Karon Beach, located on the south west coast of Phuket, is one of the island’s most popular beach resorts and also home to one of the most outstanding white sand beaches. In many cases, this kind of popularity can often spoil the natural ambience of a beach such as this, but having spent a great deal of time here over the last few months, I have realised just how much of a gem Karon Beach really is.
At a time when the headlines are reporting the rampant commercialism, greed and corruption taking place on other Phuket beaches, Karon Beach is a shining example of a beach that is managing to maintain it’s charm and allure, even during the busy peak season months.
If you are planning on visiting Thailand for a relaxing beach holiday, then carry on reading as Karon Beach, Phuket may well prove to be the perfect fit for that laid back destination of your dreams.
Uncrowded, unspoiled ambience
It becomes quickly apparent as you step out on to the ’squeaky white’ sand of Karon Beach that this stunning beach front paradise on the Andaman island of Phuket manages to maintain an uncrowded ambience, even during the peak season months (Nov – Feb), that is the envy of well known beach destinations throughout South East Asia.
As Thailand’s Premier Island Destination, Phuket is often thought to be both overdeveloped and overcrowded and if you have ever visited Patong Beach, the island’s entertainment and nightlife capital, then you will know that this is grossly understating it. Patong has an infamous reputation enjoyed by the likes of Kuta Beach in Bali or Chaweng in Koh Samui, but to dismiss the whole of Phuket island as being the same hedonistic tourist trap would be to miss out on the stunning beachscape that await you at Karon Beach.
As you breath in the fresh sea air and gaze out over meticulously clean white sands and clear turquoise waters, you can’t help but wonder how you have uncovered such a precious gem that was laying in plain sight of everyone. It is refreshing to find such a well known and popular beach destination that has largely prohibited developments encroaching upon the beach and miraculously maintained a tranquil and peaceful ambience.
It must be noted, that this is in part down to the sheer length of the beach, over 5KM, which makes this the longest stretch of ‘tourist beach’ in Phuket. Other vast, deserted beaches such as Layan and Mai Khao in the north of the island , have so far largely resisted the urge to develop heavily on their prime beach front real estate.
Yet even though Karon Beach has sunloungers and umbrellas stretching as far as the eye can see, you never really feel like you are packed in like sardines and you can usually find your own sunbed completely undisturbed by other sun worshipers. The middle section of the beach in front of our Thavorn Palm Beach Resort rarely gets crowded and has a lovely relaxing vibe as the gentle breeze blows across the white sand and grassy banks.
As you can see from this picture, it feels like you have almost complete privacy on these sunloungers. Even if you crave some solitude and there are other people occupying the sunbeds either side of you, just take a short walk in either direction and you are sure to find a quiet spot that is perfect for you.
It seems that the only areas of this vast 5km beach that do get a little busy are the southern point, next to the hill leading to Kata Beach and at the northern end where there is a bustling village community around the Northern Circle.
Another reason that Karon Beach can enjoy and maintain this unspoiled and peaceful ambience is the grassy bank area that runs behind the beach. With it’s shady trees, ferns and palm trees dotted throughout, it runs along virtually the whole length of the beach and is a welcome addition to ensure a naturalistic ambience prevails over the beach.
This greenbelt of grassy land is vital to create the sense of space that can be lacking on other beaches, where resort developments, restaurants and other beach encroachments seem to pen in and restrict the beach on all sides. Most of the resorts along the beachfront at Karon are separated by a single road and comprise of low rise buildings, which helps them to blend in with the tree line and natural surroundings.
Have you enjoyed the natural ambience of Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand?
Roger Gibson | Marketing & Communications Manager
Thavorn Hotels & Resorts, Phuket, Thailand
Disclaimer – Opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not reflect the views and opinions of the owners and management of Thavorn Hotels and Resorts (THR) Phuket, Thailand
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Are you planning a holiday to Phuket ? Thinking about the best time to visit Phuket ?
One of the main reasons to visit Phuket is to relax on one of its many breathtaking beaches, and this experience can vary widely depending on what time of year you come. Phuket has three seasons; Cool or Winter season (November-February), Summer (March-April) and Rainy season (May-October).
