Bangtao is a 8 km long sweeping crescent shaped bay with a gentle slope and
absolutely pure white sand and is fringed with rows of casuarina trees. The constant but gentle breeze on this bay has made Bangtao Beach very popular with windsurfers and it plays host to several international competitions each year. The main entrance to Bangtao beach is 2 km north of Surin Village and marked with large signs from
the sprawling Laguna Phuket complex that takes up most of the middle of
The Laguna Phuket complex, containing five luxury hotels and an 18-hole golf course, dominates a large area of Bang Tao. However, it is not difficult to find a quiet spot to enjoy the crystal clear water and stunning white sand.
This remark able complex of five luxury resort hotels integrated into one into what appears to be small city by the sea.
The southern end of the beach is more developed and is where most of
the accommodation is located, so if you want the beach to yourself,
walk to the northern end where its much quieter.
There are a number of shops, restaurants and bars near the entrance to
Laguna Phuket, as well as those within the resort complex. The nearby
town of Cherng Talay has a few shops as well as a fresh market. Canal
Village within Laguna Phuket comprises about 30 shops, mostly selling
handicrafts and clothing items.
Chalong is a large bay with a pier that is the main departure point for diving
and fishing trips from Phuket. The pier is a good place to charter
boats for fishing, diving or snorkeling trips to nearby islands.
Chalong Bay does not have a great beach for swimming due to the muddy bottom
and large number of boats moored here. It is also home to the islands
only active yacht club which organizes regular yacht races which often
involve racing around the five islands that protect chalong making it a perfect natural harbor for smaller craft.
Just inland is Chalong traffic circle. This area is popular among expat’s living in Phuket and there are some good restaurants and bars nearby.
The Chalong area is home to numerous tour operators, yachting companies, game fishing charters and dive shops. You will also find spas offering massages, herbal saunas, yoga classes and a Reiki centre in the Chalong Circle area. Phuket Zoo is located in the Chalong area.
There are some delicious and inexpensive seafood restaurants along the
beachfront with views of the charming bay. These can be found either
along the road past Phuket Zoo or just to the south at Chalong Pier.
Kamala is about 10 minutes drive north from Patong and a great place for those
wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle. The southern end of
this beautiful bay has a coral reef just a few meters offshore. Kamala
is not over-developed yet, although there are some guesthouses and a
The 2.5 km crescent shaped bay is
dotted with casuarinas trees on the first half of the coastline and
coconut palms and sugar palms decorate the other. In the past two or
three year, Kamala has changed a lot and became a
small beach resort with all the facilities for perfect holidays, but
still peaceful and friendly. Many New hotels opened along he beach
road, and some more secluded on the smaller southern beach, like the Kamala Bay Terrace Resort or the the Kamala Beach Estate.
This end of the beach offers a peaceful tranquil environment with
crystal clear water and coral reefs just a few meters offshore. Back to
the bridge and a right turn brings you to a small fishing village
strung out along the beach going north. Intermixed with small house is
the occasional store and restaurant.
There is a
good selection of Thai restaurants, noodle shops and a few western
restaurants in the area. The local people are mostly ethnic Malay and
there are some good local restaurants serving tasty Muslim food.
featuring an incredibly long stretch of squeaky white sand, is less
hectic than Patong but it still offers a full range of facilities,
dining and activities. While it's a fast-growing area, Karon is one of
Phuket's longer beaches, very popular due to its fine white sand. Being
so long the sun beds are well spaced out so it never feels crowded.
concentrated around three main areas. In the Karon Plaza area on the
south end there a number of budget guesthouses, restaurants and bars.
The side sois are worth exploring, particularly the one that leads to a
small art community. Nearby, on the beach road leading to Kata, is the
football stadium, which hosts both local and international sporting
Whilst Karon's nightlife
doesn't have the frenetic pace found in Patong there's still plenty of
fun to be had. Revolving around bars, Karon's nightlife is packed into
a small area with many places to choose from.
bars are popular with both expat’s and tourists, some are beers bars
but they're harmless enough. Most places start to close at midnight.
Souvenirs can be found everywhere in Karon however you need to look elsewhere for a major shopping experience. Beachwear and clothing is widely avail able.
