Phuket offers scuba diving, fishing, surfing, snorkeling, parasailing, cable skiing or kite surfing, or just relaxing on the beach. From sea kayaking in Phang Nga to visiting a waterpark in Mai Khao Beach, outdoor activities are readily available. A premier tropical island destination, Phuket offers a great deal of outdoor and watersport activities.
Taking a break from the winter months to sunbathe on the pristine beaches or swim in the 28 degree water is easy in Phuket. There are many beaches surrounding Phuket, but the most popular are the sandy beaches on the West Coast. Reclining chairs and beach tables are available for around 200 THB for a pair for the day. Many of the local bars and restaurants will gladly serve people on the beach, making it that much easier to enjoy. During the high season, these provide for a relaxing day in the sun. In the low season the undertow should not be ignored. Red flags will be posted on the beach if the currents are not safe to swim.
Sea Kayaking Phuket
Phuket offers several different options for sea kayaking. There are multiple trips to go visit and kayak the sea caves at Phang Nga, or kayak the mangroves of Phuket on the East side of the island.
Taking a kayaking tour of Phang Nga offers a unique experience to explore the sea caves. When the tide is just right to enter, paddling through the caves offers an up-close view of the caves themselves in addition to the sea life they host. It is possible to take a night tour of Phang Nga by kayak. The limestone landscape and bioluminescence in the emerald green water creates quite a spectacle under the starlight. Not only is the night tour a truly unique opportunity, it is also the least crowded. Only a limited number of kayakers are taken each day to the sea caves so booking in advance is highly recommended, even for the night tour. The prices for day and night tours range from 3,000-5,000 THB.
Surfing in Phuket
Most of Phuket’s West Coast offers the opportunity to surf and is rapidly becoming well known throughout Asia as a surfing destination. Some of the beaches even host international surfing competitions. While the conditions cannot compare to Hawaii or Australia, the consistency of the waves offers a great place for beginners to learn. Surfing must be done in the rainy season. In the dry season the ocean is too calm for surfing. Private instruction is available at most beaches and costs around 800-1,000 THB per hour. Surfboards can be rented for 150 THB per hour, or 500 THB per day.
Snorkeling the Reefs
Snorkeling is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to enjoy Phuket, especially on the West Coast. Some of the reefs in certain areas were damaged by overcrowding and overuse, but many are now protected. The main beach areas are usually too sandy for good snorkeling, but the edges are usually lined with rock outcroppings. The rockier the terrain is the better for attracting many different types of tropical fish. The water temperature on average is 27-28 degrees. Sunscreen is a must while snorkeling as it is very easy to loose track of time and get burned. Snorkeling equipment can be rented for around 150 THB for the day.
Snorkel Tours are also available to some of the better locations around the island. Frequent trips leaving from Chalong or Rawai Pier head to the Phi Phi or Raya Islands. These are a little more expensive, but they offer some of the best snorkeling in some of the most beautiful reefs in the world. The price for day trips to the Raya Islands is around 1500 THB.
To get a more up-close look at the reefs, there are many scuba diving opportunities. For those who have never scuba dived, lessons are readily available. Scuba diving is very popular in Phuket and dive shops are common. These establishments offer individual and group dive instruction in addition to running several dive tours around the island. The equipment can be rented for around 500-750 THB for the basics.
Obtaining a PADI certification to be a licensed diver takes about two days and cost between 10,000-15,000 THB. Dive tours depart from Phuket to many of the surrounding areas, including diving Koh Phi Phi and the Raya Islands. The price range of these tours is 1,500-3,500 THB.
Parasailing in Phuket
Parasailing is a great activity for the more adventurous types. Parasailing is when someone fastens themselves in the rigging of a parachute. The parachute is then attached to a long lead-line that is connected to a speedboat. Once secure in the rigging, the parachuter gives the signal and the speed boat takes off, dragging the parasailor behind. It accelerates until the parachute has caught sufficient wind to climb, lifting the parasailor up for a sky-ride. Parasailing is much like waterskiing on air.
In Thailand, this ride is usually accompanied by a guide who rides just above the parasailor. The guide’s primary function is to steer the parachute and to ensure safety. Parasailor can expect a thrill as they get an aerial view of the area. Parasailing can be found in Patong, Kata, Nai Harn and Rawai Beaches. The price range for parasailing is 1,500-2,000 THB.
Cable Skiing Phuket
Near Kathu, Phuket Cable Ski offers a different kind of water skiing. A cable system over a manmade lake pulls people on their choice of board. The lake is over 400 meters long, so the ride is long enough to make it worth while and the cable can run over 50 kmh.
The price includes the use of any board, whether it is a wakeboard, water skis, or a mono-board. Life jackets are provided and required to be worn while riding. There is also free instruction for any of the boards provided. For the more advanced boarders, jumps, ramps, and other obstacles are set up to make the run more challenging. The price range is 500 THB for 30 minutes, to 1,500 THB for the day.
Kite Surfing Phuket
Kitesurfing is an adventure surface water sport that has been described as combining wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport. In kitesurfing, someone fastens their feet to a board and holds on to what looks like a giant kite. The kite catching the wind is actually what pulls the boarder, and can reach very high speeds depending on the wind.
There are several opportunities to kitesurf in Phuket. For beginners, the calmer waters and slower winds of the East side are more appropriate. For the more experienced, the whipping winds of the West side can offer a greater challenge. Instruction is offered in Chalong and Rawai and ranges between 1,100 THB for the discovery package, to 16,000 THB for a full 3-day certification course. For the equipment, the price range is around 1,200 THB per hour or 3,500 THB for the day.
Fishing Trips from Phuket
The fishing around Phuket is outstanding, particularly the sportfishing. There is year around tuna fishing, with excellent opportunities for Yellowfin, Marlin or Sailfish between October and March. Within 15 minutes of departing Chalong Pier, an angler can be in waters supporting some of the best sailfish in the world. Charters are available for almost any size and duration.
There is also a less expensive option of renting a Thai longtail boat. This will truly test an angler’s skill as they will be hand-jigging for fish. These boats usually cost 400-600 THB per hour, and can hold about four people. Larger vessels are available for parties of any size and the guides and will go straight to where the fish are. The price can vary greatly, from 5,000-40,000 THB per day.
With such a wide variety of outdoor and water sports to choose from, Phuket can offer something for everyone.