Other Attractions in Phuket
It has long been said that Phuket needs a good water park to add to its list of attractions. Well the park finally arrived in early 2010 although we have to say we have our doubts as to whether it is the park that Phuket needed.
The problem is not the park, which is an impressive facility. It is a reasonable size at 14,000 square meters. There are 5 big slides, 2 children's play pools with smaller slides, a wave pool and a lazy river. There is also a nice relaxing spa pool with water jets and waterfalls. The park is located in the grounds of the 5-star West Sands Resort, next to Mai Khao Beach.
There are complementary shuttle buses between the park and all the main tourist towns. It is generally a good set up with changing rooms, lockers, showers and attentive life guards around every pool. It does not match up with the best water parks around the world but it is still good enough for a fun day out.
Our concerns for the success of this venture are the location and the price. The location is way up at the north western end of Phuket, a long way from the main tourist areas. Many visitors will be looking at a good 2-hour round trip to visit the park.
Then there is the price. We know the investors have to get their money back but standard prices ranging from 1,050-baht for children to 2,000-baht for adults would be steep in most western countries, never mind Thailand. The food and drink prices within the park are also relatively high. A family of four spending a day in the park could easily find their daytrip has cost 8,000 baht.
In fairness to the park, they have already responded to low visitor numbers by introducing special introductory rates that greatly reduce the cost. We think they will need to make these price reductions permanent. The park faces one other problem. There is an on-off project to build a competitor park in a more central location in Kathu. If it ever materialises then the majority of tourists will go there rather than make the long trip north. So we do have our doubts about the long-term success of this one but we wish Splash Jungle the best of luck with their venture. It is a great day out and it will always be a great facility for the hotel guests.
Related Articles: Read All About Splash Jungle Water Park
This is a small privately owned zoo. It only covers 12 acres but it is well presented and they squeeze a lot into the small space. They have three shows - an elephant show, a monkey show and a crocodile show. Each show takes place several times a day and they are timed so you can see each in succession without waiting too long for the next one. As well as the shows, they have a collection of beautiful birds, a nice little aquarium, tigers, camels, deer and many other small animals. It will take three or four hours to fully appreciate the whole zoo.
We must say that this being a privately owned enterprise, the priority is clearly profit. You can buy food to feed the animals, pay to take photos with the animals, pay for an elephant ride, etc, etc. Although the zoo is attractively laid out, some of the animal's living conditions leave a lot to be desired.
Phuket Zoo is on Soi Palai which is off Chao Fa East Road about halfway between Phuket Town and Chalong Circle. There is a large sign pointing to the zoo. It is open from 08:30 to 18:00 and entrance is 500 baht for adults and 300 baht for children. They practice two-tier pricing and the entrance price for Thais is 80 baht. Afterwards, if you want some good food in a beautiful setting then go to the end of Soi Palai and visit Palai Seafood. It is by the beach with great views across Chalong Bay. They sell good fresh seafood at reasonable prices.
At the end of Cape Panwa is Phuket Aquarium. It is a small aquarium but it has a good range of colourful aquatic life. There are all kinds of tropical fish and even black piranhas and electric eels from the Amazon. The final two tanks have some impressive big fish including sharks, rays and giant grouper. One of these tanks has a short walkthrough.
Outside is a short trail along the beach. You can see the turtle hatchery and also take a look at the aquarium's research vessel.
The entire facility will take one to two hours to explore.
The aquarium is open from 08:30 to 16:00. It is a publicly owned facility and practices two-tier pricing. Entrance for foreigners is 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for children. Entrance for Thais is 50 baht for adults and 20 baht for children.
This pleasant little getaway can provide an hour or two of peaceful relaxation. It comprises a butterfly garden, an indoor insect display and a Thai silk museum. Perhaps it is not a big enough attraction to justify the trip on its own but you could fill the day out with a trip to the nearby Phuket Orchid Garden and Thai Village (see below), and then perhaps shopping at Tesco Lotus.
Before entering the butterfly garden, you will go through the insect exhibition. This comprises a wide range of insects, spiders and all kinds of other creepy-crawlies. You will see large beetles, tarantulas, scorpions and millipedes. It is enough to set the skin crawling. Once you have had enough, you can go through to the garden.
