The Island Where Dreams Come True
Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand – and thanks to its exceptional beauty, it is a big reason behind the country’s worldwide popularity as a holiday destination. Let us show you eight highlights that await you here!
A Natural Jewel
Phang Nga is one of the most spectacular bays in the world. Several hundred mountains stand proud over the light-green waters with sensational rock formations that could have been plucked right out of a science fiction film. On a boat, you can discover rainforests, waterfalls and snow-white beaches. Tropical plants and the occasional daredevil climber wind their way up the jagged limestone cliffs. In some areas, boat tours lead into caves – with a little luck, you’ll catch a glimpse of the approximately 3000-year old cave paintings depicting fish and dolphins.
A Cliff and a Film with Impact
The landing of a white and red seaplane made these cliffs in the Phang Nga Bay famous across the world. A single man stepped out of the small plane in 1974: Bond, James Bond, played by Roger Moore. In “The Man with the Golden Gun”, he encountered his adversary here – an event which had an impact on Koh Tapu: the “nail island” is now the most famous island in the national park. Nowadays, the small bay would be a poor hiding place for a villain – unless they disguise themselves as a souvenir dealer offering wares. You should look forward to the incredible landscape, but be prepared for a corresponding rush of people at this iconic cinematic site.
A Feast to go
Phuket may be famous for its landscape, but the provincial capital of the same name certainly also allures with a surprising architectural mix of Chinese and Portuguese stylistic elements. Temples where monks still reside are the direct neighbours of lively nightclubs and cafés. A culinary tour is simply a must: taste your way from one small cookshop to the next and try all the typical snacks at the markets. It won’t just be delicious, but also a healthy pleasure – the aromatic rice and noodle dishes are bursting with fresh vegetables.
A Shelter for Pachyderms
You can enjoy a respectful encounter with the national animal of Thailand at the “Tree Tops Elephant Reserve”. The founder, Louise, is dedicated to these sensitive animals and ethical elephant tourism. This is necessary as the animals are unfortunately not handled appropriately everywhere: abusing them as riding animals and for shows has been customary. Eight of the elephants were rescued from the entertainment industry and now live in idyllic nature within this reserve. You can discover the life story of every animal and watch as they are bathed and fed. The youngest elephant, named Fah Sai, is only ten years old, while the matriarch Nam Sook has reached 70.
A World of Wonders Under Water
Have you ever seen sea horses out in nature? Turtles? Maybe a manta ray? Even if you’ve already experienced a long snorkelling and diving adventure, the Similan Islands are sure to thrill you. The coral reefs around the eleven little islands are some of the best diving areas in the world. The water temperature lies between 26 and 30 degrees and the view is extraordinary. Even those who are not quite daring enough for a full dive will find that you can see plenty by snorkelling, as even the shallow water boasts colourful tropical fish moving through the corals.
Prayers with a Bang
29 Buddhist temples can be found on Phuket, and “Wat Chalong”, featuring magnificent structures that shine in shades of red, rose and gold, is probably the most beautiful. Here you can explore a curious tradition and buy firecrackers that are lit in an oven. It is believed that the louder the explosion, the more wishes are fulfilled. The building was erected at the beginning of the 19th century in honour of two monks who provided friendly mediation during a rebellion. At the main building, many Thai people lay lotus flowers by the statue of the monks to request the aid of the gods. The temple is financed through donations and asks that visitors wear long trousers and avoid wearing sleeveless shirts.
Paradise is Colourful
Wild limestone mountains are mirrored in the Cheow Lan Lake which branches out into green valleys like a fjord. The mountainous landscape of the Khao Sok National Park is covered by the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, inhabited by wilful monkeys, colourful birds of paradise and even tigers. Even the plants will fascinate you with their bizarre beauty: is it a mushroom or a blossom – and who will be the first to discover a banana tree? You can reach the lake by hiking, on a canoe or on an excursion boat. The park itself offers guided tours in English which last one to three days and focus on various different topics.
The Best Dance Show in Patong Beach
The nightlife rages at Patong Beach. When the sun goes down, the police places heavy barriers at Bangla road to close it as well as the adjoining Rat-U-Thit road to cars. In a flash, the streets turn into popular party districts by the beach. The dance shows available everywhere provide a calmer alternative to the pubs. The “Siam Niramit” show stands out from the masses, bringing Thai history and mythology to the stage with stunning visuals. The award-winning, entertaining programme teaches visitors about the local culture through highly impressive dancing.
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