Bon Island

Located just a mile off the South Eastern end of Phuket near Rawai Beach  is Koh Bon Island Phuket, 4,100 feet long that is densely covered trees. That said, its coast is either rocky or covered with some beautiful fine sand. Much as it is near Phuket, a short longtail boat ride away, this tiny island hasn’t been invaded by developers just yet.

How to get there

As I mentioned above, the most convenient way to get to the island is by using longtail boats which you will find waiting for visitors on Rawai Beach. Before you hop onto one, make sure that you settle on the price. Usually, the average price for a round trip by boat is 1,300 baht. Prices can vary a bit depending on the season, the number of people using the boat as well as the demand for the boats. That said though feel free to bargain. The boat rides should take you no more than 10 minutes.

On Bon Island Phuket, there are two drop-off points. The one that’s most popular is the beach that hosts Bon Island Restaurant. This is on the northern side of Koh Bon. Here, there is lots of sand on one side of the beach while the other side is a bit rocky. Here you can throw a beach mat and just chill. You can see this beach from Rawai Beach or Rawai Landing Pier.

The second drop off is towards the southwest side of the island, on Long beach. This is quite deserted. This one is a perfect snorkelling spot.

The island has 2 main beaches. One is near the Evason Resort Phuket and the second one is the hidden restaurant of ‘Dawn’, an English woman who made her home about 20 years or so ago. Being near Phuket, the island is the perfect spot to dash for lunch.

There are other smaller beaches on Koh Bon. However, some are not accessible by boat because of the rocky sea.

Activities to enjoy on the Island

Snorkelling is the most common thing that people love to partake in when they visit Bon Island Phuket. There are various areas to enjoy this sport. Below are three spots to consider:

  • Towards the left side of the island’s restaurant.
  • Where the longtail boats drop people just around the corner.
  • The beach towards the south west corner of the island.

One thing you need to note is that if you plan on snorkeling here, you will need to carry your own snorkeling gear. No rentals are offered here. The water current is also something to watch out for especially towards the left side of the restaurant. There is a strong underwater stream which if not careful, might wipe you into the see. So, the best thing us to try as much as possible and stay as close to the beach as possible.

Where to eat

The restaurant on the island has thatched roofs and wooden salas which gives the restaurant the feel of a little hideaway. During the high season there are usually more people at the restaurant. The thing with looking for a quiet hidden spot for lunch during the high season is that you are not the only one in search of that.

Visitors who discover Bon Island Phuket usually come back because they fall in love with the place. Speed boats also stop by while passing though to other tourist attractions and beaches of Phuket. The moment these speed boats pass by, you can enjoy this tranquil island snorkeling and kayaking, lounging as you watch yachts and sailing boats as you sip on some fresh coconut water. If you didn’t know, this restaurant is electricity free. But that doesn’t stop it from getting some wonderful reviews on the delicious food and casually friendly service.

Remember the English woman, Dawn, we mentioned earlier? Well, tourists really admire her lifestyle. Visitors usually stop by her place to enjoy her Tamarind prawns and pepper prawns. Her tranquil environment just makes everything perfect. Her place, surrounded by the sandy beach and palm trees seems like a little heaven on earth for most, so to speak.

On this island, all you need to bring with you is a relaxed mood. Enjoy the cocktails served in coconut shells and devour the food.

Naithon Beach

Naithon beach in Phuket

Naithon Beach Phuket (otherwise known as Nai Thon) is a beautiful stretch of sand on the west coast of Phuket. It is roughly a 10 – 15-minute walk from one end to the other along a pristine coastline. The atmosphere is generally laid back and quiet. With just enough restaurants and facilities that make the beach not appear too deserted. It’s a great spot to get away from the crowds and enjoy a quiet swim. Nai Thon is a seasonal village – high and low. During the high season, the hotels fill up, the sea is calm and crystal-clear, and beach restaurants normally come up. In low season, it’s almost a ghost town with an occasionally turbulent sea. Off-shore is a large coral reef which serves as habitat for several species of sea life, particularly the sea turtles.

How to get to Nai Thon

The journey to the Nai Thon Beach is quite enjoyable. The experience getting there is even better than the beach itself. If you are approaching the beach from the southern side of it, you will encounter narrow road that leads through one of Phuket’s last remaining virgin rainforests. This rain forest lies beautifully along the coastline.

If you are driving from the north side, the road will take you through a village into a lush green valley before reaching Naithon beach Phuket. You can choose to explore the island by yourself…Walk! There are also bikes available for rent for 200 baht per day. Motorbikes are 300 baht per day in the high season. Short taxi rides (to your accommodation on the main road, for example) are also available.

What to enjoy at Nai Thon

Nestled on the stunning shores of Naithon Beach Phuket, you will find the luxurious Pullman Phuket resort. If you want to escape the mass crowds and enjoy a piece of paradise then, this is the resort for you. It brings a cosmopolitan feel to a seaside setting.

It is a beautiful long and wide strip that is well shaded. It is separated into two by a small rock location. The sand is as smooth as you’d expect most Phuket beaches and during the high season, the beach is ideal for swimming. The beach is the dream place to check-in and chill out as you will find umbrellas and loungers where you can just relax and enjoy a cold drink.

Where to eat

Small informal restaurants are situated on the sand for the length of Nai Thon Beach, and offer a relaxing meal at low cost. Food is either cooked in tents on the beach or in houses across the road. Tables and chairs are set up on the sand, and range from plastic outdoor settings to solid wooden settings adorned with tablecloth. However, appearances can be deceiving, as the dingy looking restaurants often dish up the best meals.

