A James Bond movie made it world famous, but the towering limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay have been an awe-inspiring sight for centuries of seafaring explorers. Charter a yacht or travel by traditional long-tail boat around the calm bay, paddle through hidden lagoons and caves by sea kayak or visit the floating Koh Panyee fishing village.
Among the best diving and snorkelling destinations in the world, the Similan Islands feature colourful coral gardens and marine life in crystal-clear azure waters and beaches of fine white sand. A true tropical island dream! Note that the Similans are open for day trips from 15 October to 15 May only.
Sharpen those golf skills at one of the scenic golf courses in and around Phuket. Tab Lamu, run by the Thai Navy, is the nearest golf course, while the picturesque Mission Hills Phuket Golf Club and Blue Canyon Country Club are just a short drive away in northern Phuket. Best to tee-off early in the morning to avoid the tropical heat.
Just steps away from the villa are two fantastic spots to dine or unwind with cocktails at sunset. Baba Beach Club, a stylish place with tasty Thai and Japanese menus, DJ nights and a swim-up bar, is a few hundred metres to the south, while the award-winning restaurants of Aleenta resort are just a short stroll up the beach to the north. And for more rustic beachfront dining, try the Thai delights at Rabiang Lay restaurant, a few kilometres away.
The Phang Nga area offers several eco-adventure experiences including waterfall parks, river rafting and ATV rides through lush jungle terrain. Rise early to visit Samet Nangshe viewpoint for amazing sunrise views over Phang Nga Bay.
There are plenty of ways to see Thailand’s exotic wildlife but the best way is to visit places that help, not harm, the animals. Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, found in Phuket’s jungle-clad northeast area, lets visitors observe rescued elephants in their natural habitat. And just inside Khao Phra Thaeo national park is the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, where visitors can watch gibbons rescued from poachers swing and play in their large enclosures.
If the beach and villa pool somehow become too confining for the kids, take them out for a day of waterslide fun at Splash Jungle Water Park near Mai Khao Beach, or go wakeboarding at Anthem Wake Park (there’s also an indoor climbing wall at Rebel Rock Climbing next door).
Explore Phuket history and culture on a walking tour around the Old Town. Streets lined with century-old Sino-Portuguese buildings vividly tell a story about Phuket’s past, as well as its contemporary life with many of the old shophouses and mansions converted into chic cafes, boutique hotels and restaurants. Be sure to try some of the delicious local eateries, which have earned Phuket accolades as a ‘City of Gastronomy’ by UNESCO.
Learn the secrets behind all that delicious Thai fare by joining a Thai cookery class. Some courses take a deeper dive into the culture by including a visit to a local market. Classes are available at many restaurants and resorts including nearby Aleenta resort, the JW Marriott Phuket resort on Mai Khao Beach and The Slate hotel at Nai Yang Beach.
Bargain hunters and luxury brand seekers alike will find plenty of joy in Phuket with its ever-growing choice of shopping centres and markets. Patong Beach has lively street markets to explore at night and the large Jungceylon shopping centre, while in and around Phuket Town is the bustling Naka Weekend Market, Lard Yai Sunday street market and Central Festival mall.