Beautiful white-sand beaches, lush tropical forests, and a nightlife rivaled by few other cities in the world, Phuket, Thailand is an irresistible attraction for both beach lovers and eco-tourists alike. Take a second, unwind and explore Phuket’s 5 most picturesque attractions.
Khao Sok National Park
With a land mass encompassing more than 700 sq km, this national park, located about 175 km north of Phuket, represents southern Thailand’s largest virgin forest. Older and more diverse than even the Amazon rainforest, Khao Sok is home to numerous exotic animal and plant species, and has breathtaking natural scenery. Nature lovers will find inspiration in the park’s majestic limestone cliffs, rough jungle trails, and placid waterways.
Located just south of Karon, the scenic Kata Beach, comprising two bays separated by a small rocky headland, offers an ideal balance of tropical scenery and well-developed tourism infrastructure. Kata has a number of high-end resorts, making it a popular destination for couples and families. Palm trees fringe the white-sand beach, and the turquoise waters offer good swimming conditions throughout the year. One can even swim to nearby Ko Pu, a small island, passing lovely coral reefs along the way.
Framing an idyllic bay on the island’s southwestern tip, Naiharn Beach remains one of Phuket’s most pristine waterfronts. The kilometre long white-sand beach is flanked by green hills and lapped by turquoise waters. While nearby Nai Harn Village has been modernized with cafes, art shops and guesthouses, the beach and surrounding hills maintain a tranquil, non-commercial vibe, with hotels congregated along only one end. During the high season, a number of private yachts drop anchor in the bay, making Naiharn their temporary home.
Sirinat National Park
A rugged and pristine beachfront, lined by pine trees, runs along Phuket’s northwest coast and marks three largely undeveloped beaches: Mai Khao, Nai Yang, and Nai Thon. Founded in 1981, Sirinat National Park covers an area of 90 sq km, of which more than three quarters is marine territory. The clean blue waters feature large, healthy coral reefs, and Mai Khao beach, in particular, has become a well-known sea turtle nesting site. At the northern end of Sirinat is a small, but unspoiled, mangrove forest.
The historical and administrative center of Phuket traces its roots back centuries – first, to the early European traders and later to the Chinese immigrants who arrived here during the local tin mining boom of the 19th century. Today, Phuket Town continues to thrive as one of the island’s most authentic cultural areas, punctuated by magnificent architectural treasures, Chinese shrines, colourful open-air markets, and restaurants that serve some of Phuket’s most delicious local cuisines.