Travel Magazine

Exploring Phuket, Thailand in Search of the Unique and Wonderful

By Eyeandpen @eyeandpen
Picture Thailand is one of the most culturally rich and naturally diverse travel destinations around the world, and for good reason. Not only is it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia, but Thailand is home of such a variety of experiences to be had. One could spend a year there and not see and experience all that this beautiful country has to offer. One of the coolest areas of Thailand is the island of Phuket. Why? Because of its natural beauty, relaxed atmosphere and its range of Phuket villa rentals. Naturally, Thailand is home to some of the most vibrant blue waters and sparkling white beaches, along with thick, mountainous jungle regions. And Phuket is no different, with its rainforests and mountains. The most popular beaches may be along the western shore, but for me, I like to venture out and experience a destination’s natural world. When I travel, and am not backpacking, I like to balance vacation with adventure travel. So, I choose to stay in a nice villa, with plenty of amenities, and then every other day or so, I will rough it a bit in the wild. But then I will come back to the comforts of my accommodation.
Phuket is home to a variety of high-end resorts and spas and restaurants, many of which sit right along the shore. But if you’re more interested in the urban life of Thailand, checking out the capital city, Phuket City, may be just what you’re looking for, because it is home of the more traditional shops and markets. Or if nightclubs and bars are your scene, then visiting Patong is a good hot spot to add to your list. But today, I’d like to do an overview of the more destination unique attractions that go beyond the typical things that lots of other places offer.
The Beaches
While Phuket is Thailand’s most famous beach town, it isn’t uncommon to be overrun by tourists on the many beaches. For me, I believe Phang Nga Bay offers first timers the best opportunity for a transcendental beach experience. Also, the Nai Ham, Nai Thon and Kata Noi beaches are worth checking out, especially during sunset. But let’s be honest, no matter where you go, it’s gorgeous… everywhere.
James Bond Island
If see filming locations in real life are your thing, then Koh Ping-gan should certainly be on your list as it is home of the famous James Bond Island, from the James Bond movie: “The Man with the Golden Gun.”
The Nightlife
Are you a night owl? Do you love the lights and the energy? Then Phuket is the perfect destination to spend the warm nights, because the town is loaded with over-the-top nightlife entertainment. There are cabaret shows, bars, music venues and a near endless supply of alcohol.
The Markets
Perhaps the unique look into the everyday lifestyle and culture of Phuket is to visit the Naka and Karon Temple markets. If exotic food, shopping, and new experiences entice you, don’t you dare miss these hot spots.
The Museums
Museums are everywhere, no matter what tourist destination you visit. For example, if you ever backpack Europe, you will become sick of museums, art galleries, and churches. But what’s unique about Phuket is the style of their galleries and museums. Check out the Phuket Tricky Museum, as well as the Kamala Beach Gallery and Phuket’s Seashell Museum for some interesting art.
The Nature
If you’re like me, then you LOVE the natural world. There’s just no way to really get to know a place, until you’ve ventured into the wild natural areas of a destination. Rent a villa in the jungle, or go hiking with a guide. Other areas, beyond Nai Ham and Kata Noi beach, I might suggest checking out Phromthep Cape, as it’s home of a dynamic geological formation.
And the Beyond
Phuket offers such a wide range of attractions and worthwhile hot spots, that it’s difficult to feature everything, but I wanted to be sure to highlight a few more attractions that should be considered a must see and must experience. If you’re a Buddhist, or are merely curious, Phuket is home of their own Big Buddha. Since Phuket is an island and surrounded by water, I would be doing a disservice is I didn’t at least mention the myriad of water cruises and tours. Tours range from day trips around Phang Nga Bay to luxury cruises, loaded with amenities, as well as James Bond Island themed speedboat tours.
If you’re heading to Thailand with family, then you might want to cater what you do and what you see to the ages of the youngest to attend, because while Phuket is known for its nightlife, it’s not the only attraction to the island. For families, I might suggest a sightseeing tour and a few adventure day trips, because to really see the island, you will want a mix of human culture, entertainment and restaurants, as well as the natural environment. And while it may be a bit dangerous to up and go tramping into the jungles, without some prior knowledge of that area, you can still experience the wild beauty of the island if you stick to the day trips, with knowledgeable guides.
(Photo by 
7amanito via Flickr)

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