November to February (Winter)
The cool season or winter in Phuket is from November to February. It is a month with pleasantly hot temperatures, clear blue skies, less humidity and very little rainfall. The average temperature is between 24°c to 32°c. This is also the tourism high season in Phuket, so the island gets pretty busy at this time. Tourist activities and accommodation prices are higher than in the rest of the year. If you are in Thailand during November, you may be lucky enough to catch the famous Thai festival of ‘Loy Krathong’ where the sky or festival of lights where locals set off sky lanterns and mini rafts offer worship to the goddess of water. which is held where locals worship the goddess of water. It is also a good time to explore Phuket and the surrounding islands such as Phi Phi Island, James Bond Island and so on.
March to April (Tropical Summer season)
It is hot all year round in Phuket, but March to April is the hottest time of year, with average temperatures rising between 27°c to 36°c. At this time the weather is dry with blue skies, but lots of travelers find it a bit uncomfortable due to the extreme heat. The advantage of visiting at this time, is that the beaches and hotels are uncrowded and prices are lower than at high season. April, is the hottest month of the year when temperatures can rise up to 40°c. However, this is also the month in which you can catch one of the most famous festivals in Thailand - ‘Songkran Festival’ which is when locals celebrate Thai new Year. This event normally lasts about 1 week, and locals celebrate by holding parades and water fights on the streets – a welcome respite from the hot weather.
May to October (Rainy/Monsoon season)
The rainy season in Phuket is from May to October. This is the low season in Phuket and where the average rainfall is 2500 mm. September is the wettest month of the year. During this period the temperatures are cooler with some rain showers, but it also has the advantage of warm winds with temperatures of 29°c /30°c. It is not the perfect period to visit Phuket if you are in search of blue skies and clear water. During this season tourist activities and accommodation prices go down, so it can be a good time for budget travelers to visit. Note that waves are rougher and the Phuket beaches on the west coast are dangerous for swimming. You have to take care of yourself and see the warning flags posted on the beaches. If the red flags are up, then avoid the water completely.
When is your favourite time to visit Phuket ? Feel free to share your thoughts here……..
By Ranjan Khotjea, intern, Thavorn Hotels & Resorts (THR), Phuket, Thailand
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Warm greetings from Thavorn Hotels & Resorts (THR) Phuket, Thailand
You may have seen the media news coverage regarding the floods affecting Bangkok, Central and Northern areas of Thailand right now.
We would like to send our support and well wishes to compatriots in flood affected areas, and to the teams of workers and volunteers helping those in need at this time.
Fortunately, Phuket is over 800km away from the affected areas and has not been affected in any way by the flooding situation, as we continue to enjoy the hot and sunny weather now that the High Season is here.
For those of you planning holidays to Phuket, we would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that the weather conditions remain fine here and that our operations continue as normal. All direct flights to Phuket, including those from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport continue to operate as normal.
For more Phuket travel information please visit our Facebook pages –
For further updates on Thailand tourism and travel please visit www.thailandtourismupdate.com
Kind regards……… Melissa Ah-Sing (Marketing & Comms Mgr)
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What comes to your mind when you think about sea, sun and sand in Asia? Especially when you are thinking about the island which offers luxury accommodation, leisure activities and all the modern facilities. Most likely it will be the tropical island of Phuket, one of the most visited touristic destination and southern island of Thailand. Every year Phuket welcomes millions of tourists because of its diversifications and read on as I share my Top 10 Tips for enjoying everything this island has to offer.
Phuket offers economic to luxury accommodation for travelers and tourists alike. with a range of hotels and resorts, Guesthouse, Villas and Bungalows, you can be located in the heart of the action in a busy resort such as Patong or far away from the noise in a resort like our signature Thavorn Beach Village & Spa situated on the tranquil Nakalay Bay. Travelers have a choice of accommodation based on their preference, whether that be for families, honeymooners, Backpackers, relaxation and nature lovers and those who will spend all of their time beach side. Phuket town, Patong, Kamala, Karon, Surin and surrounding areas such as Krabi offer you various types of accommodations to suit all budgets and requirements.
