There are so many ways to get close to nature in Phuket – in fact the island is practically bursting with opportunities for this type of contact. The surrounding sea is teeming with marine life, and there are also rainforests and mangrove to explore. There is not even any real need to make much of an effort to get close to nature in Phuket because it is simply everywhere!
Khao Phra Thaeo National Park
Khao Phra Thaeo National Park is to the north of the island. Most of Phuket was once covered in rainforest, but this 23 square kilometers of park is all that is really left of this. It is possible to go on treks through the area, and there is still plenty of wildlife to be seen. It is nice to spend some time in this park and imagine what the island used to be like.
Siranit National Park
Siranit National Park covers 90 square kilometers to the north of the island – it includes the beaches in this area. This national park was created to preserve the local area.
Khao Suk National Park
Khao Suk Natoinal Park is actually in nearby Surat Thani, but it is close enough to Phuket to be considered a local attraction. This is one of the most important wildlife preserves in Thailand as it is one of the oldest rainforest in the world. The park covers an area of 738.74 square kilometers, and it is definitely worth visiting if people have the time.
There are also small parks in Phuket Town and other parts of the island. In the early mornings and evenings it is usual for Thai people to go here to exercise.
Phuket Outdoor Activities to Get Closer to Nature
Here are just some of the outdoor activities that will bring people closer to nature in Phuket:
- There are numerous companies offering elephant trekking tours, and these usually last for a few hours and involve exploring the jungles of Phuket island on the back of this animal.
- Horse Riding is a nice way to explore the local beaches. A good option for this would be Phuket Horse Club, and they offer one to two hour trips – the most popular time to go is around sunset.
- There are trekking tours to Khao Phra Thaeo National Park and Ton Sai Waterfall.
- If people prefer to walk at a more leisurely pace they will find that places like; Karon Beach, Kamala Beach, and the Old Town in Phuket City are perfect for this.
- Another good way to explore the islands is by going on some long runs on the roads and beaches. Running is a popular activity in Phuket, but staying safe needs to be a priority as traffic can be a nightmare in some areas, and some roads are full of potholes – dogs can also be a real nuisance.
- A nice way to enjoy the outdoors is to go on a bike tour. There are a number of companies on the island providing organized trips including Amazing Bike Tours, Bike Tours Thailand, and Siam Bike Tours.
- The most relaxing way to get close to nature is to play some golf. There are a number of courses to choose from on the island including;Loch Palm Golf Club, Phuket Country Club, and Laguna Phuket Golf Club.
- Zipline Adventures provide a fun way to explore the Phuket jungle canopy. There are currently two companies providing this type of tour; Phuket Cable Jungle Adventure and Flying Hanuman.
Zoos and Wildlife in Phuket
Some of the best places to see living creature would include:
Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World
Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World has an impressive collection of almost 6000 butterflies covering 40 different species. There are also other insects to see here as well. Children tend to love this place, but there is enough here to keep adults entertained for a couple of hours as well. It costs 300 THB for anyone over the age of 10 years – kids younger than this only pay 150 THB (prices correct as of early 2013)
Phuket Zoo is located near to Ao Chalong. This is a private zoo that opened in 1997. It covers 30 rai (12 acres) of land, and there is a good selection of animals to see. There are also regular shows here throughout the day – including monkey shows, elephant shows, and crocodile shows.
Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre is located in Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. The aim of this project is to protect the Gibbon population on the island, and to rehabilitate those Gibbons who were previously kept as pets. Visitors are welcome to come here, and they will get to find out about the good work that goes on here – it will also make them think twice about giving donations to those people who bring Gibbons to the entertainment areas of Phuket in order to get money.
Marine Life in Phuket
So far we have been concentrating on land based activities, but Phuket is an island and this means that there is plenty of marine life as well. Here are a few ideas for how to get close to the sea in Phuket:
- If people really want to enjoy the local marine life the best option is to go scuba diving. If you throw a stone in any of the tourist areas of Phuket you will almost certainly hit a dive shop, so you should have no problem arranging a day underwater.
- Snorkeling is a bit less demanding than scuba diving, and the best places to do this would be Kata Beach or Ao Sane. It is also possible to go on organized snorkeling tours.
- Kite Surfing allows people to feel at one with the waves while enjoying one of the best adrenalin rushes possible. If kite surfing seems a bit too extreme you can also enjoy the waves by surfing normally.
- On the east coast of Phuket is some of the best examples of Mangrove forest on the island. The best way to explore this area is from the water in a kayak.
- If people enjoy fishing they will find that there is plenty to keep them occupied on the island – this activity can be enjoyed from land or by boat. There is also freshwater fishing at Sawai Lake.
- Phuket Aquarium is the best way to get close to the local marine life while still staying dry. It is located on sakdidej Road, and they open daily from 08:30 to 16:30 – admission fee 100 THB for adults and 50 THB for children (Thais pay a cheaper price).
Nature from the Air in Phuket
Those people who are looking for a truly unique way to get close to nature in Phuket might like to take to the skies. Some options for this would include:
- Parasailing is one of the easiest ways to take to the air, and you will be able to ascend as high as 1,200 feet to get a great view of the scenery below.
- Probably the most exhilarating way to see Phuket from the air is to go on a helicopter tour – these start from about 4,900 THB (as of early 2013)