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.

The Picturesque Botanic Garden in Phuket

Botanic Garden Phuket is an extensive and thorough botanical garden nestled within the bay of Chalong, covering 2.4 hectares of land. It prides itself in a stunning majestic horticultural collection of tropical and exotic plants in several zones with each zone comprising different plant collections that present nature’s artistry such as lush palms, herb gardens, aromatic plants, fruit orchards, orchid canopies, etc.

What to see at the Phuket botanic garden

Guests will find the garden an excellent place to enjoy the beauty of nature and to learn about the nature of plants from all over the earth.  Phuket Botanic Garden is open to visitors as a recreational allure and a research center for many unique plant species. It offers an alluring day out for people who have an interest in gardening and botany.

The Phuket Botanic Garden displays different species of cacti with rare palm trees and aromatic flora. You can take a walk around the pond to admire beautiful waterlilies, lotuses, and Japanese koi carp. There is a large artificial waterfall that you can walk through. Remember to carry your camera to capture amazing scenes. at the fruit orchard and herb garden, you will discover rare plants and fruit and herbs and spices that you may have eaten at restaurants within Thailand. The fruits include mangos, mangosteens, bananas, jackfruits, santols, lychees, and rose apples: most of which are native to island nations of Southeast Asia and Thailand.

You should not leave without visiting the winter garden. It is a must-see. It boasts of many colorful flowers and trees that have been brought from the northern part of Thailand. Even though Phuket has warm and humid weather, the temperature in the room is always kept at below 20°C – quite refreshing after visiting other parts of the Botanic Garden in Phuket.

There is a display of a rice field and a small house that also has a vegetable garden- an exhibition of an average Thai farmer. It will help visitors understand how the average Thai farmer benefits from their farms, especially in the old days. Often farmers also have farm animals as chicken and pigs as well as a pond with fish. Their simple life can be a good inspiration and example for living a self-sufficient lifestyle.

The herb garden houses various herbal and medicinal plant species. Here visitors can also learn about the use of herbs in Thai daily life and the health benefits of various herbs. The cactus garden houses a desert plant greenhouse where various species of succulent plants and cacti are grown. The zone shows how plants were able to survive with very little water by adapting to a very dry environment. A nice place to relax for a while is the pond with water lilies, lotus flowers, and fish like Koi carp. You can buy a pack of fish food for 20 Baht if you would like to feed them. Across the garden, you will see several spirit houses. These intricately adorned small houses standing on pillars are meant to appease the local spirits.

Prices:

Phuket botanic garden price ranges based on the age of the visitor. The entry fee for non-locals is 500 Baht for adults and 300 Baht for kids aged 3 to 13 years. Ages 3yrs and below get in free. A valid photo ID is required. The Phuket botanic garden price for locals is considerably less and can be paid by showing a local driving license.

In Conclusion

The Botanic garden Phuket in all is a place where you can pleasure your sense of smell with the aromatic fragrances from the garden. Take amazing photos with various types of plants and even an artificial waterfall. Learn about the different types of plants as you explore the garden and gain knowledge of the Thai farmer. Food, drinks, and ice cream are available at the garden restaurant. There is a souvenir shop at the exit. Phuket botanical garden opens daily from 9 am until 5 pm.

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is the best and most popular spot if you want to get the perfect panoramic views of the fantastic limestone formations of  Phang Nga Bay. The viewpoint is a bit far from Phuket though. But with a car or a bike, this viewpoint is worth the cycling or drive. This spot is located on a hilltop. If you are driving, it will take you about 30 minutes to get there from Phuket. Much as you will be forced to drive 25 kilometers past the Sarasin bridge that connects Phuket to the mainland, that drive in the backcountry of Thailand is worthwhile. The palm trees as well as other trees that surround that road are fantastic. You will also come across the breathtaking Nangshe bay whose view is just as beautiful even from the road.

What’s good at this Phuket viewpoint?

Samet Nangshe Phuket is one of the viewpoints that have breathtaking photographic potential. It was discovered by Theerasak Saksritawee,  a Thai professional photographer. The images this guy took on the hilltop spread like wildfire among the locals first, then later to expatriates.

