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Phuket is pronounced ‘Pooket’(not: ‘Fooket’), and the original name was Jungceylon, the name of the giant ‘Jungceylon Shopping Mall‘. Before being ‘Phuket City,’ the main town was ‘Thalang’, not far from the airport. The primary source of income is tourism, but tin mining put Phuket on the world map back in the 16th century.
1. The Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
For any keen rum drinkers, the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is sure to whet your appetite, the company produces high end white rum which is now starting to be noticed around the world. There is lots to do when you arrive at the distillery, you start by taking a tour where you will learn about the way the rum is produced before taking a look at the work that goes on behind the scenes. The final part of the trip is in the cocktail workshop and bar, here you will learn how to make various cocktails that all include Chalong Bay Rum and then relax while you sample them.
2. The Phuket Big Buddha
This huge Buddha is one of the most famous landmarks in all of Phuket, sitting at the top of the Nakkerd Hills and standing at forty-five meters tall it is very difficult to miss. From the top of the hill, you are able to get a panoramic view of the island. When you are at the Buddha you will notice that it is very quiet apart from the sound of dharma music and some little bells. The Buddha is made from white Burmese marble and sparkles elegantly in the sun.
3. Nai Harn Beach
Situated in the south of the island is Nai Harn Beach, it is a popular beach with thousands of visitors every year, but it is still relatively untouched and maintains a lot of its originality. With beautifully soft sand and crystal-clear water you will immediately see why the beach is so popular. Settled up under the shade of the large trees you will find various restaurants selling popular Thai cuisine as well as various souvenir shops selling local novelty items as well as beach wear and floats.
4. Wat Chalong
For over a century Wat Chalong has been open to visitors, when you arrive there is a lot to see, starting with Poh Jao Wat which houses two statues of elderly men, one is Ta Khee-Lek (a local who won various lotteries after he had been to visit the Poh Than Jao Wat statue, the other is called Nonsi. Probably the highlight of your visit will be the Grand Pagoda which contains a small splinter from the bone of Lord Buddha, The pagoda is beautifully decorated with Buddha images and pictures that depict his life story.
5. Go Shopping at Phuket Town Weekend Night Market
Known by the locals as Naka Market and sitting just a little way from Phuket Town is a night market like no other. There are all sorts of things to buy such as fruits, old curiosities, animals and clothes. A popular event with both the locals and tourists it is best to arrive late afternoon to ensure you get a good look around before it become packed. Make the most of the cheap local foods on sale like the golden buttered corn on the cob.
6. Spend a Night Out on Bangla Road
When the sun goes down the Bangla Road gets closed to traffic and the road becomes alive. The street is full of bars, many of which are outside, so you seamlessly move from one bar to the next. There are normally street entertainers looking for you to part with your hard-earned cash in return for a few minutes’ entertainment as well as touts trying to get you into their ping pong shows or tailor shops. A positive vibe fills the air as you work your way down the street, all the beer girls and restaurant owners compete for your business keeping the prices low and the fun never ending.
7. Visit to Phang Nga Bay
Whilst visiting all the sites in Phuket you must take a visit to Phang Nga Bay, the bay is home to approximately 40 small islands that come straight out of the sea. The area is full of lagoons, caves and mangroves all of which you should take the time to see although seeing everything in one day could be a challenge. The bay is protected from a lot of the bad weather in monsoon season due to the way it is naturally protected because of its location. Visiting Phang Nga Bay with a tourist guide is the best way to ensure you don’t miss anything.
8. Enjoy The Phuket FantaSea Show
Offering entertainment on a grand scale the Phuket Fantasea Show is a 140-acre complex that is filled with a range of entertainment and activities for all. There is a 4000-seat restaurant serving up a humongous buffet of both Thai and international food, a Las-Vegas style theater show that showcases the best of Thailand’s myths and mysteries. A carnival village, shopping complex and handicrafts section also compete for your time and attention. With so much to do it is best to arrive early to give yourself the time to see it all.
9. Walk Around Phuket Old Town
Phuket Old Town is the provincial capital of Phuket, it is a historically rich part of town where you will see an abundance of temples (Chinese and Buddhist), beautiful ‘shophouses’, small printing shops and a disused red-light district. The Old Town was created during a boom many years ago when metal was a valuable commodity. The town itself is not that big so you can easily walk around it rather than taking any transport and has a large selection of restaurants to stop for something to eat.
10. Go Wild In Patong
Patong Beach is known as the heart of Phuket, tourists swarm here in their thousands and parking is often impossible but it is worth the experience at least once on any trip to Phuket. There are two things people come to Patong Beach for, its beach and the wild nightlife. The beach is about 2 kilometres long and you can try parasailing, jet skiing or just rent a sunbed to relax for a few hours. The nightlife centers aound Soi Bangla and you can witness many a ladyboy strutting their stuff whilst enjoying a drink or two.