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Phuket, Thailand, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide

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    Good to know

    Phuket – a brief overview

    Thailand’s best-known island destination remains one of the world’s finest places to kick back on the beach, indulge in first-rate watersports or party until the sun comes up. The weather is almost always faultless, even during the rainy season from May to October. So much more than its resorts, hotels and bars, this is a place to explore and discover new things about Thai and ethnic culture, as well as a great jumping-off point for seeing more remote islands.

    Don some sunscreen and get ready for a summery adventure in one of Thailand’s beach paradises.

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    Top 10 sights in Phuket

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    Phuket, Thailand, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide

    Shrine of the Serene Light

    Saan Jao Sang Tham
    Phuket
    Thailand
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    Hidden away in the backstreets of Phuket Old Town, the Shrine of the Serene Light is one of the area’s most underrated sights. It’s a Taoist temple with plenty of Chinese influence, and there’s always incense burning and fresh flowers on the altar.

    Big Buddha

    Yot Sane 1
    Phuket
    Thailand
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    Opening times:
    Daily 0800-1930

    This 21st-century alabaster Buddha stands at 45m tall and towers over Phuket on a hill between Chalong and Kata. Head here to marvel at its sheer scale and enjoy some of the best views on the entire island.

    Phang Nga Bay

    Phang Nga Bay
    Phuket
    Thailand
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    Take a tour to the towering limestone cliffs and stacks of Phang Nga Bay. This striking place has beautiful beaches, mangroves and even some small islands where you can stay. Ko Tapu, also known as James Bond Island after it starred in The Man With The Golden Gun, is one of the bay’s most beautiful spots.

    Khao Phra Thaeo National Park

    Thep Kasattri
    Thalang District
    Phuket 83110
    Thailand
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    Home to Phuket’s last remaining virgin rainforest, this beautiful park is ideal for wildlife lovers and those looking for a day away from the beach. Hire a guide and keep an eye out for some rare species.

    Sirinat Marine National Park

    Thalang District
    Phuket
    Thailand
    Tel: +66 7632 8226
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    This marine national park is stunning. Visitors can stay here in simple, government-owned accommodation and explore the gorgeous mangrove forests and saltwater swamps. Nature trails and well-marked paths make it easy to explore.

    Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre

    104/3 Paklock, Thalang
    83110 Phuket
    Thailand
    Tel: +66 7626 0491
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-1600

    In the east of Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, this centre aims to rehabilitate and reintroduce pet gibbons into the wild. The focus is on educating people about the abuse of these beautiful animals, as well as giving them a chance to see them up close.

    Racha Yai diving

    Rawai, Mueang Phuket District
    Phuket
    Thailand
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    Phuket’s best-known diving spot. Coral forests and rocky reefs make this great for first timers, as well as those who’d rather snorkel. Be careful choosing an operator for diving tours. Make sure guides are PADI accredited and check equipment before diving. Super Divers are one of Phuket’s best.

    Old Phuket Town

    Thalang Rd
    Taladyai, Muang
    Phuket
    Talat Yai
    Mueang Phuket District
    Thailand
    Tel: +66 7632 8226
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    Colonial architecture, sleepy backstreets and great restaurants make Old Phuket Town well worth exploring. The area is much quieter than the chaos of Patong, with its bars and clubs, and offers a fascinating insight into the Chinese and Portuguese influence on the island.

    Jui Tui Shrine

    Saan Jao Sang Tham, Phuket Town
    Phuket
    Thailand
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    Opening times:
    Daily 0800-2030

    Another Old Town gem, Jui Tui shrine is a Chinese temple that comes alive during the island’s vegetarian festival in late September and early October. Colourful and bright, this temple attracts locals celebrating birthdays, weddings and everything in between.

    Wat Chalong

    Mueang Phuket District
    Phuket
    Thailand
    Tel: +66 7628 0343
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    Opening times:
    Daily 0700-1700

    Phuket’s most important Buddhist temple. Its towering spires can be seen for miles, while its peaceful halls are the place to come if you’re looking to ease off a heavy evening’s excess in one of the island’s many nightlife spots.

