tropical trails
Each region of Thailand has its own unique attractions and charm but the South, with its dramatic landscape, pure oceans and international appeal, is blooming. The provinces of Phuket, Phang-Nga, Krabi, Trang and Surat-Thani are laden with natural treasures and cultural idiosynchracies that allure more and more visitors each year

Phuket has an impressive portfolio of first class resorts and hotels and serves as the perfect ‘home-base’ from which to explore the other provinces and islands in the region. Benjarong has selected some of the best tours and activities conducted throughout the South and presents them to you as… Tropical Trails.


The waters of Southern Thailand are internationally renowned for their vitality of marine life, striking coral reefs and high visibility. There are numerous dive companies conducting trips around the Phuket and Andaman seas, especially the Similan Islands. Most of these operators offer the full range of courses, in many different languages, affiliated to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). Whether you are an absolute beginner or an experienced diver, the Southern bounty of sea life will make your dive an event never to be forgotten.

Warm Water Divers offer a host of unique diving experiences including live-aboard trips on the charming Chinese junk, the June Hong Chian Lee. Tel: 076 292 201,

Fantasea Divers runs an array of diving excursions including a new adventure diving and kayaking trip from Samui to Singapore aboard the Ocean Rover. Tel: 076 281 387,

Andaman Divers offer a range of packages including live-aboards to the Similan and Surin islands, day-trips and PADI diving courses from beginners to advanced levels. Tel: 076 341 126,


Reel in a big barracuda, tuna or even a marlin from the waters of the Andaman region. Catch and release fishing should be practised to preserve the availability of this thrilling adventure sport in this perfect location.

Phuket Game Fishing Charter Tel: 076 283 270
Dorado Big Game Fishing Charter Tel: 076 202 679
Thai Marine Leisure Tel: 076 239 111,

Island Discovery

A day trip to the islands in the region can be one of the most visually exciting experiences available. Turquoise waters and blue skies border looming limestone karsts and cavernous caves. Island discovery trips can be arranged through a vast number of operators. You can choose your mode of transport; yacht, speedboat, longtail boat or even sea canoe. You are generally given a number of exciting tour options incorporating snorkelling, trekking and camping. Of considerable popularity, are the sea canoe trips. Canoeing excursions allow you to enjoy the sheer awe of Mother Nature in a noticeably silent and more active environment.
Sea Canoe Adventures

P.P. Dream Canoe has several eco-adventure tours by sea canoe, incorporating white water rafting, elephant trekking and snorkelling. Tel: 01 958 7270.

Sea Canoe Thailand: Award-winning, Eco-adventure tours with sit-on-top sea kayaks. They present day trips, sunset paddles and overnight camping, from Krabi, Phuket and Samui. Tel: 076 212 252, 076 212 172

Phuket Sea Land Co: Offers a multitude of sightseeing and cultural tours by longtail boat and sea canoe trips around James Bond Island, exploring pristine lagoons and sea caves, with full lunch. Tel: 076 222 900-1

John Gray’s Sea Canoe offers overnight stays, day trips and mini expeditions exploring the natural wonders of Phang-Nga Bay. John Gray’s personal reputation, phenomenal knowledge and enthusiasm give these tours a unique edge. Tel: 076 254 505

Snorkeling and Island Discoveries

Phuket Island Hopper: Half-day snorkelling tours aboard a speedboat to Phi Phi island, including lunch. Tel: 076 252 606-8,

Phuket Marine Wave: The day trip includes kayaking, snorkelling and sightseeing around Phi Phi Island by speedboat. Tel: 076 223 317

Coral Seekers: Private snorkelling tours of the beautiful islands around Phuket. Full and half-day packages are fully catered and include insurance and even beach towels. Tel: 076 354 074

June Bahtra: Full day tours of Phang-Nga bay are conducted in authentic junks of Malay and Dutch influence. A delicious buffet of Thai food is provided. Tel: 076 340 912,

