In addition to its world-renowned beaches and spectacular ocean vistas, Phuket provides visitors a wealth of sightseeing opportunities. From an island made famous by James Bond to a mix of neon-lit nightlife and Buddhist temples and shrines, the tropical paradise of Phuket presents a cornucopia of unique and memorable experiences.
In between sightseeing excursions and island exploration you’ll experience wonderful food ranging from local vendors to high-end restaurants. A luxury experience awaits you at Phuket villa rentals and after great night’s sleep, you’ll find yourself looking forward to the excitement of the new day.
If you’ve been blessed out by Phuket’s beaches and are looking for something different and unique then check out any of the following must-see spots. Each is magical in its own way.
Phang Nga Bay
The breathtaking beauty of Phang Nga Bay and its stunning limestone islands will leave you mesmerized. The deep blue-green waters and azure sky provide a perfect foreground and background to the immense, sheer karsts that jut upwards sixty-six feet out of the sea. The top of the islands are larger than the visible base so against the magnificent vistas they seem suspended in time and space.
In 1974 the island karst known locally as Ko Ta Pu gained international prominence when it was featured in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. In that movie, it was the hideout for Bond’s notorious adversary, Francisco Scaramanga. This led to a tremendous increase in popularity for this site and in 1981 the island became part of the newly formed Ao Phang Nga National Park.
The best way to enjoy and experience the beautiful scenery of Phang Nga Bay is by boat tour embarking from the northern end of Phuket. This day trip will take you on a lovely cruise between the limestone islands, with stops along the way to enjoy some of the peaceful island beaches. It’s a great alternative to the hectic bus and boat tours offered elsewhere.
With its beautiful white Burmese jade marble reflecting the brilliance of the day’s sun, Big Buddha is truly a sight to behold. Nestled against the backdrop of a deep blue sky and standing one hundred forty-seven feet tall on a base eighty-two feet across, this sacred image is visible from far away. The Big Buddha rests on top of the Nakkerd Hills and commands the best views of the island.
As you approach this sacred monument the sounds you usually hear are the tinkling of small bells and the fluttering of yellow Buddhist flags dancing in the wind. Gentle dharma music drifts in the background and a feeling of peace is everywhere. As you stand next to the Buddha you can gaze into Kata’s beautiful bay and feel transfixed by the majesty of the site.
The construction of Big Buddha began in 2007. Funding for the project comes solely from donations. Many visitors to the site buy bricks and white marble slabs and write messages on them memorializing lost loved ones. The messages are as poignant as the magical beauty of this shrine.
Bangla Road in Patong Beach
If you are looking to experience the pulsing nightlife of Phuket a visit to Bangla Road after sunset will take you there. After dark, the road is closed to traffic and becomes a festival of neon and music everywhere. It’s generally a friendly and fun spot and almost all of the bars or businesses are outdoors or open-fronted to the street.
There are pubs, restaurants, and even a disco along Bangla Road. As you stroll the avenue you’ll hear the music from each establishment merge into a single, entrancing beat. Street performers are typically out each night offering additional entertainment along the way.
Each year thousands of people visit the temple of Wat Chalong, one of Phuket’s most revered sites. The temple is beautifully decorated and is enhanced by an infinity of reflections from hundreds of glass pieces on many of the pagodas. Wat Chalong is considered the spiritual center of Phuket Island.
Wats are Buddhist temples and are very important to Thailand, which has a majority Buddhist population. All in all, there are twenty-nine Buddhist temples on the island of Phuket.
There are many beautiful statues throughout Wat Chalong. The Grand Pagoda has a splinter of the Lord Buddha’s bone and features paintings that tell the story of Buddha’s life. If it’s a special holiday Wat Chalong is host to a ‘country fair’ where you can experience fantastic local food as you visit the beautiful temple.
When visiting Phuket Island, be sure to immerse yourself in the natural wonder of Phong Nga Bay and experience the sacred magic of Big Buddha and Wat Chalong. Then explore the neon nightlife of Bangla Road to complete your tour of the diverse activities that Phuket Island has to offer.