Nestled in the heart of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia, Thailand is a beautiful country known for the melange of heritage and modernity. Ruled by notable dynasties in ancient and medieval times, it still is a royal monarchy in terms of administration. The long association of this country with Theravada Buddhism can be understood from the various monasteries and Buddhist temples, which are situated in its different provinces and cities. Another aspect of this country is the thriving modernity, which is evident from its high-rise buildings, vibrant beach culture and the world-famous nightlife. Most of the Thailand tours offered by leading travel portals are concentrated around these distinct facets.
Thailand is divided into various provinces, for the purpose of convenient administration. Each province in this nation has its own speciality and culture, which is inherited form people of different ethnicities. One such division in the country is Phuket, which has emerged as one of the top tourist destinations across the globe. Formerly known by the name of Thalang, this island is famous for its sprawling beaches, coral reefs, year-round celebrations and a unique nightlife scene. An indispensable part of the culture of this island province is its cuisine, which is primarily focused on seafood.
Explore the Dietary Delights
Any Phuket tour is incomplete without getting a taste of its delectable cuisine. As this region is surrounded by sea on all sides, seafood is found here in abundance. Succulent dishes made using the finest of ingredients are available at every street stall and restaurant of the place. What makes the overall eating experience an enthralling one is the variety in options. Traditional Thai cuisine is not the only thing found in Phuket. Tourists can also treat themselves with the most scrumptious dishes from Malay, Indian, Middle Eastern and Japanese cuisine.
Prawns, shrimps, lobsters, crabs and fish cooked in spicy sauces and herbs make the entire culinary experience an unforgettable one. Apart from seafood delicacies, tourists can easily get the usual chicken, mutton, beef and pork dishes at any of the vendors and hawkers.
The exotic Thai cuisine includes dishes like Tom Yam Goong – the national soup and Pad Thai noodles, which do not need an introduction.
Som Tam is a spicy papaya salad, which is heath and delicious at the same time.
Kao Tom, a dish made using boiled rice and meat, is a wholesome and tasty meal.
A variety of dim sums can also be eaten at the food stall of Phuket.
Some typical Thai dishes that must not be missed while being here are Pad See Iew, Kway Tio, Tom Kah Talay and Pad Pak Ruam.
While exploring culinary delights of the region, tourists should not forget to taste the street snacks, which are cheap and delicious. Thai pancakes with a wide range of sweet and salty fillings are worth a try. Grilled, fried and steamed meatballs made of beef, fish and chicken are served with spicy dips at every nook and corner of Phuket. Ice cream sandwich is something that is loved by every sweet lover coming to the island on a holiday.
Though I have been a beach lover all my life, I still have a longing to explore more of such locations. These destinations are spread all across the world and for a globetrotter like me, they are never sufficient. Lately my visit included the beach destinations of Australia, Spain, Greece, and the highlight of this long excursion was the shores of Thailand. This beautiful nation lies in the southeast region of Asia and is flanked by the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand. In recent years, this land has transformed into a tourist hotspot owing to the variety of attractions a tourist can explore here.
There is a multitude of breathtaking islands, which are scattered all over Thailand. They include a variety of sheltered bays and coves that are flocked by travelers from all parts of the world. The shores of this region cater to the interest of honeymooners, romance seekers, family vacationers, solitude searchers and backpackers. Furthermore, numerous daredevil sports activities like water skiing, snorkelling, windsurfing, parasailing, canoeing, kayaking and banana boat riding can also be enjoyed at these place. Few of the locations are also ideal for ardent photographers as their landscape is rare to be seen anywhere in the world. Among a number of shores of this land, the ones I desire to visit again are:
Nai Harn Beach
Nai Harn Beach is located on the southern part of Phuket and is among the most tranquil seashores of Thailand. It is enclosed within dense green hills and still seems to be untouched by any human being. This coastline is spotless and comprises golden coloured sand and azure water, which is suitable for swimming. During my visit, I saw many tourists from the nearby regions anchoring their boats and yachts and enjoying sunbathing at the seaside. There are also a few restaurants built near this destination that serve mouth-watering local cuisine and are famous for their seafood. I even enjoyed getting massaged by the locals masseuses.
