Phuket is an amazing destination regardless of whether you are traveling as a family, as a couple, or by yourself. There is so much to see, do and eat around the island that visitors can easily spend a week there and still leave before they have had a chance to do it all. However there are certain sights and attractions scattered around the island that no one should miss.
The Phuket Big Buddha
Visitors to the island will find the Big Buddha statue impossible to miss. However, seeing it from a distance is nothing like seeing it close up. Not only is it much larger than it initially appears but as it is located atop a hill, the view from the grounds around the statue is one of the best on the island. Not only is it free to visit but as the project is still ongoing, for a small donation visitors can write on a tile that will be used in the construction.
Gibbon Rehabilitation Project
It’s no secret that the native animals of Thailand have long been exploited by the tourism trade. From elephants to tigers to monkeys, all are being forced to suffer cruel fates simply so that their owners can make a few Baht off visiting tourists who don’t realize the monkey they are posing for a photo with has been drugged out of his mind to make him docile. The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project is working to improve the lives of these small apes. A small donation here will go much further to helping the native gibbon population, rather than spending that money on beer or a pair of fake sunglasses that will break in a week. Volunteer options are also available for those who want to go above and beyond.
Soi Dog Foundation
The work this organization is doing is nothing short of amazing. Soi Dog has taken it upon themselves to help improve the lives of both dogs and cats on the island. From feeding and grooming to giving these animals all the love, support, and exercise that they need for a healthy life, this foundation is truly doing impressive work. It is all based on donations too! Stopping by the center for one of their 30-minute tours is a must for any dog or animal lover. However, much like with the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, visitors with a little extra time on their hands should highly consider volunteering here, even if only for a day or two. My friends Dale and Franca of Anglo-Italian Follow Us wrote more about the Soi Dog Foundation and other great dog shelters in Thailand.
Siam Niramit Phuket
Eager to learn more about Thai culture and the history of the country? Look no further than Siam Niramit, located in Phuket Town. They have several performances, including traditional shows and dances, and even a Muay Thai boxing exhibition. However it is best to arrive as early as possible before the show and explore all the center offers, including a mock traditional Thai village set up.
Thailand has no shortage of Buddhist temples (over 40,000 in total) however if you only have time to visit one temple in Phuket, Wat Chalong is the one. The architecture and colors will blow you away. In addition, the view from the upper level is truly breathtaking and a fantastic photo opportunity. However those who really want to see the Wat in style — not to mention many other sites around the island — might consider hiring a private guide for a full day tour around Phuket.
Derek Freal is a guest author and head traveler behind The HoliDaze, a travel blog full of off-the-beaten-path destinations and offbeat adventures. Currently he’s approaching the six year anniversary of quitting his job to travel the world and has no end in sight. Feel free to tweet him @the_HoliDaze with any of your travel questions or concerns.