Main courses start at around 70 baht, offering excellent value for money however, service can at times be slow, and orders confused if made in a different language. Beach-front dining on pocket change doesn’t get much better than this.

Naithon beach Phuket is free of noisy activities. You will find a few local long-tail boats hovering around adding a little Thai charm to the ocean aura. If you love to fish, you can take a long-tail boat and go fishing on the sea. This can be arranged with the local fisherman on the beach. The beach is also a great spot for snorkeling with its clear waters. The available resorts offer fun snorkeling tours for the more adventurous as well.

Other activities you can do on Nai Thon Beach include exploring the rocky coves which are only accessible by long tail boats and scuba diving, which can be arranged by the dive shops on the beach road. Mangrove Forests, situated on the island’s northern tip, cover a large area of about 320 acres. A nature trail has been cleared for the convenience of visitors with signs indicating and explaining the various mangrove species. You can kitesurf during the summer season. However, don’t expect strong winds, so take the biggest kites. This is a great place for beginners to learn how to kitesurf. Kite schools available will help with lessons and gear.

Suwankuha Temple

They call the Suwankuha Temple Phuket the temple with big Buddha in a cave. That’s right. It is in complex caves near Phang Nga Bay. Also known as Wat Suwan Kuha Temple or Wat Tham if you like, most of the people visiting the regions for excursions such as water rafting and elephant rides or Phang Nga Bay boat tours are the ones who stop by here as they pass through. Plus, the temple is just 10km before one reaches the town.

The good thing about making the visit to the temple a priority is that it connects visitors with the rich and fascinating cultural, historical and religious ways of the Thai people. This temple is a uniquely constructed Buddhist temple, which is a bit unknown to most foreigners. Besides being a great tourist destination, Suwankuha Temple Phuket is a fully functioning and respected holy place of worship for the local Buddhists of Thailand.

What to expect at the temple

There is a four-cave system going on here with the largest, the subterranean Tham Yai, holding a considerable number of Buddha figures as well as other important ceramic spiritual standing and some seated.

The highlight of the temple and the subject of worship for religious pilgrims and Buddhist monks is a spectacular 15-metre reclining gold Buddha. Its golden hue and high level of creativity well definitely have your eyes glued on it. There are two tiny shrines behind it for those on the religious spirit to light up some incense and pray.

There is mystical, unearthly theme going on here. This is because of the of the dimness of the lighting of the cave as well as the limited natural lighting that gets into the Wat Suwan Kuha Temple. What even adds to the other-worldly atmosphere of the temple is the soft echoes of people’s footsteps and voices.  To get to Tham Yai cave, one will have to descend down a gentle staircase.

Despite the holding the temple the cavern complex still oozes the atmosphere of a natural cave with stalactites and stalagmites embellishing the caves. Expect to find lots of birds and bats here.

The external bit of the Suwankuha Temple Phuket cave can be viewed as a tourist site. Get ready to get teased by a troop of cheeky monkeys who reside at the entrance watching out for dropped food as well as hoping for some handouts. Their mischief can quite entertainment for the visitors. Watch out as sometimes, these monkeys steal stuff so take care of your food, bags and purses.

In case you get bored at Wat Suwan Kuha Temple you can trek father to Raman Waterfall National Forests. If you are looking to treat yourself to some appetizing seafood there are plenty of restaurants at the coast of Phang Nga Bay.

Getting to the temple

From Phuket, the road to Phang Nga is amazing.  There is a considerable number of Buddhist temples and mosques as you head to Phang Nga Town. One of the things that might throw you off a bit is that there is no sign at the turn off to Suwankuha Temple Phuket. It’s a bit tricky especially for tourist as the writings at the entrance of the temple is in Thai language.

One needs to follow the sign towards Raman Waterfall National Forest. The temple is nearly half a kilometre on that road. Luckily, you won’t need to worry about packing because there is plenty of it and it can accommodate a good number of tourists.

As you head to the temple, the view itself is as fantastic as the temple itself. You will pass eye-catching limestone cliffs, rubber tree groves as well as high-class views of some of the most spectacular coastlines on Phuket’s mainland.

Ao Sane Beach

Pronounced as Ao Sain, Ao Sane Beach in Phuket is one of the few beaches in the region that still appears untamed and undiscovered.  It actually looks like it hasn’t changed over the last 20 years or so. Much as it requires a little effort to get there, it is no longer a secret beach as it used to be years back. Today, the number of tourists visiting there have increased significantly. The roads leading to this quiet, untamed beach have got such lovely sceneries. Compared to how it was before, there is more development that years back.

How to get there

If you have not heard about it, you are not alone. To get there, you will have to get to the larger Nai Harn beach first, then proceed to the northern side of the beach and walk on the road that passes around the main entrance of Nai Harn resort. There is a about another 600 metres of thin, twisted road to cover before you reach the parking lot of ‘Ao-Sane Bungalow and Restaurant. Carry on to Baan Krating Resort. 50 meters down the steep concrete path should get you to Ao Sane Beach Phuket. The parking space isn’t much so you are better off parking at Nai Harn then venturing there via a 1-kilometre walk.

Once there, you’ll find that the beach is only about 130 meters in length and it has granite rocks on both ends. These granite rocks, some much bigger are also residing on both the beach and in the water. The beach has three tiny sandy bays and as you pass through a few bungalows you can walk from one bay to the next.