The pleasant bay of Kata, just a few minutes south of Karon beach, entices many with its white sands and clear waters.
Very popular with families, Kata is an all round favorite due to its spectacular beach, great
restaurants, lively but not raucous nightlife and not to mention varied
accommodation options - all close to the beach. April to September
surfers flock to enjoy Kata's somewhat small waves. The beach is palm lined and fairly busy but never too crowded to be annoying.
the high season, yachts moor just offshore, adding to the ambience and
the sunsets here are some of the best in Thailand. Restaurant lined or
tree lined, there's a perfect spot for everyone at Kata.
the exception of the popular Easy rider’s Pub with its live, excellent
but loud music - and a few pockets of beer bars - nightlife in Kata is mostly family oriented and relaxed. Kata's many
open-air bars, restaurants and shops are where most visitors relax in
the evening. There are some good bars that open late but they are very
unobtrusive, however those who seek them out will find them.
For many, one of the main draws to Kata is the number of high-quality restaurants that offer excellent value
for money. Kata is fortunate to have more than its fair share of
eateries that have been recognized as amongst the best in Thailand. In
southern Kata there are several upscale resorts and restaurants where fine dining is avail able.
Kata is split into two focal areas: Kata Centre, which is at the northern end close to Karon and Kata South, home to several resorts. The Club Med takes up most of the beach
road, resulting in a shaded footpath that makes for a pleasant stroll.
Continuing on through the village, visitors will find an abundance of
shops to browse in, from souvenir and ready-to-wear outlets, to
7-Elevens and local mini-marts, to name-brand fashion stores. There are
also plenty of dive shops and tour operators to assist those looking to
explore beyond the beach
Laem Singh is a small secluded beach that can get quite crowded during the high
season. Easy to get to but can also be easy to miss if you are not
Laem Singh beach is
located a few minutes drive north of Kamala in a small curving bay at
the foot of forest-fringed cliffs. There is no accommodation here and
not much other development except a few restaurants.
Both entrances to the beach have car parks, for which there is
sometimes a small charge. If you don't fancy the steep walk down, head
for the second car park on the road coming from Kamala heading north.
The path here is longer but not as steep.
Because the beach can only be accessed by a walk down a steep path, Laem Singh has a more private feel than many of Phuket's other beaches.
Nevertheless it can get quite busy on the weekends with plenty of
sun-beds as its one of the most beautiful spots on the island.
Laem Singh really is a gorgeous beach and the sea here is lovely. The southern
part has some nice coral which is worth exploring with some snorkel
gear. This can be rented from one of the shops on the beach. There are
usually some sea kayaks for rent or you could also go water-skiing or
rent a jet-ski for some faster thrills.
Mai Kao beach
Located just north of the airport is Mai Kao beach, an incredibly long and deserted stretch of sand.
There is no tourist development here except for the JW Marriott Resort
& Spa. Mai Kao is the longest beach on the island and also the most
deserted. If you really want to get away from it all this is the beach
Mai Kao is part of the Sirinath
National Park, which also includes Nai Yang and Nai Thon, the next
beaches along to the south. The area was declared a national park in
1981 to protect the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles that lay their eggs here
from November to February.
The sea here is fine for swimming
during the dry season but a strong undertow and large waves make Mai
Kao particularly dangerous for swimmers between May and October.
One of the loveliest beaches in Phuket, Nai Harn is relatively undeveloped thanks to the Samnak Song Nai Harn monastery which occupies a large portion of the beachfront land. Except for the exclusive Phuket Yacht Club and its amazing view on a turquoise bay and some small islands, Nai Harn is not as developed as other south coast beaches.
This beach is not recommended for swimming during monsoon season but it
really varies according to daily weather changes. Watch for the warning
flags and use some common sense. A number of food vendors here offer
inexpensive but quite tasty food.
Behind the beach is a lagoon where there are some up market housing developments and a few good bars and restaurants.
The many yachts anchoring in the bay during high season add to the tropical holiday feeling which is unique on Phuket Island.
