Tuesday 26 March 2013

Phuket Beaches Part 2

Patong Beach

Patong Beach is located on the west Coast of Phuket. It is the most famous of all the Phuket beaches and it has the most tourists. Patong has turned from a quiet fishing village into one of the island's two main cities. Mainly due to the development of tourism, the Patong Beach has seen a huge increase in the number of restaurants, pubs and bars, tour and travel agencies. Additionally, a lifestyle shopping complex, Jungceylon, has opened and offers more international goods and brands in air-conditioned mall. There are also the usual endless night markets popping up at sunset along both sides of the beach road, turning the whole of Patong into one lively market.

The well known bay and the about 4 kilometer long beach are often referred to when tourists are going to Phuket for their holidays. Accommodations range from budget guest houses to five-star hotels and resorts. Many pubs and bars offer live music. Motorbike, paragliding and jet-ski rentals are widely available on the beach.

Nightlife is centered around Soi Bangla (Bangla Road), but can be found all around in either shape or form. Both the north and south end of the bay are however quieter and more family friendly. Patong Beach is ideal for swimming as well as water-sports. 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'.

Panwa Beach

This south-westerly facing beach - named after a nearby Muslim village - has managed to remain exactly the same as it has been for years in spite of intensive urbanization in the direct area. It's still tranquil and a haven for people who like peace and quiet.

Khao Khat is eight kilometres east of Phuket Town and covers the west coast of Cape Panwa. Its sand is rather rough and the water shallow but it's certainly very scenic with views out across Chalong Bay and Lone Island. Luxury villas and condominiums line almost the entire beach but dotted in between are fishermen's huts and at the far west end of the beach there is a mangrove swamp. Except the facilities reserved to the guests of the Novotal Panwa Beach Resort, there are very little facilities on Panwa Beach (Khao Khat).

You can rent a long tail boat to visit Koh Lone just a few minutes ride across the bay. During high season a small wooden shack sells few beach accesories.

Nai Harn Beach

Nai Harn is one of the island's most popular places with in-the-know locals. This relatively tranquil place has only a few hotels including The Royal Phuket Yacht Club and is a popular anchorage for boats during the high season.

Great for swimming from November to April, care should be take in the low season (May-October) when there can be strong undertows,making swimming dangerous. Regular bus service to and from Phuket town during daytime. Nai Han is just south of Kata Noi and north of Promthep Cape, Naiharn is not Phuket's longest beach, but it borders the most gorgeous lagoon on the island. The middle of the beach is dominated by the Samnak Song Nai Han monastery, which has obstructed excessive development and is the reason that the beach is generally less crowded than other spots on the southern part of the island. A wide variety of water sports can be enjoyed, but swimmers should be alert for the red flag which warns of dangerous currents during the monsoon season from May to October. One can walk to nearby Promthep Cape to observe sunsets, which are often fiery and spectacular.

Nakalay BeachNakalay is app. 5 minutes from Patong and occupied by only one resort which covers the whole bay - The Thavorn Beach Bungalow. It is suitable for people who like it quiet but still want to be near the entertainment area of Patong.

Mai Khao Beach.

Mai Khao Beach is situated on the northwest coast of Phuket this 11km, straight beach is still blessedly undeveloped as it is part of the Sirinat National Park and the only significant constructions along it are the JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Phuket International Airport near Nai Yang Beach.

'Mai Khao' means white wood in English and maybe this is a local joke because there are certainly no white trees along this beach! The sand is a little coarse, perhaps the coarsest in Phuket, but this is splendid isolation at its best and you can walk for kilometres without seeing anyone at all.

There is a sharp drop off into the Andaman Sea, making swimming dangerous from May to November. If you are a plane spotter, the beach just north of the airport offers great vantage points from which to spot the incoming air traffic.