Phuket Island has many stunning and romantic white sand beaches. There are over 20 beaches around the island some of them in the south are quite crowded like Patong and Kata while the north beaches of Mai Khao are virtually deserted and offer freedom and tranquility. There is lots of action to be enjoyed at Patong beach, Karon beach, Kata beach, Surin Beach and Kamala beach while lesser well known gems such as Freedom beach, Paradise Beach, Nakalay Bay and Laem Singh are beaches with a more relaxed vibe, but still have the modern amenities and places to buy delicious food and cold beers.
Thailand have tropical weather with a tropical Monsoon roughly divided into 2 seasons, the Dry Season Nov – April and the Wet Season May – October. The best time to visit is High Season from November to March, when weather is cooler, but still beautiful and hot. This is the perfect weather for snorkeling, diving, Jet ski and relaxing on the beach getting a sun tan with your favorite cocktails. Monsoon, doesn’t matter you can relax with the traditional massage or spas which can be found in hotel or in city centre. Don’t be put off by the name ‘Rainy Season’ as the weather can still be hot and sunny most days with a late afternoon downpour. You can also take advantage of discounted room rates during this season.
4. Adventurous Tours
A visit to Phi Phi Island, Phang Nga(Islands of jutting limestones), James Bond Island and jungle safari can be once in a life time experiences and a fantastic adventure.
It is a chance to see the hidden treasures of Phuket and its surrounding beauties. A One day tour is not enough to discover all these things. The More you stay here in Phuket, the more you can discover and make your holiday truly memorable.
5. Visit the Chinese Temples or get familiar with Thai food
Thailand is well known for its warm hospitality. Once you enter Thailand you will feel it is your second home. People are very welcoming here and with this you can get into Thai tradition and social life. Where you can learn how to cook Thai foods and learn some general words which might be useful during your trip in Thailand. Temples and monasteries are spread all over the island and a traveler can reach these with easy transportation such as taxi, motorbike or tuk-tuk. These temples will give you a fabulous insight into Thai culture and they are stunningly beautiful decorated in dazzling, rich colours.
6. Transportation / Getting Around
Taxis and Tuk Tuk are widespread all over the island. Travelers can get all this transport from the Phuket International Airport to the gate of their hotel. This airport receives domestic flights and international flights. Travelers can hire taxis or bikes to visit the desirable places around the island. Cars and tuk tuks can be used for getting around Phuket, but if you want to explore a lot more by yourself then hiring a motor bike will be cheaper a cheaper option and you can stop where ever you like.
7. Festivals and Special events
You will be able to experience and take part in some important festivals during your stay in Phuket. The Phuket Vegetarian festival (Sept-Oct), Loy kratong (Nov) which is based on the full moon Night when local people worship the god of water, The King’s birthday (Dec) the Queens’s birthday (Aug), Songkran, Thai New year which involves the world’s biggest water fight (April) and Chinese New Year (jan) are some events which are celebrated nationwide.
While talking about nightlife in Phuket, the lively beach resort of Patong springs to mind. It is Patong where you can find the world famous Bangla Road with beer bars, Nightclubs, pubs and massage centre where you can enjoy your time with friends and families. Street stalls are available to buy some souvenirs or can try the local food from the street vendors, which will cost you very little money. Internationals restaurants can be found offering top class thai and cuisines from around the world as well as the best locally caught seafood. With karaoke, cabaret, Vegas strip style shows and live band performances you will never be short of entertainment is this vibrant resort.
Are you thinking about shopping in Phuket? Phuket Town or Patong can be the first or primary choice with big shopping complexes like: Juncylon and Central Festival. Local Night Markets and small stores can be found in different corners of the island where you can buy souvenirs and some other desirable things. In Big markets like Juncylon and Central Festivals goods can be found with famous brands which you might be seeking for. Night Markets in Patong and Phuket Town, with 100 of small stalls offering you souvenirs, local Thai snacks and some other daily grocery.
10. Extra Activities
On your holiday in Phuket it is up to you how you want to entertain yourself. Simon Cabret, Fantasia, Phuket Zoo, Butterfly Park, Monkey school, Water Park and Elephant riding are just some of the activities to make your stay in Phuket enjoyable. Phuket has got many many other exciting activities for travelers, whether you are visiting with your family, with friends or as a couple such as fishing, sailing, diving, snorkeling, island hopping, white water rapids or good old fashioned lounging on the beach or by the pool.
