It seems like such a simple thing to do, to take a walk, but here in the tropical heat timing and venue is everything! It is always best to walk from 5:30am until 9am and again from 4pm until sunset, usually around 6pm. The sun is relentless and offers no respite unless you do a jungle walk under the canopies…read on for more tips of where to walk in Phuket.
Most of the golf courses here in Phuket have no issue with people walking around the course if you stick to the pathways and time it early when you are less likely to hit on the head with a flying golf ball! The golf course offers a unique window into viewing some of the island’s more exotic birdlife too, watch out for Kingfishers, large kites, and other wildlife such as butterflies.
Reservoirs are newly constructed in Phuket. The large dam in Kathu (Bang Wad Dam) was constructed in 1984 and is the most popular and more kitted out to welcome walkers. The roads are fine to walk on and you will be joined by runners, cyclists, and dog walkers. Families take picnics here at the weekends and it is a friendly place to get some exercise. Bang Neaw Dam in Cherngtalay, constructed in 2006, is quieter and smaller, but since lockdown now sees many more walkers than before. Dog walkers are prevalent here in the early mornings and later in the afternoons, so please be careful if you choose to cycle as you could get caught up in a leash! The walk around Bang Neaw Dam is 5kms and takes around one hour if you are a strong walker. There are several tracks off the dam, with trails going to the old tin mine museum and a precariously steep hike over the hills to Kamala. Please do not try these hikes alone, you will need water and a friend to go with you. At the reservoirs you will see friendly stray dogs, snakes, water monitor lizards, butterflies, and several types of birds of prey.
Depending on where you are staying a beach walk is perfect for all fitness levels and ages, but for those who want a long walk, Bang Tao Beach to the tip of Layan Beach and back again is a perfect work out and an opportunity to get a suntan too! There are plenty of lovely spots to stop off for a hydrating drink, try a pit stop at The Lazy Coconut and take a refreshing dip in the pool before drying off and continuing! Other long walks can be had on Mai Khao beach, and in low season you will not see another soul. Normally beaches are safe in Phuket but there have been some recent reports of opportunists lurking around, so please do make sure if you are heading to the quieter beaches to grab a friend to go with you. Better to be safe and it will be more fun with a friend anyhow.
A deep trek into the interior of Phuket reveals a whole different side of the island. Khao Phra Thaew National Park is home to our last remaining piece of virgin rainforest, and many protected species of animals call it home. Near Ton Sai Waterfall there is a park office which offers local guides that can be hired to assist hikers along forest trails. There are also tour companies that arrange small group excursions through jungle paths. Unless you are with someone who knows the trails, it is best to go with a guide.
Since lockdown, our Facebook feeds have been full of selfies from people who have done the ‘Black Rock Hike.’ It is a coastal viewpoint and a hike that is definitely worth the travel to the starting point. To get to Black Rock Viewpoint, hike up into the rainforest above Ao Sane Beach to enjoy incredible views of southern Phuket, including Nai Harn Beach, Phromthep Cape, and Koh Man. As the name implies, Black Rock Viewpoint features a huge black granite stone, hence its name. Black Rock Viewpoint’s breathtaking views and the fact that you’re in the jungle make the difficult journey to get to the view all the more unforgettable.
Remember to always take water, sun cream, hat, insect repellant and a t-shirt or a sarong to cover up from the sun! Enjoy discovering the natural beauty of Phuket.