At first glance, golfing and the ocean do not seem to go together. However, when you combine this popular sport with the extraordinary beauty of the Andaman Sea and its long coastline, what you get is a golfing experience unlike anywhere else on earth. Golf courses: Loch Palm Golf Club Phuket, Phuket Country Club, Laguna Phuket Golf Club, Blue Canyon Country Club, Thai Muang Beach Golf and Marina.
Diving Phuket's warm clear blue waters is best from mid-October to May, when the calm seas and rain free days make Phuket's diving off Ko Kaew Noi, Ko Rajali Yai and Shark Point a truly unique experience.
Phi Phi Island diving is also one of the highlights for any serious dive itinerary, Phi Phi Island diving takes the diver to one of the most famous diving sites in the world, and facilities for Phi Phi Island diving are among the best for such a site.
Diving Khao Lak will introduce the diver to many new varieties of fish and coral. Khao Lak diving is a relatively unspoiled diving site offering much natural scenery and diving Khao Lak means entering into one of Thailand's premier marine national parks.
Dive Sites around Phuket include: Phuket's West Coast, Rawai Beach, Koh He (Coral Island), Koh Racha Yai, Koh Racha Noi, Koh Doc Mai, Shark Point, Anemone Reef, Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands, and Surin Archipelago.
Particularly fine examples of handicrafts from around the country are available at the tourist markets and speciality shops of the beach centres, Phuket Town and at Canal Village in the Laguna Phuket complex - which also boasts its own branch of Jim Thompson's, the Thai silk specialists. Phuket is also the source of several of the country's finest gift and souvenir products including cultured pearls, neilloware, pewterware, ornaments and dried seafood. Specialist shops dealing in souvenir products can be found on Rasada, Phangnga, Montri, Yaowarat, and Tilok-U-Thit roads, in Phuket Town, Thepkrassatri Road, north of town and at the beach centres of Patong, Kata, Karon and Rawai.
Among the best buys the island has to offer are Batik - crafted by the island's numerous artists into tee-shirts, dresses, wall hangings, and bed covers - beachwear and easily-affordable made-to-measure cotton, linen and silk clothing - courtesy of the island's many tailors. Thalang Road, in Phuket Town, is home to many cloth merchants, offering excellent deals on a wide selection of cloth, which the island's tailors will be happy to convert into the fashion statement of the customer's choosing.
Phuket's rapidly developing infrastructure has also allowed for a considerable growth in shopping opportunities. Several large department stores are located in Phuket Town, Thalang and Patong and two giant supercentres - Tesco Lotus and Big C - have recently opened on the Bypass Road, north of Phuket Town, offering easy shopping for long stay visitors and yacht charter tourists.
Not only do most of the major hotels and resorts offer a wide selection of quality international restaurants and bars, featuring cabaret shows and live music, but every tourist centre has numerous other entertainment venues. Patong is undoubtedly the epicentre of the island's entertainment scene, boasting a wealth of bars, clubs, live music, and cabaret shows, yet there is still plenty to discover around the island, with Kata/Karon and Phuket town offering such a diverse range of clubs and nightspots that its difficult to know where to start.
Yet, it is not all after-dark diversions. If a little time away from the beach appeals during the day, then there are plenty spots offering other kinds of enlightenment, including cultural shows. In fact, with so much to see and do, both day and night, Phuket is guaranteed to keep you entertained.
Health and Wellness
Before the arrival of modern medicine, herbalists filled the dual role of doctor and pharmacist. Originally, village doctors were monksor former monks, since Buddhist temples were the center of learning, and medicine. Thai traditional medicine holds that the body has four elements: wind, water, earth and fire, and ill health results from an imbalance between them. To remedy an ailment, the village “doctor” would make a herbal pack for the patient to ingest, rub onto the skin, or add to a steam compress. Another major component of traditional medicine is energy. When the energy lines are blocked, the individual will become ill, physically or emotionally. A massage or sauna would be prescribed.
Traditional Thai massage is a proven physical therapy that dates back to ancient India sometime before the lifetime of Buddha. It has been practiced here for centuries, and many swear by it as an effective cure for common ailments such as aches and pains, fevers and nervous strains.
Traditional massage reached the peak of popularity in the early 18th century. King Rama III, great-grandfather of the present monarch, had all available knowledge on the subject gathered and inscribed on stone slabs. These now stand in a corner of the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), along with stone figures of rishis demonstrating various massage postures. You can try this ancient therapy in its original form at the temple; masseuses trained at Wat Pho massage school offer their service seven days a week at very reasonable prices.