And do not forget your smile.
By Ranjan Khoteja, Intern, Thavorn Hotels and Resorts
For Further tips about Phuket please visit our facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/friendsofthavorn
Have you been to Phuket? What other great tips would you recommend?
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One of the most famous attractions here in Phuket is ‘Phi Phi Island’, many travellers ask how to get there? One option is to go by Ferry from Rassada Pier (near Phuket town) which is also the cheapest way, from 550 baht for one way and 900baht for a return. The journey takes about two hours from Phuket to Phi Phi Island. The Ferry is double deckered where you can use the upper deck for sunbathing to get a beautiful tan while waiting for the 2 hours to pass, while for the people who just want to chill air-conditioned rooms and snacks are available on the lower deck.
A second option is by speedboat. Hiring a private speed boat only takes 45 minutes to reach Phi Phi island and sometimes using speedboat is so flexible that you can go directly to your resort. For most of the year the ride is flat but it’s advisable to avoid speedboats in September and October as things can get a little bumpy. Speedboats are not recommended for pregnant women, those with bad back conditions, or the very elderly. Obviously, speedboats are more expensive than the ferry but for larger groups they can work out to be very good value for money if you can split the cost.
The third option is by seaplane. When you want to avoid seasickness, or have elderly people in your group that cannot go by boat or ferry then you should consider going by seaplane. It takes only 25 minutes to get to Phi Phi by seaplane, and only fits 9 people. Yeah, I know you can get to Phi Phi quite cheaply by ferry, but damn! A flight to Phi Phi? There are still many people who don’t know this option even exists, and yes, it’s not exactly super cheap – current price is approx 4,999 baht per person. But this is more than just transport, this is an experience too, and if you have limited time, or arrive in Phuket at the wrong time for the ferry, a flight to Phi Phi is a great option. 25 minutes only, it saves hours of travel time, and can you imagine the experience flying in your own private plane. This is something I had wanted to do for ages, Unlike a big 300 seat aircraft, boarding here takes 3 minutes, a quick safety briefing, fasten seatbelts, and you’re off! Enjoy the scenery of Phi Phi from the blue sky and imagine the picture that you can brag about to your friends later.
So which one would you choose Phi Phi- ers ?!? ^_^….. Anthony Nur Hasan
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Hi, this is Astrid, “the culinary adventurer” my friends called me, because I am blessed with a big appetite to eat all kind of foods in this amazing Phuket, Thailand. You should check my previous post about the budget restaurants in Phuket Town as well. You also can find me and my friends’ adventure stories in our trainee’s blog http://thr-internship.blogspot.com/
Here, I would like to share the hidden treasure of Phuket town, which only can be enjoyed in every Saturday and Sunday. So, make sure you come and have your stay in Phuket Town
Weekends in Phuket are one of my favorite times to hang out, and plus it has a very special night market which just only open in every weekend in Phuket Town. It is located in Chao Fa West road, just opposite the Wat Naka (Naka Temple), it starts from 4pm to 10pm, so it is recommended to take your dinner in here.
If you start from Thavorn Palm Beach Resort, you will need a tuk-tuk that will cost you around 400 THB. If you like to do shopping in open-air, or show your hunting and bargaining skill, this is the perfect place to come.
But, I prefer to call it “The Heaven of Food” because here you can find a lot of kind of foods, from sweet to spicy, from hot to cold, from fruits to juices, from normal to outstanding dishes. So, make sure that you did empty your stomach before go here, because you can just grab various kind of amazing traditional to international snacks in this night market.
-Let’s Eat, Play, LOL! Astrid-
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- Phuket Old Town - Soak up the culture and historic architecture by exploring the old town areas and its localPeranakan Culture
- Shopping – As the capital of the island Phuket town is undoubtedly the best place for shopping on the island. From bargains at the local night market to the more upscale Grand Central Festival Shopping complex, it offers the greatest variety of consumer goods
- NightLife – With an exciting live music scene, and lots of local bands the nightlife in Phuket town has less of a westernized feel than its Karon and Patong counterparts, and it’s a good place to mingle with the locals
- Motorbike Road Trip – Phuket town is a great base to head out onto the open road and make a coastal drive complete with sea breeze air to explore nearby sights. Click on our 1 day bike itinerary for more info.
