Chalong Bay

Chalong covers quite a large area and is a central point for getting to Phuket Town, the coastal towns and the north of the island. Staying here you are never far away from stores, International and Thai restaurants, and bars.

Chalong Bay boasts a 720-metre long, seven-metre wide jetty and is full of activity. Yachts and boats moor here as they have customs and immigration services and a harbour master service to assist visiting vessels. Yachting crews meet up at The Ao Chalong Yacht Club, and diving companies also use the jetty for day trips or longer tours. The location is a great place to simply hang out with lots of local eateries and cool bars and once the sun goes down and the boats arrive back from the day's adventures the scene is quite animated.

There's plenty of sightseeing in the area too starting with Wat Chalong, one of Phuket's most well-known temples due to its stunning decoration and spiritual vibe. Each year it hosts a country-style fair where you can experience Thai food from all over the country. The Big Buddha stands tall at 45 metres observing everything that goes on in Chalong, located on the highest point in Phuket it's an impressive structure that cost 30 million baht to build and is reached by a very steep road leading up to the best panoramic views on the island.

KiteZone is a lot of fun with lessons in kite surfing based at Friendship Beach and Chalong Bay. They also organize day trips out to the nearby islands for lessons and there is no other location more stunning in which to learn how to surf.

Phuket is well-known for its diving opportunities and there are a multitude of companies offering day trips or live-aboards. Racha Yai, Racha Noi and Koh Doc Mai are nearby and offer a great array of sea life with colourful coral, manta rays and leopard sharks, whilst diving excursions to The Similan Islands are further afield and best experienced on a live-aboard. There's no need to leave Phuket however to experience a great dive, there's some decent diving at Kata Beach and Karon Rock. Although only shallow they offer an easy, relaxed experience for those with little experience or limited time.

No trip to Thailand is complete without experiencing a traditional Thai massage, spa or herbal sauna. The costs for pampering yourself are much cheaper here and the number of places offering these services is numerous. Treatments have many health benefits founded on holistic therapies going back centuries; massage can ease jet lag, alleviate stiff muscles and strengthen the immune system and herbal saunas incorporate ingredients well known for their healing powers in relieving stress, skin diseases and improving the condition of skin and hair.

Phuket Botanical Gardens is a delightful place to explore and quite unique with an impressive 30 themed mini-gardens. Amongst the favourites are the Herb garden, Fruit Orchard, English Garden, Japanese Garden and The Winter Garden complete with man-made waterfall.