Offbeat and local attractions in Phuket, Koh Yao Yai and Bangkok and the best restaurants in each
Thailand 2007 (Source: sanchez jalapeno)
Thailand with it's majestic beaches and colorful cultures, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Here are some suggestions for the things you should do and see while in Thailand. I have handpicked the best in each of the destinations you mentioned. Read on!
Thailand's wild child - Phuket is where every one heads to get best of Thai partying! From -luxurious resorts, to scenic beaches and the ultimate Thai massage, Phuket is as close to paradise as you'll every get. Here are some suggestions for what to see while you are on the island.
Sculptures in Phuket, Thailand (Source: williamcho)
The beaches in Phuket are absolutely breathtaking. Here are a few suggestions:
Patong Beach (15 km from town) - Phuket's most developed beach offers numerous leisure, sporting, shopping and recreational options along its 3-km long cresent bay.This beautiful 3000 meter long beach gives you time to relax and enjoy the sun by the sea side. This most renowned beach of Phuket has wide variety of adventure sports, including, snorkeling, sailing and diving. This vibrant place gives all the entertainment a tourist wants.
(Source: William Cho)
Kata Beach (20 & 17 km from town) - Beautiful Kata is a gem, with its clear water flanked by lofty hills, and the picturesque Bu island sitting offshore. Kata still retains a village feel at its southern and northern ends and its beach more peaceful than Patong.
Panwa Beach (10 km from town) - The southernmost tip of this is home to a Marine Biological Research Centre, which housed Phuket's Aquarium, where several hundred exotic and flamboyantly colorful marine species found in the waters of Phuket and elsewhere can be seen. (A good option, especially to entertain your little one).
Surin Beach:This beach a perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon in. Go for a swim or just chill on the sand. The area is tranquil and not very crowded (if you're lucky you may have a huge stretch of coastline all to yourself). There are a few restaurants near by ,some of which are pretty good.
(Source: William Cho)
The Little Yoga Room (Ao Chalong Pier Road Chalong | Tel.: 0066 844 424 634) teaches the Ashtanga Primary Sequence in small and intimate groups. Courses are structured to meet the needs of both experienced yoga enthusiasts as well as beginners.
The Abbysan Yoga & Wellness Center (Abbysan Yoga & Wellness Center Co., Ltd., 27/13-14 Moo 4 W. Chao Fa Rd. A.Muang | Tel.: 076 304 277) is a relatively new yoga center in Phuket offering competent yoga classes and packages to visitors. They also specialize in Pilates. Please check their website for schedules and rates.
The Karuna Yoga Center (Akatani Village, 6/30 Moo 6, Kamala, Kathu, Phuket | Tel.: 087 885 8622) has been catering to the yoga and meditation needs of one and all. Set amidst a serene and peaceful environment, qualified yoga instructors and teachers offer many holistic healing packages.
ELEPHANT SAFARIS: For this exotic experience, there is no better place than the Khao Sok and Khao Lak's forested regions of Phuket.
Khao Sok stands a mere ninety minute drive from Phuket. Essentially a National Park, the area offers stunning views. A forest teeming with tropical birds and flora and fauna, many endemic to the region.
Khao Lak has not been discovered for long. A tiny place in Phang Nga, it remained hidden just north of Phuket Island. Completely offbeat with only the well read arriving here, this small place holds within itself as many as three national parks.
Phuket Elephant Trek (Source: iris)
If you want to keep it a short affair, go for one of the 30 min elephant treks. However, I doubt that will hardly suffice.
A Khao Lak Nature Tour is much more like it. Rates are at $86.28 for the half day tour. And here's what to expect (did I mention the bamboo rafting?):
A lumbering trip through beautiful shaded forest and rubber tree plantations with incredible views from the mountainside stretching out over the Andaman Sea. See fascinating elephant antics such as 'massaging' against a tree or picking leaves with its trunk, and be amazed as the large creature deftly navigates a narrow pathway clinging to the side of a mountain. After the ride, take a dip in the cool pool at the base of a waterfall, reached by an easy 10-minute walk.
Bamboo Rafting & Elephant Trekking (Source: Khao Lak Nature Tour)
Phuket, Thailand (Source: jeffgunn)
Phuket FantaSea (Source: coolinsights)
Dubbed the 'Ultimate Cultural Experience', this park offers the best of culture and entertainment in Phuket. Here's a snippet of what the park has to offer:
Phuket FantaSea is the island's biggest show. With trapeze artists, a cast of hundreds, performing elephants and other animals and an exotic storyline that blends tradition with fantasy you'll have a wonderful evening out here. But the extravaganza doesn't stop there as FantaSea also hosts one of the biggest buffets in Asia and is set in a theme park that offers carnival-like games, lots of shopping opportunities, a Palace of the Elephants, a Similan Adventure Centre several other food oulets. It's spectacular, it's extravagent, it's impressive and great entertainment value for all.