Cruising the Region

Watching the sunset over the sea can be a moving experience. The mountainous terrain in the Andaman region yields many spectacular vantagepoints for romantic sunset viewing. There are a few companies based in Phuket that offer elegant sunset cruises that include sumptuous a la carte or buffet dining, often accompanied by an entertaining show. For people who wish for added cultural ambience, romantic sunset dinner cruises can be enjoyed aboard authentic junks that have been gracefully restored and remain loaded with character,

June Bahtra: Romantic sunset dinner cruise includes a 5-course buffet dinner including four drinks. The cruise winds around Phang-Nga Bay for a magical sunset amid the dramatic seascape. Tel: 076 340 912,

Nakalay Junk: A century-old Chinese junk provides a charming vessel for an intimate sunset cruise, accompanied by an enticing buffet. Tel: 076 290 341-2,

Phuket Queen Star sunset cruises depart from Chalong Bay and journey around the southern tip of Phuket for an enchanting sunset. The cruise includes Royal Thai cuisine and a colourful cabaret show. Tel: 076 289 177-8

Amarin Andaman Cruise: Sunset dining cruise incorporates buffet dinner during the sunset followed by a cabaret show, games and a disco. Tel: 076 213 297


The Andaman region holds a treasure-trove of lagoons and bays perfect for sailing and stands as a gateway to prime sailing spots such as Langkawi, the Mergui Archipelago and the Similan Islands. Yachts and motor boats may be chartered from the Phuket Yacht Haven Marina or the Boat Lagoon for day trips, overnight excursions and live-aboard adventure tours. A number of companies also conduct accredited sailing and dive courses.

Yachtpro: Sailing courses, day excursions and live-aboard trips Tel: 076 348 117-8.

Sunsail Yacht Charters: Yacht charters, five day RYA sailing courses and corporate regattas. Tel: 076 239 057

Thai Marine Leisure: The largest professional charter agency in Thailand, can arrange yacht charters, dive cruises and a number of other water-based activities including yacht racing. Tel: 076 239 111

Panwa Princess II: A luxury wooden yacht with a freshwater jacuzzi perfectly located on-deck. Tel: 076 391 123-5


Dotted throughout the southern provinces are a number of golf courses of international standard. Phuket Island alone boasts four prestigious courses, Phang-Nga and Surat-Thani are also home to some stunning greens.

Banyan Tree Golf Course Tel: 076 324 374
Blue Canyon Country Club Tel: 076 327440
Phuket Country Club Tel: 076 321 039
Loch Palm Golf Course Tel: 076 321 930
Thai Muang Golf Course Phang-Nga Tel: 076 571 533-4
Rajjaprabha Golf Club, Surat Thani Tel: 077 240 740-5

Trekking the South

Thick tropical jungle, fresh crystal streams, spectacular waterfalls and the timid creatures of the forest, leave visitors enchanted with a memory to last a lifetime. When exploring the jungles of southern Thailand, it is recommended that you employ a guide to have expert advice on how best to see all the features of the forest without leaving too large an ecological footprint. National Parks such as Khao Sok, in Surat-Thani, Khao Lak in Phang-Nga and Khao Panom Benja in Krabi, delight visitors with dense jungle trails, exciting white-water rafting routes and pristine waterfalls perfect for a refreshing dip. As the popularity of these areas increases, eco-adventure tour companies continue to invent new and exhilarative adventures to suit everyone; from bird watching to abseiling.

Phuket Sea Land offers combination trips with trekking and rafting in Phang-Nga. Tel: 076 222 900-1

Khao Sok Evergreen Forest Adventure Tel: 076 241 272
Vacation Village – Krabi Tel: 075 637 136
Janpen Tours – Krabi Tel: 075 612004
Khao Sok Discovery Tel: 076 340 900, 01- 8922812

Phuket-Safari Travel organizes small personalized tours amongst the wonders of Khao Sok, Krabi and Phang-Nga provinces as well as Phi Phi and James Bond islands. Tel: 076 340 906

Rock Climbing

The strange and beautiful limestone cliffs in Krabi and Phang-Nga provinces have become popular attractions for rock and mountain climbers from around the globe. Local companies provide expert instruction for inexperienced climbers and provide challenges for people of all levels. In Krabi, Rai Ley and Nam Mao beaches are hugged by awesome cliffs and the sea view from the top is well worth the strenuous effort required to reach the top.

