Phuket Activities Guide

Sports and Activities in Phuket

phuket activitiesAs Phuket is a beach lover’s Shangri-la, most of the activities are water-based. Facilities are there for many water sports like boating, fishing, sailing, kayaking, parasailing and jet skiing. Other activities that do not involve water are also there. The most prominent among them are Thai kickboxing, elephant rides, trekking, climbing, jungle hiking, ATV rides and cycling. White water rafting facilities are available in nearby Phang Nga.

Water Sports in Phuket

With the calm, crystal clear Andaman Sea, caressing the beaches of Phuket, no wonder that Phuket has developed into a major tropical tourist destination. Phuket is an important center for sailing, yachting, kayaking and boating activities. Here there are many clubs offering facilities, lessons and gear for these activities. Sport fishing is popular both close to land near the mangrove estuaries and coral reefs, as well as in deep-sea area, where fishes such as Black Marlin and Sailfish are found. Guided boating trips during the daytime are available for visiting nearby small islands and Phang Nga bay. Else, you can rent a kayak or a canoe and venture on your own. If you like speed, jet skiing is ideal. You can enjoy this at Patong or Kata beaches. Whirring past with water spray on your face is very exciting. Another thrilling sport is parasailing using a high-speed motorboat. This is also there on Patong and Kata beaches. Remember to behave sensibly, as the enforcement of safety rules is lax in Thailand.

Snorkeling and Diving

Most tourists coming to Phuket engage in diving or snorkeling. It is very popular here due to the right conditions for both the activities, like calm sea, crystal clear water with good visibility, teeming colorful tropical fishes and abundant coral reefs. In most of Phuket’s beaches, guided expeditions are available with lessons thrown in for beginners. One such is Openwater I, which is cheaper as well. If you are short on time and do not have much experience in water sports, snorkeling near the land is the best for you. There are many day tours offered to safe and exotic spots near beaches and islands in Phuket. This is more rewarding than trying you luck in deep-sea areas.

Golfing

Phuket has unique identity as a golfing vacation spot among golf-aficionados, with around six international standard 18-hole golf courses spread over the island. The additional attraction of Phuket is its bewitchingly beautiful landscapes, tropical forests, lagoons and clear aquamarine sea lapping the shores – all lying adjacent to the golf courses. While playing in these courses, you not only get to enjoy the game and the scenery, but also have a relaxing time. You can hire high standard gear and caddies. The greens fee comes to around 2000 baht, with hire charges extra. Most of the time, you can find luxury villas for rent near Phuket golf courses.

Cycling

You will find biking tracks all over Phuket’s beautiful landscape. The jungle tracks are the most preferred by tourists for obvious reasons. Many smaller islands surrounding Phuket have only cycle as land transport. Cycles are offered for hire in most beaches. However, the bikes seen here are not suitable for hilly terrain. So cycling around for sight-seeing is out of question. You can do it with some extra effort and guidance from a local biker.

Thai kickboxing

Thai kickboxing or Muay Thai is a unique martial art of Thailand, developed long ago to protect the region form invaders, especially Burmese. Now, Muay Thai is being practiced all over the world as an effective fighting and self-defense technique. Many come to Thailand to learn this martial art. The training is exacting and difficult. It focuses on stamina, concentration, coordination, confidence and flexibility. Facilities for training are available in Phuket Town, Chalong and Rawai, some even providing accommodation for the trainees. If you have come to Phuket especially for this, an all-inclusive package at one of the gyms is the ideal. They take in people of all physical condition for training.

Adventure Sports in Phuket

Phuket is bestowed with picturesque tropical rainforests full of exotic birds and wild animals. The unique vegetation seen here also attracts many tourists. Among animals, none is more popular than elephants. Elephant safari is a novel way to enjoy jungle trails. This way you get to watch other wild animals at close range. ATV is another way to explore the country, where the roads are not proper. You can either set out on your own or join one of the guided tours. Cycling is also popular, but you can do this only where the land is of even elevation. Another problem is that on Thai roads, rules are flouted and cyclists are treated shabbily. For high adventure, Jungle Bungee Jump at Kathu is recommended. This operator has proper license and insurance coverage and is the only one having these in Thailand. Here, you can bungee jump 50m over the Jungle Lagoon. For shooting ranges, head to Chalong. The staff here is very helpful and even beginners start shooting well fast.

