Destination Highlights : Phuket
Super Size Your Fun in Phuket!
Intriguing Phuket offers plenty of fun in the sun. Be spell-bound by her rustic and old-world charm of Sino-Portuguese heritage. Once a flourishing tin mining community, she is now home to Asia’s biggest regatta patronised by royalty and her world-class golf courses attracts the glitterati.
But that’s not all. Avid surfers are drawn to the turquoise sea in June to participate in the Thailand Surf Series. Families can soak up excitement at Phuket Fantasea – a cultural theme park. This is also the place for the famous Golden Kinnaree Buffet Restaurant which serves up an epic variety of local cuisine.
Get into the thick of things and visit Phuket during the Songkran Festival between 13-15 April. Locals usher in the start of the Thai New Year by sprinkling water on Buddha images. This act is considered good luck and the youth also celebrate by throwing water balloons at each other on the streets.
The island is famous for its powdery-white beaches, and you can work on your tan at the popular Patong beach which is just 1 kilometer away from the Hotel Royal Crown that makes for a serene retreat cocooned by lush trees and hillside.
For the more discerning traveler, you can stay at The Bel Air Resort & Spa Panwa Phuket, located at Cape Panwa. Its intelligently designed suites are sure to provide seamless convenience to both urbanites and families. This modern accommodation offers more privacy, including fully equipped kitchens and unparelled views of Phi Phi Island and Phang Nga Bay.
Boating enthusiasts should look forward to Phuket’s King Cup Regatta, held on 5 December in honor of King Bhumibol’s birthday. Stay at the heart of the action at the Royal Lighthouse Villa at Boat Lagoon, situated on Thepkasattri Road. It overlooks the recreational marina and from there, you can escape to the nearby Phuket Orchid Garden & Thai Village situated on the same road. You can admire their beautiful Orchids, watch sword fighting displays, or join the dancers in their “Ramwong” folk dance. After these activities, you can always pop by any of their four restaurants and eat to your heart’s content.
Aspiring chefs can prepare a scrumptious local meal at the Boathouse cooking class located at Kata Beach during the weekend. Shell collectors are also in for a treat and should visit the Phuket Sea Shell Museum. Situated near Rawai Beach, the museum showcases the world’s largest golden pearl at 140 karats and the heaviest shell with a staggering weight of 250kg! If it’s raw action you want, head to the Bangla Road Stadium to watch a Muay Thai match. To amp up the adrenaline factor, you can ride an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and tour the varied landscapes of the island.
LHC Phuket Resort, an integral part of Laguna Phuket, overlooks the famed 17th hole of the Laguna Phuket Golf Club. The 18-hole, par-71 course has been voted Top Ten for Best Golf Resort in Asia, Best Clubhouse in Asia and Best Golf Courses in Thailand by readers of Asian Golf Monthly magazine. Not just a golfer’s paradise, Laguna Phuket spans 1,000 acres of tropical parkland along an eight kilometre stretch of pristine beach at Bang Tao Bay on Phuket’s west coast. Guests staying at LHC Phuket Resort have access to 5 luxurious spas, over 30 restaurants and bars, Canal Shopping Village, Laguna Tours and Quest Laguna Phuket Adventure. For the romantically inclined, the Chapel-on-the-lagoon is an idyllic venue for a dream wedding. The chapel’s lofty ceiling and glass walls provides a spectacular backdrop of the azure water. There is always something happening at Laguna Phuket, home to annual events like the Sea Turtle Conservation Ceremony (April), ESPN Star Sports Charity Weekend (May), Laguna Phuket International Marathon (June), Laguna Phuket Triathlon (November) and Ironman 70,3 Asia Pacific Championship (December).
Last but not least, the Sino-Portuguese architecture lends a rustic charm to the island, taking you back to a time when the European influence was at its peak. The Sino-Portuguese shop houses at Dibuk, Krabi and Thalang Roads are picture perfect locations. Drop by the China Inn Café & Restaurant at Thalang Road with its restored façade because they dish out a delicious fusion of Thai-European cuisine!
Whether you visit Wat Chalong for a spiritual experience or explore tropical forests with extreme off-roading, Phuket and her fabulous accommodations are sure to keep you busy with her wealth of adventure and heritage.