Phuket: Thailand’s Island Utopia
Where in the world can you experience an all you can eat buffet with seafood that was caught that day and cooked to your liking for next to nothing? Where in the world can you paddle a kayak in the sea to go rock climbing and then lounge on the beach afterwards? Where in the world can you island hop one day, visit pristine rainforest the next and then go out hiking the next? It’s not Australia, Brazil, the Caribbean islands or anywhere in the Mediterranean Sea, it’s Kantary Bay Phuket.
Phuket (pronounced Poo-ket) is located in southern Thailand off the west coast and is the country’s largest island. Many tourists consider Phuket the premier holiday destination of Thailand, as it offers some of the best beaches in the world and some of the best food anywhere in the orient. However, visiting a beach is just the beginning of what this island paradise has to offer. Visiting the rainforest, island hopping, rock climbing and sea kayaking are other fantastic activities that are on the menu for this truly one of a kind island.
Today, one of the most popular day trips is to visit one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Just a few years ago, little known Khao Sok National Park was not on the radar of any traveler. However, it is becoming a very popular destination as it is just a two to three hour drive north from Phuket. Here, jungle trekking to crystal clear waterfalls and elephant riding reigns king. There are also tours to the gorgeous Cheow Lan Lake, where vertical limestone cliffs encompass the emerald blue waters.
Another great day trip from Phuket is to take a ferry to the twin islands of Koh Phi Phi. (pronounced Ko Pee Pee) These islands were nearly destroyed by the tsunami that hit in 2004, but today are thriving and welcome tourists with open arms. Here, snorkeling, kayaking, cliff jumping and bird watching is popular. In the 1990’s, only the most adventurous tourists came here but today, the twin islands are world known for their beauty. Getting here is only a ferry ride away from Phuket.
Not too keen on a rainforest adventure or island hopping nearby? No problem. Another great excursion is to rent a kayak and paddle out to limestone cliffs in Phang Nga Bay. The limestone cliffs here are heaven for rock-climbing enthusiasts, who come from all over the globe to take up the challenge of climbing them. Climbing gear is readily available for hire here, if you don’t want to bring your own or don’t have any.
Southern Thailand is great to visit year round as the tropical weather is constant. Nice sea breezes cool the island so the temperature rarely gets above 30°C (85 °F) and rarely dips below 20°C (70 °F). Rainfall is constant throughout the year, but never rains for more than an hour per day, leaving the rest of the day sunny and perfect for outdoor adventure.
Obviously, visiting this island utopia should be on any vacationer’s list as there are activities for everyone from honeymooners to backpackers, independent travellers to families. Phuket is one destination that you don’t want to miss!