Presentation of the destination
Located just south of Phuket (11km), Chalong is a town that sprang up next to the bay with the same name (Chalong Bay). Chalong Bay is the largest in Phuket Island and thus is the principal harbor for yachts and charters. As such, many tourist activities such as boat charters for scuba, snuba, snorkeling, and fishing depart from Chalong. But Chalong is not just for water activities as there are plenty of things to do on land. Those interested in Thai history and culture and Buddhism will want to see Wat Chalong, the famous Buddhist temple. Another wonderful nearby Buddhist site is the Big Buddha. If you’d like to see some of the beautiful colors of the jungle, check out the Phuket bird park. Of course, no trip to Thailand would be complete without a relaxing cocktail by the beach, so visit the Rum Distillery and Rawai Beach.
Points of interests / things to see
Located between Phuket Town and Chalong Bay, Wat Chalong is one of Phuket’s most well-known temples. The spectacular main building is adorned with gold leaf and gives off a beautiful glitter in the sunlight. It is three stories high and offers beautiful panoramic views of Phuket and the surrounding bays. One of the experiences visitors have commented on is hearing firecrackers being set off in the temple—in fact this is to ward off evil spirits, or some say it is to celebrate prayers being answered. You can stroll around the gardens and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere. Inside the temple you will notice statues of two monks who were famous for their healing abilities and knowledge of herbal medicine. There is also a statue of Lang Poh Cham who was a hero to the local people when they were fighting against a Chinese coup. Legend has it if you visit this temple and make a wish it will come true. A popular tourist destination, the area surrounding the temple grounds also has plenty of souvenir shops and stands. Entry is free, but donations are requested for flowers and candles which are used for prayers. Visitors have recommended going early in the morning (opens at 7am) or closer to the temple’s closing time at 5pm to avoid crowds.
On a beach vacation, many tourists enjoy a beachside cocktail. If you are interested in spirits and want to know how the rum in your mojito is actually made, it is worth a visit to the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery. The sugarcane used to produce the rum is all grown in Thailand. Interestingly, the company blends authentic Thai ingredients and atmosphere with traditional world-renowned French distilling techniques. When you visit the distillery, a tour is offered and you will receive an explanation of the production process. Visitors have commented on the friendly reception they have received from a multilingual staff. The tour, which costs 250 baht, also includes a free mojito. Tours are available Monday through Saturday between 4 and 6pm. The distillery also offers cocktail workshops (call in advance to arrange) in which visitors can learn how to make a variety of cocktails. Chalong Bay Rum won a silver medal in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2012. Located at 14/2 Moo 2, Palai Soi 2, Tambol Chalong, Amphoe Muang Phuket, Phuket, Thailand 83130. Visit their website http://www.chalongbayrum.com for more information.
Newly opened in 2013, the Phuket Bird Park is a place to enjoy the amazing range of colors of the bird life of the island. The park is home to a wide variety of bird species, everything from parrots to ostriches to eagles, over 100 species in all. Many of the birds are well-trained and highly intelligent, something visitors will get the chance to appreciate if they attend a bird show. With three shows daily, at 10:30, 1:30, and 3:30, the audience will delight in the birds performing tricks, and lucky audience participants may also get to hold the birds! Those who want to get up close and personal with the birds will also be able to take advantage of photo opportunities under the close supervision of the staff. A family could spend several hours at the bird park enjoying all there is to see and taking in a snack at one of the cafes. There’s also a souvenir shop featuring mugs, t-shirts, and other bird items. The park is open daily from 9am to 6pm. Price of admission is 500 baht for adults and 300 baht for children. Located at Chaofa (west) Road, A. Muang, Phuket 83000.
If you want to get off the beach and explore the city, head to Phuket. For those wanting to step back in time and see what Phuket was like 100 years ago, visit the center of Old Town. Phuket was known for its access to tin, a natural resource, and thus attracted the attention of many European colonial powers including Portugal and Britain. The bustling tin trade meant that a crowded city emerged where people could shop, trade, eat, drink, and engage in the nightlife. Eventually, some wealthy merchants invested in the construction of buildings, bringing a European style to the city. There was also a heavy Chinese presence in Phuket as many migrated to work in the tin mines. Thus, Old Town Phuket retains this legacy in Chinese temples and shrines, and in the presence of numerous Chinese food shops. In a more dramatic historical event, Chinese “coolies” as the workers were called, rebelled due to lack of pay in 1876 and several were killed. Today Old Town Phuket is still a place where many cultures meet. There are also walking tours offered through a company called Phuket Heritage Trails. Visit https://www.facebook.com/Phuketheritage for more information.
