Sulla breccia dell’onda prima di Ko Samui, Phuket è stata, ed è ancora, la prima destinazione turistica della Thailandia. Al contrario di Pattaya, Phuket conserva il suo fascino tropicale.
Phuket è di una bellezza tangibile e grandissima, più delle sue spiagge. C’è bellezza nei suoi villaggi pittoreschi, nelle piantagioni di noci di cocco o di alberi della gomma; c’è bellezza nella profusione di fiori a cui le colline, scure di foreste, fanno da sfondo. Phuket offre spiagge e barriere coralline pullulanti di vita, una bellezza che può diventare pericolosa, specialmente durante la stagione monsonica, da maggio a ottobre, quando il vento rende insicuro il mare. La costa orientale è formata principalmente da secche rocciose, piane di fango e mangrovie, ma tutte le spiagge più belle di Phuket si trovano sul versante occidentale. Gli abitanti dell’isola trasmettono la sicurezza tipica di isolani consapevoli di vivere e prosperare su un’isola ricca di risorse naturali.
Located off the southwest coast, just an hour’s flight from Bangkok, Phuket is linked to the mainland by a causeway and is thus accessible by road as well as by air. Thai International operates many daily flights from Bangkok, while Phuket is also an international airport and has direct air links with Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Europe. Alternatively there are overnight bus services from Bangkok.
Per secoli Phuket non è stata altro che una zona depressa. La grande distanza da Bangkok, l’assenza di un ponte con la terraferma, le brutte strade dell’isola e la mancanza di interesse a sfruttare le sue bellezze, l’hanno tenuta per decenni in un relativo isolamento, nonostante le risorse di stagno, gomma e noci di cocco. L’aeroporto di Phuket è diventato internazionale soltanto negli anni ’70 per consentire ai commercianti di stagno e gomma di raggiungere facilmente Penang, Kuala Lumpur e Singapore, ma allora nessuno pensava al turismo.
Alla fine degli anni ’70, Phuket compariva negli itinerari dei saccopelisti poveri che si accampavano nei bungalow dei pescatori o sulla spiaggia di Patong. Diffusasi la voce, arrivarono presto i magnati del turismo. L’aeroporto fu ingrandito per ospitare jet europei, le strade asfaltate, e piano piano, mentre i dollari dei turisti si riversavano sulle spiagge, l’isola divenne la provincia più ricca della Thailandia, seconda solo a Bangkok.
La ricchezza di Phuket viene dal turismo, il cui boom ha avuto un notevole impatto sociale. Sebbene in Phuket ci siano solo 10.000 nativi, 240.000 emigranti thailandesi, provenienti da tutte le 76 province del regno, adesso vivono e lavorano nell’isola, svolgendo in gran parte attività collegate al turismo.
Magnifica terra da esplorare e da visitare almeno una volta nella vita Phuket. L’isola piu’ grande della Thailandia e’ diventata nel mondo una delle destinazioni preferite per le vacanze. Questa “Perla delle Andamane” sogno degli antichi navigatori venne scoperta dagli arabi e dagli indiani tra’ l’880 e il 916 D.C..Agli amanti del mare,puo’ sembrare solo un’isola formata da un’infinita catena di magnifiche baie con spiagge e palme da dove la vista spazia fino alle piccole isole sparpagliate nel mare, ma Phuket e’ anche storia e ospitalita’ meravigliosa. La sua forza e’ quella di essere ideale per i gusti piu’ diversi,eta’ e budgets. L’intera isola e’ orientata alla felicita’ e alla soddisfazione dei visitatori. Dai bungalows economici inseriti in giardini di palme i quali costituiscono un’alternativa meno costosa ma non per questo meno bella, anzi; ai lussuosi alberghi ed ai complessi residenziali, dove dai saccopelisti alle famiglie ogn’uno trovera’ la sua dimensione e si sentira’ subito a casa.
Phuket offre inoltre la possibilita’ di misurarsi in una moltitudine e di interessanti attivita’: Trekking con elefanti, escursioni nell’arcipelago nelle vicine isole di Phi Phi, Racha, Coral Island, Phang Nga,ecc, Bungee jumping,e ogni sport d’acqua immaginabile.