This is a small rocky beach that can only be reached by a small road
that runs underneath the Phuket Yacht Club. There are a couple of
bungalow operations here as well as a couple of restaurants.
Nai Thon is a nice quiet place to sit in the sun or take in a swim. Although it’s quiet, the beach
is not completely deserted and there are a few sun beds avail able for hire.
As you descend the last hill you will find a peaceful, quiet cove,
beautiful along its length, and well sheltered from wind and waves and
offers wonderful swimming. Both ends of the beach are flanked with
rocky headlands jutting out to the sea. Corals and rich marine life are
drawn to the rocks and they offer excellent fishing.
Part of the reason Nai Thon has managed to remain so peaceful is that it is quite isolated. The
road leading to the beach winds through jungle and rubber plantations
as well as over a few hills. There is a small fishing village across
the road from the beach with some small bungalows and a few small
Beach is a beach on Phuket's west coast. It is the main tourist resort
in Phuket and contains the centre of Phuket's nightlife and cheap
shopping on the island. The beach became popular with western tourists,
especially Europeans, in the late 1980s. Numerous large hotels and
chain hotels are located in Patong.
Patong's 3 km strip of golden sand is one of the most popular beaches in Phuket, it's a place to watch the world go by. By day, Patong Beach is a hive of activity with parasail and jet-ski operators, boat
drivers, beach vendors and masseuses all vying for the attention of the
many visitors relaxing on the beach chairs.
During November to April (NE monsoon) the water is very flat and calm.
May to October (SW monsoon) there can be some larger waves on some days
however Patong beach is safe to swim on most days, pay attention to the red flags when they're out.
Patong Beach is maybe more famous for its nightlife than the 2-kilometer beach that runs the entire length of Patong. Nightlife is centered on two main areas Bangla Road and Paradise
Complex, with Bangla Road being predominantly straight and Paradise
Complex being predominantly gay. Much mixing of the two scenes occurs
due to Phuket Island's tolerant nature.
Being the main centre of tourist activity in Phuket, its no surprise that Patong has the highest concentration of restaurants to be found on the island. Patong is a cosmopolitan place, attracting visitors from all over the world
and the cuisine choices reflect this in their diversity. If you're
feeling adventurous there's bound to be something you've never heard of
and if you're missing the pleasures of home you're sure to discover a
restaurant with some down-home comfort food.
Patong Beach transforms into a large night bazaar every evening, when all the
main roads become clogged with stalls selling handicrafts, silk
scarves, sarongs and a variety of beach clothes, leisure wear, leather
goods and luggage, CDs, computer games and electronic gadgets and toys.
It's chaotic but fun if you approach it with
the right attitude -- just remember that bargaining yields the best
results when done lightheartedly and with a smile. The two Ocean Plaza department stores in Patong, one on the south end of the beach road and
the other on Bangla Rd, are good spots to escape the heat while
shopping. Jungceylon is a monster of a shopping
centre. It contains just about everything that shoppers could
conceivably need and is a must-do if you're a bargain hunter. Situated
on Rat-U-Thit Rd. diagonally opposite the eastern end of Soi Bangla,
you simply can't miss it. The two main stores in the complex are Robinson and Carrefour. The almost 200 other stores in this new shopping heaven sell branded goods.
A kilometer north of Laem Sing Beach lays the popular Surin Beach. As of now this beach has not been developed Although there are now a few hotels springing up Surin is still quiet and peaceful bay lined with a row of stately Casuarina trees.
For the careful swimmer Surin offers some good snorkeling opportunities at both ends of the beach but
during the rainy season the water visibility is not very good. Big
waves that are common on Surin beach during the
monsoon season have caused a steep drop from the shore to the water
line and can create dangerous undertow conditions. During high tide
when the swells are big and running swiftly good surfing condition
exist here and is becoming an increasingly popular sport. There are
some vendors renting surf boards at the beach at a reason able price.
Good surfing conditions can make for hazardous swimming and care must
be taken with children and non-swimmers.
