Though parts of Phuket were completely devastated by the effects of the 2004 tsunami, the area has regained its former splendor and is as lush and green as it ever was. Featuring a beautiful warm climate year round, this island is a great place to visit on your next trip to Thailand.
Phuket Island itself is quite large, with each area of the island having a different ‘feel’ about it. One of our favorite areas was Bangtao Beach, which is far more relaxed than the nearby Patong Beach known for it’s party lifestyle. While only miles apart they are like two different world, with Bangtao being perfect for a relaxing holiday.
With it’s much more relaxed pace, here are some of the Best Things to do around Bangtao Beach.
The beach of course! Karon Beach itself is a good travel destination because it is far less crowded than the nearby beach at Patong and offers more amenities for travelers than a great many of the smaller beaches on the Phuket coastline. This long beach runs about 2 mile. Sand on the north end resembles white powder and there are plenty of trees providing shade and a great place to relax. The south end has more granular, beige sand and fewer trees. Both locations also feature the clear azure water that is a trademark of Thailand.
Karon Noi and Kata Bay
These two spots offer visitors protected swimming areas when Karon Beach is besieged by dangerous undertows during the monsoon season. Both of these areas are a short walk or drive from Karon Beach.
Kwong Shop Seafood
$1.25 here will buy you around 100 grams of delicious seafood. Sodas are about $2 apiece and beer will set customers back slightly more than a soda will. This business has a tavern-like feel and is open daily from 8 am until midnight. Kwong Shop Seafood received a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence in 2013. The quality of the food at Kwong Shop Seafood is outstanding.
On the Rock
This upscale dining option is on the south end of Karon Beach, where the entrees run about $11 per person. It too holds a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. On the Rock specializes in Thai-style seafood, both fried and grilled. The restaurant is open daily from 11 in the morning to 10:30 at night. Friendly staff, delicious food, and a great view set this apart from the other eateries in town. The lobster here is magnificent and the banana flambé is certainly recommended. The menu even features mocktails so that kids and designated drivers don’t have to miss out on all the fun of fruity tropical beverages.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
These activities are very popular in Phuket. A vast variety of dive operators can be found on the island. Bubba Diving Phuket and Infinity Ocean Diving are highly recommended choices. Both are located Phuket Town, a short ride away. Day trips to popular nearby dive spots run about $120 per person, depending on the dive operators hired for the journey. The currents on Phuket can be strong at times, so the beaches here are probably not advisable for scuba or snorkeling beginners. Ter Bay and Koh Dok Mai (Flower Island) are excellent places for experienced divers in Phuket to try their skills. Species that can be found in the island’s waters include turtles, leopard sharks, moray eels, and the obligatory assortment of fish.
The shopping options here are far less than the nearby Patong, but that doesn’t mean a bargain can’t be had. We found the store owners to be far less pushy than they were in Patong, which was much appreciated after being seriously annoyed while shopping in Patong. Remember it’s standard practice to barter the price. Never accept their first price!
Day Trip to Phi Phi Island
You can’t come to Phuket and not visit one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Yes, it is very busy and you will be sharing it with many others, but even with the crowds it is nothing short of spectacular. Pictures of this wonderful island are breathtaking, but it’s even better in person. Cruising the coastline and stopping at the beaches was the highlight of our stay in this area of Thailand. Plenty of tour companies offer this trip, so shop around for the best offer. Make sure the tour company you pick offers hotel pickups as the wharf is 30-45 minutes away from the hotel.
What should we add to the Best Things to do around Bangtao Beach list?