- Relax and Observe – Less touristic than the likes of Patong and Karon, soak up the sights and smells and a view from any of the street side restaurants or cafes, offering a good insight into how local Thais go about their daily lives
- Koh Sirey – Just a few kilometers from town over a connecting bridge, a visit to the Sea Gypsy island feels like a whole other world. A quiet hilly coastal area with fantastic views, its home to the largest settlement of Sea Gypsies and their fishing villages.
- Viewpoints – With viewpoints such as the Big Buddha, Laem Promthep, Rang Hill, Monkey Hill and 3 beaches viewpoint within easy distance from town, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
- Phuket Chinese Vegetarian Festival - Why not plan your trip to coincide with one of Thailand’s most talked about and craziest festivals? Held every year at the beginning of October over 10days, with street processions that include bizarre displays of body piercing, it’s a hair raising event to say the least. Not to mention the nightlong cacophony of firecrackers, fireworks and of course fantastic vegetarian food!
- Monkey Hill – Otherwise known as Toh Sae Hill is a great viewpoint but the main feature are the macaques that you will meet on the road up as they run around freely and enjoy being fed by locals.
- Because it’s not Patong ! - Last but not least, contrary to popular belief not all of Phuket is like Patong. So why not experience a different side to Phuket and enjoy the authentic offerings of Phuket town?
Have you enjoyed the rich culture and authentic Thai life in Phuket Town, Thailand?
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Karon Beach provides the perfect base to explore the south of the island and one of the best and cheapest ways of getting around is by hiring a motorbike. There are a couple of motorbike rental places close by to Thavorn Palm Beach Resort and a days rental will cost you somewhere between 200-300 THB.
The following itinerary is a combination of the highlights from several of my days of exploration in the south of the island, so if your time in Phuket is short this will give you a fantastic overview of the breathtaking scenery in abundance here .
After you have let your breakfast settle, jump on your bike and head on over to Wat Chalong. From the Thavorn Palm Beach Resort, head out east and join the Phuket Town bypass road at Chalong Circle. Wat Chalong is about 5 minutes north from here on the right hand side. You can’t miss it
For information on Wat Chalong, please read our previous blog post, but it is safe to say that this is the most spectacular temple in Phuket and a very pleasant way to while away a couple of hours.
From Wat Chalong, it is but a short drive to the bottom of the hill which leads up to one of the most famous landmarks in Phuket, the Big Buddha monument. It is quite a trek to the top, but my tip would be too take a leisurely climb up there and stop frequently at the numerous view points as they each provide a breathtaking panoramic of the island. The Andaman Sea from this high altitude looks like a polished glass surface and can be quite mesmerising.
By now you may will be ready for a spot of lunch, so after winding down the hill from Big Buddha, carry on South to Chalong Circle and take the right hand exit and head back towards Kata and Karon Beaches. After a scenic, winding drive up and over the hill, swing a left at the first sign for Kata Beach and then head through the town to the beach front.
There are many stunning white sand beaches in Phuket to choose from especially on the west coast, but Kata was the first beach I ever visited in Thailand, over 7 years ago now. With the uninhabited Koh Pu Island (Crab Island) just off shore it has an iconic feel to it which sticks vividly in the mind for years to come.
Park up the bike and order seafood from one of the many beach front restaurants located at the southern end of the beach.Phuket is world renowned for it’s white sand beaches, so if the weather is fine, enjoy a few hours on Kata Beach, sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling or a quiet drink at the very cool SKA Bar on the rocks.
You will want to get on the trail again, mid to late afternoon depending on what time the sun will set that day. Here’s a good little site to help you plan. You will need to leave Kata about 1 hour 15 minutes before sunset to give you time to take in our next destination.
Follow the road through Kata towards Kata Noi and take a left on the hill at the fork in the road. This road will take you on a winding, up hill road and about 10-15 minutes you will reach Kata Viewpoint or ‘3 Beaches Viewpoint’. From here you will see breathtaking views over Kat Noi, Kata and Karon Beaches, see if you can you spot our Thavorn Palm Beach Resort.