Is the traditional heart of Phuket’s Muslim community. As you pass
through this picturesque village strung out along the highway you will
see the Ban Thao Mosque. This impressive and ornate structure is the
largest mosque on the island. Visitors are allowed and discrete photos
may be taken, but care should be exercised and avoid going on Fridays
the Muslim holy day. The village offers several roadside markets that
offer up delicious Muslim food and fruit picked fresh from the many
nearby orchards. When ordering food or buying fruit you may have to
resort to "point and smile technique", because English is for the most
part only spoken by the younger generation. At the traffic light you
can continue straight to the Heroines Monument and the main road to
Phuket Town or go left and continue for your tour of the northern
Lying on the fringe of the Andaman Sea off the west coast of Southern
Thailand, the island of Phuket is approximately 890km from Bangkok. It
is Thailand’s largest island at 550sq km, roughly the same size as
The name Phuket is
apparently derived from the word bukit in Malay which means mountain or
hill, as this is what the island appears like from a distance.
Phuket is surrounded by many smaller islands that add a further 70 sq
km to its total land area. Phuket is separated from the mainland by the
Chong Pak Phra channel at its northernmost point, where a causeway
connects the island to the mainland.
Phuket is quite mountainous. There are a couple of peaks above 500m,
the highest being Mai Tao Sipsong at 529m. Many of these are covered in
lush jungle. The lowlands consist of rice paddies, plantations of
rubber, pineapple and coconut as well as the only significant area of
rainforest remaining on the island, Khao Phra Thaeo Park which is now
Against the backdrop of hills, the beaches of Phuket stand as one of the most sought after palm-fringed tropical
destinations. Nearly all beaches along the island’s west coasts are
frequented by locals and tourists, with the northern beaches along the
west coasts remaining very quiet and unspoilt.
In such an idyllic setting the temptation is simply to laze peacefully
on the beach and soak up a tropical sun tan. But if you want more there
are amenities for water sports, such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking
diving and snorkeling. The coastal waters are exciting to explore and
are especially rich in shoals of brightly colored fish and exotic coral
Principal among Phuket's natural sights are two picturesque waterfalls, Hin Lat and Na Muang.
Island hopping is another attraction and boats can be easily hired for
trips to Phang Nga Bay to discover the myths surrounding the formation
of the mountainous limestone karsts which are scattered across the bay,
Krabi province and The Phi Phi Islands which boasts beautiful bays with
colorful coral formations and marine life, and offer excellent
conditions for diving and snorkeling.
A more adventurous full day excursion can be made to the national park
of the Similan Islands, 140 square kilometers in total, 14 of those
being land in the shape of an archipelago consisting of nine islands.
There is an enormous diversity in species - both in fish and corals.
The visibility is the best you will find in Thailand. You will see
plenty of colorful fish such as lionfish and clownfish (Nemo), and if
you're lucky you may spot a bigger one like a manta or even a whale
Elephant riding is a good way to support the remaining domesticated
elephants of Thailand and their mahout, is fairly cheap, and can be an
interesting new experience. The elephants are well trained, and you can
tip the mahout by giving the money to the elephant who will hand it to
the mahout with its trunk.
The residents of Phuket comprise Thais who have migrated from the
mainland, ethnic Chinese, Malays, and Chao Leh or ‘sea-gypsies’ who are
the original inhabitants of Phuket.
According to the census, Thai-Buddhists account for 71% of the
population, with Malays (24%) and Chao Leh (4%) making up the
remainder. The figure for Thai-Buddhists also includes the Chinese who
are almost completely assimilated. Some estimates put the percentage of
ethnic Chinese at around 35%. The vast majority of the population
resides in or around Phuket City and Patong Beach, creating a
population distribution along an east-west axis.
Tourism has dominated the island’s economy for the past two decades.
Each year, over 4 million visitors arrive to enjoy Phuket’s natural
splendor and many amenities.
, and therefore Phuket, is fast becoming a country to be visited all
year round. This is of course largely due to the tropical weather and
The 'dry' season is from
November till May. Temperatures average 30 degrees year round. The
'green' season is from May to October when temperatures are around the
25 to 30 degree mark.
This is perhaps the most unique golf course in Phuket due to its
location and contrasting landscaping. It has been described as a
"piece of living art". This golf course is all about pleasure and no
stress. With the spa waiting at the 19th hole, stress and tiredness is
further banished with caddies and golf carts both being compulsory.
