Photo : www.phukethorseclub.com
Several adventure tour companies offer you a challenge to explore the rain forest in the interior of Phuket Island as well as the national parks and jungles in the nearby provinces, e.g. Phang-nga and Krabi.
An even more challenging activity is rock climbing in the limestone mountains where the adventurers can experience world class climbing opportunities.
Some islands in Phang-nga Bay and the sea off Krabi, contain caves accessible through small openings which are immersed in sea water at high tide but which are just a few feet above water when the tide is at the lowest. The world inside these undersea caverns is wonderful. The water is calm and clear, the sand is white and powdery, and the mangroves grow better than elsewhere.
To help tourists find out these secrets of nature, inflatable canoes are offered by some tour companies to explore these undersea caves which cannot be reached by long-tail boats. When making such a tour, the canoe is always paddled by a professional assigned by the tour agency. As a sport, you can also paddle it yourself, not to get into a cave, but to get a close look at the rocks and plants of the islet.
One of the major assets of Phuket as a flourishing vacation resort is its abundance of diving destinations, all offering a fantastic underwater world of tropical fishes and coral formations, so exotic and colourful. From Phuket, all sorts of diving tours are organized lasting from half a day to two weeks. The nearest are sites off the west coast where you can explore soft and hard coral reefs, with a large variety of tropical marine life.
Much more popular are trips to islands lying to the south and east of Phuket, including Coral Island (Ko He) with its very beautiful natural scenery; Ko Racha, with dives of up to 30 metres; Shark Point, a favourite sleeping spot of leopard sharks and stingrays; Ko Dok Mai offering an impressive wall dive and a series of cave dives; and Ko Phi Phi where you can see white-tip sharks, stingrays and moral eels.
Truly world-class diving sites are located farther away, including Ko Similan, Ko Surin, Ko Tarutao and Burma Banks. All the first three island groups are marine national parks which offer magnificent coral gardens. Many big diving companies offer extended three to seven-day trips on live-aboard dive boats to these destinations.
Phuket, with its surrounding Andaman Sea, boasts a large number of dive companies, the majority of which are located at Patong, Kata and Karon beaches. Others can be found in Phuket town and Chalong Bay.
Apart from day trips, all dive companies also offer the introductory course and the full range of PADI courses for learners. They are staffed with qualified instructors who are members of PADI or NAUI, and provided with all sorts of modern equipment which are also available for hire.
The best diving months are December to May when the weather is good and the sea is very clear.
Thailand has rapidly become an important golfing destination of Asia, boasting well over 100 golf courses scattered throughout the country. Many of them are newly opened with lush surroundings and superbly equipped clubhouses. The rapid booming of golfing facilities in Thailand has been attributed to several factors including the favourable weather conditions throughout the year and the comparatively low green fees and caddy fees.
Phuket and the neighbouring provinces of Phang-nga and Krabi boast a number of world-class golf courses. Some were designed by well-known international architects and golfers. The courses are set amidst lush mountains and some overlooking the crystal Andaman. Accommodations are also provided in some courses.
There are four challenging 18-hole golf courses in Phuket -- Banyan Tree Club at Bangthao Beach, Blue Canyon Country Club in Thalang District, Phuket Country Club and Loch Palm in Kathu District. All the courses, built on former tin-mine sites, have their own natural beauty and also offer a pleasant walk for non-golfers.
The Andaman Sea around Phuket has become the newest addition to the foremost yachting regions of the world. An annual event, the King's Cup Regatta, first held in Phuket in 1987 as a 60th birthday tribute to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is a gold medal sailor himself, has taken place in Phuket with great success each time and is now one of the prime yacht-racing fixtures in Asia.
The rapid development of sailing activities in and around Phuket has been due to the natural beauty of the area, the warm climate throughout the year, the readiness of equipment and facilities for the sport, and countless other attractions in Phuket for the sailors.
Yacht charter companies can be found at Chalong Bay, Patong Beach and in Phuket town. All of them offer both bareboat and crewed charters. Day trips usually include boat, crew, lunch, soft drinks and snorkelling gear.
Phuket is a top gamefishing destination in Southeast Asia. Indeed, the list of fighting fish species available in the Andaman Sea around Phuket is as long as one to be found in a game fisherman's handbook. They include Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Giant Trevally, King Mackerel, Wahoo, Cobia, Barracuda, Rainbow Runner, Dolphin Fish, Queen Fish and African Pompano.
The available fishing grounds in the Phuket area extend far beyond the nearby waters, to Krabi, a province about 75 km to the east of Phuket, the two Phi Phi Islands and the Similan Islands. To meet the needs of the ever increasing game fishers, more and more charter companies have sprung up in Phuket, Krabi and Phi Phi in the last few years, offering boats and equipment for hire, including professional flying-deck boats.
This sport is popularly played on Kata beach which is peaceful and has very nice waves. Besides Kata, surfing is possible at most of Phuket's beaches, including Surin, Kamala, Karon and Naihan beaches. Anyway, a greater number of shops selling and renting boards can be found at Kata. The ideal surfing period is from May till November though surfing trips are mostly organized during October and November.
A surfing competition is held annually on Kata beach around September or October when the wave and weather conditions are perfect. Though it's not a grand tournament, there are contestants and spectators coming to join this joyful event from all parts of the world.
To satisfy the needs of foreign tourists, especially those from Europe who enjoy horseback riding, riding clubs have been set up in Phuket. Instructors are available for beginners. And those accomplished riders can walk their horses to admire the natural beauty, or seek adventure by riding at a canter through the forests, along the beaches or over the hills.
Phuket International Horse Club
Phuket International Horse Club is a place where riders of all levels will enjoy riding along a stretch of the beautiful beach. Don't hesitate to get one of your greatest experience on the island. More details
Hop on a bamboo raft and float along the river. This calm, relaxing ride on a bamboo raft poled by a local boatman will take you on board to enjoy the stunningly beautiful rainforest. The elephant trekking included in the program is also breathtakingly fun, when the gigantic mammal walks you over the rugged hill and along the river. More details
For your personal safety and protection by law, please use the services of travel agencies holding a TAT license only.