Visit the Phuket Big Buddha
The Phuket Big Buddha sits atop the Nakkerd Hills and overlooks Chalong Bay, a serene presence visible for miles. Encased in thousands of Burmese white jade marble tiles, the magnificent 45m-tall seated Maravija Buddha statue is one of the most revered landmarks on Phuket Island.
The site offers the best 360-degree views of the island. Spend some time absorbing the peaceful atmosphere and sweeping views. Stop to receive a blessing in the temple beneath the Big Buddha if you like.
Visitors may make a donation towards the maintenance of the site, either by donating cash or by purchasing a marble tile that will be added to the construction. You may write a message or the name of a loved one you wish to have blessings bestowed upon on the reverse. The gesture is a beautiful one.
The site offers other interesting Buddha images too. A knowledgeable guide will obviously deepen the experience.
Visit Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
The Asian elephant holds cultural significance for the Thai people, and it has long been a symbol of the country. In fact, many people consider interacting with elephants a highlight of their trip to Thailand.
Unfortunately, elephants held in captivity have not enjoyed the same legal protection as elephants in the wild. Many elephants working in the logging and tourism industries have had to endure terrible maltreatment. The growth of ethical tourism over the past two decades has highlighted the plight of these elephants, and several elephant sanctuaries have been established in Thailand.
In fact, Phuket Elephant Sanctuary in Paklok was the first of its kind in Phuket. The Sanctuary borders the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park and offers a new and final home for overtired, overworked elephants. Phuket Elephant Sanctuary uses the proceeds from the tours to rescue, rehabilitate as well as care for these magnificent creatures.
Meeting the Elephants
First, we fed the elephants some fresh fruit. Afterwards, we observed them in their natural habitat, both from the natural paths that crisscrossed 30 acres of lush tropical land and from the unique 600m-long 6m-tall canopy walkway that affords a bird’s-eye view of the Sanctuary.
The educational video shown at the beginning of our tour was heart-wrenching, and it left us raw and heartsore. After seeing the joyful antics of one elephant in the hydrotherapy pool and the peaceful meanderings of others in the open field, however, we understood that the elephants at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary were truly happy.
Each elephant has a dedicated carer, a mahout, with whom the animal shares a special bond. The mahout serves as the elephant’s translator, friend and protector. The elephants are never far away from their companions, and the trust and love they have for one another are palpable.
We ended our tour feeling inspired and with happier hearts. The delicious vegetarian Thai meal we enjoyed at the Tree Top Reception before our departure ensured we had happy tummies too.
To book your visit to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, visit http://www.phuketelephantsanctuary.org/en/.
Note: Beware of impostors! Several organisations posing as ethical tourism providers are, of course, nothing of the sort.
Take a cooking class at Old Phuket Farm
Old Phuket Farm also made for an exciting and amusing day out. The farm serves as an educational centre, teaching visitors how the local Thai farmers lived in the old days.
Visitors can enjoy a walking tour of the rice fields, followed by a tour of the Thai farmhouse museum. Here they demonstrate how rice was milled and sifted in the working area beneath the house. This is followed by a tour of the living space above and a demonstration of how meals were prepared by hand using fresh ingredients from the herb garden. Visitors can also see a demonstration of how farmers tapped rubber trees and made rubber sheets. Other activities include a ride in a buggy pulled by water buffalo.
The day’s main activity was obviously the Thai cooking class, presented by Chef James. If he hadn’t been a chef, he could possibly have enjoyed a career as a stand-up comedian.
Chef James taught us to make spring rolls, Pad Thai, Tom Yum soup and steamed banana cake.
It was amazingly quick and easy to prepare delicious Thai food. Afterwards, we sat down to a lunch of the dishes we had prepared ourselves.
Finally, we received certificates and a folder containing the recipes for the dishes we had learned to cook.
To make a booking visit https://www.oldphukettour.com/to_book/cooking-class/
Explore Phuket’s Food
Phuket is one of UNESCO’s Creative Cities of Gastronomy. The gastronomic experience ranges from exceptional fine dining restaurants to exciting street food. Some highlights were:
- Peranakan Food Trail: This guided culinary exploration of Old Town Phuket is any foodie’s dream. Enjoy sought-after local delicacies, discover why there is always a queue at A Pong Mae Sunee (a Michelin-accredited street food stall) and try O Aew, which is excellent for cooling down in the hot season.
- One Chun Restaurant: Another Michelin Guide restaurant, One Chun is one of the most popular restaurants in Old Town Phuket for both locals and tourists. Do try the crab curry. Bookings are essential.
- Three Monkeys Restaurant: This exotic multi-level restaurant is located at the Hanuman World zipline site. Enjoy exotic cocktails as well as authentic Southern Thai cuisine. The upper deck is especially enchanting at night.
Old Town Phuket is a treasure trove of interesting Sino-Portuguese architecture, street art, restaurants as well as shops selling everything from clothes and jewellery to kitchenware.
The Walking Street Market (Lard Yai) takes place every Sunday from 4pm along Thalang Road. Soak up the atmosphere, experience exceptional food and shop for all kinds of creations by local artisans.
If you prefer a more refined shopping experience, then Central Phuket is a world-class shopping mall with hundreds of stores, including some of the world’s leading luxury brands.
As a country, Thailand offers amazing experiences for every kind of traveller. Whether you dream of a beach holiday, cultural or religious experiences, a spa or wellness retreat, incredible food, sports and adventure or a romantic getaway – perhaps even a destination wedding – Thailand is the answer. The vast array of luxury hotels, villas and resorts on offer means you won’t have to compromise on either comfort or service.
To find out more about what Thailand has to offer, visit Amazing Thailand.
Experience Phuket in Style
If our amazing 7-night Thailand adventure sounds just like the luxury break you need, visit the link below to book the same sumptuous accommodation and curated 5* experiences as a package: