Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, has a long and colorful history as well as amazing natural beauty. Once an important source of tin and rubber, Phuket Island was a frequent stop for Portuguese, French, Dutch and British traders. Today, people from around the world visit the island via cruise ship.
Most of the island is covered by mountains and forest, which still produce rubber and palm oil. For a rare experience, visit Khao Phra Taew National Park, the last virgin rainforest in Thailand. You can take a guided hike through the lush jungle, watching for wildlife and stopping for photos at crystal-clear waterfalls.
The island has lovely beaches, too, especially the sandy beaches along the western coast. Some of the most popular are Patong Beach, which offers watersport rentals and seasonal surfing; Karon Beach, a wide beach with a coral reef to explore; and Kamala Beach, where you can swim, sun and shop at a local market if you are there on a Saturday.
If you’re interested in Buddhist traditions, Phuket has 29 Buddhist temples and monasteries. The largest and most ornate is Wat Chalong, where many Thais come to be blessed and receive a good luck charm.
There’s a shrine to the Hindu deity Brahma at Promthep Cape, the southernmost point of Phuket Island. Take an excursion there to see the shrine, visit a lighthouse and take in the breathtaking views.
James Bond fans will want to visit Phang Nga Bay National Park, where hundreds of stunning limestone cliffs rise over the sea. The famous final scene of the Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed here. For some adventure, you can paddle a canoe through the bay’s dramatic limestone sea caves.
Another popular excursion, especially for families, is to visit a herd of gentle elephants and ride them on a guided tour through a tropical forest. Children especially love meeting the adorable baby elephants!
Cruise itineraries that include Phuket often call on other ports in Southeast Asia, and possibly Australia, India and the Middle East, too. Phuket’s tropical climate means it’s warm and humid all year long: the driest season is December through March, although it can rain even then, so bring along a lightweight rain jacket.
To find cruise itineraries that include a call on beautiful Phuket Island, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.