La morfologia di Phuket e’ molto varia e le sue ampie dimensioni hanno favorito lo sviluppo di microclimi in diverse zone. Se avete tempo,vale la pena di esplorare tutta quanta l’isola. Non perdetevi la zona interna, ricca di campi di riso, piantagioni di Caucciu’, noci di cocco, cacao ananas, accanto a cio’ che rimane nella foresta pluviale di Phuket. Phuket ha un clima tropicale di monsoni, con temperature elevate tutto l’anno ed i mesi di aprile e maggio sono i piu’ caldi,mentre i mesi di settembre ed ottobre sono i piu’ bagnati. Il momento migliore per visitare Phuket e’ durante la stagione fredda, da novembre a marzo quando non e’ cosi’ umido e le brezze fredde mantengono ottime temperature. La temperatura media e’ intorno ai 24 gradi C’ come minima, mentre la massima si aggira sui 32 gradi C’. Nel periodo piu’ caldo le temperature oscillano fra’ i 27C’ ed i 36C’ con un’umidita’ del 70% causata da alcuni acquazzoni.
Spiagge: Karon beach / kata noi beach / Surin beach / Kata mai beach / Nai harn beach / Kamala beach / Patong beach / Laemsing beach / Mai kao beach / Nai Yang beach
Una tra’ le migliori e tranquilla dove e’ stato anche girato qualche scena del film “The beach” con Di Caprio e’ la spiaggia di KATA : situata dientro un promontorio a sud di Karon e divisa in due Kata yai (Grande Baia) e Kata noi (Piccola Baia), KATA e’ una spiaggia interessante. La piccola isola di KO PU e’ a breve distanza a nuoto dalla spiaggia e lungo il percorso ci sono belle barriere coralline.
Luoghi da non perdere: La capitale Phuket Town ricca di fascino orientale, mercatini tipici locali dove si possono fare ottimi aquisti di artigianato locale, Templi Buddisti e Cinesi, una tra’ i piu famosi il Wat Chalong, Il view point all’estremo sud dell’isola dove si possono ammirare stupendi tramonti, La Caotica Patong (Rimini Thai) dove la vita nottuna e’ un’attrazione, Spettacoli serali tipo Phuket Fantasea o il Simon Cabaret unico al mondo per la sua caratteristica.
How To Get There
By Air Thai Airways operates daily jet flights between Bangkok and Phuket. There are further domestic connections with Surat Thani and Hat Yai. Phuket also enjoys international connections with Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan a Hong Kong and Australia. Reservations may be made in Bangkok (Tel: 280-0060 and 628-2000), and in Phuket (Tel: 211-195, 212-946, 212-499 and 216-755) for both domestic and international flights.
Bangkok Airways (Tel: Phuket (076) 225- 033-4, Bangkok: 229-3434, 229-3456, 535-2429, 535-3756) offers direct flights linking Phuket with Ko Samui, the principal island in the Thai Gulf.
Orient Thai Airlines (Tel: Phuket (076) 232-302-3, 327-270-1, Bangkok: 267-3210-5, 535-2021-2) offers direct flights linking Phuket with Bangkok.
By Bus Airconditioned coaches and non-airconditioned buses leave Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal every day. For further details, please contact Bangkok 435-1200, 434-3233, 435-3018.
By Car From Bangkok, take Highway 4 through Nakhon Pathom, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, thence through Ranong province’s Kraburi and Kaper districts, Phangnga province’s Takua Pa and Takua Tung districts and onto Phuket island across the Thao Thepkasattri Bridge. The total distance is 867 kilometres.
By Sea Foreign and domestic cruise ships frequently berth at the Port of Phuket at Ao Makham, and off Patong Beach, yachts at Ao Chalong, the Phuket Lagoon Marina and the Laem Prao marina. Please note that all pleasure boats and yachts arriving at Phuket must stop first and register with ther Immigration Office and Customs Office, and with the Harbour Office within 24 hours of arrival
Passaporto. Vaccinazioni: Nessuna,consigliata la profilassi antimalarica nelle aree rurali al di fuori dei circuiti turistici. Elettricita’: 220 volt. Fuso orario: piu’ sei ore rispetto l’Italia, piu’ 5 quando in Italia c’e’ l’ora legale. Lingua: la lingua ufficiale e’ la THAI, ma l’Inglese e’ compreso quasi ovunque. Moneta locale e’ il Bath. Poste e Telecomunicazioni: Gli uffici postali sono aperti dalle 08.30 alle 16.30 dal lunedi’ al venerdi’ e dalle 09.00 alle 12.00 il sabato. Come arrivare:dall’Italia ci sono molte compagnie aeree che arrivano via Bangkok o direttamente.
