Adrenaline Island: Phuket

At only a 2-hour flight from Singapore, and nearly three-quarters the size, Phuket offers plenty of outdoor activities for Singapore-based travellers. The island is known for its adventure racing and diving, including dive locations beyond Phuket, such as Phi Phi and Racha Yai. With the added bonus of being relatively inexpensive, Phuket is the ideal location for a long weekend getaway.

 

 

LAGUNA PHUKET INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

Now in its 23rd year, the Laguna Phuket International Marathon is held on the 4th and 5th of June, and is the island’s biggest race, attracting competitors from all over the world. Although not a points race, the marathon draws runners in because of its ideal holiday location and scenic course, which follows next to the rainforests and beaches of Phuket.

The run itself is not overly challenging – with no huge hill climbs the main difficulty faced is the extreme heat, something which most regional racers are already accustomed to. Both the marathon and half-marathon trail follow the course out of Laguna and head through scenic local villages, as well as pineapple and rubber plantations.

For runners looking to go beyond the normal marathon course, the subsequent Laguna Phuket Triathlon on the 20th of November 2016 follows roughly the same route, featuring a 1.8km swim, 55km bike and a 12km run.

DIVING

Beyond the race, for some R&R one of the best things Phuket has on offer is the diving. Between Phuket and the nearby island of Phi Phi there are a wide range of dive sites including walls, wrecks, reefs, caves and overhangs, with the only barrier to entry being your diving qualification.

Waterfall Wall

 

 

Racha Yai plays host to a number of different dive sites, the best being Waterfall Wall, which is situated on the south side of the island. This wall dive consists of a steep 25m hard coral wall with a variety of coral species on it. Stronger currents mean this dive site is normally drift dived by visitors. For those looking for a pelagic fish, the wall is a common hunting ground for predators such as barracuda, reef sharks and tuna.

Suitable for: All Divers

Max depth: – 25m

Hin Mu Sang (Shark Point)

Declared a marine sanctuary in 1992, this location is kept in pristine condition. “Shark Point” gets its name from the numerous leopard sharks which are found lying on the seafloor – you would be extremely unlucky to not see one. The location has several multi-coloured coral species, which are in turn home to an array of tropical fish like lionfish and bannerfish. The main downside to this site is its popularity, as it can get crowded during the peak season.

If you’re looking to escape the relative urban hustle and bustle of Phuket, then Phi Phi island is only a two-hour ferry ride away. With resort accommodations available on the island, it is a comparatively more tranquil destination than Phuket, as its main attractions are the beaches and snorkelling/dive locations.

Suitable for: Intermediate divers

Max depth: – 30m

Secret Beach

 

 

For anyone looking to explore beyond Phuket’s nightlife, Secret Beach’s after-dark diving offers a vast number of species, from octopi to mantis shrimps, making It ideal for macro-photography. As a muck dive, do not expect amazing visibility, as the real focus is largely on the sandy floor around you, searching for interesting critters among the hundreds of resident species of fish and nudibranchs.

Suitable for: All divers

Max depth: – 10m

Loh Samah

 

 

Just 30 minutes boat ride off Phi Phi’s southeast coast, Loh Samah offers a great night dive opportunity. Beyond the vast number of nocturnal sea creatures, there is a narrow canyon which divers can visit during the day. It’s not cave diving, but with its overhangs it’s as close as a less experienced diver can get. There is a variety of sea life on offer including big pelagics, turtles and eels. It is also a great snorkelling location for non-divers.

Suitable for: All divers

Max depth: – 20m

Koh Bida Nok

 

 

Off the coast of Koh Phi Phi Ley lies Koh Bida Nok, arguably one of Phi Phi’s best dive sites. It has numerous caverns and overhangs, as well as a shallow bay with coral garden. The area attracts a number of different shark species such as leopard, nurse and black tips, as well as – if you’re lucky – the occasional hawksbill turtle having a snack on a sea sponge.

Suitable for: All divers

Max depth: – 30m

Maya Bay/Cave

 

 

There are dive sites of all kinds dotted across Maya Bay. Near to shore, the coral and rock formations – home to moray eels and clown fish – are ideal for less experienced divers. Further out, the reef slopes into steep coral walls, littered with caves to explore – including the well-known Maya Cave. Nearly 20m wide at the mouth, deeper inside divers can surface within its inner, stalactite-strewn chambers. For anyone not already a certified cave diver, there are local specialists on Phi Phi to assist.

Suitable for: All divers

(Maya Cave for advanced divers)

Max depth: – 22m

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