Phuket paradise

Ahlan! soothes its soul on the island sanctuary
Wednesday , 11 June 2008

A short boat trip from Thailand's mainland, Phuket is known as the ‘Pearl of the South'. Not unlike Thailand itself, it is an island of colour and culture with endless ways to fill your time. Island life, however, has a special quality, cut off from the world, with exotic wildlife and stunning natural beauty.

If its tranquil shores you hope to explore, hop onto a Thai long boat and hide away on one of the small surrounding islands. Or head back to Phuket to trek and swim with Asian elephants, dive the famous waters, and sip cocktails by the ocean. And since the Thais are among the most experienced and dedicated masseuses in the world, a spa session shouldn't go amiss!

Embracing modernity with youthful energy, the islands balance it with Thai traditions and boast breathtaking vistas, luxurious hotels and vibrant nightlife.

While you're there

Soothe the senses
You'll find the source of youth and wellbeing at Six Senses Erawan - a destination spa on Naka Yai Island. From specialist fitness therapies to traditional Thai massages, there are a host of pampering treats to relish in the luxurious setting and get you back on track for the real world.

Movie magic
Take a day trip to Koh Phi Phi, where The Beach was filmed, dive with the tropical fish, drop in on monkeys and hidden waterfalls, and romantics can end the day with champagne among the palm trees on the sandy shore.

Island shop
Bargain hunters shouldn't miss Phuket City. The historical downtown area, ‘Old Phuket', has some of the most interesting shops for Thai crafts and textiles, clothing and accessories. With the beautifully restored Sino-Portuguese buildings, the busy streets are a fascinating place to explore.