By THE NATION
Phuket has jumped from the fifth spot last year to No 3 behind Bangkok and Chiang Mai this year, leaping over Hua Hin (4th) and Pattaya (5th).
Beaches were the top attraction, said Agoda, followed by nature and scenery, then new food and dining experiences.
The holiday booking platform also highlighted heritage attractions such as the Phuket Mining Museum in Amphoe Khatu and the Jui Tui Shrine in the old quarter – both testament to the province’s Chinese influence.
Kayaking with underwater view
Other offbeat activities for visitors include kayaking at Paradise Beach, 4 kilometres from Patong Beach and has a great view right across Patong Bay. Acrylic-bottom kayaks offer a glass-clear window on the marine life below.
Agoda also highlights plane spotting at Mai Khao Beach, for a close-up look at aircraft coming in to land at Phuket Airport runway. From 10am to 2pm is peak time to take stunning photos with the white beach and clear sea as background.
Coral Island (Koh Hay) is known for its shallow coral reefs and wonderful snorkelling. Also on offer are banana boats and parasailing.
Meanwhile, Khai Islands comprise the three islets of Khai Nai, Khai Nui and Khai Nok, located 15 minutes by speed boat from Phuket's east coast. Surrounded by corals with tropical fish, beautiful rock formations, and beautiful beaches, the islets are suitable for all ages. A private speed-boat charter is available for those who want a more personalised touch.
Maithon Island is a secluded paradise, home to a rich variety of birds, dolphins and tropical fish that can now be seen and experienced by a handful of guests at a time. Enjoy long walks and beautiful sunsets here. Getting to the island takes only 20 minutes by speedboat or 45 minutes by catamaran, operated daily from Phuket Deep Sea Port.