Krabi Cliff Man Tel: 01 230 4619
King Climbers Tel: 014 760270
Pra Nang Rock Climbers Tel: 01 464 6358

TexRock Climbing runs rock climbing and abseiling courses as well as family oriented activities including canyon canoeing, flying fox rides and the skyslider. Tel: 01 607 4882,

Spa-ecial Treatment

If all the jungle and salt water gets to be a little too much, take refuge and relax while enjoying a pampering spa treatment. Phuket has a number of first-rate spas and neighbouring provinces of Phang-Nga and Krabi have seen more and more spa centres opening during recent months.

Ylang Spa: Elegantly decorated, this spa offers nineteen specialty massages, body and facial treatments and is one of the very best spas in Phuket. Tel: 076 316300/17ext 803.

Mandara Spa: Located on the northern end of Phuket Island, the Mandara Spa has two outlets in Phuket, offering massage therapy and herbal body treatments in supreme comfort. Mandara Spa at the JW Marriott Resort Tel: 076 338 000, Pearl Village, Tel: 076 327 006.

Angsana Spa: With five outlets in Phuket this chain of luxury spas delivers a refreshing blend of treatments based on the use of natural ingredients such as native flowers, fruits, herbs, spices and plants. Located at the Allamanda, Tel: 076 324 359, Laguna Beach Resort, Tel: 076 325 405, Dusit Laguna, Tel: 076 324 324, Sheraton Grande Laguna, Tel: 076 324 101-7, The Panwaburi, Tel: 076 200 800

Dusit Hotspring : Natural hot spring mineral water is piped directly from the source into outdoor pools surrounded by gardens. Dusit Hotspring offers massage, body treatments and beauty therapy. Tel: 076 580 000,

The Rayavadee: This Luxury Collection resort features a deluxe spa set in the tranquility of famous Cape Phranang in Krabi. Tel: 075 620 740.

Pimalai Resort & Spa: Located on glorious Lanta Yai Island, the spa at the Pimalai resort is a great place for a relaxing day, away from the blistering sun. Tel: 075 629 054-7,

Tasty Thai

For a nice change of pace from all the energetic activities, a number of high-end restaurants offer Thai cooking classes. Most of these courses ‘make a day of it’ by starting with a shopping expedition to the local fresh market for ingredients, before preparing the meal. Most importantly, all courses end with a tantalizing meal of the food you learned to cook.

Old Siam Restaurant, Thavorn Beach Village Tel: 076 290 340-42
Mom Tri’s Boathouse, Tel: 076 330015
Rim Talay Restaurant, Laguna Beach Resort, Tel: 076 324 352
Ruen Thai Restaurant, Dusit Laguna Resort, Tel: 076 324 324

Culture and Cabaret

To see a cultural show of international appeal, head for Phuket Fantasea, an award-winning spectacle for the senses, or try the Phuket Thai Village for a comprehensive demonstration of Thai cultural arts. Simon Cabaret dazzles thousands of tourists every year and provides an interesting night out in Patong.

Phuket Fantasea:
Phuket Orchid Garden & Thai Village: Tel: 076 214 860-61
Simon Cabaret in Patong Beach: Tel:076-342 011/5

This month features
 Thailand and Asia
 phuket travel info
Phuket Travel and Tours
  Tropical Living Magazine
  Koh Samui
  Recommend this site

Last Minute Hotels


 Benjarong Magazine - October 2005, Volume 8 Issue 10


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