Phuket is a tropical paradise world-renowned for its exotic beaches, which includes the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea. Some of the best scuba diving spots are also located in Phuket and can be explored by both beginners as well as experts. The island is young, vibrant, laid-back and possesses a unique cultural identity that’s been built on a diverse range of religions and customs. The following are Phuket travel tips;
1. Big Buddha
The Big Buddha or Phra Bang is a grand statue that is located at the Phuket International Exhibition and Convention Centre (PIECC). The statue stands approximately 77 metres in height and weighs over 150 tonnes. The statue was built of marble, sandstone and bronze. It was constructed under the direction of Luang Pu Yon, who is a revered monk of Wat Srithammatha.
2. Phuket Town
Phuket Town is the main business and cultural area in Phuket, including Kata, Thalang and Chalong. The town has a small population of just over 400 thousand people with the majority of the population being Chinese. Kata is the peninsula on the west of Phuket where most of the original settlers came from. This area is still referred to as ‘old’ Phuket, where Chinese settlements are more prosperous now with many Chinese restaurants, markets and shops in Kata. One can also find galleries in Phuket Town which were established by well-known artists living on the island. Tourists can go sightseeing in Phuket Town and enjoy the beauty of the area while getting to try many delicious Thai dishes, including various local snacks.
3. Phuket Zoo
The Phuket Zoo is located in Rawai, which is close to Khao Lak and Kata. The zoo is home to over 500 animals, including tigers, lions, monkeys and elephants. The most popular among visitors would be the giant pandas that are on loan from China. The zoo also has a petting zoo where you can get up close and personal with furry animals like buffalo, cows and goats. The good thing is that visitors don’t have to travel far and wide to take a closer look at these creatures. The zoo is open from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, with an admission fee of just 20 Baht for adults and 5 Baht for children.
4. Wat Phra Nang
Wat Phra Nang is a temple located in the community of Chalong. Wat Phra Nang is one of the most important temples in Phuket, which serves as a place where people go to worship and pray for peace, prosperity and good fortune. There are several stories about how the temple came to be, but by far the most popular one is that in 1663, King Rama I was on an expedition from the Ayutthaya Kingdom to establish a naval base in Phuket. The fleet of the King stopped by a beach where he found a Buddha image and golden statue that resembled his mother. According to local legend, he then left the statue and image on the beach and ordered his men to build a temple around them.
5. Phuket Aquarium
The Phuket Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world at 10 million litres with 13 tanks featuring rare sea creatures like crocodiles, sharks and piranhas. The aquarium also has an outdoor exhibit area where visitors can watch marine animals like stingrays floating on water.