Rawai Beach

Rawai holds the distinction of being the very first tourist beach on Phuket. Years ago, people from Phuket Town would drive the 17km to Rawai on weekends to while away the afternoon underneath the beach's casuarina trees rather than risk the (then) dangerous drive over the hill to Phuket's west coast.Nowadays Rawai is a 'working beach' and a launching point for day boat excursions out to Phuket's surrounding islands. Many longtail boats available for hire line its shores, where you can arrange a trip to Coral Island, Koh Lone or Racha Island,or a fishing or snorkel trip. The beach is also used as a mooring point for the many fishermen who live in the area. Rawai is home to the five-star resorts, Serenity Resort and Mangosteen and quite a few of Phuket's foreign expat population live in the area, lending a bohemian and laid-back flavour to the way of life there. Favourite nighttime haunts are Friendship Beach, towards Chalong, and Rawai's beachfront bars.

Surin Beach

Surin Beach Evergreen trees rim this small, curving bay beneath the foothills north of Kamala. Surin is home to Phuket's first golf course , a nine-hole course laid out more than sixty years ago during the reign of King Rama VII. It is now largely in disuse except as a park. The steep incline of the beach, turbulent water, and big waves make Surin a dangerous place to swim during the rainy season. The beach is mostly frequented by Thais and the locals on weekends and on the southern end you can find some small snack and souvenir shops. Beach chairs and umbrellas can be rented there. Surin is most famous for its breathtaking sunsets. Located at the end of Sri Sunthon Rd., the road running west from the Two Heroines Monument, 24 km. from Phuket Town. Accomodations and restaurants are nearby.

Siray Island ( Kho Siray )

Separated from the mainland of Phuket by the Khlong Tha Chin, a shallow mangrove swamp, this twenty square kilometer island is connected by a causeway to the city. Wat Ko Sire, on the hill, has a large Reclining Buddha and provides fine views of the surroundings. Phuket's largest settlement of Sea Gypsies, or Chao Ley, are on Ko Sire at Leam Tuk-kae. Swimming is not present because of the muddy bottom. There are some popular seafood restaurants on the eastern shore. The westin siray by resort & spa is located in this area on hill side.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Phuket Beaches Part 1


Few islands can boast of such an abundance of sandy beaches and clear waters as Phuket. The winding coastal roads along the west coast of this 540-square-km island offer stunning views and easy access to some of the world's finest beaches. Whether one wants to sample the frenetic pace of Patong or find solitude on a remote stretch of sand in the north, Phuket's beaches have it all for the sun seeker. The monsoon rains of May-October can bring unpredictable swimming conditions, so heed the posted flag warnings.


For your safety please always check for the flags on the beaches which indicate if it is safe for swimming.
Green Flag = No Danger
Yellow Flag = Swimming is on your own risk
Red Flag = DANGER - swimming prohibit
Bang Tao Beach

Bang Tao Beach is a large open bay with one of Phukets longest beaches. It was once used for tin mining, but has since been developed into a luxury resort. With the luxurious resorts and villas along its six km (four mile) stretch of beach just a few minutes' away from the town of Cherng Talay, where many villagers still make their living as their ancestors did - by fishing, farming and rubber tapping. The northern tip of the beach, so far untouched by development, is still an area where visitors might find that they have the beach to themselves. Apart from going to the beach and a few bars and restaurants there's not much that you need to leave your resort for.
Taking up a huge area in the middle of Bangtao beach,Laguna Phuket , one of Asia's largest resort complexes, comprises Sheraton Grande, Dusit Laguna, Laguna Beach, Allamanda, Laguna Holiday Club and Banyan Tree Phuket Resorts  and some are open to outside visitors as well.

For TaxiForRent A Car With Driver : Bang Tao Beach  

Chalong Bay

This island off Phukets south coast is so well known for its coral reef that it is often referred to simply as Coral Island. In addition to the splendid reefs there are two fine beaches on the north and west. Koh Hey is part of a marine preserve, but accommodations, restaurants, various water sports and diving are all available. Boats leave from Rawai and Chalong. Phukets principal boat anchorage and the islands largest bay. Ao Chalong has a long flat, shallow, muddy bottom; at ebb tide, waters recede as much as one kilometer. It is very picturesque but not for swimming. Most visitors to the islands south of Phuket depart from Chalong pier, and the bays restaurants are well known for their seafood. harters to various places can be arranged from there, and it is the center of the islands Yachting businesses. To get there take Jao Fah Tawan Tok Rd., or Jao Fah Tawan Okk Rd., to Chalong Circle. The pier and a number of restaurants are located on the short road leading to the beach from the circle. Package tours are also available.

