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General Information

Located approximately 862 kilometers south of Bangkok is Phuket, Thailand's largest island, which is often dubbed as the pearl of the Andaman, or the pearl of the south. Its natural resources- rocky peninsular, limestone cliffs, white powdery beaches, tranquil broad bays and tropical in-land forests contribute to making it the South's wealthiest, busiest, most visited and most popular island and province.

Nestled in the tropical zone off the west coast of the southern part of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean, the province covers an area of approximately 543 square kilometers (excluding small islets). It is estimated that Phuket Province covers an area of approximately 590 square kilometers if its 39 other small islands are included. The islands total length, from north to south, is estimated at 48.7 kilometers and approximately 21.3 kilometers wide.

Phuket borders on Phang-nga Province to the north. The other 3 sides are encircled by the Andaman Sea the place where many of the best diving sites are located. The island is connected to Phang-nga Province by Sarasin Bridge and Thep Krasattri Bridge.

Staying on the island is easy, as there are only two seasons in a year -the rainy season (May to October) and the hot season (November to April). The low season of phuket isbetween September and October as they are the wettest months. The best period for a visit, is from November to February, when it is possible to see the clear blue sky, feel the fresh sea breeze and marvel at the crystal clear water while lying on powdery, palm-fringed beaches. Average temperatures ranges between 23?C and 33?C.

Phuket's topology is exceptional with 70 percent of its area covered with mountains which stretch from north to south and the remaining 30 percent being plains located in the central and eastern parts of the island. The island does not have any major rivers except for a total of 9 brooks and creeks.

Phuket is divided into 3 administrative counties namely Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Thalang and Amphoe Kathu.

Phuket has a lot more to offer its visitors other than its natural heritage sea, sand, sky, beach, forest, and world renowned diving sites. Sino-Portuguese architecture casts its spell delighting travelers to the city, while Phuket-style hospitality has never failed to impress visitors from all walks of life. In addition, accommodations ranging from world-class resorts to tropical-style bungalows have warmly catered to the different needs of travelers. For seafood lovers, there is a lot more to sample than just Phuket's famous lobster. Altogether, these characteristics have made Phuket a truly unique destination.

History of Phuket

Most geologists believe that the area known as Phuket today was once a cape that extended into the Andaman Sea. Geographical formations gradually changed the capes location, finally detaching it from the mainland.

A famous Greek philosopher, Claudius Ptolemy, was the first person who mentioned the cape in his book written in the year 157. The cape was locally referred to as Jung Ceylon, which was located between latitudes 6 N and 8 N (the present site of Phuket Island). Natives called the place Cha Lang, which evolved to Tha Lang the name of the main town to the north of the island.

As a perfect stopover sheltering traders from monsoons, Jung Ceylon welcomed merchants from India, Persia, Arabia, Burma, China and also Siam. During the 16th century, the island was also a popular trading port for tin with Portuguese, Dutch, English and French traders flocking to the island. This contributed to making the development of mining so unprecedented. Chinese businessmen and miners later migrated to Phuket and soon enjoyed thriving business wealth.

Apart from serving as a meeting point for traders from Europe, Central Asia and China, Phuket also attracted ambitious immigrants, especially those from Portugal and China, to work in the tin mines. With its colorful history, visitors admire the Sino-Portuguese style architecture in the city especially those buildings located along the Thalang and Yaowarat Roads.

Thalang town was surrounded by Burmese troops who invaded the coastal area in 1785. It was under the leadership of Chan, the widow of the governor, and her sister, Muk, who united local residents and successfully fought and drove the invaders out of Phuket. It took over 30 days for the defending troops of Phuket, under the command of Chan and Muk, to claim their victory. As a result of such heroic deeds, noble titles were granted to Chan and Muk as Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon respectively. To honor them, a monument was established at Tha Ruea Intersection, 12 kilometers to the north of Phuket City in 1966. They are still highly respected by Phuket residents even today.

However, 24 years later, the Burmese succeeded in seizing Thalang causing many local residents to flee to Phang-nga and Krabi. In 1825, some of them returned to re-establish a town and established a rice farming community. On the other hand, the area to the south of the island (Phuket City today) was developed and became a tin trading center.

When Phuket was elevated to a town in 1850, it attracted more immigrants from Thalang and nearby communities. In 1894, Phuket was promoted to be a Monthon administrative unit under the supervision of the central administrative body (located in Bangkok).

In 1902, Phraya Ratsada Korsimbi, a Sino-Thai businessman who contributed to developing the modern city of Phuket was appointed Governor of Phuket. He also helped to improve the welfare of local residents and set up the market system in the countryside. In 1916, Phuket became a province.

