Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and is situated south along the Andaman Sea. The island is a melting-pot of Thais, Malays and sea gypsies – each culture bringing its unique charm to the island’s hospitality, cuisine and entertainment.
Think long summer days lazing on tropical beaches enjoying luxurious massages overlooking the sparkling ocean. Phuket truly is an island paradise with its lofty coconut trees, turquoise lagoons, and romantic sunset spots overlooking the sprawling coastline. By day, wander through the Old Town, laden with historical buildings, temples and quaint shophouses. Visit Big Buddha and the intriguing museums along the way. Tour the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery or join a cooking class and experiment with the wonderful, aromatic flavours of Thailand. Hop on a long-tail boat and sail around the bays, marvelling at the floating villages set against picturesque lime-stone cliffs. Phang Nga Bay is home to over 40 islands and is perfect for adventurous scuba divers and snorkelers. The famous Phi Phi Islands are just a stone’s throw away.
As night sets in, the beaches light up with funky beach bars and fresh seafood barbecues. Patong attracts the party animals with its lively street bars, markets and poi dancing. Take in a cabaret show at Fantasea, where you’ll be treated to dazzling performances. Whatever your fancy, Phuket will thrill and delight!
The island has been enjoying a flourishing tourism trade as of recently and especially South Africans love to travel here. Thailand is generally very affordable and a very good choice if you want to enjoy beautiful beaches, splendid cuisine and historical attractions. BUT there is so much more to Phuket than just cheap cocktails and go-go bars. Here is a list of things to do in Phuket:
The beaches – Okay you HAVE to visit the beaches. Think tropical greenery, bluer than blue water. Grab your beach bats or sit back, relax and work on your tan.
Thai cooking – Thai cuisine is one of MY favourite cuisines. It consists mostly of lightly prepared dishes, with a rice or noodle base, with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge. If you want to make these delicacies at home, take some Thai cooking classes and wow all your friends on your return.
Yoga – Yoga is the perfect way to relax even more while getting in some exercise while you holiday. Beach yoga is available everywhere and you don’t have to be a yogi! Beginners are more than welcome!
Beach front bars – These beach front bars are perfect for sundowners and with Thailand’s great prices you can work your way through the money and have a jolly time.
Sightseeing – Sail off and discover the surrounding bays and islands. Snorkeling, diving and canoeing are all activities that you can enjoy while out in the sun. There is also a heap of historical monuments and temples to visit for a cultural injection. For the shopaholics there are markets for days to explore and browse through.
Best time to go
Deciding when to visit Phuket is based on personal preference and your budget. The weather is pretty much good all year round which makes it a very sought after destination. Peak season is between November and March and attracts many tourists. During summer, the beach towns have a rowdy nightlife, busy marketplaces and conditions are perfect for water activities. Unfortunately high season also means higher flight prices, accommodation and shopping. The monsoon (or wet) season is from April to October. You can expect heavy rain showers but these don’t last very long and will clear up very quickly. Still the perfect time for outdoor activities PLUS you’ll pay lower prices.
Health & Safety
Holidaymakers need to be vigilant at all times as pick pocketing is something that is experienced regularly. Muggings also occur so be take extra precaution at night and never wander by yourself. During monsoon season, beware of fierce currents and freak waves. Drownings occur every year simply because tourists don’t adhere to the red flag warning. If you decide to rent a scooter, make sure to know the basics and where your helmet (even if the locals don’t!).
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed but we advise a Hepatitis A and Tetanus shot just to prevent any illness due to possible water or food contamination.
Thailand is one of the countries that does NOT require a visa for South African visitors. You can enter the country for a maximum stay of 30 days. Make sure your passport is still valid for a minimum of 6 months after date of departure and that there are 2 blank pages available for stamps.