Patong Beach is undoubtedly the most exuberant and lively shore of Thailand, and is even mentioned as one of the most sought-after beaches of the world. It is almost impossible to get bored at this shore owing to a number of activities offered here. During the night time, the entire atmosphere of the coastline transforms to groovy and happening. Local DJs play foot-tapping music and the boisterous crowd revels with endless manoeuvres, thus, creating a vibrant ambience. In the daytime, several vacationers can be seen lazing on the silken sand and enjoying sunbathing, while other active souls indulge in swimming in the cool water. The seashore is surrounded by a number of hotels, discotheques, pubs and massage parlours, all of which provide a suitable environment to wellness seekers. Shopaholics like me specially get delighted after visiting this place.
Railay Beach on the southern coast of Thailand is an incredibly beautiful shore, which is surrounded by dense forest zone and massive limestone cliffs. It is located between the cities of Ao Nang and Krabi, and can only be accessed by a boat. It is flanked by the warm Andaman Sea that offers numerous recreational activities for tourists to indulge in. The adventurous sports of snorkelling, kayaking, white water rafting and diving can be enjoyed here. Along with these sports, several other daring acts, such as rock climbing, jungle trekking, quad biking and Elephant safari are also organised at and near the beach. During peak seasons, travellers from all over the world gather here to take part in all these events and enjoy their holidays.
During my tour to this country, one place that instantly caught my attention was the Maya Bay. This serene bay is located in the Kh Phi Phi Ley Island and is overlooked by lofty limestone cliffs. Inside, there are a few seaside locations, out of which the main one is packed with tourists throughout the year owing to its white velvety sand and translucent water. I was in elation after exploring this unfathomed piece of Phi Phi archipelago and witness its underwater corals and exotic fishes. The tall cliffs also provided me the opportunity to experience the fearsome act of diving from a greater altitude straight into the azure coloured aqua. Later, I also came to know that scenes of the famous Hollywood blockbuster flick called The Beach – starring Leonardo Di Caprio, were shot here.
Kata Beach is situated just a few km away from the Patong Beach and unlike the latter shore, this one is known for its state of quietude. The shore is dotted with leafy palm trees and comprises serene white sand and clear water. Dense green hills overlook this one mile long coastline, thus, providing a sense of calmness to its atmosphere. Tourists generally visit this place to repose under the glazing sun and swim into the cool aqua. The shore has gradually turned into a growing family vacation spot owing to a number of dining and shopping options in its vicinity. It is also considered ideal for clicking pictures as its landscape offers various opportunities to avid photographers.
White Sand Beach
The White Sand Beach, located in Koh Chang, is an exclusive seaside destination in the entire Thailand. After visiting this shore, I was touched by its serenity and wanted to behold it for long. The layer of white sand particles on the seashore suffice the name and offer a unique spectacle to onlookers. The two and a half km long stretch is crowded with tourists throughout the day who largely flock to admire it and swim in its turquoise water. Sitting ideally on the shore, I did not come to know when the sunset arrived as its hard to remove eyes from the vast white sand-sheet. This time of the evening marks the arrival of numerous locals and leisure strollers, and the atmosphere turns lively with the screeches of children and adults playing football and volleyball.
The locals call it Hat Chao Ley, and it is considered among the best locations in Thailand to engage in the activity of snorkeling. It has a two km long stretch of white silken sand and sapphire colored aqua. This mesmerising shore has an abundance of exotic marine life that attracts several tourists. This seashore is a prominent attraction of the Koh Lipe Island and gets its name from the breathtaking sunrise view it offers. During high season, the cool wind constantly gushes at the shore and invokes a soothing sense among people indulged in sunbathing. Being a sports adventurer myself, I highly enjoyed the act of snorkeling at the shore and was appeased to witness the vibrant coral and unique water species.
Although I experienced the nightlife of Patong Beach, there was still one shore that intrigued me to witness the same again. Haad Rin, a peninsular beach in the Island of Koh Pha Ngan, is acknowledged for its Full Moon Parties.
I had heard locals and tourists boasting about this shore and its wild atmosphere at night, and becoming a part of these groovy parties clarified all my misconceptions. During the day, the soft golden sand and the limpid aqua catches sight of a nature admirer, but the nights are all about revelling. Apart from having an effervescent environment, Haad Rin is also ideal for swimming and admiring the scenic beauty of the surroundings.
