This group of islands is one of the Andaman Sea's most renowned and ranked among the world's top 10 diving sites. Do not miss the opportunity to explore the coast beyond Phuket and visit the Similan Islands by day or after nightfall.
Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay lies north of Phuket island and is renowned for its stunning limestone cliffs rising out of the water and evergreen mangrove forests. Enjoy the picturesque scenery during a boat trip, go kayaking through narrow sea caves and pay a visit to Koh Panyee – a sea gypsy village set on stilts over water.
Off the southern shore of Panwa Cape lies the beautiful island famous for its white powdery beach and unspoiled coral reefs, thus it’s also named Coral Island. Koh He is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving as well as choices of water sports all year round thanks to its location with least effect from monsoon. Located not far from the main island Koh He is a popular one-day tour from Phuket you can easily take a boat from Chalong Bay, which takes only half an hour.
Phuket Old Town
Phuket was one of the major Peranakan Chinese cultural centrals, along with Singapore, Malacca and Penang, thanks to the dramatic growing of tin mining business in early 19th century, luring in a large number of Chinese merchants from the China mainland. It was led to the constructions of Sino-Portuguese mansions and shop houses in the Phuket town. These buildings were the residence of tin mine tycoons, and their descendants, featuring unique Peranakan architectural styles. Each shophouse look narrow from the front but its space spans as long as ten meters or more to the back, making there’s a vast space to accommodate a lot of people. Walk along the roads of Dibuk, Phang-Nga, Yaowarat, Thalang and Krabi to admire the beauty of crafted facade of the remaining shop houses. Some of them are now open as a boutique hotel you can also try lodging. For an in-depth history of Peranakan culture in Phuket, you might want to pay a visit to Phuket Thai Hua Museum.
Try to say Big Buddha’s full name – Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha. Visit the statue at Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata. At 45 metres, the white Burmese marble-layered statue is the island’s symbol of hope.
Wat Chalong is the most famous and sacred temple in Phuket as it was the residence of a respected monk Luang Po Cham, who took part helping people during the Chinese Coolie Rebellion in 1876 during the reign of King Rama V. The statue of Luang Po Chaem is now enshrined at the main hall, together with statues of Luang Po Chuang and Luang Po Kluem, other revered monks who resided at the temple in later years. Locals and visitors usually visit the temple to vow their wishes from the statues, and will return to burn firecrackers when the wishes become true.
The first Sino-portuguese mansion in Phuket town, Ban Chinnapracha was built in circa 1903 during the era of King Rama V. The mansion was the former residence of Phra Phithak Chinnapracha (Tan Ma Sieng), son of a local tycoon Luang Bamrung Chinnaprathet (Tan Neow Yee), who were originally from Fujian province in China. This kind of mansion is called Ang Mor Lao by the locals, which means “Western-style building” in Hokkien Chinese. Part of the mansion is now renovated as The Blue Elephant Phuket, the world’s famous Thai restaurant and cooking school.
Phuket Thai Hua Museum
Phuket has a long history as a trading hub controlled by the local Peranakan Chinese community, a community is Straits Chinese found in Singapore, Penang and Malacca) and the best way to explore this rich history is at the Phuket Thaihua Museum, housed in a charming 1930s British-colonial-style mansion that was formerly the oldest Chinese-language school in Phuket. Spread over the two stories are 16 galleries portraying the island’s Chinese ancestry and Phuket Town’s growth to prosperity.
Opening hours: Daily 09.00 a.m. - 17.00 p.m.