The tin mining industry has gradually failed to generate economic growth in Phuket, especially after 1985 when the price of tin fell by half. However, with its natural resources, Phuket later emerged as a tourist destination with great potential. This polished pearl of the Andaman is truly a destination that provides visitors with memorable experiences.

The islands long history has shaped the distinctive Phuket of the present with its diverse ethnic groups, culture, architectural influence, and fine cuisine. With approximately 35 percent of the population being comprised of Thai-Muslims, it is possible to see an equal number of Wats (Thai temples) located next to Mosques.

How To Get There

By air

This is perhaps the easiest way to get to Phuket. Domestic airlines operate several flights daily between Bangkok and Phuket. Some flights go to Phuket via Samui Island with a 40-minute stopover. List of operators are as follows:

Phuket Air offers daily flights to Phuket and the journey takes only 1.20 hours. Call 02 6798999 or visit www.phuketairlines.comfor more details on flights.

Bangkok Airways has daily flights connecting Phuket with Pattaya and Samui. For more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel. 66 2265 5678. Reservations can be made at tel. 66 2265 5555. Alternatively, browse its website at for more flight details.

Thai Airways International has numerous daily flights servicing the Bangkok-Phuket route. In addition, they have regular flights connecting Phuket with Hat Yai, Surat Thani, and Narathiwat Provinces. For more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel. 02 628 2000 or book your seat online at

One-to-Go by Orient Thai operates a daily flight between Bangkok and Phuket. The flight time is 1.20 hours. Call 1126 or visit for more information.

Air Asia also offers several daily flights connecting Bangkok and Phuket. The flight time is 1.20 hours. Visit www.airasia.comor call 02 5159999 for reservations.
Nok Air has several daily flights between Bangkok and Phuket with a flight time of 1.20 hours. Visit or call 1318 to make your reservation.

Destination Air porvides first class seaplane transfers to and from Phuket Internation Airport to resorts and hotels located in the Andaman sea. Popular destinations are such as Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, Ko Lanta. Services commence in July 2006. Contact Bangkok Office of Destination Air at Tel: 0 2261 5323, Fax: 0 2261 5331 or visit

Getting to Phuket from abroad

There are several direct flights between Phuket and international destinations, e.g. Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Penang, Singapore, and Sydney.
Dragon Air, Malaysia Airlines, Silk Airand Singapore Airlines also operate international flights connecting Phuket with other destinations. Please call airline offices for more details.

Transportation to and from the airport

Phuket International Airport is located approximately 30 kilometers north of the city, tel. 076 327230. Taxis between Phuket City and the airport costs approximately 400 baht but the fare to the beach ranges between 500 baht and 600 baht (The rate may decline now). Minivans charge approximately 80 baht /person to town, but 120 baht/person to Patong, Kata and Karon Beaches. Phuket Limousine (tel. 076 248596), located approximately 1 kilometer west of the city, operates hourly shuttles to the airport from 6.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.

By bus

Air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal for Phuket several times daily. Trips by air-conditioned bus, which normally leaves in the evening, take about 13 hours.
Call 0 2434 7192, 0 2435 1199 or visit for more information.

By car

From Bangkok, take Highway No.4 (Phetchakasem Road) through Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani and Phang-nga Provinces, then cross the Thep Krasattri Bridge or Sarasin Bridge to Phuket Island. The total distance is 862 kilometers and the travel time is approximately 12 hours.

By rail

There is no direct train service to Phuket. Travelers arriving by train must get off at Phun Phin Railway Station in Surat Thani Province and continue by regular bus to Phuket. For more information, call the State Railway of Thailand, 1690, 0 2223 7010, or 0 2223 7020.

By Ferry

During the high season, travelers may opt to get to Phuket from Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta (both are in Krabi Province). Few ports in Phuket provide this service with fares ranging between 300 bahts and 500 baht. The trip may take 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on weather conditions.