At 45m high, the Big Buddha leaves an imposing impression on visitors to Phuket. This is one of Phuket’s must-see attractions as you get a sense of the level of devotion and respect the residents of Phuket have thanks to the beauty and craftsmanship of this white marble-covered giant. The statue was built almost entirely thanks to donations from the faithful, both locally and around the world. The Buddha looks serenely down at his visitors with a comforting gaze. The site, on top of the Nakkerd Hills, also offers 360 degree panoramic views of the island. The Big Buddha is also accompanied by a smaller 12m Buddha statue in brass. This smaller statue is dedicated to Thailand’s queen while the larger is dedicated to the king. There is no fee to visit the statue, but donations are strongly encouraged. There are also opportunities to buy souvenirs and purchase small snacks. The Big Buddha is accessible by taxi and tuktuk, but visitors should book a round-trip so that their driver will wait for them. Otherwise, the site is accessible on foot to hikers and bikers willing to make the climb. Open daily from 8am to 730pm. Located at Yot Sane 1, Karon, Phuket 83100, Thailand.
Many of the boats from Chalong Pier depart for this conveniently-located island, accessible in just fifteen minutes by speedboat. Coral Island or Koe Hae is a true paradise with crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches. Because the beaches in Chalong are too muddy, many tourists take a day trip to Coral Island for their taste of beachside paradise. Day trips usually include lunch and snorkeling as well as round-trip boat transportation. Parasailing and banana boats are two popular tourist activities available on Long Beach. Banana Beach, the island’s other beach, is a quieter option for those looking to get away from the crowds and just a ten minute walk away.
For a different beach experience just south of Chalong bay, head to Rawai beach. This is the beach as experienced from a more local, less touristy point of view. Many local fishermen anchor their boats off this beach. The happy result is that alongside the beach there are many fresh seafood stands where you can buy your choice of fresh fish and then take it to one of the small cafes just across the street to be prepared as you like! The beach is swimmable at high tide but it is mostly known for the food!
Phang Nga Bay is up the coast from Chalong Bay but is worth a day trip or even a more extended visit when combined with nearby beaches. This bay is renowned for its interesting geological features including limestone rock islands that have been worn down into dramatic shapes. The best known is the “James Bond” island or Nail Island, made famous by its appearance in the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun.” There are many boat tours available for touring the bay, but a great suggestion would be to rent your own kayak, so you get closer to these islands which are protected from motorboat traffic.
Khao Phra Thaeo is north of Phuket city and about a 35-40 minute drive, but is well-worth including in your itinerary if you want to experience undeveloped rain forest land. The park’s highlights includes its hiking trails and waterfalls, including Phuket’s biggest waterfall. The waterfalls in the park are actually popular swimming locations! You will also have the chance to see some native wildlife, including deer, monkeys, and lizards. The park is also home to a Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, which re-claims people’s unwanted pets and prepares them to return to the wild.
Vacation rentals in Chalong (Phuket)
How to get there ?
Phuket's International Airport gets some direct flights from international locations, but it is still popular to fly into Bangkok and then travel to Phuket. There are a number of ways to get from Bangkok to Phuket, depending on your style and budget and how much time you have to travel. There are daily flights between Bangkok and Phuket which take approximately one hour. Several airlines now offer this service including Thai Airways, but there are also low cost carriers such as One-Two-Go by Orient Thai. There is now also an airport bus that goes directly from Phuket International Airport to Phuket City. Taxis and minibuses are available and also have the advantage of taking you directly to your hotel even if it is outside Phuket City. A longer but cheaper option for getting to Phuket is to take the train. An overnight train from the main Bangkok station Hua Lamphong goes to Surat Thani, where you can then take a bus to Phuket (another 3 hours). Overnight buses are also available. The trip from Bangkok takes 12 hours. The advantages are that the trip is direct to Phuket from Bangkok and it is one of the cheapest ways to travel. You can even pay less if you are willing to travel on a non-airconditioned bus! Car rental is available in Phuket through Thai Rent a Car for those seeking more independence.
Chalong city hall
Hotels in Chalong (Phuket)