Situated just off Thailand’s long southern coast, Phuket is one of the country’s most popular resorts and is often hailed as the ‘Pearl of the Andaman Sea’. This port of call offers cruise passengers a chance to soak up the scenery of glistening white beaches and vibrant markets, where all the hustle and bustle of this island takes place.
To experience an authentic piece of culture, take in one of the renowned Thai shows at the Orchid Garden, where you will witness an exquisite range of colour with great costumes and folkloric dances.
There are many hidden gems to be discovered in Phuket, especially the famous Chinese temples. The Jui Tui Chinese Shrine is wonderful to see and the Baan Chin Pracha Chinese mansion is a sight to behold, dating back to 1904. This is the oldest mansion still standing on the island today and it is famous for its relation to the original settlers from China.
If you want to experience the buzz of the eccentric Thai culture, then a visit to Patong Beach needs to be on your list. You’ll find market stalls, unique shops and fantastic places to dine, with bars, restaurant and cafés lining the streets, all boasting their own individual charms. For a slightly less hectic option head for Kalim Beach, just north of Patong, for a more tranquil experience.
Phuket has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches situated along the clear waters of its western shore, where the sun shimmers across the waves to create an unforgettable location for you watch the world go by. Water sports enthusiasts will be in their element here with opportunities for jet skiing, wind surfing, water skiing and parasailing as Phuket is also one of the greatest places in the world for snorkelling and scuba diving. Karon Beach is just one of the places where you’ll discover a fascinating underwater world of colour.
Perhaps you’d rather head on over to Phi Phi Island, where you can climb the rock formations and snorkel within the National Park protected beaches? There is of course Phang Nga Bay National Park, also known as ’James Bond Island’, that also boasts idyllic views of limestone cliffs that rise over the sea.
If you’d rather stay on dry land, you can encounter land-based wildlife at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project near Bang Pae Waterfalls. Take a ride along a woodland trail on the back of an elephant at Phuket’s elephant sanctuary for a once in a lifetime experience.