Getting around Phuket

Car Rental Service

Avis Car Rent Airport Tel: 0-7635-1243, Kata Beach Resort Tel : 0-7638-1530-3
- Boomerang Travel & Tour 71/13 Patak Road, Chalong Bay Tel: 0-7638-1690

- Dusit Laguna Hotel Bang Thao Beach Tel: 0-7632-4322-9

- Hertz Car Rent Thawon Palm Beach Hotel, Karon Beach Tel: 0- 7638-1034-7

- Holiday Inn Patong Beach Tel: 0-7634-0608

- K.M. Travel Phangnga Road Tel: 0-7621-0893

- Le Meridian Karon Noi Beach Tel: 0-7634-0480-5

- The Metropol Hotel Montri Road Tel: 0-7621-5050

- Pansea Surin Beach Tel: 0-7632-4017-20

- Patong Merlin Patong Beach Tel: 0-7634-0037-41

- Pearl Village Nai Yang Beach Tel: 0-7632-7006

- Phuket Arcadia Karon Beach Tel: 0-7638-1038-40

- Phuket Airport Tel: 0-7632-7258

- Phuket Cabana Patong Beach Tel: 0-7634-0138-4

- Phuket Car Center Takua Pa Road Tel: 0-7621-2671-3

- Phuket Island Tel: 0-7638-1010

- Phuket Yacht Charter 5/3 Chao Fa Road Tel: 0-7621-6556

- Phuket Horizon Car Rent 235/4 Yaowarat Road, Tambon Talat Nua, Muang

District Tel: 0-7621-5200

- Pure Car Rent Opposite Thavorn Hotel, Ratsada Road, Tel: 0- 7621-1002

- Via Rent A Car 70/85 Rat U-Thit, Patong Beach Tel: 0-7634-0160

Motorcycle taxis

It costs approximately 20 baht / person / trip to travel around Phuket City. Alternatively, motorcycles can be rented from rental agencies located on Rasada Road or from several operators along beaches. The cost may vary from 150 baht 300 baht / day, depending on the number of cylinders.

Songthaeo and Tuk-Tuk

Songthaeos are operated along Ranong Road to several destinations on the beaches. The cost varies from approximately 20 baht to 25 baht / person / trip. Normally the service is provided from 7.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m.

Tuk-Tuks can be chartered to the beach however, the rates which can be negotiated are higher at 200 baht to Patong Beach, 230 baht to Karon and Kata Beaches and 300 baht to Nai Han and Kamala Beaches. However, Tuk-Tuks drive around the town at the rate of 20 baht.

Taxi Meter

Visitors can call 076 232157-8 to get a metered taxi that will take them anywhere in Phuket. The metered fare will include a 20 baht surcharge.

Getting to nearby provinces

By bus

There are regular bus services (VIP, air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned) to neighboring provinces such as Krabi, Phang-nga, Chumphon, Ko Samui (bus/boat), Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ranong, Surat Thani, Satun, Hat Yai, Takua-Pa and Trang. Departures are from the Phuket Bus Terminal off Phang-nga Road. For more up-to-date schedules and fares, call Phuket Air-conditioned Bus Station, tel. 0 7621 1977.

Taxis & Vans

There are shared taxi and van services between Phuket and other nearby provinces. Fares of both are generally around double the fare of an ordinary bus. The stations of both taxis and minivans are also on Phang-nga Road.

By air

Some domestic airlines operate flights from Phuket to Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Hat Yai and Samui. For more details, check with your travel agent or the TAT office.

Getting to nearby islands from Phuket

Boats to nearby islands can be found at the following ports:

Rawai Beach

An old local port, it is from here that long-tail boats depart for nearby islands such as Ko He, Ko Racha Yai, Ko Mai Thon, Ko Lon, etc. The chartered price depends on the distance.

Ao Chalong

The largest port of Phuket that has all kinds of boats, including cruisers of tour companies which organize package tours to other islands.

Ao Makham

Located near Phanwa Cape, the port is only for cruisers and container ships.
Boat Lagoon Port (Ao Sapam) The port is for traveling boats of tour companies.

:: Amphoe Krathu
Hat Kalim (Kalim Beach)

Located north of Patong Beach is a secluded beach dotted with rocks and coral reefs. Accommodations and restaurants are available. Another interesting stopover is Freedom Beach which is located around the head of Laem Ka Sai Rot and is accessible by a chartered long-tailed boat.

Hat Kamala (Kamala beach)

Located approximately 26 kilometers from Phuket City, Hat Kamala is a relatively secluded 2-kilometer beach that is suitable for total relaxation. Accommodations are available.

Hat Patong (Patong Beach)

This Beach is the most developed, most vibrant, most visited beach of Phuket that never fails to impress visitors. Located approximately 15 kilometers from the city, the beach has a wide range of accommodations and shopping arcades, and provides magnificent leisure activities and energetic night-time entertainment. It is a picture perfect postcard view of a 3-kilometer long white sandy beach that is perfect for swimming, lazing, and enjoying challenging water sports such as jet skiing, windsurfing snorkeling, sailing, and parasailing.