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    Country Information

    Country overview

    The jewel of the Southeast Asian travel circuit, Thailand offers astonishing diversity and a truly fascinating and accessible culture that, along with the revered Thai hospitality, makes it an incredibly popular destination. With an enticing mixture of established destinations such as Phuket, and out-of-the-way palm-fringed islands, Thailand has a very exotic appeal.

    It caters for grungy backpacking types wanting to party into the wee hours through to those who prefer white tablecloth dining and clinking wine glasses. From staying on a converted rice barge, clambering into a jungle tree house or bedding down in a hill tribe village, the country offers a wealth of choice for all tastes and budgets.

    Geography

    Thailand is bordered to the west by Myanmar and the Indian Ocean, to the south and east by Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand, to the east by Cambodia, and to the north and east by Laos.

    Central Thailand is dominated by the Chao Phraya River.

    General Information

    Key facts

    Population: 67,2 million (estimate 2019)

    Capital: Bangkok (Krung Thep).

    Language

    Thai is the official language. English is widely spoken, especially in establishments catering for tourists.

    Currency

    Baht (THB; symbol ฿) = 100 satang. Notes are in denominations of ฿1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of ฿10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 satang.

    Electricity

    220 volts AC, 50Hz. Flat and round two-pin plugs are used.

    Public holidays

    Listed below are the public holidays for the period January 2020 to December 2021.

    Note

    Buddhist festivals are declared according to local astronomical observations and it is not possible to forecast the date of their occurrence exactly.

    2020

    Wan Khuen Pi Mai (New Year’s Day): 1 January 2020
    Wan Chakri (Chakri Day): 6 April 2020
    Songkran (Thai New Year): 13 to 15 April 2020
    Wan Raeng Ngan Haeng Chat (Labour Day): 1 May 2020
    King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s coronation (National holiday): 4 May 2020
    Wisakha Bucha: 18 May 2020
    Her Majesty Queen Suthida’s birthday: 3 June 2020
    Asanha Bucha: 26 July 2020
    Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun Birthday (HM The King’s Birthday): 28 July 2020
    Wan Chaloem Phra Chonmaphansa Somdet Phranang Chao Phra Boromma Rachininat (H.M. Queen Sirikit The Queen Mother’s Birthday): 12 August 2020
    Wan Piyamaharat (Chulalongkorn Day): 23 October 2020
    Wan Chaloem Phra Chonmaphansa Phrabat Somdet Phra Chao Yuhua (Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Birthday): 5 December 2020
    Wan Rattha Thammanun (Constitution Day): 10 December 2020
    Wan Sin Pi (New Year’s Eve): 31 December 2020

    2021

    Wan Khuen Pi Mai (New Year’s Day): 1 January 2021
    Wan Chakri (Chakri Day): 6 April 2021
    Songkran (Thai New Year): 13 to 15 April 2021
    Wan Raeng Ngan Haeng Chat (Labour Day): 1 May 2021
    King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s coronation (National holiday): 4 May 2021
    Wisakha Bucha: 18 May 2021
    Her Majesty Queen Suthida’s birthday: 3 June 2021
    Asanha Bucha: 26 July 2021
    Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun Birthday (HM The King’s Birthday): 28 July 2021
    Wan Piyamaharat (Chulalongkorn Day): 23 October 2021
    Wan Chaloem Phra Chonmaphansa Phrabat Somdet Phra Chao Yuhua (Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Birthday): 5 December 2021
    Wan Rattha Thammanun (Constitution Day): 10 December 2021
    Wan Sin Pi (New Year’s Eve): 31 December 2021

    All information subject to change.

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    Nightlife in Phuket

    ListMap

    Nightlife is arguably what Phuket is all about.

