Phuket is home to some of the best golf courses in Asia and is one of the most popular golf holiday destinations. But did you know there is more to Phuket than the standard and more commercial holiday areas? Let us help you get more from your golf holiday by recommending some of the island’s more untapped areas and activities.
Over the past couple of decades, tourism in Phuket has literally tipped off the scales, which in some respects is a great thing for the Thailand tourism industry in general. However, this means that most of the island has become – in a commercial sense – well-trodden. As a resident of Phuket for over five-years, I have seen and done things on the island that most holidaying in Phuket never get to experience.
The main tourist regions in Phuket are the likes of Patong, Karon and Kata, but in all honesty, there is something to see and do in every corner of the island but holidaymakers very seldom get to see the island in all its full glory. Please enjoy my off the beaten track in Phuket information, which can turn your holiday into something a little special and unique.
Secluded Phuket Beaches
Most tourists holidaying in Phuket don’t get very far away from the more commercialized Phuket beaches such as Patong. If you just explore a little, you will find yourself on deserted beaches, the likes of which you only see in your dreams.
Starting at the north east of Phuket, you will find Nai Yang Beach, just a five-minute drive from Phuket International Airport. During the low-season months (April-November), you will be the only person on this majestic stretch of sand.
At the northernmost spot on Phuket, you can experience the wilderness style beach of Haad Sai Gaew, roughly translated as Crystal Sands. Situated at the northern end of Mai Khao Beach, here you will find some quaint grass topped restaurants and an uncluttered beach that is usually desolate.
Slightly north of the popular Bang Tao Beach, there is a stretch of sand known as Layan Beach, although contrary to popular belief, the beach is south of Layan Bay. Because no major roads run directly through Layan, not so many people visit this beach.
Ya Nui Beach is located between the viewpoints of Laem Phromthep and Kata Viewpoint on the south western coast of Phuket within a quaint cove. The beach is a snorkeler’s paradise, and with the small island of Koh Keyao Noi just 400 meters away, you can take a refreshing swim. The beach is just over 150 meters in length and a great place to have a little stop off to enjoy the scenery.
Tucked Away Phuket Restaurants
Phuket is awash with restaurants, but there are some special restaurants that to the naked holidaymaker’s eye are virtually invisible and only found by those in the know. One of the favorite restaurants for island residents is Friendship Beach, nestled against Chalong Bay on the south eastern coast of Phuket between Chalong and Rawai. Serving delicious western and Thai cuisine, Friendship Beach Restaurant is one of those getaway restaurants that you love on first sight. The food is excellent and the stunning backdrop of outlaying islands and the distant Cape Panwa is simply breathtaking. On Friday nights, you can enjoy a spot of live blues music, while Sunday afternoon from 4:30pm onwards, there is a live jazz band playing soothing melodies. The ambiance of the restaurant is conducive to a relaxing evening or afternoon meal.
Phuket and seafood go together like a knife and fork! The island is famous for the freshest and tastiest seafood in the whole of Thailand. Inexpensive and exquisite, if you ever wanted to sample certain seafood dishes that are relatively expensive in the western world such as oysters, Phuket is the perfect place to start.
Seafood restaurants in Phuket are at every turn, but to find the best and most affordable, I just follow the local Thai people. Of course, you could visit Savoey Seafood Restaurant on Patong Beach and have a great experience, but it will be no comparison for some of the more off the beaten path seafood eateries.
The seafood restaurants at Palai, situated on the same road as Phuket Zoo in Chalong are where the Thais consume their aquatic dishes. The selection of restaurants at Palai such as Tang Kae Restaurant, Prantalay and Phong Phang Seafood are all situated beachside and provide you with stunning views of Chalong Bay, especially after sunset.
Another off the beaten track seafood restaurant is Laem Hin Seafood situated on the east coast of the island just north of Phuket Town at Laem Hin. This has been a popular restaurant for those in the know for many years, due to its amazing value for money and sumptuous seafood delights. The restaurant is positioned on stilts and situated waterside with a wooden exterior and interior that creates an authentic atmosphere. For those staying in Patong, Karon and Kata, the restaurant is roughly 20km away but worth the pilgrimage. This is a restaurant where you won’t find many tourists so take advantage of its unique environment.
Hidden Phuket Bars
The well-trodden bar scene in Phuket usually revolves around Patong with a sprinkling of Karon and Kata in between. However, if you want to sample something a little different and off the beaten track, there are many options available if you are willing to look around.
Some of my favourite bars are situated on a dramatic Cliffside overlooking Kata Noi. There are three bar/restaurants here, affectionately known as reggae bars. I always find the most friendly to be the Small Viewpoint Bar, which as the name suggests, is an excellent place to take in the famous Phuket sunset from this lofty location. Looking out over the Andaman Ocean from the bar is a dreamlike experience that will keep you coming back for more. During most months of the year, the Small Viewpoint Bar has a local Thai band that plays live reggae music and they are surprisingly good.
