|Patong Beach |
Patong Patong (Thai: ป่าตอง ) refers to the beach and town on Phuket's west coast. It is the main tourist resort on the island of Phuket, and is the center of Phuket's nightlife and shopping. The beach became popular with Western tourists, especially Europeans, Numerous hotels are located there and the area has expanded into a tourist Mecca.
Visitors hoping for a glimpse into the exotic East might not find it here, though the steaming hot streets, neon lights and chaotic atmosphere of Patong can be overwhelming for the new arrival. The key to full enjoyment of the place is to pace yourself, drink lots of water and learn the meaning of 'mai pen rai' - which translates roughly to 'It doesn't matter' or 'Don't worry, be happy'
►Freedom Beach is an exclusive gem on Phuket’s west coast; the 300m-long strip of white sand is set in a superb bay dotted with granite rocks and surrounded by hills covered by thick and luxuriant jungle. Essentially, Freedom Beach’s exclusivity comes from its rather difficult accessibility, although things are getting a bit better nowadays.
Apart from sunbathing, popular activities that can be enjoyed at Freedom Beach are beach soccer (two mini-goals are available), beach volleyball, and snorkelling. The shallow waters at both ends of the beach host superb underwater fauna and flora and the southern end is slightly superior. There are no jet-skis or other noisy marine leisure activities at Freedom Beach; the only audible engines are those of the long-tail boats bringing and taking away visitors.
Almost all of the bars are outdoors, so the music from each one blends into a deafening mess of sound. Beer bars occupy most of the street's length, with several go-go bars and a few pubs, restaurants, discos and shops rounding out the attractions, both on Soi Bangla and down its side streets. Street performances are also common most nights, which can make dodging around the tailor shop salesmen, leaflet distributors, street vendors and ping pong show touts more difficult, but it is all part of the fun.
►Flying Hanuman in Kathu is just the right place for you if you’re the type of person who loves to zip through the sky 40 metres above a jungle. Eco-friendly and well executed, Flying Hanuman explores the jungle in a decidedly aerial way.
Summing up, Flying Hanuman is a highly recommended nature tour that allows visitors to enter and explore a specific environment which has been here for millenniums and hopefully will stay here forever.
►Paradise Beach is one of the most attractive of the many wonderful beaches Phuket has to offer. It's compact and has a great view right across Patong Bay. The beach itself is barely 150 metres long and there is another small beach next to it, reached by a path through the rocks and it's located just next to the busy Patong beach.
Paradise Beach features shade-giving palm trees and tropical almonds. There are large granite rocks at both ends of the sand and a coral reef some 100 metres out. Jet-skis are actively discouraged from approaching the beach, resulting in a calm, peaceful location.
►Tiger Kingdom is a new arrival on Phuket’s attractions scene. It allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal with several Indochinese tigers of varying ages and sizes that have been raised by hand in captivity since birth. Tiger Kingdom is an attractive, squeaky-clean setup located right next to the Go-Kart track in Kathu at the foot of Patong Hill. On four acres of land, it cost approximately 100 million baht to build.
Stroll into reception and you’ll be greeted by a small army of orange-shirted greeters who will lead you through the paperwork necessary in meeting a big cat. For starters, you’ll need to sign a waiver exonerating Tiger Kingdom in case an accident happens, but this is standard procedure and you’ll have to do the same to bungy jump or to go on a zip line through the jungle.
►Kalim Beach is located just north of Patong Beach and, unlike its famous neighbour, still retains some of its local Thai touches. A concrete parking and vendor space at its southern end in front of the local school cuts the beach into two parts and hosts a popular small street food market with half-a-dozen stands selling mataba, noodle soup, roti, Thai ice-creams and other delicacies, as well as soft drinks.
Kalim Beach itself is pretty rocky and not very attractive for swimmers, even though some snorkelling is possible at high tide. The highlight of the beach is surfing in low season. Kalim is considered one of the best surfing spots in Phuket, and some competitions – such as the Quiksilver Thailand Competition – are held there. Another activity at Kalim, albeit up the road on the hillside this time, is the exhilarating Zorbing at Rollerball. Kalim is also famous for its fine-dining venues.
►Phuket Mining Museum, located in Kathu on the road between Loch Palm Golf Club and British International School, is one of the island’s most interesting museums. It features displays ranging from tin mine models to a recreated scene in an opium den.