Cultivated pearls, batiks and pewterware are Phuket’s best known products. Shops specialising in such products are found on Rasada, Phangng, Yanwarat, Montri and Tilok Utit 2 roads in town, and on tourist beaches such as Patong, Kata, Karon and Rawai.
Polite behaviour is welcomed everywhere. What is considered polite in other countries is probably considered polite in Thailand, too. However, there are a few cultural pitfalls, mainly social and religious taboos, the breaking of which can cause offence. For example, visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go shirtless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attire. Shoes should be removed when entering private Thai homes, chapels where Buddha images are kept, and any of the Islamic community’s mosques. diving equipment is available for hire.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Phuket Office : 73-75 Phuket Road Phuket 83000 Tel: (076) 212-213, (076) 211-036, Fax: (076) 213-582
Rang Hill This provides a pleasant view of town while dining, and has a Fitness Park, a series of hillside sculptural tableaux which enhance calisthenics.
The Thai Village Also on Thepkasattri Road, the village serves daily a typical southern Thai lunch that is followed by a spectacular cultural show including Thai dances, sword-fight
Thalang National Museum Located near the Two Heroines Monument, this museum contains permanent exhibition of life in old Phuket, ancient artifacts and remains discovered on the coast and materials used during war with Burma (Myanmar).
Island Attractions Phuket’s glory is its magnificent coastline. Beaches range from gentle crescents of white sand with calm waters to rocky headlands pounded by raging surf. Counterclockwise, from Phuket’s northern tip, where the Sarasin Bridge connects the island with the mainland, Phuket’s major beaches (and temples and botanical gardens) are as follows:
Mai Khao Beach (40 kilometres from town) This pine-lined stretch of sand is Phuket’s longest beach. Each year, from November through February, gigantic sea turtles struggle ashore to lay their eggs on Mai Khao Beach.
Nai Yang Beach (30 kilometres from town) This forms part of a national park. The tranquil surroundings are ideal for relaxation, picnics, swimming and snorkelling.
Wat Phra Thong Inland from Nai Yang Beach, the temple enshrines a famous, partially buried Buddha. Local legends relate how a boy tethered his buffalo to a post protruding from the ground. Subsequently, both boy and animal fell mysteriously sick. Suspicious villagers uncovered the post and discovered it was the decorative topknot of a buried golden Buddha. They were able to unearth no more than the upper part of the image, over which they constructed the present chapel. Burmese invaders attempted to remove the image in 1785 but failed when they were attacked by vicious hornets.
Ton Sai Waterfall Forest Park & Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Park (22 kilometres from town) The 22-square-kilometre area teems with various mammals, including bears, porcupines, gibbons and macaques, reptiles and lizards, and over 100 bird species, in an idyllic setting cooled by sonorous cascades.
Pansea Bay, Surin Beach (24 kilometres from town)
Sing Cape & Kamala Beach These unfold in rapid succession. Swimming is not recommended at Surin Beach due to powerful surf and a treacherous undertow. The beach is a favoured spot for witnessing sunsets. The northern end of Kamala Beach is suitable for swimming.
Patong Beach (15 kilometres from town) Phuket’s most developed beach offers numerous leisure, sporting, shopping and recreational options along its 3-kilometrelong cresent bay. Windsurfing, snorkelling, sailing, swimming and sunbathing number among popular daytime activities. Patong is equally well known for its vibrant nightlife, among which seafood restaurants prominently feature.
Karon & Kata Beaches (20 & 17 kilometres from town) Both beaches are impressively long, relatively peaceful and eminently suitable for swimming, snorkelling, sailing, windsurfing and sunbathing.
Nai Han Beach (18 kilometres from town) The white beach fronts a shallow lagoon between rocky headlands. Swimming, windsurfing, sailing and sunbathing number among popular activities.
Phromthep Cape Adjacent to Nai Han Beach, Phuket’s southernmost point is the perfect place from which to view spectacular sunsets.
