Phuket is an excellent escape destination during the cold winter months of December and January for a number of reasons. First and foremost are its beaches. With claim to at least 20 distinct beach locations, Phuket offers a number of attractions to ensure a day of sun-filled fun.
Patong Beach is extremely popular amongst tourists and has a number of activities to suit a variety of interests. For the non-sunseeking folks, there is shopping under the umbrellas of local street markets and a variety of both western and Thai cafes lined against the backdrop of the clear, blue sky. Cafes and restaurants are a good alternative to a day on the sands or a break from the water as they offer air-conditioning and cold beverages, including the fresh fruit shakes that Thailand is so famous for.
For those that enjoy a bit more sun, head out to the beach and rent a chair, with an umbrella if you prefer for a bit of shade, for usually around a couple of hundred baht per day. Sit and relax while Thai vendors scurry along selling cold beverages, ice cream, snacks on a stick and hand woven hammocks and sarongs.
Patong is also one of the most famous beaches for hosting a myriad of water sports. Some surfing is available when the tide is right, but Patong mainly offers clear, calm waters suitable for beginning lessons in jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, windsurfing and snorkeling. Beware of rental equipment, however, as Phuket vendors are notorious for their insurance and financial scams. Check the equipment thoroughly before use and keep the Thai Tourist Police number handy in case of any disputes.
Stay in a Phuket hotel in Patong or visit one of the various beaches such as Karon, Kata, Kamala or Bangtao Beach. All beaches offer waterfront Phuket hotels of your choosing with a much more peaceful atmosphere than the more popular Patong.
At Karon Beach, take a stroll and do some shopping while viewing unique Sino-Portuguese architecture or visit Wat Suwan Khiri Khet, an elaborate Buddhist Temple displaying a colorful dragon staircase. Karon is also home to Phuket’s famous Dino Park, a dinosaur-themed miniature golf park open during the day or night, fun for adults and kids alike. Dino Park is located between Karon and Kata beach, another great Phuket destination.
For those looking for day adventures, Kata Beach is the place to go. Day tours can be booked that take travelers into the heart of the Phuket jungle on elephants. Spend time on the backs of these gentle creatures, help feed and bathe them and learn more about their significance in Thai culture. Tourists beware, vendors selling pictures with or food for animals such as monkeys, birds and elephants on the streets should be avoided. It is best to view these animals in a sanctuary that you can support with donations where most of them end up when they have been mistreated by tourist vendors.
Another favourite in Kata is Thai cooking classes. Devote yourself to a few hours learning about authentic cuisine and culture by taking a guided tour to the local market. Learn about and purchase unique herbs and spices in order to prepare a six-course meal to share for lunch with friends old and new. Relax afterwards with a local Thai massage either at a luxury resort or beachfront in a private tent.
On the Northern side of Patong are Kamala, Surin and BangTao Beaches. Daring travelers may want to rent a motorbike or scooter, available at several shops along the Patong beachfront, and go on a coastal journey. More activities can be found here such as wall climbing, horse riding, yoga and golf. Be sure to wear a crash helmet, drive carefully and have fun!
Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Phuket Hotels content.
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