Karon Beach
The second largest of Phukes principal tourist beaches. Large resort complexes line the road back of the beach, but the beach itself, 3 km long and broad, has no development. Just across a low hill to the north of Kata, the long white beach of Karon stretches magnificently with pines and palms standing tall over the rolling sand-dunes providing a unique scene. It is flourishing side by side with Kata Beach, but is more placid.The sea water here is clean and the sand is powdery. It is one of the best places for swimming, diving and sunbathing. You can come from Kata to Karon easily by road or by a path along the coast. The southern point has a fine coral reef stretching toward Kata and Poo Island. Restaurants, bars, tour companies and other non-hotel businesses are at the north end, near the traffic circle, and at the south, on the little road connecting the back road with the beach road. The narrow road between Kata and Karon has a number of small businesses as well as the Dino Park Mini Golf facility. Karon is the most up-scale of Phuket's beaches. Regular daytime bus service to and from Phuket Town. In the monsoon season it can be dangerous for swimming because of the currents so watch out for the red flags which are put up when it is to dangerous. The sprawling grounds of Thavorn Palm Beach Resort and the Hilton Phuket Arcadia dominate much of the central part of Karon. Just north of these is Aroona Plaza which houses a range of handicraft shops, good restaurants and cafes, a few bars and a hotel modeled on the Sino-Portuguese architecture of Old Phuket. The wide beachside avenue is ideal for taking an evening stroll and doing some shopping.

Kata Beach

The smallest of Phuket's three main tourist beaches, Kata is different in appearance and style from Kata Beach, Karon Beach or Patong Beach.The beach itself is broad and curving, and structures bordering it are low–rise. The waters are perfect for swimming, and at the north end is a coral reef with many varied corals and fishes which stretches out toward Poo Island, about 1/2 km off shore.Kata is split into two focal areas: Kata Centre, which is at the northern end close to Karon and Kata South, home to several resorts.Visitors will find an abundance of shops to browse in, from souvenir and ready-to-wear outlets, to 7-Elevens and local mini-marts, to name-brand fashion stores. There is regular bus service to and from Phuket Town during daytime. From May to October surfers flock to catch Kata's waves and from November to April the beach is alive with sunseekers.

Kata Noi Beach
South of Kata is Kata Noi, a smaller beach with only a few hotels and little other development. The beach is superb. Many fish inhabit the rocks and corals along the beachless shoreline stretching south. To get there take the narrow beach road up over the hill from Kata.
Kalim Beach
This beach is really a continuation north of Patong beach, from which it is separated by some rocks. It is not yet developed and thus affords some privacy. The beach itself is a mixture of sand and small rocks. At the back of the beach are accomodations. The waters contain extensive coral reefs which you can reach by foot at low tide (you must wear shoes as some of the rocks are very sharp) The northern part is battled by monsoon winds and from June to September you might have some big waves suitable for surfing.
Kamala Beach
It is just 6 km. north of Patong. Kamala is named after the Muslim fishing village north of Patong. Tourist development on the beach much of which is covered by a Muslim graveyard and a police outpost has been slow in coming. Buffalo herds still come down to the beach to cool off in the afternoon. The beach is beautiful and about 2 km. in length. There are accoomodations ranging from guesthouse to international class, and a number of small Thai restaurants specializing in seafood for the tourist. Kamala is the perfect place to get away from it all and has little to offer in the way of entertainment - for that go across the mountains to Patong. There are no palm trees so shadow is only provided by some beach umbrellas you can rent. The Fantasea Phuket Themepark is located here which offers daily evening shows. Regular bus service to and from Phuket Town during daytime;tuk tuk service available to Patong, 5 km. away on the new road.


Local Food In Phuket

Phuket is a food lover’s paradise. There are plenty of restaurants with various kinds of food to satisfy all tourists' tastes. Western and Chinese foods are available in tourist hotels and along some leading beaches, while local food, which is a fine blend of Thai, Malay and Chinese, can be found everywhere. However, local food restaurants and shops are available in larger quantity and at lower prices in Phuket town than at the beaches. Food stalls which sell a wide range of local food are available everywhere -- along the beach front, on the roadside or at the markets.