The following places offer enjoyable activities:

  • Phuket Water Ski Cableways: Tel: 0 7620 2525-7
  • Simon Cabaret: Tel: 0 7634 2011-5
  • Tarzans Jungle Bungy Jump: Tel: 0 7632 1351
  • Tazans Catapult Bungy: Tel: 0 1464 1581
  • Patong Go-kart Speedway: Tel: 0 7632 1949
  • Phuket Joyland: Tel: 0 7620 3005
  • Horror House: Tel: 0 7629 3123

In addition, Patong offers gastronomical delights for seafood lovers. There are plenty of good restaurants located along the beach.

Krathu Cultural Conservation Center

Located approximately 7 kilometers from Amphoe Kratu town, the center is located in the compound of Ban Kratu School. This is where a collection of ore, mining equipment, utilities, etc. are put on display. The center opens from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Call 076 321035 for more details.

Namtok Krathu

This relatively small waterfall with a simple view but unique atmosphere is located approximately 4 kilometers from Amphoe Krathu. The entrance to the waterfall is located next to the Log Palm Golf Club. Restaurants and basic tourist amenities are available.

Phuket Fantasea

Located on Kamala beach, Phuket Fantasea is dubbed as the ultimate nighttime cultural theme park of Phuket. It has won several awards from the TAT, among the distinctive ones are Best Attraction Thailand Tourism Award (for the years 2000 to 2003).

This large-scale night time amusement center is spread out over an area of 140 acres near the village of Kamala Bay, or just 4 kilometers north of Patong. Attractions include the Culture-Illusion Stage Show, Fantasy of the Kingdom, a spectacular buffet restaurant Golden Kinnaree Restaurant, shopping village the enchanted Festive Village, Cultural Parade & Street Shows, Traditional Games and Carnivals, Handicraft Demonstrations & Live Performances (performed in Palace of the Elephants).

Phuket Fantasea's stage performance is exceptionally extraordinary and beyond just a spectacular show. It is indeed a perfect blend of Thai cultural traditions and the latest modern Las Vegas style technology. Visitors can see magic elephants disappearing into thin air, gymnastics, musical fountains, and a circus. Tickets (including buffet dinner) cost 1,600 baht for adults and 1,100 baht for children, while tickets without buffet dinner cost 1,100 baht for adults and 800 baht for children. Call 076 385111 to reserve your seats or browse for more information. The park opens from 5.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. daily except Thursday. Show time is 9.00 p.m.

:: Amphoe Mueang
Ao Chalong

This bay, which has the islands largest and most visited pier, is located 11 kilometers south of town. From this pier, holidaymakers can get chartered boats to some nearby islands south of Phuket. The bay area is dotted with dive shops, a few travel agencies and superb seafood restaurants. Although the bay has a stunning setting and relaxing ambience, swimming is not recommended here. Accommodations are available at the Phuket Youth Hostel.

Ao Sen

This is a small bay located next to Hat Nai Han, near the Phuket Yacht Club, which has a peaceful and scenic beach with white powdery sand.

Dino Park

An 18-hole mini-golf course is located beside Marina Cottage on Karon Beach. The golf course is set in a prehistoric atmosphere, where visitors can enjoy golfing in a world out of time. Take an adventurous trip to the world of Dinosaurs at the Dino Park, an entertainment and dining complex. Call 076 330493-7 or visit for more information.

Hat Karon (Karon Beach)

Located south of Patong Beach, Hat Karon is a curving beach that lies beautifully in the sun with small sand dunes, casuarinas and palm trees. The crescent bay is the beach's signature that drawing travelers attention. From May to October, the beach may be affected by serious undertows, as the bay open. Watch out for those warning flags before going swimming or surfing at the southern end of the beach. During the high season, the beach is ideal for relaxation, swimming or sunbathing. A wide range of accommodations, from top-end to budget and mid-range, are available. Other facilities such as nightclubs, restaurants and other evening entertainment are located along the beachfront road.

The beach is located approximately 20 kilometers from the town and can be reached by taking either s or buses from Ranong Market in Phuket City. Transportation is available from 7.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and costs approximately 20 baht / person / trip. Taking a taxi to the town is another option. It costs approximately 200 baht to Phuket City and 150 baht to Patong Beach.

Hat Kata (Kata Beach)

Located approximately 17 kilometers from Phuket City are Kata Noi (Small Kata) and Kata Yai (Big Kata) Beaches. Both are renowned for snorkeling to see the coral, tropical fishes and the seas eco-system. Also worth visiting is Ko Pu, a small uninhabited island located off Laem Sai. Most visitors find snorkeling along the islands rich coral reef enjoyable. Diverse beach activities are available on both beaches. Accommodations on Hat Kata are set amidst tropical and cliff settings. Visitors can choose to stay in budget to top end accommodations according to their preference. Well known hotels located here are Club Med and the Boathouse.

