Thailand is full of people, culture, food and beaches. I think you could spend forever wandering and seeing all the little tucked away gems - shops, restaurants, boxing and fitness clubs, islands, secluded beaches.
Here are a few highlights that I loved seeing...
The Big Buddha
This huge marble statue located near Chalong is perched high upon the mountain top with 360 degree views of Phuket. Something you have to see, its enormity is astounding. In the area around, there are also other beautiful statues. The brass buddha is impressive, standing tall, shiny and smiley. And as you walk back down from the Big Buddha there are beautiful statues along the way to look at.
Largest of the Phuket Temples is What Chalong. There are a few temples to look at, all equally amazing with paintings, decoration and marble tile plentiful. The newest temple on the grounds (Was Chalong Chedi) has three levels which you can climb, although I think the view looking up at the temple was more impressive than the view from the top floor.
The only downside to both the Big Buddha and Wat Chalong was the amount of people there. There are a lot. Not to put anyone off, but don't be in uproar when you see busloads roll in. Popular places!
Old Phuket Town
Old Phuket Town is rich in history, colourful buildings and little restaurants. Wandering around the streets we found little alley ways with street art, gorgeous little cafes, and tiny shops with food, souvenirs, private galleries, and also services such as printers and clothes alterations.
We went to the Thai Hua Museum, a well kept Sino Portuguese building, and read all about the Chinese influence when the mining boom hit Thailand.
Around the outskirts of the busier streets are many temples and shrines, both Buddhist and Chinese, and also many mansions, some kept others paling apart, but very beautiful and huge in stature.
A lovely afternoon spent walking the streets and finding a new appreciation for the history of Thailand.
Phuket Art Village
Tucked away down the streets of Rawai is the Phuket Art Village. There are a series of little studios with artists creating, from paintings to sculpture, and decoration. With a lot of eco conscious art work on display, it makes you question all the plastics you consume and strive for a cleaner earth.
We also went to the Premium Outlets (Phuket Town), similar prices to Australia, maybe worth a look if you love shopping.
Our driver then took us to The Big C (Phuket Town), which was similar to Target and Coles all in one. Definitely worth it to pick up supermarket supplies, and also has a huge selection of electronic stores downstairs. Perfect place to fix your phone or computer should things have turned sour. Also if you need some fish slides, has them too...
The Main Beaches
The water at every beach we went to was so deliciously warm!
Kamala Beach is lovely, nice and relaxed. With a nice stretch of beach, some markets and restaurants right on the sand.
Nai Harn Beach is also a very beautiful beach with volleyball nets and day lounges. The day we visited it was drizzling, and also Promthep Cape which would be gorgeous at sunset. However keep in mind you will be battling the bus crowds with these spots. (Even on a rainy day we were umbrella to umbrella!)
Rawaii Beach is where a lot of the long tail boats and speed boats reside and where you leave for the island tours. Its a quiet town and very local. Up in the hills behind the beach is where the little hidden gems are. There are little galleries, cafes, shops and markets all waiting to be explored. There are also lots of Muay Thai Fitness camps.
Karon Beach is gorgeous to swim at, there are also beach volleyball nets and a playground down the northern end. It is a long beach so fabulous for a walk.
Kata Beach is a little more sheltered to swim at and just as warm and lovely as Karon, also has a lot of beach lounges to rent.
Both Kata and Karen have lots of restaurants to choose from, and little markets and shops. There are also massage shops on every road and on the beach, and viewpoints to walk up to. Tuk Tuks are widely available to get you where you want to go from both of these beaches.
We didn't island hop because the weather gods weren't too kind to us, but until another time Thailand!