There’s loads of choice, to suit all ages and abilities, when it comes to experiencing nature in and around Phuket. From the must do elephant trekking to waterfalls and canoeing. Learn more about Thai culture with a trip to a cashew nut farm or a rubber plantation or get up close and personal with Phuket’s furry creatures at the Gibbon sanctuary.
Canoeing & Kayaking
The bay area which surrounds Phuket is simply stunning. Dramatic limestone cliffs and sparkling waters make it a breathtaking way to while away the hours. There are a number of companies in Phuket waiting to whisk you and your family off on an adventurous exploration of caves, neighbouring islands and magnificent mangroves.
Jungle trekking atop a majestic elephant is one of the favourite excursions booked by visitors to Phuket. There are a multitude of companies offering elephant treks and some do combine elephant treks with other adventures. Choose your elephant trek wisely to ensure you really do go into the jungle to get the full benefit. Smaller children who may not want to ride can also visit the centres and feed the elephants.
There are two places where you can generally see ‘wild’ monkeys in Phuket but do be careful as they have been known to bite. The first is probably the safest and involves a short drive to Koh Sireh. Koh Sireh is a small island linked by bridge to Phuket, close to Phuket town. If you follow the main road in Koh Sireh you will see some mangroves on one side of the road and a white viewing platform with monkey sculptures. Here you can buy bananas from a hawker stall and throw them down to the appreciative monkeys. There is no cover here so avoid going at the hottest part of the day.
The second place is also near Phuket town in Rang Hill. Rang Hill is easily found as all the satellite dishes are located at the top. A drive up here late afternoon will see monkeys in abundance. You can drive up and view them from the safety of your car.
Alternatively if you would like to see the native gibbons a trip to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project might be what you are looking for. The centre was open to rehabilitate captive gibbons with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. The gibbons here are mostly in cages but there is lots of educational information on display. Plus any funds you spend goes directly back into helping the gibbon sanctuary.
Phuket has long been synonymous with cashew nut farming and a trip to the cashew nut factory makes for an interesting day out. The cashew nut factory is located in Kwaang Road in the south of the island.
Another type of farming for which Phuket is well-known is rubber. Tapping rubber is usually undertaken at first light and is fascinating to watch. Check with a local tour operator or join the Siam Safari day trip to discover more.
Phuket does not have the largest waterfalls in Thailand but they are still worth a family visit. A trip to one of Phuket’s three waterfalls will bring you closer to some of Phuket’s only remaining rain forest. Bang Pae waterfall located on route to the airport 22 kilometres from Phuket town is also located next to the Gibbon sanctuary. Ton Sai is also located in the vicinity but on the other side of the hill. This is a great place to explore and stop for a picnic.
Kathu waterfall is small but a popular place for locals to meet whilst their children swim and bathe in the water. Whilst in Kathu a visit to Kathu reservoir also makes a nice picnic spot. The reservoir is located by driving through Phuket Country (golf) Club.
A great way to combine many of these activities is to book a family trip with Island Safari. Island safaris often include elephant trekking, monkeys, canoeing and farm visits all in one day.