Rawai Beach (17 kilometres from town) The palm-fringed beach is best known for ‘sea gypsies’, a formerly nomadic fishing minority believed to be of Melanesian descent.
Chalong Bay (11 kilometres from town) This beach has several restaurants selling some of Phuket’s best seafood.
Wat Chalong A few kilometres inland from Chalong Beach, this Buddhist temple enshrines statues of Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, Phuket’s most revered monks.
Phanwa Cape (10 kilometres from town) The southernmost tip of this cape is home to a Marine Biological Research Centre and Phuket’s Aquarium where visitors may inspect several hundred exotic, grotesque and flamboyantly colourful marine species found mainly in Phuket’s teeming waters.
Pearl Farms are located on islands neighbouring Phuket, including Nakha, Rang Noi, Rang Yai and Bon. Special permission is needed to visit threm. Details are available from Phuket’s TAT office.
Phang Nga Bay
Located northeast of Phuket, and containing scores of limestone islands, some riddled with aquatic grottoes, (see Phangnga information for further details) this picturesque bay is an enduringly popular excursion. Tours are offered by hotels and tour companies throughout Phuket.
Phi Phi Islands
These picturesque islands in Krabi province (see Krabi information for more details) are probably Phuket’s most popular excursion.
Phuket dive shops operate daily excursions to the Similan islands (see Phangnga information for further details) during the high season of November-May when underwater visibility is at its best.
This province is directly north of Phuket and covers an area of 4,170 square kilometres. The provincial capital is 788 kilometres south of Bangkok. The province’s major attractions are the marine national parks of Ao Phangnga (Phang Nga Bay), Mu Ko Similan (Similan Islands) and Mu Ko Surin (Surin islands). Phangnga Bay has been featured in several international movies, including the 007 adventure
The Man with the Golden Gun, and contains some 100 largely uninhabited limestone islands scattered around almost perpetually calm waters. Many islands are riddled with aquatic grottoes, and are best explored aboard sea canoes which are able to enter inner chambers, essentially collapsed cave systems, sometimes only at low tide.The timeless ‘Jurassic Park’ atmosphere of such islands contrasts vividly with more popular venues such as James Bond island, Nail island and Waterfowl which supports a Muslim village built on stilts embedded in the sea.
The farless commercialised Similan islands, nine in all, are renowned among diving enthusiasts for the variety of dives, superb underwater visibility between November and May, and teeming marine life. The Similans offer more than 30 dive sites, with coral walls, huge sea fans and barrel sponges, big rocks, swim-throughs, coral gardens and plenty of shallows for snorkelling.The five Surin islands, equally secluded, offer similarly good diving opportunities and, because of seasonal weather changes, are best visited between December and March. Phangna is conveniently accessible by road or boat from Phuket and offers accommodation ranging from bungalows to deluxe hotels. Full transport and accommodation details are available at the TAT Phuket office.
Golf There are now 4 challenging, 18-hole golf courses in Phuket, including the Phuket Country Club (Tel: (076) 321-038-40) in Kathu, Blue Canyon (Tel: (076) 327-440-7) in Thalang district nears the airport, the Banyan Tree Club(Tel: (076) 324-351-60, 324-358) at Bangtao beach and the Phuket Century Country Club (Tel: (076) 321-929, 321-933-4) ain Kathu.
All courses offer reasonably priced golf club rentals, green fees and caddy services.
Horse Riding Three riding clubs, one on Patak Road, on the way to Kata Beach, Ban Sai Yuan on the way to Nai Harn Beach, and Laguna Phuket, Bangtao Beach, offer facilities for beginners and experienced riders alike.
Windsurfing This popular sport is enjoyed at most major beaches. Boards may be rented by the hour, half-day, full day or week. Expert tuition from Thai teachers is free.
Sailing Enjoyed mostly at Nai Han, Patong and Kata beaches. Toppers and dinghies are available at Patong.
Deep Sea Fishing Daily tours are available, making early morning departures and late afternoon returns, mostly to lesser islands to fish for Red Snappers, Rainbow Runners and other game fish.
Swimming This can be enjoyed throughout the year, and is mostly safe. However, undertows can be problematic during the Rains Season. It is best to seek the advice of local people regarding swimming conditions. Snorkelling This can be enjoyed in sheltered bays all around Phuket.
