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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Phuket Sightseeing
Phuket Sightseeing Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Thalang National Museum

The national museum of Phuket houses antique artifacts from long history of Phuket and exhibits detailing the famous Battle of Thalang where the Two Heroines, featured in a statue on the main road nearby, protected the island from the Burmese attack in the 18th century. The museum also boasts information and displays about daily life in Phuket, tin mining history, the aboriginal Sea Gypsy culture and the island's Chinese heritage.

In the main hall is a statue of the Hindu god Vishnu that was uncovered from forest overgrowth in Phang Nga in the early 1900s. The image dates from the 9th century A.D., showing the Indian reflection on Thai culture. There are also exhibits on the art, architecture and history of other parts of Thailand, as well as the ancient Sukothai kingdom.

Opening hours : every day except holidays 8.30 am to 4.00 pm.
Entry fee:30 Baht.

Situated east of the Heroines' Monument on Pa Khlok Road, north of Phuket Town (Telephone: +66 (0)76 311025, +66 (0)76 311426).

Phuket Sea Shell Museum

This museum has some of the most valuable seashells from all over the world. Many are the most sought-after by collectors and are from Phuket and Thai waters. In addition there are also some rare and odd shells as well as the world's largest golden pearl (140 karats) and large sections of sedimentary rock featuring shell fossils that reflect the earth's earliest life-forms, and a 250-kilogram shell.

Opening hours:every day 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.
Entry fee:
200 Baht for each adult; 100 Baht for each child.

12/2 Moo 2, Viset Rd, Rawai, just south of Chalong Bay (Telephone: +66 (0)76 381266 or +66 (0)76 381274).

Thavorn Hotel lobby

Eclectic and eccentric are the 2 words that describe the small museum in the Thavorn Hotel's lobby in Phuket Town. Varieties of artifacts and photos, collected by the Chinese-Thai family who run the Thavorn group, are presented in a fairly dark atmosphere. Besides a large selection of photos of ancient Phuket and Thai royalty, visitors will also find conservative Chinese wedding hats, tin mining equipment, toy trains, opium smoking beds and pillows, as well as movie posters. Visitors will also really feel like entering another era while stepping into this place.

Open hours: 24 hours.
Entry fee:
30 Baht.

Thavorn Hotel, 74 Rassada Rd, Phuket City (Telephone: +66 (0)76 211333-5, +66 (0)76 211339).

Thai Temples

Chalong Temple or Wat Chalong is 1 of the biggest temples in Phuket that is visited by sightseeing tours. Wat Phra Thong (Golden Buddha Temple) in Thalang is worth visiting as well. This temple has a large"half buried Buddha" in the temple floor. Following a legend, people trying to dig it up will die. Close to its main building, there is a museum with an uncommon range of curios and crafts on show.

Wat Phranangsang in Thalang is the 2nd oldest temple and landmark in Phuket. In Phuket's history it was the rallying point for Phuket's 2 heroines who protected the island from the Burmese attack in the 18th century. This temple is also called the "Temple of the White Blood" - you can find out why from amulet seller, Khun Santi. Wat Cherngtalay is located just east of Cherng Talay Town, featuring many colourful murals describing Buddhist themes.

There are many Chinese temples and shrines throughout Phuket Town, and are at their busiest during Chinese new year and the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. Some are as old as a century, such as the Shrine of Serene Light on Phang Nga Rd, and have undergone restorations in recent years.

You can visit Thai temples on your own but do not wear shorts or skimpy clothes as it is considered impolite and you won't be allowed to enter the main place of worship.

Khao Phra Thaeo National Park

Waterfalls

Situated in the northern part of the island, this designated national park is Phuket's last pure lush tropical forest. Travellers can spend a morning taking a walk up by the Tonsai waterfall, or spend the day strolling in the majesty of this rain forest. There is an 8-kilometre trek through the park from Bang Pae waterfall to Ton Sai.

This 8-kilometre trek is certainly advisable and guides are also available. Much of the wildlife will normally stay out of sight, but if you stay still for a while and your guide will point out the telltale sounds of all sorts of animals. If you are lucky, you might even see some of the forest's uncommon animals. You can find more details at a small museum and information centre situated near the bottom of the waterfall.

To visit this park, take Route 4027 east from the Heroines' Monument for around 7 kilometres. There is a noticeable sign on the left side. Note: all national parks in Thailand will normally charge foreign visitors a 200-Baht entry fee.

Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre

Gibbons are among human's nearest relatives, and when young make adorable pets. When mature however, they outgrow their cuteness and become aggressive and even inflict injury. Thailand's gibbon population suffers from the poaching of baby gibbons for illegal sale as pets. This includes killing the fiercely protective mother gibbons, and the abandonment or killing of matured aggressive pets.

The Gibbon Rehabilitation project, situated at the base of the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, near Bang Pae Waterfall, attempts to rehabilitate abandoned pet gibbons to the wild. You will find it extremely interesting, and you can make a donation or buy a T-shirt which will help support the project, the only one of its kind in the world.

If you would like to volunteer, please Email: gibbon@poboxes.com

Inland Phuket

Get to know the other side of the island. The people from farmers to local business people, who live and work in the forest and on the land. Siam Safari Nature Tours provide guides that will introduce visitors to Phuket's culture, environment and lifestyle. There are tours for small groups and individuals, and offer forest walking, Land Rover touring, river canoeing or rafting and elephant trekking, and visits to rubber plantations, schools and temples.