4. Loch Palm Golf Club
Spread over a 160 acres lush and hilly plateau, Loch Palm Golf Club has been masterfully designed to blend in with its natural terrain.
This 18 hole golf course surrounds the largest lake on any golf course
in Phuket, Crystal Lake.
5. Phuket Country Club
Established in 1989, Phuket Country Club is the first and one of the finest built golf courses in Phuket.
Offering both an 18 hole and a 9 hole course, many tournaments have
been hosted by Phuket Country Club in recent years. In 2001, this golf
course was also voted "Best Course in Thailand" by Asian Golf
Shopping in Phuket City
in Phuket City is also one of the favorite activities of the tourists.
Also known as Phuket Town, this historical downtown area of Phuket in
Thailand is the favorite haunt of the shoppers. From traditional Thai
crafts and textiles to the shops selling antiques, clothing and
jewellery, this is the perfect shopper's destination.
The shopaholics love this place and if you have the best bargaining
skills then use it in the Phuket City. Walking down the streets which
still have the Sino Portuguese style houses, the markets of Phuket City
are quite unique. From furniture superstores to hypermarkets Phuket
City has it all.
You can find the best stuff
here in Yaowarat, Dibuk, and Thalang and so on. These streets are
famous for their stalls. The best quality shops like Baan Boran and
Soul of Asia are located in this attitude. In Soul of Asia you can find
articles and textiles of Asia.
Ramong Road in
Phuket City is one of the markets which sell fruit, veget ables and
fresh meat. You get too see a glimpse of the Thai lifestyle in this
There are two departmental stores
called Robinsons and Ocean for the brand conscious trendsetters. A
fresh food market also sets up here every evening.
In Phang Nga Road, the Chatuchak Planet has been set up modeled on a
famous market where things like clothes, jewellery, knick knacks are
being sold. You can also taste the local food in Phuket City.
Shopping in Phuket City is an extremely unique experience and if you
are in Phuket do not miss this unique feature of Phuket City.
in Phuket have a special attraction for the history they stand witness
to. One of the prime museums in Phuket is the Phuket Sea Shell Museums,
positioned on Viset Road near Rawai Beach in Phuket. The exhibition at
Phuket Sea Shell Museums features more than 2,000 species of shells,
including the only left-handed Noble Volute ever discovered, giant
clams, 380 million-year-old fossils and one of the rarest golden pearls
in the world.
For 40 years, the Patamakanthin
brothers have searched the world for the most beautiful and unique
seashells and formed this extraordinary treasure at the Phuket Sea
While most of the shells are
from Phuket and the sea around Thailand, several are from other parts
of the world. Each specimen is carefully selected for its quality and
condition. Some rarities and odd shells include an oyster weighing 140
karats (the world's largest golden pearl), large sections of
sedimentary rock containing shell fossils that represent the earliest
life forms on earth, and an enormous shell weighing 250 kilograms. The
displays have been created in a logical order so that visitors can see
at once the differing characteristics among related species.
Phuket Sea Shell Museums remains open daily from 8 am to 7 pm.
Thalang National Museum in Phuket is located in the east of Highway
402, near the Heroine's Monument, just off the main airport road, south
of Thalang town in central Phuket. The museum displays the indigenous
cultures of Phuket, the history of the Thais in Phuket, crafts from the
southern Thai regions, as also a 9th century statue of the Hindu deity
Inside the museum one can explore the
general Thai history. There are some old artifacts, which bears the
history of the people of Thailand. There is also a section about
different kind of people in Thailand - Chinese, Muslim, Indigenous (sea
gypsies), etc, with mock-ups of homes showing the way these people
A major section is devoted to the
Heroines of Thalang who mobilized the people of Phuket to defeat the
Burmese in 1785 AD. These two ladies are popular all over Thailand, but
more especially in Phuket and Thalang, where roads, temples and schools
are named after them.
Outside the Thalang
National museum in Phuket there is a kind of tsunami memorial - a
sculpture showing a spirit leaving a body.
Thalang National museum in Phuket remains open daily between 9 am and 4 pm.
