Sightseeing

Bangla Road

Bangla Road really comes to life once the sun sets. The road is closed to vehicle traffic and becomes a 400 metre festival of neon lights, loud music and cheap beer. Jammed most nights of the year, it is quite a friendly and lively place to walk around as bars and clubs compete with each other for customers. If you’re looking for a fun night out in Phuket, Bangla Road should be your first (and, often, only) stop.

Almost all of the bars are outdoors or open-fronted, so the music from each one blends into a mess of mixed beats. Beer bars occupy most of the street’s length, with several go-go bars and a few pubs, restaurants, discos and shops rounding out the attractions, both on Soi Bangla and down its side streets. Street performances are also common most nights, which can make dodging around the tailor shop salesmen, leaflet distributors, street vendors and ping pong show touts more difficult, but it is all part of the fun.

Simon Cabaret

Walking into the Simon Cabaret show theatre in Patong is just like entering a movie house. There’s the same Kenny G saxophone music, the same plush seats and the same dimmed lights. It’s only when a basso profundo voice announces the show and the curtain rises on live performers glistening with sequins and shimmering with feathers that things are different.

Yes, this is real live showtime and the flash and flesh are pure Vegas except for one thing – the ‘girls’ on stage are actually men. Since 1991 Simon Cabaret has been entertaining visitors with its mélange of camp, glitter and cornball and it still is one of the island’s biggest draws

Freedom Beach

Freedom Beach is an exclusive gem on Phuket’s west coast; the 300m-long strip of white sand is set in a superb bay dotted with granite rocks and surrounded by hills covered by thick and luxuriant jungle. Essentially, Freedom Beach’s exclusivity comes from its rather difficult accessibility, although things are getting a bit better nowadays.

Apart from sunbathing, popular activities that can be enjoyed at Freedom Beach are beach soccer (two mini-goals are available), beach volleyball, and snorkelling. The shallow waters at both ends of the beach host superb underwater fauna and flora and the southern end is slightly superior. There are no jet-skis or other noisy marine leisure activities at Freedom Beach; the only audible engines are those of the long-tail boats bringing and taking away visitors.

Spas & Massage

In Asia, spa has evolved into a concept focussing on the spiritual and natural, drawing from traditions of meditation, respect for nature and the desire to achieve physical and mental well being, the key to maintaining health and beauty.In Thailand, the concept of spa blends with the ancient traditions of natural healing through herbal baths, massage, meditation, and the continued pursuit of inner and outer beauty. Before the arrival of modern medicine in Thailand, the temple was the the centre of learning for all disciplines, including medicine.

Monks therefore played the role of doctor and pharmacist, prescribing herbal remedies, steam compresses, massages and other such treatments for the relief of various ailments.One can still try ancient massage therapy in its original form at certain temples such as Wat Po in Bangkok, where treatments are offered daily for a small fee. Most major hotels also offer traditional Thai massage as part of their health and fitness services, as do natural healing and spa centres where herbal steam bath and sauna treatments are derived from holistic therapies practiced for centuries.

Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach is one of the most attractive of the many wonderful beaches Phuket has to offer. It’s compact and has a great view right across Patong Bay. The beach itself is barely 150 metres long and there is another small beach next to it, reached by a path through the rocks and it’s located just next to the busy Patong beach.

Paradise Beach features shade-giving palm trees and tropical almonds. There are large granite rocks at both ends of the sand and a coral reef some 100 metres out. Jet-skis are actively discouraged from approaching the beach, resulting in a calm, peaceful location.

Surf House Patong

Surf House Patong Beach which is a vibrant surf centre on Patong’s Beach Road, just over the road from the Immigration office and the famous sandy Patong Beach beyond. It’s a fun flow ride facility where you can learn to surf in a safe and controlled environment. The second outlet of the famous Surf House in Kata Beach, the Patong Beach branch has a similar size of flow-rider. It can be divided up into a range of lanes that provide you with ‘sheet waves’ that you can surf on as if they were waves in the ocean.

Flying Hanuman

Eco-friendly and well executed, Flying Hanuman explores the jungle in a decidedly aerial way and offers a chance to discover Phuket’s rainforest canopy from a really special angle. It is unique as you will never see exactly the same scenario even if you return many times as, according to the period of the year or the time on the day, the forest’s colours and atmosphere change. This fun and family-friendly adventure lets you get right up close to these wonders in a way that no trek could ever match.

Patong Boxing Stadium

Famous for its brutality, Muay Thai has become a popular martial art around the world. As the name suggests, it started out in Thailand and there is no better place to see it done well in regular bouts than in its home country. Patong has two stadiums – Patong Boxing Stadium and Bangla Boxing Stadium – but the former is considered the more ‘real’. It is not so much about the show and more about champions of their craft going head-to-head at the centre of a lively and excited crowd.