Sports activities in Phang Nga

Phang Nga, located close to Phuket, has many unique outdoor activities that prompt tourists to go for day trips. Mountain biking, rock climbing and white water rafting are some of the adrenaline-pumping sports offered by Phang Nga. There are several package options for different skill levels and ages.

Top 3 Golf Courses in Phuket

phuket golfPhuket is the golfing capital of Thailand, with many international standard golf courses. The tropical weather and lush green rolling grounds surrounded by lagoons and abundant vegetation, attracts golf enthusiasts from all over the world. The three top golf clubs of Phuket offer 81 holes for the public. These clubs have caddies, carts and golfing equipments for hire at affordable rates. During the winter holidays in the months of December and January, the Phuket golf clubs are fully booked. Hence, to avoid disappointment, it is advisable to make reservations in advance. Typically, you will be charged 2,000 baht ($50) for a round of golf.

Blue Canyon Country Club

The club has two of the best golf courses in Phuket. Another attraction of this club is its proximity to the airport. It is located barely seven minutes away, towards the north direction. The Canyon Course is a championship-class golf course and is among the best in all of Asia. This par 72 course is 7170 yards in length. The course has exciting challenges like water hazards present in 10 holes and eighty bunkers spread over the rolling green. Out of the 18 holes, there are four par three and par five holes each. The 600-yard 11th hole is considered the most difficult and the 407-yard 4th hole is said to be the easiest. However, the short 309-yard 13th hole with a huge bunker is quite a challenge for a player of any handicap. The Lakes Course, named so due to the presence of water hazards in 17 of the 18 holes, is comparatively easier than the Canyon Course. This course is ideal for relaxed play and novices, as the greens are bigger and traps fewer. The most difficult hole is the fourth, which have a dogleg with a wide fairway narrowing into dense vegetation and continuing over a ravine into the raised green. The 18th hole here gives you two options to play, either the right or left path around a spread-out tree, which occupies the center of the fairway.

Laguna Country Club

This course lies inside the luxurious Laguna Complex, which houses some of the elite resorts and luxury villas in the Phuket Island. It used to be known as the Banyan Tree Phuket Golf Club. Recently, the club and the course underwent drastic changes and were renamed. Many water hazards were added to the course, still it is suitable for a relaxed round of golf. This par 71, 6654-yard course has water present on 14 of the 18 holes. The 17th hole and the 9th hole are the highlights of the course. The 17th is a par 5, 612-yard hole that winds left and right and ends in a triangular green. The 9th par 4, 373-yard hole has a sloping island green, which poses a challenge any day. Golf carts are not available at present, but will be introduced shortly.

Phuket Country Club

This club has two courses lying on either side of the road connecting Phuket Town with Patong Beach. The Old Course is an easy 18-hole course, though chances of ending up with a low score are high. The New Course is a 9-hole with diverse landscapes that offer more challenges to a wide range of players. The par 5, 557-yard 10th hole of the Old Course challenges the player to carry the 240-yard water hazard to the green in a single shot, which is extremely difficult but possible. The par 3, 143-yard 17th hole has in effect an island green, which offers a wide putting surface that is not easy. The New Course has a par 5, 450-yard 8th hole with dense vegetation located right in the middle of the course, separating the fairways into two - one in front of a canal and one on a plateau. The par 5, 545-yard 9th hole is a tough challenge for players, with a narrow fairway and a lengthy water hazard at the approach to the green.  

Diving in Phuket

diving in phuketWith ideal conditions for diving and perfect setting for a tropical holiday destination, Phuket is one of the top ten diving spots in the world. Its colorful and vast marine life and amazing coral reefs, makes diving here, a unique experience. The tropical climate makes the water warm and aquamarine clear water around the locations gives good visibility to the diver. The guided expeditions, diving lessons and equipment rentals are other facilities here that make Phuket a great diving destination for tourists all over the world. Phuket Island’s beaches have diving facilities. In addition, diving trips are arranged to nearby small islands for diving freaks. Most of the dive operators in Phuket Island are located in and around Chalong and Patong areas. High quality diving equipments are available in the shops located in the Chalong Circle-Chalong Pier Road. Foreign nationals own most of these shops and they offer training and arrange diving trips as well. Phuket is the right place to learn diving, especially scuba diving for beginners. The excellent conditions and infrastructure make the training enjoyable. Certification courses through NAUI, PADI and SSI are offered at these centers. With these certificates, you can dive anywhere in the world. If you are not able to make up your mind, try the one-day ‘Discover Scuba Diving’ course, which comes to 1500 to 2000 baht. The four-day Open Water Certification course costs 8000 to 14000 baht. Other courses available are Open Water Advanced and Dive Master. The specialty courses are Deep Diving, Night Diving and Navigation, which comes cheaper.

