It is likely if you are holidaying in Phuket, Thailand that you will be based at one of Phuket’s popular West Coast beach resorts. This part of the island has forged its way into the consciousness of the mass tourism market as being synonymous with the Phuket Experience as a whole, but there is an abundance of spectacular natural environments to be found in other parts of Phuket Island and surrounding provinces that show the more diverse nature of this stunning region of the world.
One of the most popular ways to explore this rich diversity is through one of the numerous Phuket tour packages on offer and yesterday I set out to do just that.
Anda Adventure – www.andaadventure.com
One such Phuket tour package is Anda Adventure in Phang Nga Province, which after a minivan ride of approx 1 hr to 1 hr 30 mins from Phuket, transports you to a fabulous mountainous jungle setting with a beautiful river flowing through the middle, crammed full of rocks and white water rapids.
This tour is very well run, whilst maintaining a relaxed atmosphere throughout and from the central base of a large wooden club house high above the river you are conveniently transported by pickup truck to each adventure activity.
White Water Rafting
First up was the white water rafting, which even in the dry season when the water was supposedly slower, still provided enough thrills and spills for a thoroughly enjoyable soaking. There were many other rafts on the water, which added to the fun as we engaged in some friendly rivalry splashing the other boats if they came too close and on several occasions a frog was thrown into our raft causing the girls to scream. The scenery was beautiful along the river and on a hot sunny day being soaked to the skin was a great way to keep cool.
This fun activity was followed by a slower paced Elephant Trek through the jungle, which was again conducted at a relaxed pace allowing time to interact with the guests, have some banter with the guides and give the elephants a well earned rest. Some people are critical of Elephant Trekking companies for their treatment of the elephants, but these looked to be well taken care of and certainly enjoyed the bananas at the end of the trek.
Next up was a tasty lunch at the club house with several delicious dishes on offer including fried rice, tempura, fried chicken drumsticks, pork and almonds, Tom Yam soup, mixed vegetables with oyster sauce followed by water melon and pineapple.
Extreme Sports Activities
After dinner we went straight out on to the Rope Bridge across the river, which was reasonably challenging with a great view of the ravine. The Flying Fox Zip line on the return was great fun.
Another short drive in the pickup took us to the ATV station where a bumpy track up the hillside awaited. The track had some steep inclines and plenty of rocks to bounce off and was an activity I could have happily participated in all day long.
The final activity of the afternoon was The Elephant Show, which was actually quite charming in comparison to shows I have seen in the past. Two baby elephants and one Female Adult elephant performed a series of acts including dancing, basketball, throwing darts at balloons and a hilarious routine where they massaged members of the audience. This show was a great hit with the family groups and overall this tour is an ideal way for families and groups to explore the beautiful countryside in Phang Nga province Thailand, whilst taking part in some fun outdoor adventure activities.
Anda Adventure tours cost 3600 THB pet person for the full package, but there are some cheaper options with less activities. Personally, going all that way, I am glad I took the full package option and got to spend the whole day in the Phang Nga countryside. Anda Adventure Tours pick up from your hotel in the early morning dropping back off in the evening around 18 hrs. For more information visit www.andaadventure.com
While many people have the perception that Phuket is all about the beaches, five star resorts, entertainment, shopping and nightlife, it is certainly worth spending a few days away from the West Coast beaches to find out about the stunning natural environments and activities which are within easy reach.
What are your favourite activities and natural environments in Puket and surrounding provinces.
Roger Gibson has travelled extensively in South East Asia and Europe and currently lives in Phuket, Thailand working as Director of Marketing & Communications for 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