The place isn’t that popular with most tourists because of how far it is from  Phuket’s Sarasin Bridge and the twisting country roads that you have to maneuver as you drive those  25 km. That said though you will find at least 50 people there especially if you go to watch the Samet Nangshe Viewpoint Sunrise. That view is usually breathtaking. 

While at the viewpoint, you get to enjoy the view of the chain of islands that stretch out from both sides of Phang Nga Bay across almost 1.6 km of fantastic limestone formations. Depending on the time of year, the sun usually rises between 5.30 am to 6 am setting its beautiful rays on the limestone karsts. Before it rises you can catch a glimpse of the Milkyway though depends on the season.

Things you should know about Samet Nangshe Phuket

One of the things you need to know is that getting to this viewpoint can be a bit of a challenge. It is quite a long and steep 20-minute climb up the hill. Luckily there is  a pickup truck that can get you there. So if you don’t feel like hiking, at least you have that option. There are also benches as you climb up so you can take breaks and catch your breath. But you know what, it is worth all that effort especially if you are going there to take the beautiful pictures of Phang Nga Bay.

You need to also have some cash on you because when you get to the Samet Nangshe Viewpoint, at the car park, before you start climbing the hill, there is a fee of 50  baht per person for tourists. For Thai locals, the fee is 30 baht. Then if you are going to opt for the pickup truck option up the hill, that energy saving will cost you 90 baht.

The hill is covered in rainforest. When you reach the top, there is also a campsite there. So if you are planning on sleeping at Samet Nangshe Viewpoint, renting a  tent will set you back 130 baht per person. If you want breakfast included, then that will cost you 400 baht. A tiny bungalow costs 700 baht per night. I would recommend the sleeping option especially if you want to catch a glimpse of and take pictures of the Milky Way. That said though if you are the kind of person that loves to sleep well, then be prepared for your sleep to be interrupted at around 4 am by people climbing up the hill to come to see the sunrise.

Otherwise, have fun at the top enjoying the views and the sunrise.

Understanding Traditional Thai Fruits

Just like the people, beaches and tourist spots are charming and exotic, so is the traditional Thai fruits list. Whenever you turn your eyes to, you will always find some of the most exotic tropical fruits you could ever think of. You could comfortably say that anything can grow in Thailand. This is all because of the fertile plains and hot tropical climate coupled with the more temperate regions of the north. Compared to Thailand, very few places in the world can boast of such fertility that guaranteed a great supply of tasty, beautiful tropical and exotic fruits.

List of exotic fruits in Thai

From the well-known pineapples and watermelons, to those very fruits that some of us may have never have tasted or seem like the weird-looking Dragon Fruit, the enormous Jackfruit as well as the huge pungent Durian.

When in Thailand, make it a point to explore and sample out as many of these Thai fruits list as possible. Initially, you might find these fruits to be strange looking especially the smelly durian. Don’t let the smell or the looks of these fruits fool you. The moment you have a taste of these fruits, believe me you will be going to the nearest market looking to get more of the taste of these delicious fruits.

First off, these fruits are so cheap. Besides their delicious taste, they are also very healthy and nutritious. Seeing as Thailand can usually get so hot, these fruits can also be a more nutritious way of hydrating one’s body. Plus, they can also be very great snacks as you explore and get to know more about Thailand. So, don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith, be adventurous and have a taste of the finest fruits in Thai. Whether it’s with some sugar, chili or salt, you can enjoy these fruits with whatever potion that tantalize your taste buds.

The variety of fruits is just unimaginable. They are all over local markets. Go wild and try as many as you want. At the Banzaan Market in Patong Beach or by the beach in Naithon or Nai Harn beach you will find  some of the best fruit displays in Phuket.

Well, here is a list of the most traditional fruits that you can find in this tropical country…

Mango (Ma-Muang)

bunch of mangos on a table

Taken with salt and chili when its unripe, dip the crunchy slices in sugar or as delicious spicy salad that the Thai locals like to put on top of fried fish, the mango is undoubtedly one of the most traditional fruits in Thai. The ripe ones can be eaten like that, blended into juice and even taken with sticky rice and coconut milk… a dish that tourists really enjoy.

Durian (Tu-Rian)

a bowl of durian fruit

Much as it is one of the controversial fruits the whole world over, the Durian is also referred to as ‘King of Fruits’ by those who love to devour it. They love its rich and unique taste. It’s an acquired taste because if I am to be honest, some people don’t appreciate its fetid smell. The aroma, if you’d like to call it that, is pretty strong. Some would even say that it smells like a fruit that is rotting. Plus, its look is quite aggressive.