Diving Trips

Bookings for diving trips can be made in the dive shops in Phuket Island or contact villa manager or reception. There are two types of diving trips from Phuket. Day trips to small islands nearby or live aboard trips, which takes around five days. Day trips are more popular with regular tourists and these are usually to one of the small islands around Phuket, like Racha Yai, Racha Noi, Coral Island or Phi Phi Island. Typically, these trips start out early in the morning and take about an hour to reach the diving location. The dive master aboard the boat use this time to give basic instructions and prepare the divers for the expedition. You are allowed two to four dives at the location. Lunch is mostly included in the trip. The cost for this trip will be 1500 to 3000 baht per head. Live aboard is for serious divers and this trip is for longer duration. Depending on the tour operator, the trip’s length and destination varies. Three to five day trips are there to Similan Islands. Seven to ten day trips are offered to Burma Banks, Surin Islands and Richelieu Rocks. A cabin or a bunk will be given for staying on board and food will be provided. This expedition allows for unlimited dives during daytime and night dives. The cost for this trip varies vastly depending on the duration and destination and come anywhere between 15,000 to 50,000 baht.

Dive operators in Phuket

Phuket in Thailand figures in the list of top ten diving locations in the world due to its numerous beautiful diving sites. These are spread over Phuket’s beaches, which makes it less crowded and convenient for tourists. There are many diving operators in each beach to offer guidance, training and gear to the diving enthusiasts. These operators also organize expeditions to diving sites located in the smaller islands around Phuket. Some locations have more operators, depending on the popularity and demand. Find here listed some of the diving operators in Phuket.

Karon Beach

Sunrise Divers These are professional operators, experienced in this field from 1999. They have more than a dozen ‘live-aboard’ cruise boats and a German-speaking staff. Sunrise Divers offer courses to divers of varying skills. For more information, visit www.sunrise-divers.com.

Patong Beach

All 4 Diving This dive operator offers a wide range of options like day trips and ‘live-aboard’ cruises to tourists. They offer the full range of PADI dive courses as well. For more information, visit www.all4diving.com/en/. Santana Santana, a veteran in the field with 25 years experience, specializes in scuba diving trips and courses. They also have day trips, ‘live-aboard’ trips to Burma, and regular diving courses. For more information, visit www.santanaphuket.com. Mermaid Live Aboards Mermaid Live Aboards are more into ‘live-aboard’ cruises to far away places like Mergui in Burma and Komodo in Bali. They also offer PADI dive courses. For more information, visit www.mermaid-liveaboards.com. Sea World Dive Team This dive operator has the entire range of day trips, courses and ‘live-aboard’ cruises to Burma and Indonesia. For more information, visit www.seaworld-phuket.com.

Kata Beach

Dive Asia They offer various types of trips and courses. Their attraction is the seven-day cruise to Similan Island and Surin National Park. For more information, visit, www.diveasia.com. Phuket Scuba Club They offer PADI courses, day trips and ‘live-aboard’ cruises. For more information, visit www.phuket-scuba-club.com.

Rawai Beach

Phuket Pro Dive and Sail This operator provide day trip and ‘live-aboard’ cruise to Similan Island and Surin Island. The PADI courses offered here includes ‘Rescue Diver’ and ‘Adventure Diver’. For more information, visit www.phuket-scuba-diving.com. Poseidon Diving They have on offer day trips, diving courses and safaris. Though they do not have ‘live-aboard’ cruises, they have long cruises to other islands where bungalow accommodation is provided to tourists. For more information, visit www.poseidondiving.com.

Khao Lak Beach

Sea Dragon With 15 years experience in the field, Sea Dragon offers day trips, ‘live-aboard’ trips and PADI diving courses. They have a one-day refresher course for divers, who have not dived for a long time. For more information, visit www.seadragondivecenter.com. Phuket’s famous and best dive sites has been listed and documented in the web site greatestdivesites.com.