For more information on how to get there, please refer to the transportation section in Hat Karon.

Hat Nai Han

Located a few kilometers from Kata Beach, next to Phromthep Cape, approximately 18 kilometers from town is Hat Nai Han, an extra-ordinary beach that has white powdery sand and crystal clear water. The beach borders on two charming landscaped lagoons surrounded by rubber trees and other tropical plants. As the beach has not yet been fully developed to its full potential, it is less crowded, more peaceful, thus is ideal for people seeking solitude. Holidaymakers are not recommended to swim during the monsoon season from May to October. Watch out for the red flag!

Despite having a rather limited selection of accommodations, they range from budget bungalows to the top-class Yacht Club. Check with the TAT Phuket Office for more up-to-date information and room rates.

This beach can be reached by songthaeos, which leaves from the intersection of Ranong Road and the fountain circle. The fare is 25 baht / person / trip. In addition, visitors can also charter tuk-tuks which costs a lot more at 150 baht to 200 baht / trip.

Hat Rawai

Located approximately 17 kilometers from town is the less crowded, more peaceful and less commercial beach with a second-to-none pristine beach. The Beach is home to a well-established community of Phuket s Chao Le people (sea gypsies). In addition, from this beach visitors can charter boats to explore other offshore islands. Hat Laem Kha, located to the northeast of the beach, is the departure point for those wishing to visit Ko Lon, and Ko He. Laem Phromthep, Phukets landmark, is located at the southern end of the beach. This cape is an ideal spot for diving and snorkeling. Accommodations range from budget bungalows to middle range resorts.

Getting to the Beach is easy by songthaeos, which cost approximately 20 baht / person / trip. Songthaeos depart from the stop at the circle of Ranong Road, while chartered tuk-tuks will cost more at 150 baht / trip.

Khao Rang

A small hill located northeast of the town, Khao Rang offers a fascinating view of Phuket City. Inside the park is a fitness park, restaurants and souvenir shops. The statue of Phraya Ratsada Korsimbi, (Ratsada Korsimbi Na Ranong) the Governor of Phuket between 1890 and 1909 is also situated here.

Ko Bon

A small island located south of Phuket that is well known for its long- stretch of white sandy beach set in a secluded tropical ambience. Ideal for swimming, the island is accessible by chartering a boat from Rawai Beach or Laem Ka. No accommodations are provided.

Ko He

Located southwest of Cape Panwa, the island is famous for its white powdery beach and rich coral reefs which are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and other water sports. As the island is not affected very much by the monsoon, would be visitors can enjoy traveling to the place year round. Ko He has become a popular one-day tour from Phuket as it is only half an hour from the Chalong Pier. It is also dubbed the Coral Island by tourists. Accommodations and basic tourist facilities are available, contact the TAT Phuket Office for more up-to-date information.

Ko Kaeo

A small island located approximately 3 kilometers from Rawai Beach, south of Laem Phromthep where a replica of the Lord Buddha's Holy Footprint is enshrined. This quiet, white, sandy beach complimented by rich coral reef is a major tourist attraction. The island can be reached by taking a 30-minute boat trip.

Ko Lon

A relatively large island located south of the city close to Ao Chalong. Tranquil and undisturbed, the island is perfect for those wishing to unwind and recharge. A typical fishing village and a school are located on the island. Accommodations are available. To get there, visitors can take ferries which depart from Ao Chalong from 8.00 a.m. Alternatively, they can charter long-tailed boats. The trip takes approximately 20 minutes.

Ko Mai Thon

A small peaceful island located southeast of Phuket, Ko Mai Thon is famous for its unique corals, crystal clear water and relaxing ambience. The island is ideal for diving, swimming or even fishing. Accommodations are available for those wishing to stay in this enchanting, secluded den. A one-day trip is also provided by travel agencies. There are boats to Ko Mai Thon from Rawai Beach.

Ko Racha

The island consists of Racha Yai and Racha Noi islands located south of Phuket. Ko Racha Yai (Big Racha) has an enchanting beach located on the west between the valleys that resembles horseshoes. The area is known as Ao Bungalow which is famous for its white powdery beach and crystal clear water. Visitors can marvel at the delightful panoramic view of the whole island from the vantage point at the peak of the mountain located south of the bay.

Ko Racha Yai is the ultimate place to explore the wonders of the underwater world, especially at Ao Siam, Ao Tue and Khon Kae. Accommodations are available.