I will have you know that on this Thai fruit list, it is apparently THE most expensive. One other fact is that it is banned from public places, hotels and on airplanes. (You read right. BANNED.)

Pineapple (Sapparod)

a sliced pineapple on a cutting board

Phuket is one of the biggest producers of this juicy fruit and it grows all year round. It is traditionally a very popular tropical fruit all over Thailand and grows well in sandy seacoast soil as a low-lying plant. The beauty of this sweet fruit is that it is so versatile that it can be made into juice, pieces of the flesh of the fruit and juice used to make cocktails as well as used on savory dishes. Phuket pineapples are not like any other. They are more flavorful than any other you have ever tasted. You don’t want want the chance to have a taste pass you by.

Dragon Fruit (Kaew Mang-Korn)

a dragon fruit sliced on a kitchen bench

Does the name of this fruit sound scary? Maybe it got its name because it looks like a cactus plant. Well, this fruit shouldn’t scare you one bit. This is one of the fruits in Thai that is a polite fruit of you may. Just some mild sweetness and has seeds like the kiwi fruit. All you need to enjoy this mild sweetness is just a spoon to help you scoop that flesh and beautiful seeds.

Pomelo (Som-O)

sliced pomelo placed on a kitchen platter

If you have experienced the grapefruit, then you will notice that both the pomelo and the grapefruit have a similar taste… size too. The difference is in the flesh though. The pomelo is more succulent and meatier and has a delicious sour-sweet flavor. If you fall in love with the taste, don’t sweat it as you will get it in Thailand whenever you travel there because its available all year round and in different varieties from light yellow to red!

Coconut (Ma-Praow)

two coconuts cut evenly and placed on a white background

How can we talk about Thailand’s tropical fruits without mentioning the coconut fruit? One thing about the coconut fruit is that this fruit is very versatile. If you never knew, it’s the juice is even more hydrating than the hydration you can get from water. Its flesh can be used on deserts plus the shell can makes such great souvenirs.

Jack Fruit (Kanoon)

Unlike most of the fruits on this Thai fruits list the jack fruit is a seasonal fruit that is available between January and May. This fruit kind of as big as the size of a large melon. It has a very distinguishing aroma and juicy taste. The fruit is divided into various pieces. All these smaller pieces in the fruit have seeds surrounded by waxy flesh. You can eat it raw or fry it in butter like some of the locals too.

Other fruits you will find in Thailand are mangosteen, rambutan, papaya, guava, rose-apple, custard apple, langsat, longan, lychee, sapodilla, banana, snake fruit, watermelon, starfruit, pomegranate and many more. When there, try them all!

Laem Singh Beach

The wonderful Laem Singh Beach

Did you know that Laem Singh Beach was once inaccessible? That’s right! Most visitors were really disappointed when it was closed in the month of April in 2017 because this fantastic beach is just beautiful in whatever weather. For those who have been to the Caribbean or have seen photos of Caribbean countries, you can get the feel of what we mean. Evergreen palm trees swaying on the sand… What’s not to love there?

Located between Kamala Beach and Surin beach, you can now have this hidden gem almost to yourself. Much as Kamala Beach and the Surin beach are usually so packed especially during peak seasons, if you are looking for a quieter beach, the beautiful Laem Singh Beach Phuket is where you need to be heading because it usually remains pretty deserted.

So what is the reason for this beach being considered a deserted one?

laem singh beach with a view over the sea from beach level

A couple of years ago this beautiful beach was the place to be. It used to be jammed with people and it had so much life and activities. People just couldn’t resist it. Now, what happened was that a dispute over land ownership arose. So the owner of the land decided that that was his private property so people weren’t allowed to pass through the land anymore.

For a whole year, the beach was not accessible to the public. People were really disappointed and complained a lot about this. They had no idea why Laem Singh Beach was no longer accessible. Later, it came to be known that it was because that piece of land had been sold to the very known Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok.

Breakthrough!

So come the end of 2017 someone figured that much as it was forbidden to cross the land, there was another way. No one had forbidden using the sea to get to the beach! People then started using small orange boats from Surin Beach which opened up business opportunities for the locals. Getting a boat to Laem Sing is 100 baht per person. Finally, people could enjoy their beautiful beach again.