    From down-and-dirty bars and clubs in Patong to fancier joints found in the island’s 5-star resorts and hotels, there’s something to keep everyone entertained once night falls.

    Joe’s Downstairs

    223/3 Prabaramee Road
    Patong
    Phuket
    Thailand
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    Relaxed, upmarket and serving mean cocktails, Joe’s is perfect for an evening of kicking back.

    Soi Easy

    Bangla Road
    Patong
    Phuket
    Thailand
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    Loud, brash and often boozy, this complex is close to the beach and has a massive 25 bars to choose from.

    Baya Beach Nightclub

    Rat-u-Thit 200 Pee Road
    Kathu
    Phuket, 83150
    Thailand
    Show on map

    One of Phuket’s original nightspots (and definitely one for younger revellers), this place is jumping every evening.

    Gossip Boutiq Supperclub

    29 Bangla Road
    Patong, Kathu
    Phuket
    Thailand
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    Opened in late 2013 and achingly hip, this place is a tad classier than most other beachside clubs.

    After Beach Bar

    Kata Beach
    83100 Phuket
    Thailand
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    Just as the name says – head here for sundowners and a chilled vibe.

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    Restaurants in Phuket

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    Phuket has some of Thailand’s best seafood thanks to its location right on the water.

    Those tiring of rice, noodles and curries can find some excellent international alternatives thanks to the island’s global reputation as a holiday hotspot.

    Breeze at Cape Yamu

    224 Moo 7 | Pa Khlok
    Phuket 83110
    Thailand
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    One of Phuket’s hottest fine dining restaurants, with a constantly changing menu focusing on fresh seafood.

    Boathouse Wine & Grill

    182 Koktanode Road
    Kata Beach
    83100 Phuket
    Thailand
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    Price: Expensive

    French and Asian dishes are served in this boutique hotel’s highly rated restaurant.

    Mom Tri’s Kitchen

    12 Kata Noi Road
    Kata Noi Beach
    Phuket 83100
    Thailand
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Come here for fancy takes on Thai and Western classics, right on Kata Beach.

    Raya

    Dibuk Road
    Talat Yai
    Phuket 83000
    Thailand
    Tel: +66 7632 8226
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Set in a colonial building in Phuket Old Town, Raya is one of the best places for traditional Thai food on the island.

    Kamala Beach

    Kamala Beach
    Phuket
    Thailand
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    Price: Cheap

    Great for cheap eats and plentiful options without having to leave the sand behind.

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    Calendar of events

    Wat Chalong Fair

    February 2020

    Venue: Wat Chalong, Chaofa West Road

    Roughly coinciding with Chinese New Year, this vibrant week-long fair sprawls across the grounds of Wat Chalong temple. Hundreds of food stalls sell enticing Thai curries (and fried insect snacks for the daring), while flashing, whirring rides challenge you to keep your meal down.

    Chinese New Year

    January 25, 2020

    Venue: Various venues

    Held simultaneously with the Old Town Phuket Festival, the island’s Chinese New Year celebrations last for a couple of weeks and are crammed with dragon dances, traditional food, colourful processions, banging firecrackers and art displays. Shops and houses are adorned with red decorations to bring good luck.

    Thao Thepkasattri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival

    March 13 – 27, 2020

    Venue: Various venues

    An open-air dramatic show depicting the history of Phuket is the centrepiece of this two-week festival, which commemorates the defeat of the Burmese army by a force led by sisters Thao Thepkasattri and Thao Sri Suntorn. Other events include bike races and takraw (kick volleyball) matches.

    Songkran Festival

    April 13 – 15, 2020

    Venue: Throughout Phuket

    Thais go wild with water chucking during this three-day festival marking the beginning of the solar calendar. Armed with water pistols and buckets (often loaded into pick-up trucks), kids and adults alike drench anyone in their sights – police officers are a favourite target. Be prepared for a soaking!

