Thailand's only island province, Phuket is a world famous tourist destination, renowned for its magnificent mountains covered with lush tropical vegetation, its surrounding azure blue sea, and stretches of powder-white sandy beaches fringed with coral reefs. Once renowned for its tin mines and rubber plantations, visitors now arrive looking for a place to relax and explore the incredible scenery. Most of the buildings in Phuket Town's city center were built nearly a hundred years ago, and show an enchanting mix of Chinese and Western influences in their architecture. This tour introduces you to the unique array of island sights found on this tropical paradise.
Departing the ship, drive south of Phuket Town to the cashew nut factory, curiously named the Sri Bhurapa Orchid Company. There, see how delectable cashew nut products are made, as skilled workers create a mouth-watering variety of snacks and sweets. Your next stop is the Phuket Sea Shell Museum, displaying one of the world's most valuable collections of seashells. Shells from all over the globe are featured, and include numerous rarities and curiosities such as the world's largest golden pearl (160 karats) and a massive 550 pound shell. The island drive continues with a stop at the Buddhist temple, Wat Chalong. Considered the most beautiful and ornate temple on the island, Wat Chalong enshrines a gilt statue of Luang Por Cham, the monk who became a hero when he helped the people of Phuket put down the Chinese Coolie Rebellion in 1876. Departing the temple, the picturesque tour resumes, driving along the west coast past some of the island's incredibly stunning beaches.
See Karon Beach, straight out of a tropical daydream with its small sparkling white sand dunes and scattering of evergreen trees edging the glittering Adaman Sea. Further north, view Phuket's most developed tourist area, Patong Beach with its three-mile gently curving crescent of beautiful white sand. Continue to Wat Phra Thong, famous for its outstanding Buddha images, including a huge gold Buddha statue half-buried in the temple floor. Finally, enjoy a photo opportunity at the top of Rang Hill; enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the offshore islands and southern tip of Phuket Island before returning to the ship.