Sporty Phuket Thailand
Sporty Phuket : Ride on waves
When people think of surfing in Asia, they think of Bali. But the arrival of the monsoon winds in Phuket means the east coast of the island now also boasts big waves. Decha Sithidej, 34, a surfing instructor of Andaman Sea Surf (from B2,800/3 hours, www. andamanseasurf.com) on Patong Beach, explains that from April to mid-December Phuket becomes a temÂ¬porary surfers’ paradise, with waves reaching as high as eight feet on some beaches. “Patong Beach is the most popular because it’s easy to access,” says Decha “but advanced surfers find Kalim Beach, next to Patong, and Nai Yang Beach, near the airport, more fun and challenging.” And if you’re a skeptical novice, Decha claims that anyone who can swim can surf, and his students range from six-year-olds to forty-somethings.
The growing popularity of surfing in Phuket is clear, not only in the growing number of surfing schools and shops, but also in the appearance of a new competition last year. The Quicksilver Phuket Surf Series (www.thailandsurfseries.com) was spread out over three beaches and attracted participants from several countries. This year’s event is penciled in for around August or September, so be prepared.
Sporty Phuket : Sight Seaing
When waves are high, it is not a very comfortable boat ride from Phuket to Phi Phi for a spot of snor-keling. Koh Racha, which is located much closer to the main island, is therefore a popular destination during the rainy season. It takes about 40 minutes by speedboat from Phuket‘s Chalong Pier to reach its powdery white sands, aqua blue waters and teeming corals. One of the most popular dive oper-ators, Raya Oceanic Diver (076-384-326, www.rayÂ¬aoceanicdiver.com), organizes both snorkeling and dive trips. If you always wanted to give scuba divÂ¬ing a try, they have a Discover Scuba Diving (B4,500/1 day) course which gives you a real chance to see if you like hanging out in the underÂ¬water world. We’ll be honest: the state of the coral is a little depressing with much of it decaying or already destroyed as a result of global warming but there are still lots of fish to see and visibility is great. A daytrip to snorkel and swim around the island costs around B1,800 but a special rate of B1,200 for two is available for Nok Air’s Nok Fan Club members (see Essentials).
Sporty Phuket : Tough Athletics
For those who really want to test their athleticism (or are just downright crazy) Phuket is also famous for two grueling events: The Laguna Phuket Inter-national Marathon (www.phuketmarathon) and the Laguna Phuket International Triathlon. This year’s marathon took place in June and attracted thousands of runners from around the globe. See Almost Famous for our interview with Chakrit BoonkongÂ the overall winner of this year’s event and get in training now for next year’s race.
Even more demanding is the triathlon (www. lagunaphukettriathlon.com), scheduled to take place on Nov 28. It’s been running since 1994 and is now so popular that this year’s event is already booked up with thousands of competitors wanting to swim 1.8km, cycle 55km and run 12km. So if you’re applying now, you have a choice between getting on the waiting list or joining the 6km Fun Run instead.