It is particularly enjoyable at easily accessible reefs at Patong, Karon and Kata beaches. Fins, mask and snorkel can be rented on a daily basis from shops all over the island. Scuba Diving Expeditions regularly leave Phuket for dives around neighbouring islands, and further afield, most particularly around the enduringly popular Phi Phi Islandsin neighbouring Krabi province, some 2 hours east of Phuket, and the Similan Islands, in Phangnga province, some 110 kilometres northwest of Phuket, and the Raya Islands, 1-3 hours due south of Phuket, depending on the type of boat. Several dive shops concentrated in the Patong, Kata and Chalong areas have Asian and European expatriate(s) (speaking English and several other languages) and bi-lingual Thai dive instructors who offer inexpensive beginner’s courses. All and Krabi province, where mangrove swamps and island grottoes are accessible only by canoe.
Complete details of the several companies offering such tours is available from the TAT office in Phuket, and the TAT information centre in Krabi. Yacht Services Yachtsmen visiting Phuket can enjoy a full range of services, including dry dock facilities and boat repairs, and safe and secure moorings, principally at Ao Chalong, the Phuket Boat Lagoon Marina and Laem Prao Marina. Yachts of ever shape and size can be chartered, either as bareboats or with full crew. Please check with the Phuket Immigration Office for details regarding bringing in a yacht, or leaving by yacht.
Sea Canoeing This form of eco-tourism is available in several forms, as popular one-day tours, or more extended tours involving overnight camping on island beaches, and occurs principally in the neighbouring Phangnga Bay Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as being a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph, or do anything that might show lack of respect. It is considered rude to point your foot at a person or object. Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, both literally and figuratively.
Therefore, they do not appreciate anyone patting them there, even as a friendly gesture.
This coastal province covers an area of 4,709 square kilometres. The provincial capital is 814 kilometres south of Bangkok, and is conveniently accessible by road from the capital (Tel: (02) 435-1200 and 435-1195-6 for bus service information) and Phuket. Krabi’s major attractions are located largely along its extensive coastline, which contains several well-known beaches and bays, and numerous offshore tropical islands. Most such attractions fall within the aegis of national parks.
Major islands include the Phi Phi cluster which is popular with yachtsmen, scuba-divers, snorkellers and day trippers from Phuket. The islands are characterised by rocky cliffs, tranquil seas, dazzling underwater life, birds’ nest caves and fine white sandy beaches. Accommodation is available on Phi Phi Don island.
The Ko Lanta National Park, conveniently accessible by regular boat services from Phi Phi Don island, offers several coral-fringed islands, and prime diving sites, and comparative solitude.The largest island, Ko Lanta Yai, is the site of park headquarters, and is also home to Chao Le, or sea gypsies who sustain themselves largely through fishing. The islands are best visited during the non-monsoon months of October through April. Yet more islands, some 80 in all, and most relatively small, are located off Ao Nang beach on the mainland.
Ao Nang is some 6 kilometres from Hat Noppharat Thara, probably Krabi’s finest mainland beach which is fronted by pine trees, coconut groves and resort hotels.One of Krabi’s most unusual attractions is a ‘shell graveyard’, known locally as Su San Hoi, where fossilised shells, believed to be 40,000,000 years old form coastal slabs resembling ancient concrete.Two predominantly mainland national parks, Khao Phanom Bencha and Than Bokk-horani, offer scenic attractions including waterfalls and caves, and opportunities for trekking, birdwatching and savouring the lush southern tropical landscape in natural surroundings. Krabi offers
a wide range of accommodation at major attractions, including award-winning resort hotels. Accommodation details may be obtained from the TAT office in Phuket.
This coastal province covers an area of 4,917 square kilometres. The provincial capital is 828 kilometres south of Bangkok and is conveniently accessible by air, road and rail. Contact Thai Airways (Bangkok 628-2000), the Transport Company Ltd. (Bangkok 937-0261-70) and State Railways of Thailand (Bangkok 223-0941) for relevant details.
Trang’s major attractions are scenic, largely within the confines of terrestrial and marine national parks such as Mu Ko Petra and Hat Chao Mai featuring Andaman Sea beaches and islands, and wildlife sanctuaries such as Khao Chong and Khlong Lamcham Waterfowl Park featuring waterfalls, nature trails and caves. Accommodation ranges from resort bungalows to urban hotels.