Phuket is home to a myriad of gorgeous beaches and while the prospect of a relaxing beach holiday is the main draw for many visitors who travel to Phuket, there is so much more to see and do on Thailand’s biggest island. And for sports enthusiasts and anyone seeking outdoor adventures, Phuket has plenty of choices. Whether it’s scuba diving in the Andaman Sea, hiking one of the island trails or enjoying a round of golf on world-class courses, there are so many amazing moments that you can experience in Phuket.
Diving and snorkelling
Phuket is an ideal base for snorkelling and diving trips. On the island itself, Kata Beach is one of the best locations for snorkelling while just a short boat trip away brings more options at the twin islands of Ko Racha Yai and Ko Racha Noi.
Staying on Phuket provides convenient access to an array of wonderful diving sites including the Similan Islands, Surin Islands, and Phi Phi Islands. Although there are sites in the Andaman Sea that can be dived most of the year round, the best conditions for snorkelling and diving here are from November-April. Some locations (e.g. the Similan Islands and Surin Islands) are closed to visitors from mid-May to mid-October.
Surfing and paddle boarding
Thailand may not be synonymous with surfing, but there are some decent waves in Phuket making it one of the best locations in the country for surfers. The surfing season is celebrated with the annual Phuket Surf Fest from June to September. If you travel to Phuket outside the surfing season, you can still test your skills courtesy of the FlowRider surf machine at Surf House. And for even more fun on the water, Phuket is also an excellent location to try stand up paddle boarding.
Explore Phuket’s natural wonders with a memorable kayak trip. One of the best options in the Phuket region is a guided tour with John Gray’s Sea Canoe where you can learn more about marine geology, discover wildlife and unwind on secluded beaches. Trips can be arranged around Phuket and beyond into the magnificent Phang Nga Bay.
Learn more about Thailand’s national sport at any of Phuket’s Muay Thai gyms. And don’t worry if you’ve never tried your hand at Thai boxing before. At venues like Tiger Muay Thai everybody is welcome, from beginners to intermediate to advanced. Whether you want to learn more about Muay Thai, MMA or simply want to exercise, gyms like Tiger Muay Thai are ideal if you are looking to keep fit during your time in Phuket.
Golfers are spoiled for choice on Phuket with a mix of outstanding golf courses to choose from. Test your skills at the prestigious Canyon Course or the award-winning Laguna Phuket Golf Club. Admire the ocean views when you tee-off at the Jack Nicklaus designed Mission Hills or book a round at the wonderful Red Mountain with its stunning scenery.
Taking to two wheels is a great way to see Phuket. Travel along quiet trails that take you through rubber plantations and into local villages where you’ll experience another side to Phuket. Trips using modern mountain bikes are available to suit all levels of experience from beginner to advanced. Choose from a relaxing half-day tour of Phuket or a multi-day adventure that allows you to explore local life on the nearby islands of Ko Yao Noi and Ko Yao Yai.
The hills and lush interior of Phuket offer up some excellent hiking opportunities. Although some routes can be explored by yourself, it’s advisable to travel with a reputable local guide who knows the island and trails.
While most people travel to Phuket’s Big Buddha by car or minivan, it’s possible to hike to the top with a trail that starts at sea level near Karon Beach. Alternatively, hike though National Parks on trails that take in rainforests and waterfalls.
If running is your thing, Phuket has plenty of local events throughout the year that may tempt you to pack your running shoes. Although it’s still likely to be very warm, most running events in Phuket are scheduled for the cooler evenings and early mornings.
The Phuket Laguna Marathon is one of the most keenly anticipated events in the running calendar. Usually held in June (for 2021 the event will be in October 2021) the weekend starts off with events for children on Saturday evening in addition to the 5k and 10k races. The marathon and half-marathon are held on Sunday morning.
Other events to look out for include the Phuket International Mountain Marathon, usually held in October near Patong Beach. Despite its name there are a number of categories including a family fun run, 5k, 10k, half-marathon and full marathon.
Trail runners should check out the Singha Obstacle Trail Series which takes place at various locations across Thailand including Phuket.
For details of upcoming events in Phuket and across Thailand, visit the Runlah website.
The well-established Laguna Phuket Triathlon has been described as South-East Asia’s longest running and most successful triathlon event.
The swim takes in both the Andaman Sea and a fresh water lagoon while the bike course takes competitors through the Phuket countryside, over hills and past local villages. The run course weaves through the picturesque Laguna Phuket destination, with the finishing line on the beautiful beachside. Usually held in November, triathletes can find out more about the event and registration process on the official website.
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