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Asia » Thailand » Phuket

Hedonistic Phuket seduces all comers with a smooth blend of ostentation and seediness. Thailand’s largest and most popular island, Phuket is as colourful as it is cosmopolitan and one of the world’s most famous dream destinations. Phuket boasts some lush inland vistas, including a few remote swathes of rainforest, but the island really comes into its own along its western shoreline, where hunter green foliage meets the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. Mile upon sandy mile of coastline boasts tons of water sports, delectable restaurants and decadent resorts. The cultural heart is in Old Phuket, the stomping ground of the Baba people who emerged along with the tin mining industry 100 years ago. Their legacy is a Sino-Portuguese treasure trove of mansions and shop houses, creaky teak shrines and local markets that unfurl alongside funky art galleries, hip restaurants, cafes and chic boutiques.

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Anyone who thinks that a vacation in Phuket consists of just beach, beach, beach is going to be pleasantly surprised. The island has a rich heritage that is shown through the prism of its temples, Sino-colonial architecture and old town - all worth visiting.

Nature abounds in Phuket and there are still some beautiful spots to visit and admire the views and flora. Surrounded by the Andaman Sea, you can observe some of the creatures that live in it at the renovated Phuket Aquarium at Cape Panwa. Phuket has also several stunning viewpoints for that golden Kodak moment.


Things to do in Phuket


Phang Nga - North east of Phuket

Phang Nga Bay is unique. A day out here is an unforgettable experience that will definitely get you thinking. A distinctive feature of the bay is the sheer limestone cliffs that jut vertically out of the emerald-green waters. These islands are home to sheltered fauna that are possible to observe on certain tours. James Bond Island and Koh Panyee are just two of the more famous spots in this bay.


Old Phuket Town Phuket Town

Sino-Portuguese splendours and funky shops in the most unlikely places will surprise and delight you in the heart of Phuket's sleepy provincial capital. Phuket town offers much more than you think with some excellent restaurants and local sights. The unique blend of colonial and Chinese architecture along with a tangible quaintness makes for a fascinating and unforgettable afternoon spent sauntering around Phuket's Old Town. Expect the unexpected and don't forget your camera.


Bangla Road Nightlife Patong Beach

There are few things in this world to prepare you for an after-dark stroll down Patong's Bangla Road. However, a sense of humour and an open mind are prerequisites if you're looking to have some fun. In fact, there's only one undeniable and obvious fact about Bangla – it's nothing like home. With its ladyboys, exotic girls, enchanted westerners (mostly male) and enough extraverts to fill a Disney cast of thousands, shopping or sipping on a beer at Bangla Road at night is a definite 'Dear Diary' moment.


Simon Cabaret Show Patong Beach

Simon Cabaret - probably the biggest transvestite cabaret show to be found locally. This show features a spectacular musical floor show performed by the world famous ladyboys of Simon Cabaret. See for yourself - guys, can you tell the difference? And ladies - wouldn't you just die for a figure like that? Fabulous costumes, glitzy and fun.


Wat Chalong and Phuket Temples Chalong

Wat Chalong is one of Phuket's most important temples and visited by thousands each year. It's beautifully decorated with infinite reflections from hundreds of tiny glass pieces and several pagodas. On special holidays Wat Chalong hosts 'country fairs' with a real local flavour where you can buy just about anything and snack on Thai food to your heart's content. Wat Chalong has an interesting history and is Phuket Island's spiritual centre. You haven't seen Phuket if you've never visited this fascinating temple.


Big Buddha Chalong

Visible from most of the south of Phuket, the Big Buddha is a recent arrival to the island. The image stands on the top of the Nakkerd Hills and looks down over Chalong, Kata and Rawai. It cost 30 million baht to construct and is 45 metres high. Next to it stands a smaller, golden image that is actually made of brass and there is a shrine near the site's car park. The drive up to the Big Buddha takes you through the 'real' Thailand and the view from the top is enhanced if you take a map to identify the many, many sights.


Spend a Day (or two) on Phi Phi Island Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Island is Thailand's island-superstar. It's been in the movies. It's the topic of conversation for travelers all over Thailand. For some, it's the only reason to touchdown in Phuket. Even with all the hype, it doesn't disappoint. Phi Phi's beauty is a large chunk of the allure. The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to beach-fronted jungle. It's love at first sight.


Phuket FantaSea Show Kamala Beach

It's wacky but fun and very professionally done. Trapeze artists, elephants on stage and pyrotechnics combine in a Las Vegas-style show. You'll see nothing else like it anywhere on the planet. Combining Thai traditional myths with humour, fantasy and a loose plotline that keeps getting more and more amusing, FantaSea's extravaganza is a highly entertaining and riveting show that deserves to be top of our Top Ten Must See and Do in Phuket list.


Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) Patong Beach - Rawai

Rapidly gaining popularity all over the world, Muay Thai is an electrifying spectacle to watch. Visit Saphan Hin Stadium in Phuket City to see regular matches with well-trained martial arts experts. Or try Patong Beach, where you can also see the skill and dexterity of these super-fit fighters. Tradition and courtesy are at the heart of this dangerous contact sport and a good Muay Thai participant is ultra-disciplined in spirit as well as body. Join the spectators and feel the rush. to see regular matches with well-trained martial arts experts.


