Getting Active in Phuket
Great ideas for some energetic pursuits in Phuket
Phuket is a destination where people come to relax and soak up the year-round sunshine on the idyllic sandy beaches, but there are many opportunities for getting active on and around the island. The crystal clear Andaman Sea is a playground for lovers of water sports, where as the lush jungle and hills of Phuket and surrounding islands provide exciting challenges all of their own with some stunning vistas as rewards. With a host of adrenaline activities to boot, active souls will be fulfilled on a trip to Phuket.
Here's a rundown of exhilarating activities to fill your time on the island;
|Explore Sirinat National Park|
The National Park of Sirinat is located in the north west of the island, close to the international airport, and encompasses three different beaches; Nai Thon, Mai Khao, and Nai Yang. As well as miles of sandy beach, the park is also made up of lush tropical jungle and a tangle of mangroves making it a haven for wildlife. Leatherback and Hawksbill sea turtles choose the Mai Khao stretch of sand to lay their eggs and are well protected. The jungle contains a plethora of species including macaques of the black and white varieties, different types of squirrel, chameleon, snake, frog, gecko and skink to name but a few, and an abundance of insect life. Up in the trees there are also many species of bird including the majestic Hornbill. There is a small entrance fee to pay to enter the park but once inside you are free to explore. Try kayaking through the mangroves to get a closer look at the wildlife that makes its home here.
Snorkelling can be a great addition to a lazy day at the beach and an opportunity to enjoy the colourful aquatic life that the Andaman Sea is so famous for.
Some of the best beaches to test out your snorkelling gear are Ya Nui in the south (the further out the better), Ao Sane; also in the south, and great for parrotfish and clownfish, Paradise Beach; just south of Patang with a coral reef 100 metres off-shore, and Laem Ka near Rawai; home to many species of crab.
Boat trips to surrounding islands also present some great snorkelling opportunities, particularly the Phi Phi Islands where many tropical fish and vibrant coral can be found.
There are many diving centres located around Phuket where trips to the best spots can be arranged. Paradise Beach, south of Patong, with its sheltered beach managed by the Paradise Beach Phuket Club offer diving as well as a host of other water sports. The best diving, however, is to be found around the many islands that surround Phuket. Here is a small selection of the top sites;
Similan Islands: offer some world-class diving experiences with the best time to visit between late October and May.
Racha Noi Islands: Have multi-level dive sites with giant granite boulders and rocky pinnacles. Currents can be strong.
Hin Muang and Hin Daeng: Often listed in the top diving sites of Thailand, these areas have good visibility all year round.
For an exhilarating experience and some incredible views of the island, take to the skies and float like a feather on a paragliding excursion.
There are many hills and ridges suitable for launching, Promthep Cape in the south west being the most popular, but beginners can also take tandem flights with a tow-launch straight off the beach.
|Beachfront water sports|
Along the coastline of Phuket there are water sports of all types to try out. Kayaks and small sailing boats are always in demand, along with kite surfing and wakeboarding. Surfing is even growing in popularity although the conditions are not as favourable as Asian islands further south.
Whatever your desire, there will be an activity to suit you.
The jungle canopies of Phuket provide an excellent location for ziplining, allowing thrill seekers to sail through the air with a bird's eye view of the island.
There are many centres around the island with ziplines and multiple platforms, and many offer additional activities such as jungle skywalks, abseiling and jungle 'rollercoasters'; high-speed roller ziplines that reach speeds of around 40km per hour.
A lot of centres will offer hotel pick-up and drop-off so it's worth checking what's included when you book.
|White Water Rafting at Phang Nga|
Although there are no fast-flowing rivers on the island of Phuket, it is possible seek out some white water rafting on a day trip to Phang Nga Province where it's possible to ride on 5, 7 or 9km courses. Local tour companies will provide basic training to get everyone ready no matter what their previous experience is, so that the ride can be undertaken safely whilst enjoying the lush jungle scenery all around.
If you're keen to stretch your legs then why not investigate some of the great trails and hiking routes that Phuket has to offer in its mountainous jungle interior? May to November sees the best conditions for hiking, particularly if waterfalls such as Kathu, Bang Pae or Tonsai are on your list. The monsoon season sees the waterfalls flowing at their finest.
Most hikes end in a spectacular viewpoint and treks from Kata Beach to Big Buddha, Phuket Old Town to Monkey Hill, and Rawai to Black Rock are no exceptions.
One of the most rewarding hikes involves a day out to beautiful Phang Nga Bay. Cross over the Sarasin bridge onto the mainland and head for one of the hill trails close to the village of Klong Kian. A 20 minute climb will provide 180 degree views of the islands in the bay below; a truly spectacular sight.
There are a handful of waterparks in Phuket providing a great place for families to relax and enjoy the different slides and pools. It is also a safe place to enjoy the water in low season when the sea currents can be rough. A day can be comfortably spent at one of the parks as there are changing facilities, eating and drinking establishments, as well as areas to relax in the sun.
|Climbing / Rappelling|
Take an organised day trip out to Phang Nga Bay and try your hand at climbing the majestic limestone cliffs and rappelling down them with professionals providing safety training and all of the equipment you will need. It's a great way of not only getting close to nature but also gaining a unique viewpoint of your surroundings. Trips usually include national park entrance fees, hotel pick-up and lunch and some local tour companies offer overnight options when one day is just not enough.
|Muay Thai Boxing Course|
Muay Thai boxing is hugely popular across Thailand. Many hotels offer training in the graceful art, but there are also schools across the island and many offer courses of training, and even accommodation inclusive options for the serious.
Popular training schools include Suwit Muay Thai Camp, Tiger Muay Thai and MMA training, Revolution and Kingka.
If you'd prefer to watch then head to either the Phuket Boxing Stadium in the Saphan Hin District of Phuket City every Friday night or Patong Boxing Stadium every Saturday night.
|Mini golf / Football Golf|
There are a handful of sites where mini-golf can be enjoyed on Phuket.
Phuket Adventure Mini Golf is an 18 hole course set in a lush tropical garden, and there is also a Petanque lawn, restaurant and bar.
A love of mini golf and dinosaurs can be combined at Dino Park where the 18 hole course is brimming with life-size replicas of prehistoric beasts. There is also a restaurant on-site.
Football Crazy Golf is a fun and energetic hybrid of golf and football where the ball is kicked around a special 18 hole course. There are different levels of difficulty and plenty of hazards to keep everyone challenged and entertained.