List Of Favourite Restaurants In Phuket


Phuket's Delicacies
Phuket has a number of special local dishes which are different from those of other parts of Thailand and visitors should not miss trying. Here are some of them.

Khanom Chin : Khanom Chinis Thai rice noodles normally eaten with curry soup made from minced fish or shrimps. Though it is available in any part of Thailand, khanom chin of Phuket has a richer flavour and is served with a greater variety and amount of fresh and preserved vegetables. It is also delicious when taken with beef curry or chicken curry. It is a typical breakfast for the local people.


Noodles : There are two styles of fried noodles which Phuket is proud to offer. One is mi hokkian or mi hun (Amoy noodles) which is fried with fresh shrimps, pork, shellfish and green cabbage. The other, originating in Sapam Village, is mi sapam with seafood and gravy on top.

Ho Mok : Ho Mok is steamed curried fish (or crab or other seafood) with vegetables held in a banana leaf or foil container. It should be eaten with steamed rice.

Namphrik Kung Siap : It is Phuket style hot shrimp paste sauce with sweetened crisp shrimps, eaten with fresh vegetables.

Curry : When talking about Thai curry, foreigners will probably think of chicken or beef curry only. If you are in Phuket, why not try Phuket's kaeng luang (sour curry with fish and vegetables), a popular southern curry with a peculiar taste.

Tao So : This is a small kind of moon cakes and a speciality of Phuket which tourists popularly buy and take home.

Festival in Phuket

Two Heroine Sisters' Festival (13-15 Mar)
An annual event held in memory of the two heroine sisters, Khunying Muk and Khunying Chan, who jointly led the soldiers and people of Thalang, as Phuket was known formerly, in repelling the invading Burmese troops after a siege of one month. The titles of Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon were bestowed on the sisters by King Rama I and a statue was erected at a crossroads near the centre of the island in recognition of the invaluable service they did to the country. Many celebratory events and activities are organized to commemorate this historical event.
Sea Turtles Releasing Ceremony (April)
Phuket used to be a home of various species of sea turtles which came ashore to lay eggs seasonally around the end of the year. Although tourists are no longer organized to watch sea turtles laying eggs at night, when they go diving they can still find some swimming past them. In order to help preserve these lovely animals, they are bred at the Phuket Aquarium and when the young sea turtles are mature enough, they are released into the sea in a ceremony.
The ceremony is usually held at Phanwa Cape and Nai Yang- Mai Khao Beaches on 13 April to coincide with the Songkran Festival.
Songkran Festival or Thai New Year ( 13-15 April )

It is a time of joy, and Thais have long marked the occasion by making merit - by offering food to monks and by releasing caged birds, turtles, and fish. The latter custom had its origins where villagers would collect fish stranded in the pools left as the ponds and canals dried up in the searing heat, saving them till Songkran for release into the river. Not only was this a means of making merit, it served as an effective conservationist programme. You still see vendors offering these creatures for release in many parts of Bangkok as well as in rural areas, pyramids of tiny wooden cages filled with twittering birds, metal tanks swimming with turtles, eels, and fish. Water is a key element in the festival. Buddha images, both public and private, are washed with water, while the whole house is given an especially thorough cleaning. The idea seems to be to start the New Year fresh and clean both in body and spirit.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival (Oct for 10 days)
Despite its seemingly unattractive title, Phuket Vegetarian Festival is one of the most popular and most successful annual celebrations of Thailand. This 9-day event does not have fixed dates on the Gregorian calendar, but it is always held from the 1st to the 9th day of the 9th moon according to the Chinese lunar calendar which usually roughly corresponds to late September to mid-October. This is because the festival originated from immigrant miners from China in the 19th century.
Phuket residents of Chinese ancestry, and many Thais too, go on a vegetarian diet and attend ceremonies at local Chinese temples during this period. But to the tourists and non-participants, the most absorbing part of the long event is the colourful processions and the remarkable feats performed by possessed mediums. You won't believe your own eyes when seeing them.
Phuket Carnival (November)
This annual event, firstly held in 1985, marks the beginning of the tourist season in Phuket. It has been organized by the tourist trade community of Patong Beach to promote tourism in the province and to contribute to the unity among people in the various branches of the tourist industry. Activities include watersports and tourist beauty contests.
Phuket Laguna Triathlon (November)

The famous sporting event, held annually at Bang Thao Beach, comprises a 1800-metre swim, a 55-kilometre bike race and a 12-kilometre run. It attracts world-class triathletes from around the world.