Phuket Viewpoints Kata - Nai Harn - Panwa

There are many viewpoints looking out over east and west Phuket affording sunrise as well as sunset views. Ok, so everyone goes to Promthep but it doesn't make it any less spectacular. There, you'll get fabulous views over the ocean stretching as far as Phi Phi Island on a good day. Check out Phuket's other viewpoints such as the 'Three Beaches' hilltop venue on the road between Nai Harn and Kata or sip a cocktail at the After Beach Bar (also on the same road) while the golden ball slips into the western horizon.


Go on excursion to the island Krabi, enjoy the beautiful beaches white its white sand en bleu ocean.


Nightlife in Phuket


The nightlife scene is well and truly alive in Phuket and particularly in Patong where you will find the majority of the bars and clubs. Here you will witness the craziness of Bangla Road, with thumping loud music and bars and clubs all lit up. Phuket Nightlife

From late afternoon till the sun comes up, Bangla Road is closed off to the traffic and becomes a walking street and its party time and every night of the week is like a Saturday night, all year round.

Bangla Road has many Soi’s or side streets running off the road and expect to be hassled to enter the bars or clubs walking down any of these to enter a bar, a nightclub, or to see a show.

There are Beer Bars, Go Go Bars, Night Clubs, Discos, Live Music Venues, Sports Pubs, Cabaret Shows, and Karaoke Bars in Bangla and you are spoilt for choice as all these venues are located all right next to each other.


Bars: There are too many bars in Patong to name them all and there are some different types of bars, to keep all kinds of tourists entertained. Most of the bars cater for single males of all ages and employ women to keep them entertained. The Aussie Bar, located about half way down Bangla Road, is a favourite place for Aussie’s to have a drink and the bar is one of the largest in Bangla Road and you can’t miss it when you walk past as it is so big. There are many other smaller bars all around Patong with most of them being very small open air bars, which are located right next to other competing bars, especially in Bangla Road. The Kangaroo Bar, the Honky Tonk Bar and P-One, are also very popular bars on Bangla.


Beer Bars: These bars are everywhere in Bangla Road and are basically a bar that employs pretty girls known as bar girls to stand out the front trying to lure customers inside to drink at the bar or keep them there by entertaining them.

Once you enter the bar, you will more than likely be asked to play connect four, the jackpot game, or hammer the nail into a piece of wood. When plying these games, don’t play for drinks because you will most likely lose. Remember these girls play these games every night and have had a lot of practice, so don’t waste your money on this.

The best option is the jackpot game, because its simply a game of rolling 2 dice to match the numbers on the top of the panel, and its all luck. You can actually score yourself free drinks playing the jackpot game.

For a small fee known as a bar fine, the bar girl can be relieved of her duties at the bar and is allowed to go with anyone she wants. The prices of the bar fines vary but are usually around 300 to 500 Baht.


Go Go Bars: There are go go bars in Patong and a go go bar is a bar where good looking girls who are  wearing very little, dance around poles to the music. Expect to pay more for drinks at these places than what you would at a Beer Bar and any other place in Patong. Some of the most popular go go bars here are Rock Hard A Go Go and Roxy A Go Go.


Nightclubs and Discos

Patong has quite a few decent nightclubs and discos with loud pumping sound systems and the occasional international dj. The clubs here have a mixture of Thai people (mostly females) and tourists from all over the world.

Hollywood:  Plays mostly hip hop and electro music every night and this is a favourite place for the Thai girls to have a dance and it is jam packed every night of the week. Patong  Nightlife Hollywood has quality lighting and a really good sound system and the management here know what they are doing as they put on ladies nights and prizes and extra free drinks to keep the women coming back every night. You can expect to be approached by many friendly ladies when you are in this club. Hollywood is open till very late and it really gets going after 2 am.


Tiger:  Is also a hot spot for the Thai girls, here they pump out a mixture of dance music from house to hip hop and electro. Its big and gets a large crowd here, especially later on in the night. The women are not shy here either.


Seduction:  Is more popular among the tourists but you will still see many Thai women here. Seduction often has well known international dj’s playing and 2 floors of quality thumping sound systems pumping out hip hop and house.


Banana Disco: Is on the main beach road around the corner from Bangla Road and is an older club that has been around for a while. The disco is more suited to an older tourist crowd.


Tai Pan:  Located on Rat U Thit Road, strait across the road from Bangla. The club has a mixture of djs and live bands with the bands playing early in the night and dj’s later on in the night.


Baya Beach: A smaller club situated right between Tai Pan and Rock City and is pretty popular with both the tourists and the Thai girls. It is known to get busy here after 2.00am and is often still open until daylight.


Factory Bar:  One of the newer clubs to hit the scene. This club has a slightly open air setting with a large bar and views over Bangla Road. The club plays hip hop, dance music and classic hits. There are also regular bikini shows.


