From vibrant nightlife to stunning beaches, awesome outdoor adventures and delicious food, there are plenty of good reasons why Phuket is such a popular holiday destination. From bathing elephants, flying through the jungle, learning to cook Thai cuisine, shopping up a storm, taking in a cabaret show, swimming with sharks, relaxing by the pool and enjoying sundowners, there is so much to see, do and experience on the island. Choosing to visit Phuket is the easy part, deciding where to stay is more difficult. For those in the know, the most coveted address in town is one of the many outstanding Mai Khao beach hotels in Phuket. Why? Because this quaint strip of secluded sun, surf, sand and sea is the ideal spot for quiet R&R. However, for those times when you do want to get out‘n’about, let us help you by listing out some of the great attractions in the area.
Marine Turtle Foundation
Within the grounds of the JW Marriott Resort in Phuket (note: you don’t need to be a hotel guest to visit) sits the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation. The non-profit organisation aims to protect nesting turtles in the area and promote the clean-up of Phuket’s surrounding seas and beaches. From Monday to Friday, daily information sessions are held at 11:00 am with an emphasis on educating the public about the delicate ecosystem required to support the turtles in their natural habitat.
Wat Mai Khao
As this particular temple (aka Wat) is run by an abbot strict on mediation and minimalism, you won’t find many flashy relics here. What you will find is a beautiful main chapel, a welcoming ordination hall and simple dormitories. This austere temple makes a refreshing change of pace from the more ‘touristy’ temples on the island. It’s a lovely spot to wander, chat with a monk and find some inner peace.
IWP International Wake Park
No matter if you’re an experienced or newbie wakeboarder – this is the best place on the island to visit to get your ride on! In fact, this park is considered one of the best in the world because of its state-of-the-art Rixen cable system. For those of you keen to try surfing, they also have a FlowRider machine. And that’s not to mention the paddleboarding, kayaking, saunas and swimming pools also on offer.
Splash Jungle Water Park
Unrivalled in southern Thailand, Splash Jungle Waterpark at Mai Khao Beach is the ultimate water-themed park in Phuket. If your perfect day out includes 12 thrilling water slides, various rides and attractions, this might be your idea of heaven! And it’s not just for kids, this place is aimed at adults too. One of the most popular rides in the park is Lazy River – pick up a giant tube, hop aboard the then leisurely float along the 335-metre-long canal that circumnavigates the park.
Mai Khao Beach
Mai Khao is the longest (11km) strip of golden sand on the island. On the north side, you’ll find a cluster of Mai Khao beach hotels, beyond that, it’s mostly deserted (excluding the odd Ridley Sea Turtle and planes flying overhead as they land at the nearby airport!). In fact, along with Nai Yang Beach, it’s part of Sirinat National Park. This is the kind of beach dreams are made of, perfect for long sunrise and sunset strolls, beach volleyball, frolicking in the waves and reading in the shade of a casuarina tree. If your idea of vacation bliss is far from the madding crowd, this is the place for you!