Things to do

One of the things that most people find appealing here is the ruggedness of the beach and its natural appeal. First off, there is a beautiful view of Phromthep Cape and Ya Nui Beach. At the beach one can rent beach chairs in the shade that can be rented for 200 baht a day. The beach is perfect for snorkeling. In case you forgot to carry your snorkeling gear, you can rent some at the at the Armin’s Dive Shop. If you are a first-timer, Ao Sane Beach Phuket offer snorkeling and beach diving lessons too for approximately 950 baht per person. Even during rainy seasons, it’s pretty safe to snorkel here as the beach is relatively calm.

Here one could chill for hours and enjoy a few cold drinks as the restaurant is just a few steps away. The restaurant has ample sitting space which is in the shade. The prices are fair. The food is good and will set you back between 90 to 200 baht.

If you are looking for some quiet time on the beach, you will get it here as its quiet and relaxing. There is no blaring music, no noises from vehicles, Just the calming sound of the ocean.

Where to stay

If you are planning an overnight trip, there are a few accommodation options to consider around Ao Sane Beach Phuket. You will see some bungalows at the west side of the restaurant. They go for about 500 Baht during the low seasons. One thing that makes these bungalows appealing is the fact that they are right on the beach with the restaurant just a few steps away. A low price of 500 Baht for a beachfront bungalow in Phuket is such a steal.

But if you have a bit more money to spend, then the best accommodation places are at the larger Nai Harn beach like Nai Harn Resort or the Sabana Resort. There is also the 3-star Baan Krating Resort, 500 m to the west of the beach.

Enjoy the peace and quiet…

Tri Trang Beach

The 500-metre Tri Trang Beach Phuket is located a few kilometres just to the south of Patong. This secluded piece of gem is very serene and peaceful. Much as it is secluded, it is still convenient and popular with guests at the Marriott Merlin Beach Resort because compared to other beaches near the resort, this one is the largest.

The beach is the perfect spot for people who love sun-bathing. This is because it has an open feel to it as there are no beach-side trees to block the sun from soaking into the bodies of dedicated sun-bathers. That said though, it doesn’t mean that there is no place to shield yourself from the sun. There is a shade near the restaurant and also you can take cover towards the end of the resort.

What to do at Tri Trang

Tri Trang Beach Phuket has great beach facilities that can keep visitors busy when they visit. There is a lot of pampering that goes on here. For instance, you can enjoy a beach massage or have your hair braided as well as get a manicure and pedicure. Here you will definitely find everything you need for a rejuvenating retreat for both body and soul.

Besides the pampering, the water sport kind of visitors can jet ski and parasail. You will also get kayaks as well and snorkeling equipment for rental if you are into such pastimes.

Now if you are a swimming enthusiast, when the tide is low, swimming here be a bit tricky because the water becomes pretty shallow and plus the floor is quite rocky. If you really want to do some swimming you will have to go to the end of Tri Trang closest to Patong Beach.

Where to eat at Tri Trang

These days, Tri Trang Beach Phuket has lots more places where one can get a meal. One of these places is this attractive place called Windsurf with a view of the roof. The place serves basic Thai and European cuisine. It has a pretty rustic feel, with the interior decorated in wood. Besides the food, you can also rent snorkeling gear here.

At the end of the new Rosewood resort there is another very attractive and luxurious restaurant called the Ta Khai restaurant that also serves delicious That cuisine. Its design is also rustic and is the perfect spot if you want to enjoy a romantic evening out.

As you head on to the Paradise beach, up on the hill, you will find a bunch of smaller and more affordable restaurants with a view of the bay. From the hill top, the view of the beach is just breath-taking. These restaurants are perfect if you want to grab a quick bite or refresh yourself with some cold drinks.

The Tri Trang Resort

The Tri Trang resort is another place to grab a meal at the Tri Trang Beach Phuket. Everything has been made to ensure that the guests are comfortable. As people say, the food isn’t that great compared to the other places. That said, seeing as the food is affordable plus you get the beach setting, that makes up for the not so fantastic food.

The hotel offers some great services and amenities. They have facilities like Wi-Fi in all rooms and in public areas, 24-hour front desk customer service and a carpark for hotel guests.

The Tri Trang resort prides itself in having 244 beautifully selected guest rooms. Most of these rooms have great facilities such as flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Non-smokers can also have access to non-smoking rooms.

So, if you are a visitor at the beach and are looking for some good accommodation, then the Tri Trang Beach Resort is the ideal place for guests who are looking for a comfortable and convenient place to stay. Plus, there are plenty of recreational things to enjoy while staying there. So, you can be relaxed and keep busy at the same time.

Getting to Tri Trang

Tri Trang Beach Phuket is very close to Patong as earlier mentioned. That said though, most people in Phuket town have no idea how to get to the beach. Do you want to know how to get there? Well, there are several ways.

The first way to approach the beach is by going south along the farthest end of Patong’s Beach Road. Once you get to the Amari Phuket, take a left turn. Keep going past Baan Yin Dee and go down the road that will take you to the Tri Trang Resort.

The other way to get there is to use the road past the Merlin Beach Resort up until you reach Naik Rang at the bottom of the hill. You should be able to see Windsurf restaurant on the sea side of that road. Park there and walk through the restaurant towards the beach when the tide is high.

Getting Around Phuket

Getting around Phuket is fairly easy because of the fact that there is lots of ways to move through the island. Both public and private transport options are available. So, exploring this beautiful island shouldn’t be a problem. Taxis, Tuk-Tuks, Buses or Boats? All these options are available for you. Whether you are alone or not, you can easily hire any of these transport options.

There are some open-air buses called Songtaew that normally ferry people from Phuket Town and the main resorts as well as air-conditioned minibuses. Good thing is that most resorts are small enough for one to just walk around. Plus, the popular hotels and resorts are close to the beach, shopping malls and restaurants. So, you see how getting around in Phuket can be pretty easy?