Famous:  The newest club in Phuket which is located where Sound Club used to be. Some world class dj’s have played here and it is the place to be if you are into dance music. Famous has a beach club and a rooftop swimming pool which has a clear bottom which you can look up into from the nightclub or down into the nightclub. The club is very popular with Russian tourists.


Live Music Venues: There are some live music venues particularly where the end of Bangla Road, meets Rat U Thit Road. Margaritas, Rock City and Tai Pan are the main venues for live bands which play throughout the night. Patong Night Life


Sports Pubs: The name pretty much says it all, pubs with big screens in them where you can enjoy a drink and watch your favourite sport. They have live satellite viewing from around the world with soccer, racing, rugby and rugby league.


Pubs: There are your usual pubs here too, which also show some sports events when they are available and have the typical things in them that most pubs have, such as – pool, darts, etc. Many of these pubs are also part restaurant.


Cabaret Shows: Surprisingly enough, people like to go and see these shows, where transvestites (Lady Boys) dress up and put on a show. Here you can see Thai men who look a lot like ladies and put on a colourful display.


Karaoke Bars: There are a few karaoke bars in the Bangla Road area, most of them have a band with live music that you can sing along to. These bars cater mostly for the older crowds and play older styles of music. Most of the karaoke places outside of the Bangla Road area cater for Thai people and play mostly Thai songs, which no westerner would know. As a westerner at one of these places, listening to people sing Thai love songs can be torture.


Thai Boxing: You only have to be in Patong for not even a day when you would have heard the annoying voices coming out of a loudspeaker of a ute – repeating the same things over and over, trying to promote the Thai Boxing. The boxing at Bangla Boxing Stadium, is fake which some tourists either don’t know about or don’t really care and just want to see a good show. The real boxing is at Patong Boxing Stadium. Here you will see fights for real titles.


Lady Boys: There are many lady boys in Phuket and Patong has the largest concentration of them and you will see most of them hanging around Club Crocodile and in and out the front of Soi Crocodile.

Most newcomers here love to have their photo taken with them, but expect them to ask you for money to get the picture taken. If you don’t pay them they can get quiet nasty and they don’t care if they make a scene or not.

Lady boys can be serial pests, annoying the drunk tourists, hoping you will think their real woman so they can go back to your hotel. Towards the end of the night, they can get pretty desperate and will hassle any man who walks past them.

Most lady boys are tall, much taller than the usual Thai girl, so that is one way to spot them out. Other ways are to watch them walk, they walk like gay men, also listen to them talk, if the voice is deep or there is any doubt, don’t go there, unless of coarse you are interested in lady boys and believe it or not, some men actually are interested in them. Other things to look for are the Adams Apple, really long fake eyelashes, contact lenses and way too much makeup.


Nightlife in Other Phuket Areas

Karon: There are a number of bars here and even some beer bars. Most of the bars here are concentrated in and near the area known as The Circle. Some people prefer the laid back feel of Karon over places like Patong.


Kata: Has a similar nightlife scene to Karon and has many bars all located together at the northern end with plenty ofbar girls around and the occasional bar here and there in other areas of Kata.


Surin Beach: Has some bars located near or on the beach and a well known nightclub and bar and resturant called - Stereo Lab. Djs here play a range of dance music such as – house, hip hop, breaks and lounge music and the occasional international dj has been known to drop in to spin a few tunes from time to time.


Phuket Town: Most clubs and bars here cater for Thai people, with places that are filled with locals having a good time dancing to there favourite tunes or singing Karaoke. Tourists have been known to go out in Phuket Town too, but its a bit of a hike to get here for a night out if you are staying on the western side of the island. There are many places in Phuket Town to sing Karaoke, but as mentioned before, it can be quiet boring for any westerner who doesn’t know any of the Thai songs or language.


Tips on dating Asian women


If you are interested in dating Asian women, or you are already dating one, then you should know a little about their culture, customs and expectations in order to ensure that you have a smooth path. The way that you would date an American woman is quite different to what many women of Asian descent will respond to.

Appearances and pride are very important to many different Asian cultures. They often have a strong concept of saving face, which means that they must uphold appearances. For this reason they will rarely be attracted to a guy that it unkempt or shabby in appearance. What their family thinks is also very important to them and they will rarely do anything to bring shame upon their family or disrespect them.

An Asian girl will also expect that you take the lead on the choices about where to go on a date. Saying "you choose what to do" will not work well with her as she is likely to interpret that as you not making an effort. In general, you should make bookings or dinner reservations and pay for any date that you go on.


Asian women are feminine, beautiful, exotic, interesting and intelligent. They are often attentive and passionate partners who will be loyal and supportive: if you would like to date an Asian woman, then it is worth learning more about their culture and expectations of gentlemen.


Since many Asian girls have quite traditional values, and they want to be wooed and romanced in a more traditional way. This means that they will respond well to cute little tokens of your affection and actions that demonstrate it. They will also appreciate efforts to understand her culture and customs.