Phuket’s extraordinary tropical setting needs little introduction.
The marvelous white-sand beaches, rolling green hills, and crystal-clear waters have lured visitors for centuries. But the island boasts more than sublime beaches. Phuket and its environs are also home to a multitude of cultural highlights.
1- Phuket Town
Magnificent architecture, Chinese shrines, bustling outdoor marketplaces, and authentic local cuisine are all found in Phuket’s cultural heart (see pp12–15).
2- Wat Chalong
Phuket’s most important Buddhist temple is lavish with sacred sculptures and imagery.
The Grand Pagoda houses a bone fragment of the Buddha himself (see pp16–17).
Wild and uninhibited, Patong is the island’s busiest tourist beach. Home to countless hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs, this is the ideal spot for people who want to be in the mid dle of the action (see pp18–19).
4- Khao Phra Thaeo Royal Forest and Wildlife Reserve
With jungle trails, waterfalls, and many exotic animals and plants, this national park features a wealth of wild attractions (see pp20–21).
5- Sirinat National Park
On Phuket’s pristine northwest coast, Sirinat National Park grants protection to a large area of undeveloped beachfront, as well as the island’s last surviving mangrove forest. A number of upscale hotels are located here (see pp22–3).
- Around Phuket
6- Naiharn Beach
At Phuket’s southern tip, this idyllic beach provides one of the island’s loveliest tropical backdrops. Phromthep Cape offers breathtaking sunset views (see pp26–7).
7- Kata Beach
Once a hippie haven, Kata is now home to upscale resorts, and is a favorite with couples and families. The gorgeous beach and clear turquoise waters are highlights (see pp28–9).
8- Similan Islands National Park
The waters surrounding the Similans provide incredible visibility, ideal for viewing exotic marine life and dramatic underwater rock formations and reefs. This is one of the world’s top diving destinations (see pp30–31).
9- Khao Sok National Park
At the heart of this park are ancient ever green forests, majestic limestone peaks, and Cheow Laan Lake, with
its float ing bamboo-raft houses (see pp32–5).
10- Phang Nga Bay
Stunning limestone cliffs jut up from this bay, where world-famous sights include James Bond Island and the magnificent Ko Phi Phi. Kayakers can explore the water tunnels, caves, and uninhabited islands (see pp36–7).