Sirinath National Park

This park is situated within a 9,000 hectare area, stretching from the west of Phuket International Airport to the island's northern fringe, enclosing Nai Yang, Nai Thon and Mai Khao beaches. The main entrance to the park is at Nai Yang Beach. The Sirinath National Park provides basic, government-run bungalows and tents for rent, or you can stay in a nearby hotel. Park admission is 20 baht.

At the northern tip of the park, located near Tah Chatchai, is a mangrove forest with saltwater swamps supporting unique eco-systems. A nature trail with an 800m wooden walkway have been built, along with signs describing and explaining the various species of plants and animals. Entrance is at the northern end of the island, near the bridge to Phang Nga.

Kathu Waterfall

Kathu Waterfall is another good place to escape from the heat of the day. Best seen from June to October, when the water level is at its highest and the forest is at its greenest.

With an open air restaurant at the foot of the trail, a journey to Kathu waterfall makes for a nice afternoon visit. Those in search of a little more adventure can go to the nearby Phuket Waterski Cableways park, only a short ride from the waterfall. Open from 9.00 am to 6.30 pm every day (Telephone: +66 (0)76 202525-7). It is located between Phuket City and Patong in Kathu district, near the Loch Palm Golf Course.

Viewpoints

The most popular outlook site in Phuket is the windswept Phromthep Cape (Laem Phromthep), located between Rawai and Nai Harn beaches, where there are a large car park, souvenir shops and restaurants to serve tourists. Sunsets are very impressive but crowded, so it is best to go in the morning or early afternoon to avoid the tour bus frenzy.

The Kata viewpoint, also known as "Khao Sam Haad" or "Three Beach Hill" is another good site to enjoy the ocean views and scenery. This spot, just a 5 minute drive south of Kata on the Kata-Nai Harn road, has stunning views over Kata Noi, Kata and Karon Beaches, and a long stretch of the Andaman Sea.

In Phuket Town, Rang Hill (known as Khao Rang by locals), off Mae Luan Rd, is a good spot to look down upon Phuket Town and across the bay, while sipping iced tea at 1 of the 2 great restaurants on the top of the hill. In the mornings, nuns and monks from the temple at the foot of the hill can be seen walking on their alms rounds along the road winding up the hill.

Nakkerd Hill or Khao Nakkerd, a lesser known viewpoint, is at the end of Yodsane 1 Rd in Chalong (around 2 kilometres north of Chalong Circle off Route 4021, the Wat Chalong Road), providing a stunning view across much of the south end of Phuket and over the sea. It will be a popular site soon as a giant 45m-tall golden Buddha is currently being constructed on the hilltop. The winding, step, mostly-dirt road up the hill is a mess, so using a 4WD or sturdy vehicle is advisable.

City Parks

Phuket Town

Saphan Hin, at the south end of Phuket Road, is a multi-purpose park where you can find fitness centres, a stadium, jogging trails, a software development centre, restaurants and food stalls, and a mangrove walkway. Many Phuket's festivals are held throughout the year. Muay Thai kick-boxing matches are available in the stadium every Friday evening. Drive to the end and see picnicking families on the shore of Phuket Bay.

Suan Luang or King Rama IX Park on Chao Fa Rd, is a park covered with large trees, lotus ponds and walking paths. It is popular in the early morning with joggers and Tai Chi practitioners, and in the late afternoons with strolling couples and takraw players (a game of agility where the feet are used to keep a rattan ball aloft).

Khao Rang fitness park, at the top of Rang Hill off Mae Luan Road, is a good place to go for a brisk walk or jog, or to just sit and relax under the shade of large trees. You will also find a bronze statue of Phraya Ratsada Nupradit who was the first Governor of Phuket.

Patong
At the north end of Patong along the beach liesLoma Park, a quiet place to relax in the shade. There are many festivals taking place here throughout the year. This is a nice spot for local residents to relax and enjoy a good afternoon.

Aquarium
(Phuket Institute of Marine Biology & Research Centre)
Colourful fish, sea animals and corals in a natural setting.
Opening hours:
10.00 am to 4.00 pm daily.
Telephone: +66 (0)76 391126. Makham Bay Cape Panwa. (Marine Biology Research Centre section open by appointment only.)

Butterfly Garden & Aquarium
Butterflies, tropical fish, coral, and insects in their natural environments.
Open hours: 9.00 am to 5.30 pm daily.
Telephone: +66 (0)76 215616. Follow signs from Airport by-pass road or Thepkasatri Road.

Crazy Horse Club
Horse riding on the beach or through the jungle.
Open hours: 8.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Watch for signs near Nai Harn Bay, from Rawai.

Crocodile World and Elephant Land
Crocodiles, alligators, snakes, elephants and birds in open tropical garden-zoo atmosphere.
Open hours: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm daily.
Morning and afternoon shows. Chana Charoen Road, Phuket Town.

Fresh Food Market
Early morning and daytime market with fish, seafood, meats, staples, clothes, cooked foods, vegetables, fruits and flowers. Ranong Road, Phuket Town.

Night market, near Ong Sim Phai/Tilok-Uthit Roads, Phuket town.

Naga Pearl Farm
Pearl culture information and demonstration daily at 11.00 am.
Opening hours:
9.00 am to 3.30 pm.
Telephone: +66 (0)76 213723, 212901 Ext.117. Boat leaves for island from Po Bay, Hwy. #4027.

Paintball
Patak Road, part of the Phuket Shooting Range Complex.
Telephone: +66 (0)76 381667.

Useful travel links
Phuket sightseeing in Phuket
Phuket Sightseeing information on sightseeing in Phuket