Depending on where you are staying and where you are headed to, the good question should be ‘What is the best way to get around Phuket’? If you are a newbie in Phuket, it can be pretty scary. Lucky for you, Tuk-Tuks are just everywhere any time of day or night. Unless you are on a tight budget or a planning to move from one corner of Phuket to another, you need not worry yourself too much about getting around Phuket.

In this article, we are going to show you ways that can make you explore Phuket easily. Let’s hope that this is comprehensive enough to put you at ease and make you look forward to your upcoming holiday in Phuket.

Tuk-Tuks

The Tuk-Tuks of Phuket can be found all over. Much as you can hail one anywhere, the larger clusters are usually in Patong. Most of the ones in Patong Beach come installed with some blaring music systems and colourful lights like those you might see in night clubs. Young people really love this kind as they get to enjoy the music as they explore Phuket.

The Tuk-Tuks are a bit pricey so they are perfect for short distances. Plus, given their small size, they can be pretty uncomfortable for longer distances. Make sure to check the prices displayed on boards at the beaches so that you don’t get overcharged for a ride. You can be charged 100 baht for a 5-minute ride to as high as 400 baht depending on distance. So, when getting around in Phuket by Tuk-Tuk, the price will depend on distance, weather, and your bargaining skills. So, make sure you agree on the price beforehand.

Taxis and Car rentals

If you have just landed at Phuket International Airport, you will find metred taxis outside the airport terminals. There are lots more at tourist areas like Patong and Phuket Town. The metered ones charge 50 baht for the first 2 km and 8 baht for every additional km. Some taxis do charge a flat rate for longer distances.

The best and most convenient way to get a taxi is to install the Grab app onto your smartphone. If you find those unmetered taxis, make sure you agree on the price before getting around Phuket. Some quote higher prices for tourists so get ready to haggle.

As for car rentals, make sure you rent from a reputable international company. You can do this before you arrive at Phuket. Renting from the international companies is more expensive than renting from local companies since they come covered with proper primary insurance. If you can get full coverage to avoid unnecessary headaches in case of anything.

Motorbike Taxis and Rentals

Like the Tuk-Tuks, motorbikes are readily available. For taxis, the fares start at 20 baht. The riders usually were red or green vests with a white number written at the back. Much as they can be a little dangerous, they are very convenient for short trips when in a hurry.

As for the rentals, you need to be careful when riding the bikes as they come without insurance. So, in case of an accident when getting around in Phuket, you will need to cater for your own hospital bills. Make sure you are a qualified rider as the roads can be pretty tricky to maneuverer during the rainy seasons. Also watch out for the other riders as some of them disregard traffic rules.

Buses

There are different kinds of buses for getting around Phuket. From the airport, there are the airport buses that follow a set route, stopping at various bus stops. Take your time to compare bus prices as tickets do vary based on the company, season and seat.

There are modern air-conditioned buses that operate within Phuket city alone as they don’t reach other parts of the island. They have a fixed fare of 10 baht and designated routes and bus stops.

The Songtaew (Thailand’s open-air buses), painted light blue so that one can spot them easily. At least the destinations are written outside the buses in English. You can flag one from the roadside as there are no designated bus stops for the Songtaew. These open-air buses operate between 7am to 6pm. In Patong, they pass the main beach road.

There are also smart buses that hail from beach to beach from Phuket Airport to Rawai Beach. Much as they are relatively cheap with aircon, they take more time as they have designated bus stops. You need to purchase something they call a ‘Rabbit Card’ when boarding the bus which can be refilled at shops within the island.

Boats and Ferries

If you want to visit nearby Islands for fishing or water sports, you can hire boats. Getting around in Phuket by boat, you can hire boats from Chalong Pier and Rawai. The fares are determined by the number of passengers, distance, the time it takes to get to your destination as well as the type of vessel. Longtail boats or speedboats? Longtail boats are way cheaper than speedboats. Much as they are cheaper, they are slower and less comfy. That said, the traditional Thai sea-going experience is better. Point of caution: Make sure they provide life jackets before boarding.

As for ferries, they are the perfect alternative to speedboats if you want to visit nearby islands and neighbouring places like as Krabi. It’s more convenient to book a ticket by going through a tour agent. This includes to and fro transfer from the pier. They get busier in December and January as these are the peak months. So, you better book in advance to avoid disappointments as well as know which destinations they operate.

Have fun exploring Phuket!

Naka Noi Island

This lovely little place is also known as Koh Naka Noi or Pearl Island. The Naka Noi Island in Phuket is a small islet off the north east of Phuket known for its popularity in pearl farming. A trip to the islet inevitably involves a visit to the Pearl Farm – a great way to discover how the shiny pearls (that you wear) are made and extracted. The islet is only 800 meters long and only 200 meters wide and you can reach this tiny island within 20 minutes by boat from Phuket town.

A Naka Noi Island tour is an amazing chance to experience some hours in the tranquility of a private island nearby Phuket town. On the northwest side, there is a lovely beach that comes with its own entertainment. This is wonderful retreat where you can find really satisfying snorkeling; enjoy a sun chair in the shadow of lovely beach trees, or hire a canoe to paddle around the island and have fun with your family or partner. There are pearl shops and seafood restaurants to serve visitors. You can also swim in the clear waters; however, accommodation is not available.

The coasts are generally rocky, but the west and northwest coasts have a marvelous white sand beach. It is a beautiful, pristine, unspoiled stretch of sand with overhanging coconut palms.