(Source: Phuket FantaSea - Phuket Attractions)
Take a virtual tour of the park here:
Views: 6866Rating: 5Duration: 238 secsThailand Phuket FantaSea ( The ultimative cultura theme park )
Address: 99 Moo 3, Kamala Beach,Kathu, Kamala, Phuket
Phone: 66 (076) 385 000
For more information on the events hosted at the park, go here!
A Thai massage is an integral part of the country's experience. While Bangkok has a few five-star options and many that claim to be so with, well, questionable standards, Phuket has a vast number of options.
Some recommended ones are:
- Gae’s Massage and Sauna: (On Saiyuan Road, Nai Harn, Phuket) - popular with locals and has some great massages and saunas which is offered in a lovely rustic location.
Phuket Royal Spa and Massage: (67/63-64 Yaowarat Road, Phuket Town, tel: (076) 236 663.) An well-run and upmarket option in the Sam Kong area. Offers excellent massage services and includes herbal sauna.
- Hutavat Thai Massage: (45/12 Phrabaramee Road) Not as distinguished as the above but easily one of the better maintained, quiet, clean and professional atmosphere you will find.
Spa (Source: Dennis Wong)
Bangkok is an eclectic combination of spirituality, consumerism and urban spelndour. You can't go to Thailand and not go to Bangkok. It's just not done and here's why:
Grand Palace, Bangkok (Source: clayirving)
A great beginning to the your Thai sojourn would be a visit to the ornate Grand Palace and the adjoining Wat Phra Kaew. It looks especially beautiful on a sunny morning. Both are of great historical significance and architectural and spiritual treasures in the country. More than 220 years old, the Grand Palace was the official residence of the king but is now a holy place for Thais as well as a popular tourist attraction. The Wat Phra Kaew houses the temple of Emerald Buddha, the palladium of Thai independence.
Grand Palace, Bangkok (Source: KTRawlings)
Address: Thanon Na Phra Lan, Phra Nakorn
Tel: 02 222 8181
Hours: 8:30am-4pm daily
Admission: $11.4 (including access to Dusit Park & either Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall or Sanam Chan Palace in Nakhon Pathom); free reductions
Warning: No bare feet and women must be modestly dressed.
Take a tour of the Chao Phraya River. You can stroll on its banks or take a charming cruise along the river and some canals on the Thon Buri side.
Lights on the Chao Phraya (Source: Dean Croshere)
Wat Phra Chetuphon (known as Wat Pho) is famous for housing the magnificent Reclining Buddha. The ornate gold-plated idol depicts Buddha’s passing into Nirvana. The eyes and feet are decorated with mother-of-pearl and carvings on the statue's feet depict the 108 characteristics of Buddha.
Apart from its beauty and historic significance, Wat Pho also happens to the center of Thai traditional medicine, especially the traditional Thai massage. Indulge in a rejuvenating massage!
Address: Rattanakosin area in the ‘Old City’.
Tel: +66 2226-0335
Admission: A little less than a dollar
Hours: 8am-5pm (but closed from 12pm-1pm)
Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho, Bangkok (Source: Irene2005)
Also in the area is the famed Wat Mahathat, the headquarter of the country's largest monastic order and Vipassana meditation centre. The temple is an important centre for the study of Buddhism and meditation. The temple is a popular place to learn the Vipassana Meditation and classes are held daily from 07:00 - 10:00, 13:00 - 16:00, and 18:00 - 20:00.
Address: Phra That Road, Old City (Rattanakosin)
wat mahathat bangkok (Source: telmo32)
To experience the unexplored, I would recommend that you first take a go for some of the 'off the beaten track' streets of Bangkok. These places bring out the real essence of the big city with it's hidden sois (backstreets), local cafes and food joints and leafy canals.
Khlong Toei - It is a district which dates back to the 9th Century when it served as a port to the city on the bank of Chao Praya River. Today the district is sub-divided into 3 sub-districts: Khlong Toei, Khlong Tan, Phra Khanong.
All smiles on the fruit stand too! (Source: antwerpenR)
This is a place which does not experience too much of tourist visits. However, the feel of the place is in extreme contrast to that of the standards of Bangkok. But for those adventurous ones, it would definitely serve the purpose to the best.
Here's a traveler's review:
Something of an enigma, this is central Bangkok's largest surviving shanty town. It looks like something you'd find on the filmset of Bladerunner rather than a real place, it's real. Filled with a huddled jumble of old wooden houses, markets full of cheap souvenirs, and narrow lanes, this isn't a place for the squeamish, it's next to the Chao Praya River, and here you'll see a slice of real Bangkok life.