Although Phuket is an island, getting here is very straightforward. The majority of tourists arrive through Phuket International Airport (HKT). However, you can also get to Phuket by road, rail (in a roundabout way), and of course by sea if you have your own boat.
Getting to Phuket by air couldn't be easier. Phuket is served by an
international airport with a number of scheduled and charter flights
from Europe and around Asia.
However, the majority of visitors still fly to Bangkok first, where
there are over a dozen domestic flights to Phuket daily. With the
growth in budget airlines such as Nok Air, Air Asia, Bangkok Airways and Orient Thai (One2Go), ticket prices are now very low. There is also the national carrier Thai Airways, which is slightly more expensive but offers a higher level of service.
Flights from Bangkok take about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Book your
tickets early, especially during the high season from November to April.
Phuket International Airport is situated at the northern end of the
island about 45 mins drive from Phuket City. Tel: +66 (0)76-327-230
(information counter is extension 1111 or 1122).
Phuket is about 867km (539 miles) from Bangkok, with a traveling time of
approximately 10 hours. There are many car rental companies in Bangkok,
both international firms such as Avis and Budget, as well as local companies.
Driving in Thailand is quite pleasant outside of town and cities.
Motorways are in good condition and mostly well sign-posted in Thai and
English. Driving standards are poor but better than many other
Take Highway 4 from Bangkok, passing through Nakhorn Pathom,
Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuapkhirikan, Chumphon, Ranong and Phang
Nga. The highway between Ranong and Phang Nga is quite scenic with
forest-covered mountains on one side and the Andaman Sea on the other.
On the Island
Well paved roads
service the island, giving ready access to all beaches, retail centers
and the administrative center Phuket Town. The best and safest form of
transport is a self-drive air-conditioned vehicle (car or 4 wheel drive
jeep); motorbikes can also be hired (be cautious of traffic hazards and
wear a crash helmet). You then have the freedom to explore the island
Tuk Tuks are the small red open taxis which you can
find everywhere on the island. They are great to get around. You have
to negotiate the fare before you hop in. Rates depend on distance,
time, weather and many other things and start at app. 50 Baht for a
short distance and can go up to 500 Baht for a longer trip. It is
normally cheaper to stop a Tuk Tuk when it passes by then to take one
which is waiting in front of a hotel or restaurant.
Long Tail Boat
The ubiquitous long tail boat is found wherever there
is water in southern Thailand. The current version with the motor
mounted on the back is just the latest modification on this ancient but
quite seaworthy craft. Often called the workhorse of the Andaman Sea,
long tails are used in to provide a number of marine services. While
not as flashy or fast as modern speedboats, a voyage in a long tail
boat is an interesting experience and a great way to take short
sightseeing trips. The one serious disadvantage of the long tail is the
almost complete lack of safety equipment such as lifejackets. Long
tails are not advis able while traveling with small children or
non-swimmers. Rental prices average 400 baht per hour for a short trip
and up to 1000 baht for an entire day.
Provide what has to be the ultimate method for
sightseeing and taking photographs of Phuket and the surrounding areas.
Helicopter service is provided by two companies Southern Flying Group
at Tel: 247-237/9 and Southern Helicopter Service Tel: 216-389. There
are no scheduled flights at this time, so you must call and arrange for
Songthaews are the open blue-yellow local buses. They follow fixed
routes and operate between 6am and 7 pm. There are no bus-stops so you
just stop the songthaews when they pass by and give the driver a
sign when you want to leave the bus. Prices are fixed and much cheaper
then Tuk Tuks but it takes a bit longer to reach your destination. They
operate mostly from Phuket Town to the different beaches but
TaxiMeter There are metered taxis everywhere. Only use them when they
go by the meter - if they ask for a fixed price don't go for it and
take another one.
Motorbike Taxi They are just everywhere. You can recognize them by there
green or red wests with numbers on them. This transport is for the more
adventures ones as it is not the safest but it is fast, cheap and bring
you wherever you want. As with the Tuk Tuks the price must be
negotiated before the ride.