Things to enjoy at Laem Singh

Now I know we have been talking about this little beach being deserted. This one has its own surprise. Built on a wooden terrace on the rocks of the beach is a very humble but superb Thai restaurant. This restaurant has a superb view that has got very hospitable members of staff. To add to that their food is also amazing considering the hidden location of the beach. Plus, the drinks were icy cold!

There are countable people that sell souvenirs. And if you are in relaxation mode, you can also get a Thai massage. After telling you that it is a deserted beach and how beautiful it is, I don’t think it will be fair to ask for more, right?

How to get to the Laem Singh Beach Phuket by boat

From Surin beach go south. If you are facing the sea, the southern side will be in your left side. You will then find a white signpost written in English. You will find a crew there  that will assist you to board a small boat right at the shore of the beach so that you don’t get your feet and shoes wet. The cost is 100 baht per person. But if you are in a bit of a hurry or a group you still have the option of taking the whole boat at 400 baht. Remember to also get a card with a number to take to the guy on Laem Singh beach so that you don’t get charged twice once you are ready to come back to Surin beach. Lucky for most tourists, the members of the crew can speak English.

Conversely if you are looking for a more complete and customized journey, then a Phuket private charter boat tour might be the perfect option. Simba offers a fully customized journey of your most highly desirable beach locations. Enquire today!

And now that you can get there by land

Excited as we are that now the beach is accessible by land, it’s not that easy. So if you have kids, or you don’t know how to balance well, I would suggest that you just use the boat. What makes it a bit harder by land is the rocks you will have to climb before reaching the main path. It’s not so hard but a fall can hurt.

The path begins Patcharin Seafood restaurant, the only restaurant on Surin beach. It’s an easy one to spot. Walk past the restaurant or through it if you like then start climbing the rocks. You will see the first sign. After those rocks, things become smoother and flatter.

The thing is, much as Laem Singh Beach was a bit harder to access, these days it has become a huge tourist attraction, thanks to the internet and the reviews that people have given this remote beach.

What to do in Panwa Beach, Phuket

Beach lovers looking for beauty and tranquility will find Panwa beach the perfect retreat from the other noisy islands of Phuket. Spanning the entire west coast of Cape Panwa, the beach is located just five miles away from Phuket town. Also known as Khao Kat Beach, the beach boasts of views across Chalong Bay and Lone Island. There are condos and luxury villas which line much of the seafront, maximizing the beach’s’ beautiful ambiance. This beach is yet to be explored and is therefore a perfect destination for those looking to find peace in its natural surroundings.

Seeing as it’s not a swimming beach due to its shallow water, you can engage in a dawn jog, spend a cozy afternoon under the shade while enjoying awe-inspiring food and drinks from the nearby beach restaurants. If you think this is only thing to do during your stay, then you will find the following activities to be great relaxing and rejuvenating pass time.

Panwa House

A magnificent original Sino-Portuguese 80-year-old restored mansion on the beach offering traditional Thai cuisine that is a must try. That’s what to do in Panwa Beach Phuket. The dishes are truly sensational, served in a wonderfully unique and lux environment. Everything, right down to the electrical plugs and light switches, is retro. The sautéed crab meat with green pepper is exceptional as well as the roasted duck in red curry, grapes, cherry tomatoes and pineapple.

Baba IKI Phuket

While you visit this fantastica beach, then you need to try this Japanese cuisine restaurant. You can enjoy Japanese delights, expertly made fresh Japanese cuisine, and drink up under the good camaraderie and create memories with friends and family.

Cape Panwa Aquarium

Wondering what to do in Panwa Beach Phuket? Check out the Cape Panwa aquarium. This is always a great place to entertain you and your entourage on any day and it might even be your chance to see the small baby turtles. There is a display of small aquariums. However, this is a Phuket Marine Biological Center dedicated to rescuing dolphins, dugongs and turtles often found in distress around the island. You will want to see that!

The gigantic tanks has many local species, not limited to but including giant grouper, sea turtles, leopard sharks, moray eels etc. You even may see some Piranhas from the Amazon River. However, the star of the show is the awesome tunnel, which, even short, never ceases to fascinate.