Just north to the Pantong Beach and on the west coast on Phuket Island lies the serene Kamala Beach. Unlike the other bustling shores of Thailand, this coastline is ideal for solitude seekers and people wanting some respite from the mundane city life. This shore is overlooks dense forests and is acknowledged for its uncluttered golden sands and pellucid water. After reaching this place, all I could do was gaze at the sapphire hues of the aqua and feel myself getting slowly lost into its beauty. Phuket holidays to this place are also suitable for those who prefer the calmness of the atmosphere rather than the clamour of crowds.
My last visit during the Thailand tour was the Freedom Beach and its spellbinding beauty still lingers in my mind. Located in the Phuket Island, this shore can only be reached either by a boat or a trek through a dense forest area. The white sand along with the indigo-blue water tempted me to keep beholding them and not remove my sight for once. It is an exotic hideaway situated amidst thick jungles and groves of tall trees. At the southern end of this seashore, I also engaged in snorkelling and felt delighted to explore the underwater flora and fauna.
Most of these coastlines are crowded with travellers throughout the day and the only way possible to reach them is by a boat. Given the opportunity, I would certainly want to visit these seaside locations once again and be a part of the natural beauty of Thailand.
Phuket is a province of the Kingdom of Thailand and is the largest island of the South-east Asian nation, connected to the mainland by two bridges. Due to its natural habitat, it has emerged as a tourist hotspot. Being a marine territory located in the Andaman Sea, it offers numerous aquatic activities that visitor can undertake.Phuket tours are conducted by several organisers, who take visitors for kayaking expeditions to the sea.
A James Bond like Exploit
Those aware of the feature film Man with the Golden Gun would vividly remember the suave super spy, James Bond, canoeing to a small islet. Upon reaching there a 60 ft tall conical rock is seen jutting out of the emerald water. This is Ko Tapu, a part of a set of two islands called Khao Phing Kan in the local language and known otherwise as James Bond island. The waters between Phuket and Phang Nga Bay, the waterfront of the Phang Nga province, are replete with wondrous sights of rocks formations, isles and caverns floating on the shimmering green of the sea. Handling a canoe to any of these natural marvels is an experience of unprecedented pleasure.
Most of the canoeing tours are a one day escapade, although options are there for longer tours that involve overnight camping at one of the secluded islands. There are unknown pockets of the sea containing mangrove marshes, verdant cliffs full of chirping birds and screeching langurs. Fresh water lagoons surprisingly show up out of nowhere. The waters around Krabi and Phang Nga bay are the hotbed of paddling activities. The canoeing track from the northern tip of Phuket to Koh Pannyi is an offbeat adventurous thing that dazzles with the sights of complete islands made of limestone and untouched beaches.
Taking a canoe in the underbelly of caves is as thrilling as it is exciting. These caves known as hongs are a cavernous system located in the depth of islands, reachable only by kayaks. Unexplored ecosystems thrive in these caverns with a variety of aquatic creatures and marine birds. Some of the caves glitter due to the stalactite formations, which it is a truly ethereal sight.
Basic training to paddle and manoeuvre a kayak is provided to people. However, visitors who do not wish to paddle have the leisurely option of sitting back and relaxing. A typical canoe expedition starts from a small ship or a yacht, where the group is trained about canoeing and preservation of the natural surroundings. Teams then leave for their chosen routes and return for lunch. Post lunch, once more the leaders take their groups for the rest of the trip only to return at night. Those opting for an overnight camping package get to stay under the stars on a beach that has no human habitation.
Canoeing expeditions for experienced paddlers as well as first-timers including children are available at these spots. Professional kayak handlers who double up as survival and medical experts, act as guide and team leader of the enthusiasts. Daring a canoe to the sea, a la Mr. Bond, is a must do for any traveller taking Phuket holidays.
If travelers are looking for some adventure during their vacation, there are plenty of options on offer at Phuket, a province located in the southern part of Thailand. Bordered by the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand, this region has a number of attractive places to visit and exciting things to do for globetrotters. Reaching this place by air is the easiest, though it is well-connected by rail, road and water, as well. Phuket tours are arranged by travel planners, where vacationers are taken for a trip through this province. This place has emerged as one of the leading global destinations for spending a relaxing weekend or may be more than that.