The butterfly garden is a shady little retreat. It contains many varieties of tropical flowers and plants. Around the garden flit hundreds of butterflies. The garden's own breeding department raises and releases the butterflies. There are rooms where you can see the various stages of the breeding process with eggs, caterpillars and cocoons. A stream cascades through the garden and is populated with koi carp.
Finally, there is a small silk museum displaying silk cocoons, traditional weaving equipment and some lovely examples of silk cloth.
The Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World is in the Sam Kong area of Phuket just north of Phuket Town. From the Tesco Lotus junction, drive towards Sam Kong along Yaowarat Road. Take the second left hand turn and you will see the signs to the garden.
The garden is open from 9:00 to 17:00. Entrance is 300-baht for foreigners and 80-baht for locals. Foreign residents can get the local price on production of a Thai driving license or work permit. It is the sort of attraction that seems great value at the local price but a little superficial if you have paid the tourist price.
Phuket Orchid Garden and Thai Village
Not far from the Phuket Butterfly Garden is Phuket Orchid Garden and Thai Village. Set next to a large lake, it is a theme park displaying traditional Thai village life.
They have a twice-daily Thai dance show at 11:00-12:00 and again at 17:30-18:15. The show features Thai classical dances from all areas of the country. Do not expect anything spectacular. The show is quaint and charming rather than dramatic.
There is a handicraft center where you can watch traditional Thai hand crafts practiced by experts and a shop where you can buy the products. There is also an orchid garden containing many exotic varieties.
The site also features a restaurant by the lake with menu or set lunches and dinners.
They have recently given the auditorium a major overhaul and they now have a Ladyboy show in the evenings. The Simon Star show is the third ladyboy show to appear in Phuket.
The park is open daily except Sunday and they serve dinner until 9pm. It is in the Sam Kong area of Phuket just north of Phuket Town. From the Tesco Lotus junction, drive towards Sam Kong along Yaowarat Road. At the Sam Kong lights, go straight towards Rajabhat College. You will come to the left hand turn signposted towards the Park.
Entrance to the cultural show is 600-baht baht for foreigners. As ever, there is a local price, which is 300-baht for Thais and foreign residents. The restaurant serves a set lunch or dinner for 300-baht - same price for all.
The Phuket Botanic Garden is a surprisingly pleasant addition to Phuket's list of attractions. It is not a spectacular attraction but we went not expecting too much which is perhaps the best way to be pleasantly surprised. The garden was larger than we expected and is a horticultural display of tropical and exotic plants. It is split into more than 30 different zones including an orchard garden, herb garden, cactus garden, rain forest, bonsai zone and many more.
The garden is open to the public and is also used as a research centre for rare plants. You can wander from zone to zone enjoying the attractively laid out gardens. If you are truly a botany enthusiast you could no doubt spend hours studying the wide variety of plants. For the more casual visitor it will take a good hour to go around.
At the end of your tour you can pay a bit extra to feed the parrots. They are happy to sit on your hands while you feed them seeds, which makes for a nice conclusion to the tour if you have kids.
As always seems to be the case, the Phuket Botanic garden practices two-tier pricing. The entry price for Thais and foreign residents who can show a work permit or Thai driving license is 100-baht for adults and 50-baht for children. The entry price for foreigners is 500-baht for adults and 300-baht for children.
Needless to say those who have paid 100-baht will think the garden is good value while those who have paid 500-baht will likely feel it is expensive for what it is.
The Phuket Botanic Garden is located on a side road between Chao Fa West and Chao Fa East. If you are coming from Phuket Town then it is the next side road after the Tiger Muay Thai Road.
The garden is open from 09:00 to 17:00 and closed on Wednesdays.
Phuket is connected to Phang Nga province by a bridge. Well three bridges to be exact. The traffic crosses on the two more recently constructed and higher bridges. The traffic leaves Phuket across the newly completed Thao Thep Krasattri Bridge and returns on Srisoonthorn Bridge.