    Por Tor Festival

    August 19 – September 16, 2020

    Venue: Chinese temples and shrines throughout Phuket

    Meaning ‘hungry ghost’, Por Tor is a significant festival for Phuket’s Chinese population, who make offerings to spirits, the most popular being a large red turtle cake. The biggest festivities take place at Phuket Town’s Ranong Road market, where traditional ceremonies, musical performances and lion dances draw huge crowds.

    Phuket Vegetarian Festival

    October 16 – 25, 2020

    Venue: Chinese temples and shrines throughout Phuket

    Firewalking and self-mutilation are among the shocking spectacles seen at this festival. Phuket’s Chinese community abstains from meat during the ninth lunar month and believes those carrying out such acts are protected from harm. Gruesome sights aside, there are lively street processions and veggie food stalls galore.

    Loy Krathong

    November 2020

    Venue: Phuket beaches

    Flickering lights glimmer across rivers, lakes and the sea during Thailand’s festival of lights. Thousands of krathongs, small baskets decorated in flowers, are launched into the water after dark with candles to illuminate them. If the krathong floats away, it’s believed to bring good luck in the year ahead.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

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    Hotels in Phuket

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    Beachside flophouses, 5-star luxury and plenty in between. Whether you’re looking to spend up a storm or keep costs down, Phuket has got what you want.

    As with Bangkok, even the fanciest rooms come in at affordable prices.

    The Bliss South Beah Patong

    40 Thaveewong Road
    Patong
    83150 Phuket
    Thailand
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    Category: Expensive

    A fancy boutique joint right on Patong beach. Beautiful rooms with sea views.

    Marriott’s Phuket Beach Club

    230 Moo
    Maikhao Talang
    Phuket City 83110
    Thailand
    Tel: +66 7626 0491
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Not like your usual Marriott – this place comes with a palm-lined pool, swish apartment-style rooms and Thai décor.

    B-Lay Tong Phuket

    198 Thaveewong Road
    Patong
    83150 Phuket
    Thailand
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Fancy, Feng Shui-led rooms, a gorgeous pool and easy access to the beach.

    Metropole Hotel

    1 Soi Montri Road
    83000 Phuket
    Thailand
    Show on map

    Category: Cheap

    Great rooms, an excellent pool and sweeping views: 4-star style on a shoestring.

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    Paradise found: Best of Thailand

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    Teeming with people, Thailand is a country that buzzes and booms. Over 30 million tourists visit Thailand each year, and the trend is rising.

    Our reporter went in search of Siam’s treasures – and found them off the beaten tourist track.

    Ko Yao Noi

    Ko Yao Yai
    Phang-nga, Thailand

    Show on map

    Hippies head east to Ko Phangan, the party island in the Gulf of Thailand, and complain about the parties. In the west, there’s the tourist hell hole Phuket, and next to it Ko Yao Noi (“small, long island”), a getaway for stars like Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé and Cristiano Ronaldo, and famous for its unspoilt beaches. The islanders earn their living with coconuts and rubber plants. The food here is really good, for example at the „Je T’aime“, a French/Thai fusion restaurant. Neighboring Ko Yao Yai (big, long island) is even more peaceful and enchanting.

    Tab Tim Grob

    Thai cuisine has a reputation for variety, and yet most visitors stick to either phat thai (stirfry noodles) or khao phat (fried rice). That’s a great shame because the country has a dish many tourists have never heard of: tab tim grob, a sweet dish of water chestnuts served in young coconut milk with red tapioca pearls and crushed ice. It’s one of those dishes that, once tasted, becomes a firm favourite. It’s such a delicious and refreshing treat, especially in humid Thailand, that it’s also easy to convince yourself that it is somehow healthy. Restaurants don’t always include it on the menu, but it’s definitely worth asking if they serve it.