Go for a Trail through the Khao Phra Thaew National Park
Contrary to the opinion of some people, the beauty of this place is not about its pristine beaches only. The inland of this provincial region has a number of interesting places. People can go for an expedition to Khao Phra Thaew National Park, which is one of the few remaining rainforests in this region and are the niche grounds of several protected species of wildlife. Enthusiasts, accompanied by guides can go for hiking trails, which are organized by major tour planners of this area. Some of the Thailand packages, organised across the entire country, include excursion trips to this national park.
For those travellers who like to brave the sea-waters and go for cruise trips, Phuket provides an ideal gateway to a number of islands scattered in the Phang Nga Bay and the Andaman Sea. These islands, which are mostly devoid of inhabitants, are worth visiting because of their intense scenic beauty. Most snapshots of this province and Thailand as a whole, feature clicks of these islands. Charter boat trips are organised to these islands, wherein globetrotters are taken to some of these desolate isles amidst the crystal clear blue waters of the sea. The best ones to opt for, are those cruises, which go for overnight trips as sunrises and sunsets are the best times to click pictures at these spots.
If vacationers are on a family trip with little children, one of the most exciting parts of a Phuket trip is, undoubtedly, elephant trekking. There are a number of camps around this province, which offer tourists a ride on elephants through the vast rubber plantations and forests. Termed as Elephant Safari, these trips are of short duration, generally 1 hour or even 30 minutes on some occasions. Getting to view the natural beauty and the vast greenery of the inland on elephant-backs is an enjoyable experience, mainly for kids. Sometimes, elephant shows are also organised, where these huge mammals are trained to paint or score goals in front of spectators.
Phuket, earlier known as Thalang, is one of the biggest islands off the south-west coast of Thailand. The name Phuket is said to be originated from the word bukit, which means hill in Malay. This is so because the island seems like hill from a distance. Some legends also suggest that the name is derived from two Thai words – phu and ket, which mean mountain and jewel, respectively. The topography of this island state is unique as it is covered with around 70 per cent mountains and the remaining 30 percent with lush green plains. Internationally famed for its picturesque scenery, amazing tropical sunsets, pristine blue sea and palm-fringed beaches, this island is an idyllic beach destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Owing to its mesmerizing beauty, backpackers take frequent Phuket tours to relax and rejuvenate in its tranquil environs.
As there are various attractions and things to do, this island derives much of its revenue from tourism. The place also features several hotels that compliment its ever-growing tourism industry. Hence, the unbeatable combination of natural wonders, warm hospitality and value accommodation make your holiday a memorable experience.
While holidaying in Phuket, vacationers must visit attractions, such as Kata and Patong beaches, Phang Nga Bay, Big Buddha, Sirinat National Park, Wat Chalong and Tiger Kingdom.
One of the busiest resort areas here is the picture perfect Patong Beach. Owing to its easy access, this place finds a mention in most travel itineraries. The silver sand and greenish-blue water of this seafront are sure to have a calming effect on the heart, mind and soul of travellers. This seacoast is famous for adventure activities, shopping, dining options and vibrant nightlife. Besides these, tourists can visit several other beaches like Karon, Kata, Noi, Kalim, Nai Harn, Rawai, Kamala, Surin and Bang Tao.
Things to Do
In addition to leisure, tourists can enjoy several water sports and adventure activities, like jet-skiing, water-skiing, kite surfing, parasailing and bungee jumping. As the sea is calm all round the year, it is absolutely safe for swimming as well. Travellers can have an amazing sunbathing experience by renting a sun lounger at the beach.
Since this place has earned the reputation of a partying hotspot, people are drawn to a Phuket holiday tour from all over the world. Travelers can enjoy live music band performances, go dancing with friends at discos or simply enjoy a cocktail drink before retiring to their hotel room.
For tourists who love to pamper their taste buds, this waterfront destination offers a range of cuisine, including Thai, Italian, Scandinavian, Japanese and French. These can be enjoyed at premium restaurants, coastline eating joints or street stalls.
Any tour is incomplete without a great shopping experience, especially when it is done at an overseas destination. The beach coastline is dotted with several shops and stalls that offer affordable knick-knacks. Travellers can buy clothes, sunglasses, souvenirs, CDs and many native items from here.