Depending on how close it is until sunset you will want to get your skates on as our next destination is about 15 – 30 mins away. You actually have one of two choices here for your sunset experience; the famous and most photographed place on the island Phromthep Cape or the lesser known and therefore generally more peaceful, Windmill Viewpoint. Which one you choose is down to you, they both serve up spectacular and unrivalled sunsets, but the first one you encounter on the coast road is the Windmill Viewpoint.
I actually loved this place more than Phromthep Cape which is a tough call, but when I was there, it was ridiculously peaceful, and one of those old junk boats was silhouetted against the sunset in the stretch of water between the cape and Kho Man, an other iconic uninhabited island lying just off shore. It was a magical experience.
Saying that though, I also love to ’see what all the fuss is about a place’ and had a great time with all the other tourists up at Phromthep Cape where there are some truly once in a lifetime photos to be taken.
Have you experienced the South of the island highlights by motorbike during your holiday in Phuket, Thailand?
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It is no wonder that so many tourists love Phuket and call this place a paradise. Great people, wonderful views, warm sunshine, and amazing festivals. There are more than 10 festivals a year held in Phuket, and this month sees the most famous festival of them all – Phuket Vegetarian Festival.
Phuket Vegetarian festival originates from the Chinese Hokkien community in Phuket and is held over nine days, this year it falls on 26 September – 05 October 2011. This festival not only showcases the most delicious vegetarian food in South East Asia, but is famous for its death defying acts where spirit mediums in a state of trance, climb ladders with rungs made of knives, walk barefoot across hot coals, perform acts of self-mortification, piercing their bodies with hooks, skewers and various other sharp objects.
The afternoon is a good time to grab some food and head to the beach until the festival’s night-time ceremonies begin, when participants undergo further trials of faith in the temples of Phuket Town.
Many people think that there is not much choice in vegetarian food, this is totally wrong! In this festival, the choices of dishes and flavours are enormous and you will have the chance to try some of the best vegetarian food. You can even eat shrimp, duck, or meat as well (all vegetarian of course).
If you’re visiting Phuket, don’t miss the closing ceremony –the final send –off to the Gods, a colourful extravaganza as hundreds of Phuketians set off firecrackers, to bid farewell to the gods, along with the cacophony of drums and gongs and colourful fireworks, you will not see or experience anything else like it, so come and see this astonishing spectacle for yourself.
……… By Andika Dewanto Putra (Thavorn Hotels & Resorts)
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Por Tor festival is one of the religious and culturally rich festivals celebrated in Phuket, a testament to the island’s long standing Chinese Hokkien history which began when the first Chinese immigrants from Malaysia and China came to work in the tin mines in Phuket .
The Por Tor or ‘turtle’ festival is celebrated on 7th month of the Lunar calendar which is approximately during the month of August according to the western calendar. This festival is about worshipping ancestors who are the ‘hungry ghosts’, who are believed to be released at this time of the month by the Goddess ‘Gwan Yin’ so that they can revisit their former homes on earth.
During the festival Chinese Hokkien families will prepare beautifully decorated flowers, foods, fruits, candles and red turtle shaped cakes, which they offer at the altar to worship their ancestors. The Chinese believe that the turtle is a symbol of long life and that red is a lucky colour, and so these cakes will bring them long life, luck and success.Families also worship their ancestors, to show gratitude for their contribution to the present day community.
In Phuket you can mainly see the celebrations at Phuket Town Fresh Market on Ranong Road (Aug 16+17th 2011), or at Por Tor Kong Shrine (Aug 18th-25th) known to the locals as ‘Seng Tek Bew Kuan Im Tai Seu Shrine’ on Ta Kua Tung Road (Bang Neaw district on the way to Saphan Hin). From noon until midnight there will be many activities such as live concerts, magic shows, lion dances, stage shows, local games like darts, shooting galleries, fishing games etc. There will also be lots of local food stalls selling a variety of delicious Phuketian and Thai delicacies.
Have you been lucky enough to celebrate this festival in Phuket? If so feel free to tell us about it here.
Uchralt Adiayaku (Thavorn Hotels & Resorts)
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