    Ko Phayam

    Ko Phayam
    Ranong
    Thailand

    Show on map

    If the authentic hippie Thailand is what you’re after, go to Ko Phayam (preferably via Ranong). It’s a small island roughly 35 kilometers off the northwest coast of Thailand and still one of the few remaining idylls on earth, with sandy beaches that stretch for miles, bamboo cabins and devoted sunworshippers. It’s one of those islands, where people spend the evening eating, drinking and talking between palmtrees and weird timber structures like the Hippie Bar. Minor downside: overcrowded ferries make for an uneasy crossing.

    Chanthaburi

    Chanthaburi
    Chang Wat Chanthaburi
    22000 Thailand
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    Located close to the Cambodian border, the provincial capital is largely ignored by tourists, or at best used as a stopover. Their loss! Chanthaburi has all that is quintessentially Thai. Religious differences are amiably set aside, and Christians (there is an imposing replica of Paris’ Notre-Dame here), Buddhists and Muslims live together in harmony – so there’s always some feast to celebrate. Just 20 kilometers from the ocean and with so few tourists, it’s hardly surprising that Chanthaburi – and not an island – is where some of Thailand’s loveliest undiscovered beaches are found. The city lives off its exports of fruit and precious stones, has mines to visit, malodorously tasty durians to sample, dense jungle to explore and Buddhist holy sites to see. Its tourism infrastructure is geared almost exclusively to Thai visitors; prices have barely changed in 20 years. Chanthaburi is Thailand’s last insider tip.

    Bangkok Vanguards

    494/4 Prajadhipok Rd
    Hiranruchi, Thon Buri
    Bangkok 10600
    Thailand

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    It is easy to lose your way in the capital, so it’s a good idea to hire a guide. As most city guides show tourists only what they want to see, a specialist is the answer, someone like Michael Biedassek, who is half-Thai, half-German. “I came here to find my Thai roots,” he says. He ended up staying. Finding the city hard to navigate, he began making maps as a teenager. Later, he started offering visitors bicycle tours of the “real” Bangkok. His most popular tour is the Bangkok Three-sixty, which takes visitors by bicycle, boat and local buses to see the sights people generally overlook: a tiny icecream parlor or the fabulous home of a once wealthy Chinese family with a huge swimming pool. Small groups and one enthusiastic guide – that’s all it takes to feel at home in possibly the most confusing city in the world.

    See the country by car or taxi?

    Judging by the chaos on Bangkok’s streets, driving in Thailand is stressful. But outside the city of eight million, the traffic (people drive on the left) is moderate. The most popular tourist destinations are: Chiang Mai in the north, Pattaya in the center, Phuket in the south, and the islands in the Gulf, but there’s an entire country crying out to be explored in between. Rent a car and drive south on the good asphalt road network. Great places along the way are Khao Sok National Park with its impressive reservoir and floating cabins (with beds for visitors) and the beaches south of Ranong. Not keen to take to the wheel? Then hire a taxi. The official price list (back of driver’s seat) puts the 700-kilometer trip at roughly 120 euros.

    Homestay

    People rave about friendly hosts in Thailand, but often they are just talking about friendly hoteliers and attentive restaurant owners. Thailand has a long tradition of homestays and there are plenty of offers around, so you don’t have to wait for invitations to find out what life is really like there. Perceptive visitors will soon notice even local differences. The amazing thing is that most homestay hosts – fishing families in the south, farmers in the north, middle-class people at the heart of the country – aren’t so much interested in financial gain as in getting to know their guests. It’s this genuine Asian hospitality that makes their home yours for a while.

    Doi Inthanon

    4/1 Siritorn Rd Soi 1
    Changphuak
    Muang Chiang mai
    Thailand
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    The country’s tallest peak at 2565 meters, Doi Inthanon is high in the north of Thailand. Making your way up it is far more satisfying than being at the top, though. Motorcycles can be rented in the town of Chiang Mai, which is a good starting point for an exhilarating ride through deserted streets, dense jungle and villages untouched by time in a country that seems all but unchanged. Your trip through the mountains brings you to the virtually tourism-free heart of Thailand. If you have time, take a tour of the Golden Triangl