However the third bridge, Sarasin Bridge is the name that everybody remembers and still tends to use when referring to any of these three bridges. Sarasin Bridge is a name with a true story that is famous across Thailand.
In 1973 two star crossed lovers tied themselves together and threw themselves off the bridge. They were Dam a simple bus driver and Gew a student from a wealthy local family. They loved each other deeply but Gew’s father forbade her from continuing the relationship with the lowly bus driver. No matter how they pleaded, he would not budge. So in a final act of love and defiance they tied themselves together and jumped off the bridge. When their bodies were finally retrieved from the water they were still tied together. Gew’s brokenhearted father reputedly told the villagers not to untie them, it was impossible to keep them apart.
The story was turned into a movie a well known movie, ‘Love Bridge Sarasin’. The new Thao Thep Krasattri Bridge was completed in 2011 to allow taller boats to sail under the bridge but the legendary Sarasin Bridge could not possibly be demolished. Instead it was redeveloped into a walking bridge and the center section was raised to allow the taller boats to pass under.
There are nice little restaurants at either end of the bridge. On the Phang Nga side there is a selection of stalls selling pineapples and other local produce.
There are several elephant camps around Phuket where you can ride an elephant through rubber plantations or around jungle trails. Elephants were once an integral part of Thai life used for heavy labour and warfare. These days the only use for domesticated elephants is in the tourist industry. Unfortunately, the excess of domesticated elephants means that many do not earn enough money for their keep. The result is many elephants are mistreated and kept in appalling conditions.
You can help by only using reputable elephant camps where the animals are well treated. The tours below are good value, include hotel pick up and use a good elephant camp.
Book your elephant trek with our tour partners at Easy Day Thailand.Elephant Trek
Fully Insured - Tourism Authority of Thailand Licence 31/00838
Jungle Bungy Jumping
Not much explanation required. You take a lift to a high platform over a lake, the bungy cord is attached around your ankles, then you clench your buttocks and jump.
Book your jungle bungy jump with our tour partners at Easy Day Thailand.Jungle Bungy Jump
Fully Insured - Tourism Authority of Thailand Licence 31/00838
All Terrain Vehicles
All Terrain Vehicles or ATVs are a fun way to take a tour around the jungle and rubber tree plantations of Phuket's countryside. They are easy to drive but you will be given a quick lesson before you are unleashed into the wild.
Book your ATV adventure with our tour partners at Easy Day Thailand.ATV Adventure
Fully Insured - Tourism Authority of Thailand Licence 31/00838
If you fancy something a bit faster, why not try go-carting. On Wichitsongkram Road just over the hill from Patong are two Go-Kart tracks. The one on the left has high speed karts. They have a 750-meter track with floodlights for night racing. They have go-karts for everybody from children to 400 cc machines for real speed merchants.
Phuket Adventure Mini Golf
This one is a fun family day out. A challenging 18 holes mini golf course surrounded by palm trees, stones, water, bamboo, sand and bushes. You can putt your way around the course and then enjoy some refreshments at the Off Course restaurant. It is an open-air restaurant from where you also get a great view over the whole mini golf course area. They serve Thai food, pizza and international food.
The course is located close to Bang Tao Beach so you can go for a trip to the beach before or after your round. From Tesco Lotus in Bangtao, take left turn to Sunwing Resort and continue another 500 meters. They are on the right side between Sunwing and Dalar Resorts.
The course fee is a very reasonable THB 280 for adults and
THB 200 for children (up to 12 years).
The course is open daily 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
Jungle Football Golf
The area of Kathu just over the hill from Patong has turned into something of an activity centre. They have go-karts, ATVs, moto-cross, and elephant trekking. Now added to the list is Football Golf. It is what it sounds like -- you are kicking a football around the course and trying to get it into the hole in as few shots as possible.
They have an 18-hole course that takes approx an hour to play a round. Maybe it is not the sort of attraction you would go out of your way to find but you can combine a trip here with a go at the other activities.
If you come over the hill from Patong to Kathu then Jungle Football Golf is a left hand turn (about opposite the other go-kart track). Follow the sign to the go-kart and then turn left. It is 600-baht a round.