Ko Racha Noi (Small Racha) is located just 10 kilometers from Big Racha Island. Originating from the accumulation of coral stones, the island has more rocky hills than beaches, thus the island is more suitable for fishing. To get there, visitors can charter long-tailed or speed boats from Chalong Pier. Alternatively, they can buy a package tour from reliable travel agencies.

Ko Si-re

An interesting site to visit where visitors can explore the daily life of Chao Le as it is the oldest and biggest community of Phukets sea gypsies. With an area of approximately 20 square kilometers, the island is located approximately 4 kilometers southeast of Phuket and is separated from the main island only by the small Thachin Canal. The mountain-top temple on the island houses a big Buddha image in the reclining position. The island is not an ideal place for swimming, but is perfect for discovering the sea gypsies' way of life, especially at Laem Tukkae.

Laem Ka

This Cape is located approximately 16 kilometers from the town center at the extreme southwest end of Chalong Bay. Ideal for swimming, the beach is clean, quite and dotted with rocks.

Laem Phromthep or Phromthep Cape

Literally translate as Brahmas Cape, Laem Phromthep is perhaps one of Phuket's most important landmarks. There is a saying that you havent been to Phuket unless you visit Laem Phromthep. It is here that visitors soak up the sun and savor the breathtaking panoramic view of the Andaman Sea from the islands southern-most tip. The Cape is crowded especially in the evening, as it is a popular observation point at sunset. Laem Phromthep is located approximately 2 kilometers from Rawai Beach.

Phuket Aquarium

Located at Cape Phanwa, southeastern-most end of the island is an extraordinary aquarium that displays hundreds of exotic and colorful marine species found in the sea around Phuket. The aquarium opens daily from 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Call 076 391126 for more information. To get by public transportation, take a local bus from the towns fresh produce market.

Phuket Butterfly Farm

Located approximately 3 kilometers from Phuket City via Yaowarat Road and the Sam Kong intersection, the farm proudly presents a unique collection of tropical creatures such as butterflies and insects. The farm opens daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The entrance fee is 150 baht for adults and 60 baht for children. Call tel. 0 7621 5616, or 0 7621 0861 for more information.

Phuket City and old buildings

Phuket City is a fascinating city that can be explored on foot or by traditional means of transportation, tuk-tuk or Sino-Portuguese architecture that is evident in the citys shop houses provides the town with a charming atmosphere and a late 19th century ambience. For visitors interested in strolling along the city, start the trip at the central post office and walk west along Thalang Road, then turn south at the Standard Chartered Bank building and walk towards Yaowarat Road. Continue the trip to Fountain Circle, then head west to Ranong Road and proceed to Patipat Road, which connects with the historic Krabi Road.

Phuket Cultural Center

Located in the compound of the Rajabhat Institute of Phuket, the Center features an exhibition of Phukets intriguing history. Highlights of the daily lifestyles, traditional houses, household utilities and Thailand's history are exhibited. A library is located on the ground floor where books on the history, culture and arts of Phuket can be found. Call 076 211959 for more details.

Phuket Sea Shell Museum

Phuket Sea Shell Museum is located near Rawai Beach on the island's southwestern shores. On display are private collections of seashells from Thai waters (off Phuket Island itself). They are considered the most sought-after shells by collectors. In addition to such the collection, seashells from other parts of Thailand and other parts of the world are also on display. The main attractions at this Museum are the worlds largest golden 140-karat pearl, the worlds earliest known life form seen in sections of sedimentary rock containing shell fossils and a gigantic 250-kilogram shell. The museum is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call tel. 0 7638 1266 or 0 7638 1274 for more information.

Phuket Submarine

Phuket Submarine operates 5 dives daily and carriesforty eight passengersinto the waters southeast of Phuket. The dives will be to a depth of the thirty meters. The submarine is fully air conditioned and boasts the latest technology available in tourist submarines. Large 72 centimeter viewing ports and LCD screens enhance the viewing experience for the passengers. Schools of tropical fish and soft coral formations are a highlight of the dive site.The Submarine tour takes approximately two hours with 40 minutes spent underwater. For more information, please contact : Phuket Submarine Col Ltd. 64/423 Mu 7, Ratsada Harbour, Amphoe Mueang, Phuket 83000. Tel. 0 7625 3206-8, 0 7625 3215 Website:

Phuket Zoo

Located on the way to Chalong Bay, the Zoo features a collection of Asian and African mammals and birds. Elephant and crocodile shows are performed daily. The entrance fee is 400 baht for adult and 200 baht for children. Call 0 7638 1337, 0 7638 1227 for more details.