Rentals If you want to drive by your own you can rent a motorbike or car
everywhere on the island. Keep in mind that in Thailand you drive on
the left hand side and traffic rules are widely ignored. Busses,
trucks, water buffalos and elephants have always the right of way -
because they are bigger than you.
be rented everywhere. Rates are app. 200 Baht/24h for a small bike and
up to 1000 Baht/24h for a big one. It is very dangerous riding a bike
in Thailand so it is advis able to pool together and rent a car
You should be an experienced driver - Phuket is NOT the place to learn it
There are thousands of accidents every year on Phuket which mostly involve motorbikes and the death toll is very high
Remember that everybody just drives like he wants and they don't care about traffic rules which results often in accidents.
Wear a helmet - it is saver and you don't have to pay the 500 fine if the police stops you
You should have a driving license - the rental companies won't ask you
for that but the police if you are involved in an accident
There is no insurance coverage - you have to pay everything in case
the motorbike is damaged or stolen or if you have an accident you have
to pay for all the damage and medical bills.
Check the bike with the owner before you rent it and let him write down all existing damage - or you will pay for that later
Make sure the bike is save to drive
Cars of all types can be rented - from private rental shops or professional rental companies such as Avis and Budget.
Rates per 24h start at 800 to 1 500 Baht. You need to provide a driving license when renting a car.
If you rent froma private shop make sure the car has full insurance coverage (which is often not the case)
Make sure any damage and injuries are covered by the insurance.
Check for any damages before renting
The Kingdom of Thailand draws more visitors than any other country in southeast Asia with its
irresistible combination of breathtaking natural beauty, inspiring
temples, renowned hospitality, robust cuisine and ruins of fabulous
From the stupa-studded
mountains of Mae Hong Son and the verdant limestone islands of the
Andaman Sea, to the pulse-pounding dance clubs of Bangkok and the
tranquil villages moored along the Mekong River, Thailand offers
something for every type of traveller.
course Thailand, like other Asian countries, has been influenced by
contact with foreign cultures. But the never-changing character of Thai
culture has remained dominant, even in modern city life. Often depicted
as fun-loving, happy-go-lucky folk (which indeed they often are), the
Thais are also proud and strong, and have struggled for centuries to
preserve their independence of spirit.
When to Visit Thailand
Thailand's rainy season, monsoons, arrive around July and last into
November. This is followed by a dry, cool period from November to
mid-February, followed by much higher relative temperatures from March
By far the best time to visit is from February to March when the weather is kind and the beaches are at their finest.
The peak seasons are August, November, December, February and March,
with secondary peak months in January and July. If your main objective
is to avoid crowds and to take advantage of discounted rooms and
low-season rates, you should consider travelling during the least
crowded months (April, May, June, September and October). On the other
hand it's not difficult to leave the crowds behind, even during peak
months, if you simply avoid some of the most popular destinations (eg,
Chiang Mai and all islands and beaches).
Attractions in Thailand
Bangkok has dominated Thailand's urban hierarchy as well as its
political, commercial and cultural life since the late 18th century. Although you can shop in air-conditioned comfort in its Western-style
malls, the city is a long way from being tamed by commercial
Bangkok 's history of haphazard planning means you'll have the best
experiences in the most unlikely of places. Just when you start
despairing at the predominance of concrete and cars, a waft of incense
leads you to a serene temple in an area you'd written off as soulless.
Ayuthaya Historical Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ayuthaya's historic temples are scattered
throughout this once magnificent city and along the encircling rivers. Several of the more central ruins – Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mongkhon
Bophit, Wat Na Phra Meru, Wat Thammikarat, Wat Ratburana and Wat Phra
Mahathat – can be visited on foot.
You could add more temples and ruins to your itinerary by touring the
city on a rented bicycle. An ideal transport combination for visitors
who want to see everything would be to hire a bicycle for the central
temples and charter a long-tail boat to take a tour of the outlying
ruins along the river.
Chiang Mai has a striking mountain backdrop, over 300 temples and a
quaint historical aura. It's also a modern, friendly,
internationally-flavoured city with much to offer the visitor - food,
accommodation and shopping are all top quality and cheap, and the
nights are relatively cool.
