As one of the more popular tourist destinations in Thailand, it is no wonder that Phuket boasts a wide range of photogenic attractions. This guide looks at some of the best places to visit for those who want to snap some amazing holiday pictures in this idyllic tropical paradise. Regardless of the camera, these locations should provide some amazing visual souvenirs for travelers and locals alike.
The destinations listed below are in no particular order, as all promise plenty of chances for some great holiday pictures. Just remember to keep your cameras ready!
Found at the southern tip of Phuket, Laem Promthep (or Cape Promthep in English) presents a great many photo opportunities. During the day, the site offers magnificent coastal views with several, nearby islands poking up from the deep blue waters. This is also a popular place to visit at dusk when the landscape is filled with the golden rays of the setting sun.
As one of the largest religious landmarks in Phuket, the Big Buddha is certainly a magnet for camera enthusiasts. At 45 meters high, the Buddha is visible from just about everywhere on the island as it is also perched atop a hill. From there, travelers can witness 360° views of the island which encompass Phuket Town, Kata Beach, Chalong Bay and much more. The Big Buddha is made from white marble and is a great photo opportunity in itself.
One of the hidden gems of Phuket Town are the Sino-Portuguese buildings which were built there over a century ago. Those visiting these houses and shopfronts can find them in the Old Town on Rasada Road, Phang Nga Road, Thalang Road, Dibuk Road and Krabi Road. As well as having some amazing examples of Portuguese and Chinese architecture, the many markets, restaurants, and cafes in the area will further ensure that your camera never gets a break.
The natural scenery of the Racha Islands (often called the Raya Islands) provides plenty of photo opportunities for the eager traveler. The main beach here is situated within a shallow bay that boasts crystal clear, turquoise waters. The beach itself is white and lined with trees, a natural haven that simply begs to be photographed. Those with waterproof cameras should also bring them along as these islands also contain some stunning coral reefs and abundant marine life.
Bang Pae Waterfall
Anyone who is searching for something other than seaside photos should visit Bang Pae Waterfall in Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. This spot is well traveled by the locals and those who bring their cameras will get a good chance to snap some photos of ordinary Thai life on the island of Phuket. The waterfall itself also provides some great shots with its 10 meter cascade and narrow ravine at the base.
For some more lively photographs, travelers can book a ticket to Phuket FantaSea, a cultural theme park located on Kathu Beach. Open at nighttime, this venue boasts a number of great photo opportunities including theatrical performances, elephant parades, Thai dancing, and much more. Here, photographers can capture some of the local culture as well as the essence of Phuket’s vibrant nightlife.
Away from the crowds of Patong, Kata Beach presents a quieter, more beautiful side to Phuket. Its clean, white sand and clear waters make it a truly photogenic location. This is improved further at sunset when the golden rays of the sun and the ocean waves intertwine. During December, the bay fills up with yachts for the King’s Cup Regatta, yet another great moment to bring out the camera.
James Bond Island
Found two hours north of Phuket in Phang Nga Province, James Bond Island is a popular day trip. Known locally as Koh Tapu, this karst formation is one of the more unusual in the region. The narrow shape, steep cliffs and still ocean waters beneath combine to make an amazing image. There are also plenty of sunset cruises in the region, giving photographers the chance to take a few shots of the island at one of the most beautiful times of day.
Yet another island in Phang Nga Province, Hong Island can be visited on a daytrip from Phuket. Consisting of numerous caves which can only be explored by canoe, this island presents a range of unique photographic moments. The beaches, limestone cliffs and turquoise waters all combine to make an incredible destination that is sure to please even the most casual camera enthusiast.
When taking a camera out and about in Phuket, it may be tempting to capture everything of interest. In some situations, it is necessary to show some restraint however. Here are a few techniques to help avoid causing disagreements or offense when taking photos:
- Always ask permission before taking someone’s picture. Some people may not want their photo taken and may protest. Look past the exotic dress and the unusual activities and remember that the local Phuket residents are more than just photographic prospects. They are people as well.
- Be careful when it comes to taking pictures of particular Buddhist rites. Some, such as weddings and cremations may be private affairs, and keen photographers should always ask before taking any photos. Other ceremonies which are more communal are usually safe, however.
- While Thailand is a generally friendly country, it pays to still be cautious when photographing any sort of government or military location. Getting into trouble with the local authorities is certainly not worth the image or two you may snap at that official site.
Care should also be taken when asking someone to take a photo. Remember that they could easily run off with the camera in the process. While most locals are trustworthy, it pays to choose wisely before handing your camera to anyone. Staying smart will provide you with a few extra pictures instead of a lost camera.