What to see, what to do and where to go
on Thailand’s best loved island
It’s no secret that some of the top Phuket Attractions include the Phuket Aquarium, the Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World, and the Phuket Zoo. And while these places will be great for the kids, there are lots of other equally amazing attractions for the older folk too. So no matter what the weather might be, there are numerous places you and the whole family can discover and enjoy in this tropical location.
Phuket Attractions – Aquarium and Zoo
Phuket Aquarium in Phuket may not be nearly as big as the one in Bangkok but it is nevertheless, a great place to take the kids. In any case, tourists who fly in and out this island paradise do not necessarily need to go to the big cities anyway so a trip here would be a special treat. You will find this aquarium at the southern end of the island on Cape Panwa which is approximately an hour by car from Patong.
TheAquarium has lots of fresh water marine life as well as sea water creatures. Look out for the spotted sting ray and the sea turtles, the latter being bred here and later released back into the sea. The Aquarium is open daily from 8:30 am until 4:00 pm. And there is an admission fee of around 100 Baht for adults and 50 Baht for kids.
The Monkey School is at the same venue and another great place to take kids. There is no extra cost. Kids will just love the shows and they can participate in some of the action too. You will see the monkeys all dressed up riding tricycles while performing various tricks and you will even get to see monkeys swimming. This 30-minute show will have you and the kids laughing with delight and don’t forget to let the kids feed them bananas afterwards while you take photos of the primates.
Phuket Attractions – Butterfly Garden
Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World is located near Sarm Kong in Phuket Town and is one of the must-see Phuket attractions. Not only will you find amazing butterflies here but also all sorts of creepy crawling insects as well.
A great place to unwind in an atmosphere filled with thousands of butterflies flying around all while the air is filled with the soothing sounds of music, a waterfall and lots of local birds singing. This wonderful butterfly garden is rated one of the best in the world and everyone of all ages will enjoy, especially the kids.
Phuket Attractions – Phuket Zoo
The Phuket Zoo is situated a mere fifteen-minute drive from Phuket Town near the north end of Chalong Bay. The entrance fee is 500 Baht for adults and 300 Baht for children. A little steep considering locals pay only about 100 Baht. Unfortunately, as a foreigner, you will find this kind of payment plan wherever you go in Thailand.
And it matters not should you be an expat living here permanently either. There is a price for locals and another for foreigners. Consider the entrance fees as an extension of your heartfelt generosity and kind nature. It would be worthwhile knowing that the extra tip is going to a worthy cause and not into a corrupt back pocket.
The highlight of this outing are the three shows displayed during the course of the day. There’s a monkey show, an elephant show and a crocodile show. It’s a bit like going to the circus. You will, of course, see this all over Thailand, but if you are only going to Phuket, then do take the kids here and enjoy yourselves.
Phuket Attractions – Temples and Monasteries
Wat Chalong Temple is the biggest and the most visited of all the 29 Buddhist temples or monasteries found in Phuket. The vast grounds consist of several buildings and important Buddhist statues.
As you stroll around you will notice many paintings depicting the life of Buddha. While westerners may be curious for knowledge about Buddhism, the locals come here to pray, light incense and candles and sometimes even help with applying gold leaf to some of the statues.
In the west hall of the temple is one of the most important Buddhist statues called Poh Than Jao Wat. There is a legend stating that two of the statues of an elderly gentleman by the name Ta Khee-lek, seen nearby, was a famous local who had won several lotteries after consulting the Poh Than Jao Wat statue.
Though this temple is worth a visit, the best time to go is in the early morning or perhaps at best, the late afternoon in order to avoid the heat and crowds. This would allow you lots of free time to perhaps go to one of the beaches and or any of the neighbouring islands.
The temple is situated in the northern part of Tambol Chalong approximately eight kilometres south-east of Phuket town. To get there from Phuket town, you’d drive along Vichit Songkram Road to the Bypass Road after which you turn left before continuing a short distance to find the temple on Chao Fa West Road.
Phuket Attractions – Temples and Monasteries
Wat Phra Nang Sang is the oldest temple in Phuket dating back as far as the 18th century. The site was once the setting of a famous battle fought between locals living here and the Burmese armies who had invaded the island in 1785.
The Burmese army was desperately trying to locate an ancient manuscript showing the location of some royal hidden treasure. Perhaps Hollywood used a similar concept when making the movie, National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage.
There is also the legend concerning a princess who had played a significant part in the construction of Wat Phra Nang Sang. At some stage, she was found guilty of a felony and as she was being executed for her crime, she shed white blood. Some say she had been framed and was innocent of any wrong-doing.
The shedding of white blood indicated her purity so as an act of remembrance, an ordination hall in the temple is dedicated to her. Famed for its immense history, this attraction is well worth a visit. You will find the temple near the centre of Thalang Town which I believe was once the principal town in Phuket.