Phuket King's Cup Regatta
 ( Around the end of Nov to the beginning  of Dec )

The Phuket King's Cup Regatta was first held in Phuket in December 1987 in celebration of the 60th birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Since then, the Regatta has become an annual affair attracting more and more of the region's top yacht enthusiasts among hundreds of participants each year. It is now recognized as a world-class yachting event due to the top standard racing, the wonderful scenery and sailing conditions.
The best place to view this yachting sectacle is from Phromthep Cape, the southernmost tip of the island.


Phuket History

Phuket Island was assumed by geologists to be once part of the mainland in the form of a cape sticking out into the Andaman Sea but millions of years later the cape was gradually eroded by natural forces and finally detached from the main land. The cape was mentioned in a book written around the year 157 by Claudius Ptolemy, a famous Greek philosopher, that to travel to Malay Peninsula by ship, the travellers had to pass a cape known among them as Junk Ceylon. It was located between latitudes 6 N and 8 N which is the present site of Phuket Island. Junk Ceylon was at that time visited by merchants of several nations including India, Persia, and Arabia because the island offered a bay that protected its harbour from the wind and monsoon, making it a good stopover. Moreover, it had plenty of tin ore deposits that fetched high prices at that time because the mineral was much wanted by some foreign countries.

Junk Ceylon was later known among the locals as Thalang, which was also the name of the main town in the north of the island. In 1785, Thalang town was besieged by the Burmese troops invading the coastal area but Chan, the widow of the governor who had just died, and her sister Muk rose to the occasion by jointly shouldering the successful task of defending the land for over 30 days until starvation forced the enemy to retreat. Due to their heroic deeds, noble titles were bestowed on Chan and Muk as Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon respectively. In 1966 a monument was erected at Tha Ruea Intersection, 12 km to the north of Phuket Town in memory of the sisters, who are still highly respected by Phuket people nowadays.


However, 24 years later, the Burmese succeeded in taking Thalang and many Thalang people fled to Phang-nga and Krabi. In 1825, some of them returned and re-establish a town on a new location but soon they moved back to their original site because of its better location for rice farming. This return of Thalang people did not make their town as important as in the past. Instead, the area in the south of the island (Phuket town today) grew quickly and became the centre of tin trade at that time. Known as Phuket, it was elevated to be a town in 1850. More people immigrated from Thalang and the nearby communities to Phuket. In 1894, Phuket was promoted to be a monthon (an administrative unit of that time). An important person who constructed Phuket as a modern city was Phraya Ratsada, who was appointed to govern Phuket monthon in 1902. His contributions also included improving the welfare of the locals, and setting up a network of markets in the countryside. In 1916, Phuket became a province. It was not until 1967 that Sarasin Bridge was built to connect the main land with Phuket.

Though the tin mining industry has played a specially important role in the economic development of the island province, it has declined especially after 1985 when the price of tin fell by half. The decline has also been due to the gradual decrease in the deposits after centuries of exploitation. So, Phuket had to look for a new industry on which to base its future economic development. Fortunately, its natural beauty was soon discovered and there was a boom of tourism in 1980's, which has lasted up to the 21st century.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Important Telephone Numbers In Phuket

Lost Credit Cards
02 299 1990-29
02 273 0022-44
Master Card
02 299 1990-2
Diners Club
02 238 3000
001 800 000 900 09


Bangkok Phuket Hospital
076 254 421-30
Phuket International Hospital
076 212 853
Mission Hospital
076 237 220-9
Vachira Phuket Hospital
076 211 114
Patong Hospital
076 340 444


Telephone Numbers Of The Consular Representatives Functioning In Phuket
076 372 600
076 281 273
076 378 365
076 380 000
076 330 530-4
076 237 156
076 273 511
076 342 270
076 610 407
United Kingdom
076 318 188