Saphan Hin

A public park located by the sea at the end of Phuket Road, Saphan Hin is a recreational park for both locals and tourists. The Tin Mining Monument dedicated to the memory of Captain Edward Thomas Miles, the Australian who brought the first dredge to Phuket in 1909, is located inside the park. The Saphan Hin Sports Center is also located here.

Thai Village and Orchid Farm

Located on Thepkasattri Road, approximately 3 kilometers from Phuket City is an extraordinary place for culture lovers. The village provides stunning classical Thai dance performances, sword-fighting, Thai boxing, southern customs and elephant shows. Handicrafts and traditional mining techniques are also featured. The orchid farm outside is worth exploring. The performances are at 11.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. The fees are 400 baht for adults and 200 baht for children. Call 076 214860 for more information.

The Viewpoint

The most famous observation point of the 3 beaches, Kata Not, Kata and Karon, is located on the road half-way between Nai Harn Beach and Kata Noi Beach. From this spot, an intriguing view of the 3 beaches and Ko Pu has constantly impresses visitors.

Wat Chalong

Phukets most popular and famous temple, Wat Chai Tararam, or Wat Chalong, was built in 1837. Located approximately 8 kilometers from the city, the temple houses the famous Luang Po Cham, a monk who helped the locals fight the Ang Yi rebellion during the reign of King Rama V (in 1876). A recent addition to the temple is a 61.4-meter high chedi containing the Phra Borom Sareerikatat relic, a piece of the Lord Buddha's bones brought over from Sri Lanka. The chedi is a mixture of southern, central and northeastern architectural styles and is the first in this region to house the holy Buddha's relic.

:: Amphoe Thalang
Ao Bang Thao

A large open bay that is the location of one of Phuket's longest beaches, Ao Bang Thao has a long history related to the economy of the island. Previously a tin mining area the location has been transformed into an area where Phuket's luxurious resorts and golf courses, especially Laguna complex, are located. Additional accommodations outside Laguna at the bays south end are also available.

Ban Thao Thepkasattri

A recent discovery has identified the house of Phuket's heroine, Thao Thepkrasattri. The place is located at Ban Kien, Tambol Thepkrasattri. To get there from the town, travel along Thepkrasattri Road, at kilometer 19 marker, take the road that leads to Ban Riang and proceed for approximately 2 kilometers.

Hat Surin

Located approximately 24 kilometers from town and only in a short distance north of Laem Sing is an enchanting beach lined with casuarinas trees. Isolated and secluded, the beach is ideal for sunbathing and relaxing. The beach, however, is not suitable for swimming as it has a steep sloping beach and the weather fluctuates during the southwest monsoon. In addition, there is a golf course which was established in the reign of King Rama VII.

Several Muslim fishing communities are located nearby and Mosques are situated to the west of the beach. The local Mosque, Matsayit Mukaram, is worth visiting as it is an elegant whitewashed structure with lacquered wooden doors.

To get there, travel along Route No. 402, after reaching the Two Heroines Monument, turn left and proceed for approximately 12 kilometers.

Ko Nakha Noi

Located near Po Bay, approximately 25 kilometers north of Phuket City, the island offers unspoiled natural beauty that is second to none. Ko Nakha Noi is approximately 6 kilometers off of Po Bay and is home to the Naga Pearl Farm the only South Sea Pearl Farm which is open to the public all year round. Visitors will be able to learn more on techniques of pearl cultivation at the farm. Souvenir shops are available.

Laem Sing

Located just one kilometer from Surin Beach, Laem Sing is a relatively small quite beach perfect for a break from the crowd. Laem Sing has a white sandy beach that glitters in the sun and is dotted with uniquely shaped rocks.

Sirinat National Park

The park is located approximately 30 kilometers from Phuket City. Occupying an area of 90 square kilometers, the park has a 13-kilometer beach. Formerly known as Nai Yang National Park, it was declared a National Park on 13 July 1981.

To reach the Park, start from Thepkasattri Road and continue towards the Thalang intersection, then take a left turn at kilometer21 and 22 markers and proceed for approximately 10 kilometers. Alternatively, at kilometer 21 and 22 markers, follow the road which leads to the airport for approximately 2 kilometers.

The park consists of picture-perfect beaches and mangrove forests as follow:

Hat Nai Thon

Nestled on the rim of a secluded bay south of the park is another popular tourist attraction, especially for day trippers. Nai Thon Beach has a unique natural setting with both ends of the beach being protected by granite outcrops that serve as a natural shield making the bay a perfect nursery for both marine life and corals. The beach is suitable for swimming. For those seeking utmost solitude, it's not that far. Just walk a few hundred metres to Hin Kruai Bay to savor the moment.

