The South Andaman Coast is where you will find the classic scenery Thailand is known for. Islands such as Phi Phi are picturesque and quite famous around the world. The most famous location of them all, however, is the island of Phuket. One of Thailand’s most visited locations, Phuket has grown fast and some say it’s been over-commercialized. Phuket is a great base for exploring the many surrounding islands. Some, like Phi Phi, are a day trip.
Just at the western tip of Thailand is the island of Phuket. A small island, only 576 square kilometres (222 sq mi) – less than Singapore ! However, it is the largest island in Thailand. There are a few main areas in Phuket where tourists spend time:
Phuket Island is connected to mainland Thailand by the Sarasin Bridge to Phang Nga Province to the north. It can be accessed by road, or air – which is the most common way to arrive in Phuket. The airport has just been upgraded and now can process more passengers. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s faster! Thailand has a pace a little slower than the rest of the world, especially in Phuket!
Spending time in Phuket can be as relaxing or as busy as you like. There’s plenty of beaches and islands to play upon, and also some crazy nightlife in Patong. The views from the high peaks are breathtaking. The temples are beautiful. There’s something for everyone in Phuket. Stunning beaches line the South Andaman Coast, both on Phuket and the mainland.
Top 10 Things to Do in Phuket
- Visit Big Buddha
- Take a day trip to Koh Phi Phi
- See the sunset at Cape Panwa
- Eat freshly caught and cooked seafood by the water at Rawai Beach
- Explore the lovely buildings in Old Phuket Town
- Take in the show at Fantasea or Siam Niramit
- Visit the Old Phuket Town Weekend Night Market
- Party hard at Bangla Rd in Patong
- Browse the Temple Market in Karon
- Massages under palm trees on a sandy beach
The Khao Lak area is probably now known for the devastation it suffered in the 2004 tsunami. It was hit hardest in Thailand, and the movie “The Impossible” was filmed there and portrayed the horrendous tragedy which unfolded on that awful day. Khao Lak is about an hour’s drive north of Phuket and it’s western shore looks directly out to the Andaman Sea. Perhaps the reason why it was so damaged by the tsunami. Miles and miles of sandy white beaches make up the Khao Lak area. Most of it has been rebuilt, along with a memorial to those who lost their lives. The South Andaman Coast was badly effected by the tsunami, but the Thai people have recovered and forged their way forward to create some beautiful resorts where the previous ones once stood.
Khao Lak is definitely not a party area. It’s beautiful nature surroundings make it the perfect place for a relaxing holiday by the beach. The waters are known for their great scuba diving sites and the land for it’s stunning national parks. The busiest you will see it in Khao Lak is at La On Village, where stores and restaurants line the streets. Market vendors set up and the place becomes a buzzy area with options after dark.
Many islands are scattered through Phang Nga Bay and can easily be reached from Phuket or Krabi. Phang Nag Town is a quiet spot, the perfect place to relax and unwind without all the Patong craziness. It’s close to Ao Phang Nga where you can catch boats and ferries to the islands. You’ll find a few good hotels and lots of authentic, cheap Thai food.
While Phang Nga Town may not be for everyone, it is a prime example of a Thai town barely touched by tourism. If you want to break from the usual tourist destinations, then this is the place you want to rest for a couple of days.
Almost directly opposite Phuket to the east is Krabi. This town is a waterfront port which has become a little touristy due to it’s close proximity to the islands. Krabi International Airport (KBV) is located about 15 km from Krabi city centre. Ao Nang Beach is close by and had many options for accommodation.
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