Ship Inn Bar & Restaurant

Still wondering what to do in Panwa Beach? The beach is home to Ship Inn Bar & Restaurant known for its stunning beauty. An unspoiled paradise this simple, thatch roof wooden structure, located right next door to the Phuket Game Fishing Club is open every day until late, so whether you are looking for a refreshing drink or a great meal, or are meeting up with friends, it is the place to be. It offers Western dishes, Thai dishes, and the spicy Asian dishes. The open air dining area right at the edge of the beach is spectacular and compliments an indoor dining area for those rainy days. Ship Inn is the home of Gottcha Big Game Fishing Charters and the very capable sportfisher, Queen Marlin.

Take a boat tour to Coral Island

It’s be a shame to be located out near Panwa Beach but not take advantage of the nearby Coral Island. Surrounded by glorious coral reefs, this popular tourist attraction is one of the great destinations for snorkeling enthusiasts and is can be visited as part of Simba Sea Trip’s exciting coral delight tour.

Hope you will enjoy the beach as much as we always do…

The village of Koh Panyi

Also known as Ko Panyi, this village, built entirely on stilts in Phang Nga Bay near the famous James Bond Island is a village worth visiting. This is an unusual but a very exciting place to explore. You will find lots of seafood restaurants welcoming visitors as they get there. In order to enjoy and be served well, then better get there early.

More about the village of Koh Panyee

koh panyi village with the rock foundation clearly visable behind

Koh Panyee Village is a small island community which is approximately 20 minutes from Surakul pier in Phang Nga province by a longtail boat. It’s not very populated… just about 1600 people permanently living on the island. Toh Baboo is the main ancestor. So, these people living there are direct or indirect descendants plus family and friends who initially settled on Koh Panyee Thailand about 200 years ago. The Toh Baboo family and two others left their home in Indonesia looking for a fresh start.

As the story goes, they vowed to each other that the person who found a spot with lots of fish where all of them could live would signal the others with a flag raised as high as possible on a mountain. Find it Toh Baboo did. So became the name Koh Panyee, also known as Ko Panyi, meaning ‘Island of the Flag’ in Thai.

The good thing about Ko Panyi is that you can have it almost for yourself. All you need to do is just rent a car to the Surakul pier in Phang Nga, then hop on to a longtail boat for about 20 minutes. Not as cheap as you might expect though. About 1,500 baht should get you there. But trust me, the fun you will have and the beautiful photos you will take at Koh Panyee Thailand will be worth the while. Just the boat ride itself is amazing. Manoeuvring between mangrove and colossal limestone rocks is fascinating. Then you will get dozen seafood restaurants for some good lunchtime devouring.

Much as Koh Panyee Village is a tourist attraction it still maintains its reputation as a fishing village. They usually have some very good Tom Yum Goong. It is also a Muslim village that was constructed on stilts like 200 years ago beneath a giant limestone cliff. Only a small section of the village where the mosque is sits on solid ground. The other places just grew from there and it slowly keeps expanding. This village is mostly made up of large and almost vertical limestone cliffs with the area where villagers live are built on stilts on top of the shallow sea. This village is uniquely built and its informal engineering makes this place very fascinating.

Koh Panyee Village has a school, a mosque, a health centre, a few big restaurants overlooking the Andaman Sea as well as lots of souvenir shops. For accommodation and overnight stays there are bungalows. The most fascinating feature about this unique place is the floating football pitch which was built by kids from old scraps of wood and fishing rafts. This floating pitch is the reason behind Panyee FC becoming on of the most successful youth soccer teams in Southern Thailand.

The community

When you get to the village, you will be amazed at the hospitality and reception of the community. You will be received by young guides who are very eager to show visitors around. One thing that the community prides itself in is having electricity, internet and water that doesn’t come from the mainland.

Seeing as it’s such an isolated community, the locals really take care of their environment. They have lots of environmental projects such as a recycling program where they collect bottles and cans and once they are sold, the proceeds go to the school. Killing two birds with one stone – making money as well as keeping the Koh Panyee Thailand village clean. There is also a program where the teachers assist and teach the students to grow vegetables using hydroponics.

Much as this is a tourist attraction, the kids are used to being photographed by tourists as they usually go about their daily lives.  Classes go on as scheduled. The situation feels pretty weird.