How to get to Koh Naka Noi there

To visit the Naka Noi Phuket island, experience it on the way back as part of a Phang Nga Bay tour. You can also hire a boat from Ao Po Pier and explore the entire area properly and at your own pace. Long tail boats are a lot cheaper than speedboats. However, they are slower and not as comfortable. On the plus side they provide a more traditional Thai sea-going experience. So at least you have options to choose from.

The Naka Noi island doesn’t have any accommodation or proper places to have yourself a meal but you can have a picnic in tow with your snorkel gear. It is an ideal place to go and relax for a few hours on the lovely beach. A day trip to the Naka Noi Island in Phuket pearl farm includes a demonstration of how the pearls are farmed and extracted from the oyster. If you want to get some great seafood to eat, you can make a stop at Naka Yai Island, which is just but a short trip by long tail boat.

At Naka Noi Island in Phuket what can you get around you that is not available there?

Considering there is no accommodation, in the nearby Island, the Naka Yai island is the Naka Island Luxury Collection Resort & Spa located within the same Andaman Sea. If you need accommodation in luxury after exploring the Naka Noi Phuket Island this is the place to go. It is nestled in a tropical landscape as well. The resort is just 10 minutes away by speedboat from Ao Por Grand Marina. It offers luxurious villas equipped with a private pool, a private beach, a gym and a world-class spa center. As a visitor you can enjoy a free round-trip boat transfer. This is a fabulous place to rest your heels after Naka Noi Phuket. Their grill offers the freshest seafood and juiciest steaks with a local Thai twist; not forgetting other scrumptious dishes of Thai and international cuisines. It is extensive list of cocktails can be enjoyed at Z Bar.

You have to visit Naka Noi Phuket and experience the lush coconut groves, with the never-ending views of the emerald-green Andaman sea and fabulous landscapes of the Phuket coastline. It is just a speedboat away. It is a uniquely private and intimate retreat.

Merlin Beach in Phuket

Merlin Beach Phuket is one of the best snorkeling beaches on the west coast. Throughout the year the beach is pretty quiet despite its close proximity to Patong beach which is very popular. There are three other beaches near Merlin beach. Tri Trang beach, Paradise beach and Freedom beach. Of the four beaches, Merlin is the least known. The beach is hidden and cannot be seen from the road. So, most visitors usually miss the small dirt road that leads to the beach. But if you are a visitor of the Phuket Marriot Resort Merlin Beach then you will get to enjoy this beautiful strip of sand.

The Phuket Merlin Beach has crystal clear blue waters. Unfortunately, it can be a bit disappointing for swimming enthusiasts as the sea bed is rocky. However, its quite ok for snorkeling.

For those who would like to lay under a shade, the beach has no beach chairs or beach umbrellas. There are even no trees to shelter yourself from the sun rays when they get harsh. May be this is why it’s an unpopular beach.

Once you see the dirt road that is a few hundred meters long, when you follow it, it will get you to Merlin Beach Phuket. The first things you will see are massage huts.

Where to stay in Merlin beach

The only place that you can stay while here is the superb resort mentioned above, Phuket Marriot Resort Merlin Beach. It is a five-star hotel which is just a few kilometres from Patong. It’s still pretty quiet despite that. It is surrounded by hills and beaches and has lots of outlets, restaurants and plenty of activities one can engage in while staying there, with snorkeling being one of the most preferred activities.

The resort has been revamped and has numerous pools. The resort has 400 rooms. Most of the facilities here are very new. Plus they have a very good and friendly team of that is very hospitable and attend to you as soon as you step into the hotel.

This resort on Phuket Merlin Beach occupies a big piece of the beachfront. So, it is not a crowded resort. There are a lot of palm trees all over the place surrounding the swimming pools which give the resort a great topical background and makes it great for taking selfies. Trust me, the photos you take here will be postcard material. Plus, the garden between the hotel and the beach is a fantastic place to spend the day and do things such as yoga or Muay Thai training.

Where to eat

There is a hill at the southern end of Merlin Beach Phuket where you will see a flight of stairs. There is a small restaurant here called The Little Tiger restaurant which overlooks Merlin beach. It is a modest and quiet restaurant. Much as it is quite discreet, these days it has become pretty popular with guests who visit the hotels. Here they serve Thai cuisine at relatively affordable prices compared to the restaurant at Phuket Marriot Resort Merlin Beach and it’s a perfect spot for enjoying that sunset as you have your drinks.

Most people usually appreciate this place because it’s a great place to take those selfies while grabbing that sunset drink as you enjoy that beautiful sunset sea view.

The beautiful hills with great vegetation surrounding the hotel and the clear turquoise waters give Phuket Merlin Beach a picturesque touch. So, if you feel like the prices at the hotel are too high, at least you have the option of this little restaurant.

It is a great complimentary visit if you have participated in a snorkeling tour and feel like expanding on your experiences. We hope you have a great time here and take lots of photos.

Surfing in Phuket

Great Surfing Locations Worth a Visit

Phuket is known for its breathtaking white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters and surfing in Phuket, is actually considered to be the best in Thailand and cannot be wished away entirely. Surfing Phuket usually happens along the west coast where you can get some decent wave action during the monsoon season. The waves may not be huge but are great for beginners and are frequently sought out during the tourism low season. The island supports a small but active surf society. As the sport becomes more and more established, prices for surf board rental and surfing classes have dropped. The surf community has continued to get larger.

The surfing season kicks off as the high tourism season is ending because of the wind direction redirecting from east to west in April with Kata Beach surfing being one of the most popular spots. The west-coast seas go from flat to perfect for surfing – a situation which lasts until the winds redirect back within October. The air and water temperatures are both usually good. Since the tourism high season is also coming to an end, the low number of tourists puts fewer obstacles in the water, making Phuket a comfortable and safe place to surf.