To get there, follow the route to Sirinat National Park, then turn left at kilometer 21 and 22 markers. At the intersection of Ban Sa Ku, turn left and proceed for approximately 3 kilometers.

Hat Nai Yang

Located to the south of Mai Khao Beach, Hat Nai Yang is a serene and isolated bay ideal for swimming and family picnics. The beach itself is impressive, as it is fringed by shady pine trees. Nearby coral reefs make explorations into the underwater world worthwhile. In addition, sea turtles are inhabitants in the area. The parks headquarters is located here.

Hat Mai Khao

Also known as the Airport Beach (Hat Sanambin), the beach is located at the northern end of Phuket Island. As Phukets longest beach, Hat Mai Khao is famous for its tranquil beach set in a relaxing ambience. Camping grounds are provided. The beach is not recommended for swimming as it slopes steeply. Hat Mai Khao is home to wonderful creatures such as sea cicadas and turtles. In addition, it is an egg-lying ground for sea turtles.

The Beach can be reached by taking the Thepkasattri Road on to the Thao Thepkasattri Bridge, then taking a left turn at the directional sign pointing to Mai Khao Beach or follow the Thepkasattri Road that passes the Airport intersection. At the Sarasin Bridge, turn left and proceed for approximately 3.5 kilometers.

Hat Sai Kaeo

Located to the north, next to Mai Khao Beach, Hat Sai Kaeo is a long white powdery beach naturally decorated with groves of pines along the shore. Ideal for relaxation, the beach is Phuket's northernmost beach.

Mangrove Forest

Located in the area of Tha Chatchai, the mangrove forest covers an area of approximately 320 acres. Situated on the islands northern tip, the place offers interesting nature trails for those wishing to learn more about the forest that protects the land and natures sea creatures.

Thalang National Museum

Located near the Two Heroines Monument, the museum features a permanent exhibition of life in old Phuket and ancient artifacts and remains discovered on the coast as well as materials used during war with Burma (Myanmar). It is open daily except national holidays from 8.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call 076 311426 or 076 311025. Admission fee is 30 baht / person.

The Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary

Located in Thalang District, approximately 20 kilometers from Phuket City, the sanctuary covers an area of 13,925 rai (5,570 acres) of rich and fertile land which is home to several types of wild animals.

The compound was declared a wildlife sanctuary in July 1969. The special Palm called Chao Mueang Thalang Palm (Lang Khao Palm) can only be seen here.

Major attractions in the sanctuary include:

Namtok Ton Sai

The waterfall is located approximately 22 kilometers from the town. A relatively small waterfall that looks its best in the rainy season, Namtok Ton Sai is shaded by big and small trees which make it ideal for relaxation. To get there from Thepkasattri Road, turn left at Amphoe Thalang intersection and proceed for approximately 3 kilometers. Call 076 311998 for more information.

Namtok Bang Pae

A relatively small cascade located amidst the dense woods, the waterfall is also home to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center. To get there from the town, follow the route to the Two Heroines Monument, then turn right to Tambon Pa Khlok and proceed for approximately 7 kilometers.

For nature enthusiasts, the sanctuary has mapped out some walking trails. Further information may be obtained from the Nature Study Center.

The Two Heroines Monument

This monument was established by local residents in 1966 to honor the heroic deeds of Thao Thepkasattri and Thao Srisunthorn. It is located at the Tha Ruea intersection, Amphoe Thalang.

Wat Phra Thong

The temple is a popular attraction for both visitors and local residents. Located in the temple is the upper half of a large Buddha statue which seems to emerge from the ground. Legend has it that during the invasion of Thalang town in 1785, the Burmese made several attempts to excavate the statue in order to take it back to Burma. Each time they dug into the ground, swarms of hornets would swoop on them and they had to give up in the end. Later, the visible part of the statue was covered with gold by the villagers and has remained as such until today.

The temple is located approximately 20 kilometers from Phuket City. Travel along Thepkrasattri Road, upon reaching the Thalang District Office, turn right and proceed directly to the temple.

Wat Phranang Sang

Located approximately 20 kilometers from town is a historic temple that serves as an invaluable reference on Thalangs history. The compound was once used as a Burmese military camp in 1785. The ubosot is where the three oldest and biggest tin Buddha images are enshrined. They are called the Three Kings and are positioned in between three other large statues.

To get there,travel along Thepkasattri Road, at Thalang District intersection, turn left and proceed directly into the temple.

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