Set in the southwestern corner of Thailand is Phuket, the largest and most beautiful island of the region. Commonly referred to as the Pearl of Andaman, the island is known for its miles of gorgeous beaches with dazzling white sand and jade waters.
Although Phuket is mainly known as a party island, you can also discover a deeply traditional and authentic side if you travel inland to Phuket Town. Here, you can find a rich culture heavily influenced by Buddhism. The most iconic landmark is the Big Buddha statue. At 45 meters tall, it sits on Nakkerd Hills and offers panoramic views of the glittering bay and coast.
Phuket Island has a number of museums reflecting both the Thai Buddhist culture and the Chinese influences. The largest temple is Wat Chalong, an elaborately decorated building with colorful Thai and Buddhist mythological imagery.
The jungles of Phuket are worth exploring. The Khao Sok National Park is one of the most scenic areas for an outdoor adventure. With dramatic formations of limestone and glorious cascading waterfalls, it is said to be one of the oldest rain forests in the world. Stay in tree-house lodgings, float down the winding lazy rivers and interact with elephants for a full jungle experience.
The main attraction of Phuket is its stunning beaches that bring tourists from around the world. From party beaches like Patong Beach with its exciting nightlife, to the laid-back beach experiences of Karon and Kata beaches, there’s a beach for every taste. Kalim Bay has recently become the coolest place to hang out with trendy bars and restaurants and ideal surfing conditions.
For families, perhaps the best attraction is Phuket FantaSea. A theme park that features exotic animal shows, carnival games, buffet dinners and a shopping village, it’s perfect for a family night out.
For the ultimate shopping and food experience, visit the markets of Phuket. The Old Phuket Town along Thalang road is small enough to explore on foot therefore also known as Phuket Walking Street. It is lined with quaint old buildings and Sino-Portuguese shop-houses which sell local delicacies and hand-crafted souvenirs.
Chillva Market Phuket is a trendy, cool night market with stalls selling an impressive selection of cheap local food and clothing. The market has a bohemian vibe and includes a stage and amphitheatre which has live music and presentations daily.
Phuket Island is home to lively festivals throughout the year. There is the Phuket Vegetarian Festival that takes place over a period of nine days in October and the Songkran, which is essentially a giant water fight marking the start of the traditional Thai New Year. All these and many more make Phuket an exciting island to go anytime of the year!
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