The Andaman coast is an adventurer’s playground, whether you prefer the great outdoors or just a little soft adventure. As Thailand’s premier tourist resort area, Phuket has developed an excellent infrastructure that offers all sorts of fun things to do, from golf to cooking courses, diving to rock climbing, and sedate sightseeing to elephant trekking.
Activities and tours that involve local adventure are liberally offered by numerous tour agents on behalf of a handful of operators. Whether you are six or 60-years-old, there are plenty of enjoyable Phuket activities on offer to occupy you when you’ve had enough of relaxing on the beach. For a comprehensive selection, visit the What to do in Phuket section of 1stopPhuket.
Biking in Phuket
Bikes are available for rent all over the place, though they are mostly suitable for pottering around the local resort area. Look around and you’ll find better quality mountain bikes capable of making it over the hilly landscape. If you’re fit, you’ll be able to manage a rewarding tour of the island within a day. There aren’t any properly marked MTB trails, although the island is full of dirt roads and tracks which you are free to explore.
Bungy jumping in Phuket
Located inland in the Kathu district over the hill from Patong, this Kiwi-operated jump is done from a crane with a 100 per cent safety record.
Elephant riding in Phuket
This quintessential Thailand experience is one for souvenir photos and quite safe on these stoic beasts. It’s not the most comfortable ride, but the show put on by these jumbos is suitable for all ages.
Courses in Phuket
Something you don’t really consider for a holiday, but the cooking schools that have been popping up everywhere here are highly recommended for a day out of the sun. They’re great for mother and daughters to learn how to cook spicy Thai food while the boys go off water-sporting. Massage courses are also offered, but usually take up-to a week to complete.
Scuba diving in Phuket
Scuba diving is a popular draw card that attracts people from around the world, who come specifically to do dive master courses and join live aboard trips to nearby reefs. Dive shops are found at every beach, some of which offer PADI Open Water certification, and a decompression chamber is also found on the island. Most operators are foreign-run and competent, while the area boasts some renown dive sites. More on Phuket diving.
Fishing in Phuket
Big game fishing is offered by a handful of companies, though the waters here aren’t considered world class. It doesn’t come cheap, but you might be rewarded with a nice sized black marlin or sail fish.
Golfing in Phuket
A good reason to come to Phuket. There are several courses, mostly situated in the north of the island, particularly among the lovely exclusive lagoons of Bang Tao. A golfing day can be arranged, complete with clubs and caddie, through a tour operator or concierge, but they aren’t the cheapest 18 holes in Thailand. More on golf in Phuket
Jet skiing in Phuket
Jet skis are found at several beaches, mostly on Patong, and is fun for a 15-minute spin among the waves. They aren’t insured and are considered a pain by bathers. Accidents do happen so be careful.
Kayaking in Phuket
The karst caverns of Phan Nga Bay come especially recommended in this area and incorporates a full-day trip from Phuket which are great for families.
Kids activities in Phuket
Thais love children, and Phuket has several child friendly activities such as; Dino Golf and go kart racing at Kata, Phuket Zoo, visiting the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre, bowling in Phuket Town, plenty of SonyPlayStations at the malls, a kiddies play area on Patong’s promenade and some of the other activities mentioned in this section.
Parasailing in Phuket
Found on Patong Beach mainly, this is a fun way to blow a lot of money in a short space of time and get an eagle eye view of the entire coast, making it all well worth it. Operators are easy to find on the beach and have a good safety record.
This deserves a mention as a ‘must-see’ for families. The two-hour cultural extravaganza is a Vegas-like show that combines a menagerie of animals (including a dozen elephants on stage), circus acts, comical Siamese twins, displays of Thai dancing and music all wrapped up in an imaginative themed park.
Sailing in Phuket
Gaining in popularity, this understated activity is a fantastic way to get the best out of Pha Nga Bay and its remarkable seascape. It’s an exclusive and peaceful way to see the Andaman waters provided there is a big enough group to get a charter going.
Private marinas are popping up all over the island for the well healed but some sailing enthusiasts make a living offering day sails, usually you can sign up as an individual via a tour agent and join the sale – jibe ho! Why not go sailing with Andaman Sea Club.
Sightseeing in Phuket
Several tour companies offer day tours around Phuket that are sedate and a fine way to see the entire island in a single day. If that’s not enough action for you, other trips leave the island to Phi Phi and Pha Nga bay and are really worth it. You can also pick up local driver-guides who will take you around on a private tour for a modest fee. More on sightseeing.
Shopping in Phuket
There are several malls such as Central Festival and Phuket Shopping Centre where department stores offer an incredible range of items, mostly cheaper than in your home country. You’ll find the vendors at the beach areas far more convenient. The handicrafts, clothing and knock offs on sale are all cheap (cheaper still in Bangkok or Chiang Mai), but sometimes of dubious quality. Tailors are great value, silk is a popular buy and Thailand is generally a great place for bargains. More in shopping in Phuket.
Snorkelling in Phuket
Snorkelling is a great way to experience the colours of a tropical reef without doing a dive course. Many of the daytrips on the water offer an hour-long stop at a good location for non-divers to float around. Some dive shops also offer snorkelling on dive trips, well worth doing in these warm shallow waters.
Spas in Phuket
Spend a day or an afternoon being pampered in one of the many spas located in hotels or outside. The Thais are fabulous at providing this luxury service at affordable rates, including massage, ayurvedic practices, detox, facials and beauty treatment and general body rejuvenation.
Trekking in Phuket
Offered in Khao Sok National Park, this can be done over several days or as a single-day excursion. It’s not one of Phuket’s draw cards (you need to go north for real trekking) but the landscape and vegetation is fantastic.
Water sports in Phuket
At Patong, Karon, Kata and Kamala, several watersports are offered in addition to what we’ve already mentioned, including surfing (yes, small waves), windsurfing, beach volleyball and football.
Watermark Charter is a luxury cruise experience that takes tourists on private tours all around the Andaman Coast. Visit beauty spots such as Phi Phi, Koh Hong and Phang Nga Bay in style upon your own millionaire’s yacht, but without the prohibitive price tag. Boat Lagoon Marina, 60/2 moo2 Chalemprkiet R.9 Road, Kohkaew, tel: (076) 377 961-3.
Luxury Yacht Charter: offers two crewed 60 foot Sunseeker motorised yachts, which is the perfect way to experience the Andaman Sea in a luxurious manner. Very comfortably equipped for up to eight persons for day or overnight trips. Royal Phuket Marina, Unit SL8C, 63/22 Moo 2, Thepkasattri Rd., Koh Kaew. Tel: (076) 360 876, mobile: 087 999 3374.
AMAIA Catamaran: Southeast Asia Charter Boat and sailing catamaran. Faraway Yachting Co Ltd., 20/28 Moo 4, Sori Suksan 2, Rawai.