Chiang Mai's plethora of temples will probably exhaust you before you
exhaust them. For variety, try a wander round the night bazaar,
acquaint yourself with local culture at the musuems, or practice your
Buddhist calm under a palm tree in the city's gardens.
This beautiful island off southeastern Thailand is covered with coconut
plantations and circled by (call us clichéd but it's true) palm-fringed
beaches. It was once an 'untouched' backpackers' mecca, but is now well
on its way to becoming a fully-fledged tourist resort.
The most popular beaches are Hat Chaweng and Hat Lamai: both have good
swimming and snorkelling but are getting a little crowded. For more
peace and quiet, try Mae Nam, Bo Phut and Big Buddha on the northern
coast. The main town on the island is Na Thon.
Nakhon Pathom, west of Bangkok, is regarded as the oldest city in
Thailand and is host to the 127m (417ft), orange-tiled Phra Pathom
Chedi, the tallest Buddhist monument in the world. The original
monument, buried within the massive dome, was erected in the 6th
century by Theravada Buddhists.
Off the Beaten Track
Tucked away in the countryside to the east of Bangkok, this provincial
town is hardly visited by foreign tourists, mainly because it's not on
the major road or rail networks out of the capital. It's home to one of
the most sacred Buddha images in Thailand - Phra Phuttha Sothon.
Housed in the Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihaan, the origins of the modest
198cm (77in) Buddha are cloaked in mystery but the image is said to be
associated with a famous monk with holy powers who supposedly predicted
the exact moment of his death. Chachoengsao makes a great day-trip
Ko Si Chang
This one-town island offshore from Chonburi Province on the Gulf of
Thailand is practically deserted, making it great fun to explore. Its
attractions include a meditation centre with hermit caves, beaches with
good snorkelling, a ruined palace, limestone caves and a Chinese temple
with sea views.
Most of the friendly population are fisherfolk, mariners, customs
officials or workers in aquaculture projects. Camping is permitted
anywhere on the island, but if you don't want to tent it, there are
numerous hostels and bungalow-style operations.
In northern Tak Province, close to the Burmese border, Mae Sot has a
reputation as a frontier town with an outlaw image. It has a thriving
black-market trade (guns, narcotics, teak and gems) and is an
increasingly important official jade and gem centre.
An interesting mixture of ethnicities have shacked-up here- Burmese
Muslims, members of the local Karen hill tribes, Chinese and Indian
shopkeepers and poppy-clad Thai army rangers. It's a departure point
for the fascinating border markets that trade Burmese handicrafts and
It may be a bit pricey to get to Thailand by air, but once you're there
you can take advantage of bargain-basement flights. Just bear in mind
that flights in and out of Thailand are often overbooked so confirm,
confirm and reconfirm. Buses are a sterling way to get around - they're
fast (often terrifyingly!) air-conditioned and comfy. There are even
women-only buses. However, there have been bad reports of the service
on buses booked from agencies on Thanon Khao San. If you want to get to
Malaysia, there are train services.
The bad news is that it can be quite expensive flying to Bangkok,
depending on your point of departure; the good news is that once you're
there you can shop around for an inexpensive return ticket. A host of
international carriers land at Don Muang, Bangkok's major airport
terminal. Flights in and out of Thailand are often overbooked so it's
imperative that you reconfirm ongoing flights as soon as you arrive.
The departure tax on international flights is waived if you're in the
country for less than 12 hours.
travel from Malaysia is popular and there are four border crossings
between Thailand and Malaysia, two on the west coast, one in the centre
and one on the east coast. It's not possible to buy through-fare
tickets for rail journeys between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur or
Singapore, unless you ride the luxurious Eastern & Oriental
Express, but the trip can be made on express trains via the
Thai-Malaysia border at Pedang Besar. The journey usually requires an
overnight stop in Butterworth ( Malaysia) in order to comfortably make
There are plenty of
crossing points between Thailand and Myanmar, Laos or Cambodia, but
very few border crossings are made - officially, at least.
legal for non-Thai foreigners to cross the Mekong River by ferry
between Thailand and Laos at the following points: Nakhon Phanom
(opposite Tha Khaek), Chiang Khong (opposite Huay Xai) and Mukdahan