Destination Guide : Phuket, Thailand #3

20 kilometres south east of Phuket, Phi Phi Islands are the most visited and most famous, no less so than after the filming of The Beach on Phi Phi Ley, the smaller island of the two, starring Leonardo Di Caprio. The scenery is literally spectacular, and this is forseeably the most popular of all the full day excursions. Renting your own boat is a desirable option if you want to explore beyond the set tour itineraries, and beat the crowds. This option also allows you to visit many of the smaller and idyllic islands offshore, and a friendly boatman who knows the best spots and the hidden beaches can make for a truly memorable experience.

For divers, many islands offer prime sites, such as Dok Mai, Racha, and Shark Point. The preferred choice however is the remote but renowned Similans, a chain of 8 islands 90 kilometres NW of Phuket, which according to those in the know, has some of the best dives in the world. Deep Sea Fishing can be arranged privately or jointly with fully equipped boats in pursuit of tuna, marlin, shark, sailfish and other big ones. Yacht Charters can be arranged by the day, or for longer, with or without crew.

Patong Beach is the undisputed nucleus of the island's entertainment, with a bewildering choice of clubs bars restaurants and trysts from the sophisticated to the sensational. The Simon Transvestite Cabaret rarely fails to impress with its excellent all male but exquisitely feminine productions, and at Kamala beach, the huge and extravagant Phuket Fantasea theme park blends high technology and special effects with stunning cultural presentations featuring hundreds of talented performers and scores of trained animals.