Nestled along temperate waters,
Phuket is justifiably famous for its
sugar-white sands, world-class hospital-
ity industry, and excellent opportunities
for sailing, golfing, scuba diving, and
snorkeling. Originally called Junk
Ceylon, a “corruption” of Jang Si Lang,
its Malay name, it is the largest and one
of the most visited of the many beauti-
ful islands that dot the Andaman Sea.
Lining the western coast is a chain
of stunning powdery beaches. Backed
by palm trees, they face an almost
luminous clear-blue ocean with dra-
matic limestone outcrops rearing
vertically out of the waters in the dis-
tance. Stemming from the Malay
, Phuket means mountain
or hill, which is exactly what you
see as you approach the shore from
the sea. Heading into the interior of
the isle, one soon arrives at the
foothills of these very mountains, and
they are always gloriously verdant.
With all of this picturesque scenery
in close proximity, you might not
consider going too far beyond the
beaches. But Phuket is also a great
jumping-off point to unique sites and
activities that merit your time. Local
travel agents are plentiful and offer a
wide range of excursions and tours
catering to all budgets. Here are five
not-to-be-missed experiences.
Day-Trip #1: Phuket Town and
the Evening
Although relatively far from the main
Phuket Town
is well worth
visiting. In the 19th century, tin was
Phuket’s most valuable resource, and
Chinese immigrant laborers settled on
the island in huge numbers. The
island’s interior became almost exclu-
sively Chinese, while the coastal areas
were dominated by indigenous
Muslim fishermen. Today, the Chinese
influence is still strong, and Phuket
Town is distinguished by its fine Sino-
Portuguese architecture with elegant
colonnaded streets. As the province’s
administrative capital, it is the picture
of historical prosperity. Colonial-
style mansions and shophouses are
interspersed with ornate Chinese
Beautiful and serene Phang Nga Bay
is known for the enormous, irregularly
shaped limestone karsts that
punctuate its aquamarine waters.
LEFT: At Sukko Spa, the focus isn’t
just rejuvenation, but also culture,
with offerings that include yoga,
martial arts, and a form of mystical
tattooing known as
sak yant
Exactostock/SuperStock; Dan White; Corbis Nomad/Alamy
Thai island
is idyllic, and the perfect
springboard for adventures beyond the ordinary. INTERVAL WORLD
Spring 2013
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