The best months to experience Surfing in Phuket are often considered to be within May and September. During this time there are consistent monsoon winds from North-West producing surfable wind swells up to 4ft. A bigger storm off the coast can bring the waves up during the tourism off-season as well, but the chances of you finding waves between November and March are significantly lower. All in all, if you like riding a long board or minimal, and don’t necessarily except to get big waves, Phuket can surprise you positively any time of the year. You will easily find surf board rental shops are easily found open and surfing schools are abundantly available at the busier beaches.

a shirtless man rides a wave in Phuket, Thailand

Kata Beach

Kata Beach surfing is the most popular and has some of the best waves, however if it’s cranking there, you’ll also find great surf at some of the other beaches. The waves can reach up to 10 feet high!  Kata Beach surfing action takes place on the southern side of the beach. With waves ranging from two meters to three meters, it’s ideal for beginner to advanced surfers. Because of its popularity, Kata beach is always packed with tourists but not overcrowded. On a smaller day it can be the best to try your luck on a minimal or a long-board, but when the waves get bigger, this beach can get fun and punchy enough for having fun on a short board as well.

Kata Noi is a little bay which is divided from Kata Beach by a headland. It has a great surfing spot at its northern end. The waves at Kata Noi are more rapid and powerful than those of the more popular Kata Beach. Unfortunately, there is no school for surfing here but one can still get lessons from the nearby Kata Beach.

Nai Harn Beach

Another Surfing Phuket spot is the Nai Harn beach. It attracts groups of mostly Thai local surfers, with decent waves ranging of up to 3-metre swells at each end of the beach. Surf conditions at this beach are best suited for intermediate surfers. There are no surfboard rentals, shops or lessons available along the beach. You will need to come with your own surf board.

Kamala Beach

Beaches at the northern end of the west coast like Kamala Beach have gentle waves that are perfect for longboarding while surfing in Phuket. Occasionally, there are fast beach breaks for short boarders. The surfing scene in Phuket has been growing in popularity as of late, which is why most beach resorts in this area now offer surfing classes.

Surin Beach

If you are looking for some barrel waves, then the best place to experience them is at Surin Beach. This small bay is more suited for experienced surfers because its wave action is heavier and the currents stronger. If you want to have the best experience, head on to the surfing spots near the rocky headlands. No surf schools here either…

Nang Yai Beach

Much as its quite an unpredictable surfing spot, Nang Yai beach is near Phuket airport. Its offshore reef makes it one of the best surfing spots Phuket has to offer. Because of the heavy winds, its recommended for more advanced surfers with long paddles. At low tides one can surf closer to the beach. You will have to bring your own surfing board though as there are no rental places or surf schools for learners.

Bang Tao Beach

Surfing Phuket in the Bang Tao Beach is exciting. The waves are rideable on any tide height. Wave height at Bang Tao Beach varies, but you can find left and right breaking 0.5 to 3-meter-high (1.5 to 10 feet) waves during the surfing season. Anything over 1.5 meters (5 feet) is usually preferred to the more experienced surfers, as they get dangerous after that point.  On days with large swells, the southern section can still remain somewhat calm and rideable by beginners or intermediate surfers. Finding food and drinks nearby will be easier if you go toward the mid to southern end of the beach. This beach is a great place to learn surfing in Phuket because the waves are usually gentle, and the water under crowded with tourists. At the south end of the beach is you will find a club where you can get surfing lessons, or windsurfing, kitesurfing, or paddle boarding.

With some 40 odd kilometres of west-facing coastline consisting of bays, points, nice sandy beaches, and a few reefs, Phuket indeed looks like quite a tempting surf destination. On a flat wave day, and you just want to have a bit of surf fun without having to wait for the waves, there’s always the artificial wave at Surf House Phuket you can practice flow riding –  an alternative board sport incorporating elements of surfing.

Thailand Landscape

Thailand Landscape Explained

If you want to explore the Thailand landscape, one thing for sure is that the landscape is both diverse as well as traditional. The scenery is the most diverse you will find right at the heart of Southeast Asia.

To the North, Thailand borders Myanmar and Laos, to the South it borders Malaysia and to the south-east it borders Cambodia. The east coast covers approximately a thousand miles along the Gulf of Thailand. Then there is the west coast that only extends about 350 miles and it is next to the Andaman Sea. Thailand is less than 513,000 square km.

Looking at the landscape Thailand the scenery ranges from tropical islands, mountains as well as steamy rainforests. There are also 127 national and marine parks which protect the biodiverse landscape of Thailand. These parks have rare as well as endangered wildlife such as the Asian elephants, tigers, bears and monkeys. Then there are lots and lots of spectacular white sandy beaches that tourists get to enjoy as you look in to the Gulf as well as Andaman coasts.

So, if you are planning to go on holiday here, be prepared to do some hoping from tea plantations and hill tribe villages. Towards the central plains, you will find Asia’s rice bowl and at the south, islands that are covered with palm trees.

Now that you know that small bit about these Asian lands lets look at the Thai landscape and some of the top scenic spots that are a must-visit when on holiday here.

Mountains

Like I mentioned earlier, Thailand is dappled with mountain ranges. But if you want to visit the tallest ones, you will find most of them at the north, especially along the Burmese border. Here, you will find some of the densely forested peaks which have steep river valleys and are also covered in tea plantations. If you are planning to visit the mountainous villages to enjoy the Thailand landscape, the best time would be to do it in January and February when the season is dryer and the temperatures are cooler. That said though, be prepared for some drastic drops in temperatures though.