Koh Panyi is a very vibrant place that is very colourful and with various smells. The place has lots of spots to take photographs.

Important to note

This village is a Muslim community so woman hear are expected to be dressed decently – no shorts skirts or shorts are allowed. However, T-shirts and jeans are allowed. What isn’t allowed is wearing clothes that expose lots of skin as the villagers won’t take it well.

There are lots of tours to Panyee. Some even include pick-up from the hotel to the village. If you’ve taken part on one of our Phang Nga Bay tours, then an extra day in the region will not hurt. This is a trip worth considering if you are on a tour of Thailand.

Laem Ka Beach

If you are looking for tranquility in a beach, then Laem Ka Beach Phuket is where you will find it. This untouched, peaceful beach is perfect for people looking for some quiet and less crowded spots, making it perfect for picnics. Located at the southern part of Phuket near Rawai, this hidden gem is mostly known by the locals. What makes it a little less known is that a couple of years back, it was closed to the public because they were constructing a new hotel there.

How to get to this little hidden gem

If you are from Chalong, the road that leads to Laem Ka is practically at Rawai Beach. Before taking the turn to Laem Ka, there is another smaller road that takes you to a smaller beach called Laem Ka Noi Beach. Noi actually means small. It is only about 66 meters in length and its widest point is like 20 meters. This beach is like a sister beach to Laem Ka Beach Phuket. This is also a perfect getaway place if you want to hide from the crowd because it is also hidden even more. Well at least its on google maps so you can find it. These two sister beaches are 450 meters apart.

Anyway, we veered off a bit there. Let’s get back to knowing more about the main Laem Ka. If you are coming from Rawai, drive towards the Shell museum until you see a 7-Eleven store that is opposite the entrance to Rawai temple. After the store drive on for about a kilometre through the coconut plantations to the carpark area. To get to the beach, you will have to walking down a steep concrete staircase.

Useful tip: Wear comfortable shoes so that will allow you to walk down the staircase easily. There is also some rocky area which is towards the right side of the staircase.

So, what’s so great about this hidden beach?

One thing you probably don’t know about this hidden gem us that it is the only eastern-facing beach in the southern part of Phuket where visitors can get their swim on. The waters are shallow and calm enough making them very safe for kids to play they splashing games as adults have some quality and quiet time by the sea. Seeing as the waters are safe for kids, then it means that Laem Ka Beach Phuket is perfect for family outings.

There are small shops at the right side of the beach where visitors can do some beach shopping. There are beach chairs under the palm trees where you can just chill and enjoy the tranquility. You can also do this lounging as you sip some fresh coconut water, beer and soft drinks which can be purchased from vendors.

The beach is also the perfect spot for taking lovely pictures as it has a very pristine background of its smooth white sand and calm blue waters.

So why consider Laem Ka Noi Beach as an alternative?

There are times during the low season where there might be no vendors to sell snacks and drinks to you or beach chairs to sit on. Well, this is where this sister beach Laem Ka Noi comes in handy. It is the perfect plan B especially when you need a meal. The water is also calm and perfect for swimming. However, you need to watch out for some submerged rocks.

Well, that’s a plus anyway because it makes it harder for jet skis and parasails to pass which can be pretty annoying if you are looking for some peace and quiet. So, while here you can even enjoy a quick nap or walk on the big rocks.

Laem Ka Noi Beach is also great for meals. They have a small restaurant called, Laem Ka Noi Seafood. So, if you find that there are no vendors to buy snacks from at Laem Ka Beach Phuket and hunger pangs hit you, then you are in luck because this seafood restaurant serves the tastiest traditional Thai cuisines. They don’t have accompaniments. Just some delicious traditional Thai seafood. This serene restaurant also has picture-perfect views overlooking the beach and Koh Lon island.

Conclusion

These two sister beaches in Phuket are worth visiting especially if you are looking for places you have never visited in Rawai. They are both very peaceful hence making them perfect for some picnics and family time. They are perfect for swimming, splashing, sunbathing as well as just having some alone time for yourself. Much as they are not easily accessible, if its some quiet time you are looking for, they are worth the trouble.

The striking rocks in the water and the sandy areas are great for selfies. So, what are you waiting for? Head on there and check out these two tiny dreamy beaches for yourself.