well as the quaint shop-houses lining Thalang Road. Shopping is also good in Phuket Town with prices lower than the beach areas.
Thalang National Museum
This small museum located near the centre of Phuket island features a number of interesting exhibits about Phuket history and the plight of the indigenous Chao Lay sea gypsies.
A trip to a fresh market is an exciting experience, particularly early in the morning when the local people hurry about gathering their goods for the day. Whether you buy something or not it is a window into real Thai life.
The weekend markets are held near Naka Temple. Thai handicrafts, including custom-made jewellery, antiques, Thai silk and leather goods, can be found and bartered for at these markets. Bargaining is key in Thailand, and must be done in good humour to score the best deals.
Phuket is home to dozens of Buddhist temples, each with their own character and charm but by far the most important temple is Wat Chalong located in the south of the island. The Big Buddha also located on the mountain between Chalong and Kata in the southern end of the island is also worth a visit. In the northern regions, Wat Pran Thong is interesting.
Owing to Phuket’s Chinese history there are many Chinese temples and shrines scattered about the island. Characteristic red shrine gates, encircled by dragons signal a Chinese temple.
If you are a fan of Thai food why not learn how to recreate some of your favourite dishes at home? Thai cooking schools are located all over the island and many sessions included a trip to the fresh market to teach you how to select the best fresh produce for the dishes. After preparing the dishes you do of course get to enjoy eating them at leisure.
Gibbons are an endangered species in Southern Thailand, as they have been hunted near extinction for export to zoos. As recently as ten years ago they worked in Phuket's bars, amusing customers by smoking cigars and taking photographs. Today, the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, at Bang Pae waterfall works to restore the numbers and the dignity of the native animal.
A small but well run aquarium showcasing local marine life, the Phuket Aquarium is divided into two sections - fresh water aquatic life and marine creatures. The aquarium also has a touching pool for shallow reef creatures such as sea cucumbers and sea stars, permitting guest to learn and understand more about them. Open every day between 8.30 and 16.00.
A Disney-like fantasy production of a mythical Thai Kingdom, the Phuket FantaSea Thai cultural show is infused with cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art theatrical elements. The Thai essence, everything from the love for freedom and fun to its veneration of courage and compassion is represented in nearly every scene. As the Prince of Kamala journeys through each progressive act, he slowly discovers all of these aspects, while learning what it means to be the perfect Thai. Don’t leave Phuket without seeing this fantastic show! Reservations advised.
Stunning costumes, bright lights, an excellent sound system and expensive sets are all part of this theatrical extravaganza performed by the world famous ‘ladyboys’ of Simon Cabaret. Performers lip-synch popular songs and dance to delight of their audience during two shows daily at 19:30 and 21:30 hours. Reservations advised.
Muay Thai at Patong Boxing Stadium
Muay Thai is the ancient art of Thai boxing and is fascinating to watch. This sport involves every part of the body and fighters train long hours as well as steeling their resolve and nerves for the task. The furious punches, crushing elbow strikes, lethal kicks and artful feints are riveting when seen live from a ringside seat. Fights are held nightly in Patong.
Ever wanted to swing through the jungle like Tarzan? Phuket-based, French built Xtrem Adventures offers the closest experience you'll probably get.
With a total of 69 stations set high up in the trees, action-packed courses offer visitors the chance to walk, climb, jump, zip-line, and, yes, swing their way through the canopy, using a series of walkways, bridges and nets and even barrels.
Spanning 19,200m?, and situated in an old rubber plantation, the park is split into two main courses. Geared towards adults, the cable course has every "player" watched over by an operator and equipped with a harness, sling and pulley. The Accro spider course, meanwhile, is fitted with a safety net along its entire length, making it ideal for children from four years old.