The highest mountains are in Chiang Mai province. The highest mountain is, Doi Inthanon which is 1.6 miles in height. Here you can do some great nature walks as you enjoy the surrounding national park that has waterfalls, caves and stupas. Towards the end of the month of January, the pink Siamese Sakura flowers bloom. If birdwatching is your thing, this place is popular with bird watchers throughout the year.

The landscape Thailand also has Doi Pha Hom Pok as the second highest peak. Here people enjoy great sunsets, explore the hot springs of the parks and feast eyes on alpine flowers. The Doi Chang Dao comes third. It is a 250-million-year-old limestone peak.

Forests

Almost 30% of the Thai Landscape is covered in dense forests. These are host to thousands of animal and plant species. In these forests, you will find lots of national parks which preserve the forests and can be accessed all year round.

The oldest, most popular national park is the Khao Yai, just 3 hours from Bangkok. It is dedicated as a UNESCO heritage site and is usually hailed as one of Asia’s top parks. Besides the rainforests and waterfalls, you can also see elephants, bears, deer, gibbons plus this park is home to over 300 bird species.

Khao Sok is another park within the Thailand Landscape that is in Surat Thani province which is touted as the world’s oldest tropical evergreen rainforest. There are over 200 floral species per hectare and 48 wildlife species.

In the northern province of Tak is another UNESCO park, the Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary. This place has the most spectacular waterfall, Thi Lor Su as well as caves, mountains, wildlife and hornbills.

Islands

We cannot talk about landscape Thailand without the mention of the hundreds of islands, the palm tree populated white sandy beaches, the clear turquoise waters as well as the rich and diverse marine life. The islands stretch along the Andaman and Gulf coasts and you can enjoy island hoping.

The common ones on the Gulf are Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan which are less than an hour apart from each other when using a boat. Koh Samui is popular for luxurious resorts, restaurants and spas. Koh Tao on the other hand is Thailand’s top diving and snorkelling spot. Now if you are the life of the party, then Koh Phangan usually flocks with over 30,000 to attend their legendary Full Moon Party.

The Andaman coast is lined with mangrove swamps with rugged limestone outcrops jutting out of the sea in Phang Nga Bay. On this side of Thai landscape is where you will find the best Thai islands with Phuket and its lively lifestyle on being the largest. There is also Koh Phi Phi Le which hosts the infamous Maya Bay where Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Beach” was filmed.

The quieter island for families and couples is Koh Lanta. The Similan Islands are the best dive destinations in the world.

Whether its hiking, diving, snorkeling, sunset watching, partying or just lazing on the beaches, you will definitely appreciate the Thailand landscape.

Rainy Season in Thailand

If you are researching about how Thailand weather is, I am sure you have heard plenty about the raining season in Thailand. You have definitely come across stories about traveling to such tropical countries during the rainy seasons. Some of these stories can be scary. Plus, planning a vacation during the rains can be quite difficult. That said, we are not trying to discourage you from visiting this lovely country especially if during the rains is the only time you have off. We are here to give you a few tricks and trips so that you can plan your trip well during Phuket rainy season. We are here to help you have an amazing vacation regardless of the season.

Well, here is what you should expect when traveling to this breath-taking travel destination during the rains and still have a blast!

When is the Rainy Season in Thailand?

One of the things that you need to know is that the rainy season on this coastal country varies depending on the region. It is also heavily influenced by the Monsoon.

Much as usually, people use the terms Monsoon season and rainy season interchangeably, what the monsoon season really means is the season when moisture is blown by the winds from the Indian Ocean to the southeast Asian subcontinent. These winds are usually wet and humid. They are associated with the rainy season because they usually bring the rains and at times, they come with tropical storms.

In most regions of Thailand, the rains usually come from May to October. As you move to the east coast of Southern Thailand, in places like Koh Samui and Koh Phangan the rains are experienced later and get the heaviest in November. They can run until early December.

Generally, though, September and October are the wettest months in Thailand. Much as during Phuket Rainy Season the country might appear less attractive for tourists who want to visit, one thing that doesn’t change much is the warmth of the weather. The other thing to note is that the rains experienced here are usually short heavy showers in the afternoon.

So even if you are planning to enjoy some sun bathing, you can still catch plenty of it in the morning hours.

One advantage of the Raining Season in Thailand is that you can take advantage of Bargain deals for various accommodation spots. During the rainy season, there are lots of special offers because less tourists visit Thailand in the rains. Just make sure you stay as open minded and make sure you can be flexible enough so that in case the rains hit, switch to a plan that accommodates that.

Rainy Weather Thailand Destinations

Much as you might have to get a bit wet during the rainy season in Thailand, you can still have plenty of good time if you plan your activities well and being open to the fact that whatever you plan might be disrupted by the weather.

It will be ridiculous to plan for lots of outdoor activities such as hiking on the wet mountains, visiting elephant sanctuaries or sunbathing on the beach. It will make more sense to strictly plan for such activities during the high season. That’s why we are insisting on a flexible plan.

That said, there is still a lot you can do. There are lots of cities, temples and historical sites that can be explored during rainy season in Thailand. If you can’t sunbathe, you could also switch plans indulge in Thailand’s delicious cuisines and vibrant culture, go shopping at malls. All these are activities that won’t be affected by the weather.

Well, here are some spots that you can check out during the rains.

Phuket

Phuket rainy season is slightly different from the rest of Thailand. It mostly rains in September and October. So, in the other wet months of the rainy season, the rains are less so most days will be sunny. That said though, you need to expect some strong winds which makes the waters a bit rough for swimming.