(Source: Visit in Bangkok)
There are some other places within the district that might be of your interest such as Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Benjakitti Park - recently created, includes a big lake, Benjasiri Park - next to The Emporium and fairly new. Chuvit Garden, created by massage parlour tycoon-turned-politician Chuwit Kamolvisit is the newest public park is located in Khlong Toei Market.
You can use the Bangkok Skytrain, Bangkok Metro or the Eastern Bus Terminal to get here.
One of the most endearing aspects of a cultural visit to Thailand are the classical dances often accompanying dinner. There are many restaurants in Bangkok that offer the diners the subtle blend of culinary tastes and artistic skills of the dancers. The magnificent costumes, the detailed makeup and the slow moving steps are all quite enchanting.
New Year’s Dance (Source: Steve Jurvetson)
The Silom Village restaurant is particularly well known for this.
A visitor's take on the dances:
If you get a chance to view thai dancing, do it. Its really different to anything in the western world, very serene and calm, but often tells a story....Even if you dont understand whats going on, its still worth watching just to marvel at the costumes, and listen to the music....
Thai dancing, Bangkok (Source: VirtualTourist)
Thai Cultural Dance (Source: Jason D' Great)
There are thousands of floating market in Thailand, and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the most famous of all. About 2 hours drive from Bangkok, this colorful market is at its best early morning that is right before the place starts to get crowded. There are tons of vendors buying and selling goods in their long tail boats. The floating market here is something really not to be missed.
Here is an excerpt:
The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a very attractive place for tourists to see the old style and traditional way of selling and buying fruits, vegetables, etc., from small boats. Tourists will also see traditional Thai houses, the way they live and travel by boats, and please try riding on a small boat to experience the floating market and to see more. This is a worthwhile trip
(Source: Floating Market)
(Source: Tom BKK)
Getting There: There are couple of options to reach this market. 1. By private taxi from Bangkok 2. There are AC buses every 40 minutes from 6:00 am from Southern Bus Terminal. Pinklao-Nakhonchaisi Rd. for Damnoen Saduak. Charges are 49 Baht one way per person.
Getting Around: Walk on the edges of the canal or take a boat trip available for 300 Baht per hour
Tips: I would suggest that you reach the market early in the morning.
The most exciting and great way to go around the traffic logged city is to go for a cycling tour around Bangkok. For the ones with an eye for a detail and thriving to be different, this tour offers every opportunity to satisfy the instincts.
Street market - (Source: avlxyz)
A Saturday night tor around the historic heart of Bangkok - Rattanakosin Island, Wat Pho, Wat Suthat and Khao San Road will present you with a different picture of the Thai life. You may also explore the backstreets of China Town.
Bangkok: China Town (Source: felixtriller.)
Specialized tour operators arrange for the bicycle tours. Some of them are:
1. Grasshoper Adventures
57 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd, Phranakorn, +66-2-280-0832
Charges: 1000 - 1600 baht (30 - 50 USD)
2. Co Van Kessel
Charges: 950 - 1950 baht (30 - 63 USD)
3. Recreational Bangkok Biking
Baan Sri Kung, 350/127 Rama III Soi 71, +66-2-285-3955
Charges: About 100 baht (Around 30 USD)
Click here for more tour options.
Koh Yao Yai is a group of islands between Phuket and Krabi. An ideal place to laze around on the beaches in the island while taking in the local scenery, and the traditional flavour of this beautiful village. a lot of people in Thailand are of the opinion that these islands should be kept in the pristine conditions as they are right now, and hence Koh Yao is one of the places in the country where nature is as yet untouched by modernity. A tad underdeveloped by some standards, but undenaibly beautiful.
(Source: Daniel Pink)
There are some lovely beaches on this island:
- Haad pa Sai on Koh Yao Nai island, which is a 400 meter long beach and well known for the early morning sunrise views.
- Haad Klong Chak and Haad Tha Khao, the two stony beaches on the island. You can take a ferry from here to the Ao Kian beach nearby, and fulfill your spelunking dreams in the caves here.
cave (Source: matthewvenn)
Here are my suggestions for the best eats in all these places:
Yaowarat Road, or Bangkok's Chinatown, is famous for its street food and as night falls, the streets are teeming with foodies and food vendors alike. The food in China Town is not just Chinese - it's a delicious amalgamation of Chinese and Thai dishes. You can try out some of the Pad Kii Mao (Spicy Ground Chicken and Rice Noodles), grilled prawns, pork from any of the numerous stalls lining the street. For street sea food, try out the R + L Seafood stall.