If you enjoy bar complexes and female accompanied nights out, a visit out to Chalong, Nai Harn, Rawai or Kamala can be much more rewarding than a night out in Patong or Kata. Around the Chalong Circle, you will find a wide selection of beer and girly bars all the way along to Chalong Pier. Here the atmosphere is less pushy than the more commercialized Patong and Kata. In fact, the road that leads from Chalong to Rawai is home to numerous off the beaten track bars that represent a real change from the norm.
Unique Phuket Activities
Due to the high influx of tourists and more tour guides that you can shake a stick at, most activities in Phuket have become somewhat commercial. One of the most off the beaten track activities to partake is actually off the island in the stunning Phang Nga region of Phuket. You can hire a mini-bus driver for the day or rent a car and make the aesthetically profound journey to the Ton Pariwat Wildlife Conservation area in Phang Nga province. If you are holidaying in Phuket and want a totally unique experience, a soiree off the island for a day is just the ticket.
The journey will take nearly two hours but could be one the best experiences of your life. The journey through luscious jungle vegetation and the local Thai towns and villages give you an authentic slice of Thailand. Once you get to Ton Pariwat, located at Song Phraek and set in over 100,000 rai of untapped natural beauty, you can enjoy some extreme sport activities such as white water rafting, or take leisurely elephant treks through the jungle. The waterfall at the national park is one of the most beautiful in the south of Thailand. I have done this tour many times before and never get bored. This will be the proverbial cherry on the top of your Phuket holiday experience.
Another fascinating feature of the road trip is that you pass the famous Monkey Temple, locally known as Wat Suwannakuha. The temple is just a ten-minute drive from Sarasin Bridge when leaving Phuket. I would suggest you stop there on your way to Ton Pariwat. Beside a majestic Buddhist Temple that is built into a mountainside, as the name might suggest, the temple grounds are filled to the brim with hundreds of monkeys. You are literally touching distance from our beloved ancestors, which is a fun experience, no matter how old or young you might be. Be careful if you are eating an ice-cream because the monkeys will swipe it out of your hands in a split-second. The overall trip will take you a full day but it’s one of those things you have to see with your own eyes to fully absorb.
As you can see, holidaying in Phuket is much more than just Patong, Karon and Kata. There are many things to see and do around the island that people just don’t know about. If you want that real travel experience, get off the beaten track and sample some of Phuket’s more untapped features recommended by a long-term resident with an eye for uniqueness.
3 Value For Money Phuket Golf Courses
Sometimes Phuket has the reputation as an expensive holiday location when compared to other areas across Thailand, but in relative terms to the Western World, is still excellent value for money. If you are on holiday in Phuket but are keeping to a strict budget, you can still play golf, but you might have to choose your golf courses wisely in order to get the most from your money.
Just because you are on a tight budget, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality when playing golf in Phuket. Here are 3 excellent value for money Phuket golf courses that offer great conditions for an affordable price.
Loch Palm Golf Club Phuket
Some might say that Loch Palm is one of the finest courses on the island, and they wouldn’t be wrong. This stunning 18-hole course is located in Kathu and is known for its large and beautiful Crystal Lake and tropical environment. The course is always in great condition and is available to play for very affordable prices.
Phuket Country Club
Also positioned in a central location in Kathu, Phuket Country Club is excellent value for money. Always in great condition, the course is very mature and provides a forgiving Phuket golf experience. The course staff, caddies and management are very friendly, making this course one of the most enjoyable, and affordable, golf options in Phuket.
Mission Hills Phuket Golf Club
One of the most unique courses in Phuket is the Mission Hills Golf Club. The Mission Hills brand is known across the world, and Phuket’s version is also pretty immense. Mission Hills Phuket is the only sea-view course on the island, offering immense views looking out across the dreamy Phang Nga Bay. When you want to combine quality with affordability, Mission Hills Phuket is an inspired choice.
Customize Your Own Phuket Golf Holiday
At Phuketgolf.net, we like to make things simpler for our guests. The easier it is for you to book a golf holiday in Phuket, the better it is for everyone. One of the best ways to cover all bases when booking a Phuket golf holiday is to utilize our ‘Customize Your Own Golf Holiday’ function, which allows you to book everything you need for a golf holiday right now, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
The first thing you need to do is click here, to visit our Customized Package page to find out the main details about creating a golf package.
Phuket Golf Course Green Fees
We have some of the most affordably priced green fees for Phuket golf courses imaginable. All you need to do is to peruse our golf course page by clicking here, and then decide on which courses you want to play, the dates and even the tee-off times you desire and let us do the rest!
Maybe you have already decided which Phuket hotel you would like to stay, and if so, you can let us know and we can book that for you, as in some cases we can get better rates than the hotels offer on their own website. Alternatively, if you haven’t decided on a hotel, you can tell us your specifications in regards to location and budget. We can offer great advice on the best hotels for your Phuket golf package.
This is something that many of our guests overlook when thinking about booking a golf holiday package. We can organize all your taxi transfers to and from the courses, and even to and from the airport to your hotel.
Our custom-made Phuket golf packages combine everything you need for a golf holiday, so you can simply turn up with your clubs and play without the headaches and hassles that come with organizing a holiday of any kind.
Please click here to see the best choice of Phuket golf courses with the most competitive green fees.
If you want to know more about playing golf in Phuket, check out our Phuket golf blog.