Well, here are some other options to keep you entertained – Tin Mining Museum, the Thai Hua History Museum the Seashell Museum as well as some aquarium on the island that is pretty reasonable in terms of cost given the much that it has to offer.

Bangkok

Well, the unfortunate bit with Bangkok is that during the rainy season it will rain daily – not all day though. That said, at least you can somehow plan your activities around the weather. Now, seeing as floating markets tours are very popular here, you won’t be able to enjoy them in the rain.

Luckily you can keep yourself busy with some indoor activities which are in plenty in Bangkok. These include but are not limited to shopping complexes, aquariums, temples, and museums. During the rainy season the malls are pretty popular. So be prepared to shop when in these sides of Thailand.

There are many indoor activities available in Bangkok, including visiting. Bangkok’s shopping malls are particularly popular during this time of year and can be reached using the metro system, making it easier to avoid traffic jams due to weather.

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai

Being much further to the northern side of Thailand, much as they still feel the raining season in Thailand these two areas are much dryer. The rains usually come much later in the afternoons for just a few hours. So that makes it easier for tourists to explore the cities and temples by visiting these places in the mornings and early afternoons.

Some activities to engage in when it’s raining is taking cooking classes, visiting musicians and getting Chiang Mai massages.

Koh Samui

The other place that is similar to Phuket, during raining season in Thailand is Koh Samui is a good place to visit during the rainy season. Much as it might not be dry, compared to other places in Thailand, it doesn’t get much rain. That said, the beaches and the restaurants are quieter and emptier. Expect the strong winds like Phuket which won’t be suitable for water sports and swimming, Boat rides get a little rough too.

So, plan ahead for your rainy season Thai trip. With flexibility, you can make the most of it.

Cost of Living in Phuket

If you are planning a trip to Thailand or move there you might be wondering what the cost of living in Thailand is. Well according to those who have been there, most of them say that life in this country can be pretty affordable. But just like most places around the world, it all depends on where you choose to stay on the Island or where you choose to live.

There is a dramatic difference in prices between west coast multi-ethnic resort areas, the capital city and the east coast rural towns. Since the end of the 90s, Phuket has had speedy developments, hence making the cost of living in Phuket a bit higher. That said though, compared to the cost of living in the western countries in the US, Australia and European countries, living in Phuket is relatively affordable. That is what makes Phuket one of the most preferred travel destinations by foreign visitors from all over the world.

Well, here is a rough idea of what it might cost you, from dining, accommodating, clubbing as well as hoping around Phuket.

Phuket cost of living

Food

Speaking of the cost of living in Thailand if there is one thing we can say about Thailand is how their delicious local cuisine still remains pretty affordable. When it comes to eating you can live on a budget. When I tell you it’s affordable, to enjoy some delicious cuisine at a simple local restaurant in Phuket town, it will cost you about 50–70 baht. Some of the dishes in this range are rice served with fried chicken with basil leaves. In Patong beach, at tourist spots, the same meal will go for between 80 and 180 baht

In high end restaurants, the same dish will be charged as high as even 700 baht.

As for international cuisines in cosmopolitan towns like say Phuket, the food is slightly pricier compared to Thai food. That said, tourists can still get their preferred international food at affordable rates. But since we are talking about the cost of living in Phuket, depending on the type and class of restaurant, the difference in prices might vary rapidly.

For example, the cheapest it will cost you for a dish like a club sandwich with French fries is between 80–100 baht. At a 4- or 5-star restaurant, this will dent you a whooping 400–600 baht.

Hotels

Being an Island that receives about 35 million visitors annually, having lots of rooms and enough accommodation to host such a massive crowd is necessary. The island has about 85,000 rooms ready for its visitors. There is a wide selection and variety of hotels. So, don’t let the Phuket cost of living worry you too much because when it comes to accommodation whether you are a mogul with loads of cash to your name a just a simple backpacker on a tight budget, you will always find accommodation that suits your holiday needs.

Budget hotels in Phuket town range from around 300 baht to 1,300-baht, midrange hotels charge between 1,500 to 3,000 baht whereas the high-end ones charge between 5,000 to up to 500,000 baht per night. Plus, if you want to blow it all, you can also get 7-villa complex at much higher prices, for instance Trisara, Banyan Tree Phuket, or Sri Panwa Phuket. So, when we tell you there is accommodation for every budget, trust me, there is.

Night clubs, Partying and Beer

When speaking of Cost of living in Phuket you definitely need to know the cost of a cold beer because you will during and after sunbathing at the beach or exploring Phuket. The place can get pretty hot! They have their local beer as well as international ones such as Heineken, Carlsberg, Asahi, Tiger, plus you will also get a great variety of genuine Belgian beers. For cheaper beer, buy them at the local grocery stores, 40 baht for local beers and 50 baht for the likes of Heineken. In high end joints they can go up to 280 baht.

As for the Phuket cost of living nightspots, most have no entrance fee. You might also get a free drink in places where they charge entry fee. You can get special offers like happy hour or open bars for some hours for an entry of 700 baht. Drinks are cheaper at bars as opposed to nightclubs. Cocktails on the other hand can range from 100 baht to 450 baht depending on the spot.

Trips to Islands

You could visit islands closest to Phuket using long-tail boats at 1,200–1,500 baht. A speed boat to say Phi Phi Islands will cost 1,400 and 3,000 baht inclusive of lunch and snorkelling equipment. If you are in no hurry, take a ferry which will cost you 500 baht.

Or better yet, splash out and get your money’s worth with a private charter boat trip with the team from Simba Sea Trips.

I bet you now have a rough idea of the cost of living in Thailand so start planning that trip bearing all that in mind.