Before it became a hive of tourist-driven beachside businesses, Phuket was a small province with a thriving rubber and tin trade. The island’s main industry is now tourism, but the cultural and historical roots of Phuket are still easy to find if you know where to look. Here are a few ways you can travel beyond the beach to find a more authentic side of Phuket.
Junk Boat Dinner Cruise
The red-sailed Chinese junk boats are an iconic feature of Phang Nga Bay, and a sunset dinner cruise on one of these traditional vessels is a unique experience that is not to be missed. A five-course buffet feast of traditional Thai food is complemented with wine and views of Phang Nga Bay’s incredible limestone rock formations, an incredible back drop for pictures that are sure to make the folks at home green with envy.
Journey Deep Into The Rainforest
The luxuriant Thai rainforest is a feature of daily life for many locals, and you can experience this fertile wonderland for yourself at Hanuman World. Wander through the tree-tops on Thailand’s longest tree-suspended boardwalk, or zip through the leafy green on the country’s fastest roller zipline. There are 80,000 square metres of forest to explore, so combine the two activities, add in some abseiling and get ready for a total immersion in nature.
Street Eats That Can’t Be Beat
The alluring smells of the street vendors will follow you down every road, but knowing what to eat and what you’re eating can be a little difficult, and nerve wracking to say the least. Join a Phuket Street Eats tour to not only learn what each tasty treat entails, but also to discover the secret spots that locals go for the best grilled chicken skewers, mango sticky rice and coconut cake. Your guide will be filled with interesting tidbits on local vendors, produce and community that will keep you entertained as you stroll through the market streets, munching on an array of delicious morsels.
Cook Like A Local
It is much easier to appreciate the nuances of a Pad Thai or Green Curry Chicken when you’ve created the dishes with your own hands. These deceptively simple dishes require a variety of ingredients that are easily sourced at the local markets. Your cooking class with Pat’s Home Thai Cooking School begins with a market shopping expedition, and continues on to Pat’s home, where you’ll learn how to blend the herbs, spices and ingredients to bring out the incredible flavours that have made Thai food a favourite around the world.
A History And Heritage Stroll
Phuket was once a major trading port for merchants from both the East and the West, and when tin was discovered on the island in the 17th century, prospectors from Britain, France, Portugal and China put down roots in the form of stately residences and shop fronts, which can still be seen in Phuket’s old town. A guided tour through these colourful streets will reveal a history that the gaudy beachfront would never reveal; a story told in unique architecture that combines elements of the East and West with charming results.