Here is a review:
Chinatown has a long history of being the mixing pot for Thailand's most recent big immigrant group: the southern Chinese. This immigrant group brought with them woks, new seasonings, and cooking techniques like stir-frying. Combined with Thai produce, fish sauce, fermented fish pastes, and sour tamarind, a new category of food exploded, including the ubiquitous pad thai and other rice noodle dishes.
Thanying is an authentic Thai restaurant which specialises in royal Thai cuisine. The restaurant, which opened its doors in 1986, has been recommended in the New York Times and other media, as one of Bangkok's best Thai restaurants. You can opt for their set menus which offer dishes such as Tom Yam Goong, or try their a la carte menu with dishes such as sweet crispy noodles with soy bean sauce, deep friend bean curd with peanut in plum sauce dip, shrimp or squid battered and deep fried.
Here is a review of the place:
Operated by a Thai princess's son and his actor business partner, Thanying serves an extensive menu in the style of the Sukothai palace. Dive right in with meang, pieces of dried shrimp, shallot, ginger, lime, peanuts, crispy pork and chilli in a kale leaf with sweet sauce; the contrasting flavours and textures dance on the tongue.
(Source: Tatler Guide)
Price: USD 20 per person
Address: 10 Thanon Pramuan (Pramuan St.), off Silom Rd., between Silom 17 and 19, Bangrak, Bangkok
Contact: 02-236 4361
Visiting Phuket and not having a meal at the Pan Yaah Restaurant would be an absolute crime. Undoubtedly one of the finest restaurants in the city, this place offers the best of authentic Thai cuisine. Located perfectly on the Phuket beach the restaurant offers fine quality food along with an equally wonderful ambience. A must-try is the tom yum soup with prawns and the selection of stir-fried dishes.
(Source: Social Mediarts)
Here is a review:
Here is a good escape from busy Patong and some real Thai home cooking. The restaurant is a wooden deck overlooking the bay some 2km north of central Patong. The menu is classic Thai, with some one-dish meals like fried rice or noodles, but best enjoyed with friends sharing a number of courses, such as spicy tom yam soup with prawns, stir-fried dishes, and whole fish cooked to order. Prices are low and service is friendly and laid back.
(Source:New York Times Travel)
Address- 249 Prabaramee Rd, Patong, Phuket.
Prices- Main courses USD3-USD 4.30
Patong Seafood Restaurant is one of Patong's oldest restaurants, open since 1979. If you are looking for good quality seafood meals at affordable prices, this is the place to go. Specialties include lobster, squid, prawns and shellfish.
Tip: Reach early to avoid the crowds.
(Source: Kirti Poddar)
A couple of reviews:
Patong Seafood is an open air restaurant on the road facing Patong beach, just turn left at the end of Bangla Road. Plenty of curries to chose from, and of course, sea food. Pacific oysters on the half shel about 100 baht each, really fab mussels steamed in chili and lemograss, recommend
Take an evening stroll along the lively strip next to the beach and you'll find dozens of open-air seafood restaurants displaying their catch of the day on ice out front, accompanied by a pushy tout. This one is pretty typical of the lot, but has a long-established reputation. Like all the neighbors along here, it offers a selection of local fish
Address: 98/2 Taweevong Road, Patong Beach, Phuket. Call: 07634-0247
Opening hours: Daily 7am-11pm
Prices: From US$5 onwards
The Chum Chou floating restaurant in bang Rong is one of the best places to eat in Koh Yao. A small ferry ride away from the Koh Yao Nai village, and run by a family that's lived on the island for generations, this place promises an authentic meal accompanied by lovely views over the ocean.
Here's what a travel blogger and frequent visitor to the restaurant says:
I think we'll be back again soon, and here's why... It's quiet, it's relaxing and it's friendly. We probably had not been for a year, but they remembered us and commented on how big the kids looked. We felt a bit guilty that we only went for drinks, so bought a couple of plates of fried rice for the kids too. Next time we'll go for a proper lunch!
(Source: Martin Bartosch)
Another good restaurant on the island is the Je T'aime, run by a Danish woman named Dora. Hospitality is the spice that sweetens the food in this eatery, and the cuisine is sumptous to say the least. A refreshing change from the traditional fare in Thailand, here's where you can get some French styled food. Highly recommended by all who travel to this part of Thailand, and a must visit, not only for the food but also for the well chos
Praises for the resto:
The atmosphere is super and the staff are very friendly and most helpfull - if you need it. We were in the restaurant almost every day for great coffee and breakfast, the most amazing thai - and french - food and the very sweet staff. They make the best french fries on the island - and believe me - we have tried some:-)) We can only recommend that you visit JÂ´taime at least once - if you donÂ´t get addicted....
Address: 21/1 Moo 1, Koh Yao Noi
Note: The food in this restaurant is made with many imported ingredients, and hence the prices are slightly higher than other Thai restaurants.
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