What water sports can you enjoy in Phuket?
There are a lot of water activities and water sports in Phuket to add some action to your holiday. The range goes from easy stuff like parasailing to real action sports like surfing and wakeboarding. Surf is only popular during the rainy season when waves are big enough, but not often. Those noisy jetskis are thankfully limited to some areas of some beaches, but accidents still happen too often. The same goes for parasailing. Kayaking is very popular in Phang Nga Bay, the smoothest way to explore the fantastic limestone caves and cliffs.
1. Snorkelling in Phuket
Phuket is an excellent place for snorkelling, and the beaches with rocky ends or rocks under the surface are great for observing sea life. Among the 40 beaches available in Phuket, we identified 11 great for this activity. You may find snorkelling rentals on some of these beaches (we saw some on Ao Sane Beach), but it is easy, cheap and probably more hygienic to buy your gear in one of the many shops selling these on the main beaches around the island. If you need a lifejacket, that is another story; ask your hotel for some great day trips to islands nearby for an even better experience. Remember not to feed the fish and not touch or collect coral or shells from the sea; it is strictly illegal. Find out about the 11 Best snorkelling beaches in Phuket.
2. Scuba Diving in Phuket
Phuket and the many islands around it are a diver’s paradise. Water is warm and clear (most of the time), diving is available all year round, and there are more dive centres than you will ever need. You can be a total beginner or an advanced diver; there will be a dive option for you, from Nitrox to Wreck diving, as a day trip or liveaboards cruises for all budgets. Read more about diving in Phuket and see the Best Dive Centers in Phuket.
There are two ways to enjoy kayaking in Phuket. First, you rent from some beaches or borrow from your hotel (usually luxury hotels) and use to play on the beach. It can be quite physical, but it is up to your stamina. If the sea is quiet and inviting during the high season (December to May), it can be rough during the low season, even if the sky is bright blue.
Then you can try kayaking in Phang Nga Bay, which is not an activity since the guide accompanying you around the limestone cliffs usually does the paddling for you when booking a day trip.
Surfing is very popular in the low season when the sea is rough. Waves are not very high and don’t last very long, but you will see a lot of surfers enjoying themselves in Kata, Kata Noi Kalim and Kamala Beach. Small surfing schools flourish on the beach during these months. You can rent short or longboards and take classes to learn how to surf. There is even a Quicksilver Surf Competition in Patong, Kata and Kalim Beaches from June to September.
5. Flowboarding or Flow Riding
Flow boarding is a fun and easy option if you dream of surfing but are too scared or lazy to paddle to find a wave to ride. Ride an artificial wave on a small and relatively stable board in the safety of a giant rubber slider. Anyone succeeds in just a few minutes, and it is effortless. Of course, it won’t teach you much about real surfing, but you get a gliding sensation, and you can try some moves once you are comfortable. It’s a bit costly and usually short because there is always a bit of a queue, but it’s a lot of fun. There are two Surf Houses in Phuket: Surf House Patong and Surf House Kata, near the beach.
6. Stand Up Paddle
The stand-up paddle is an activity that can be as easygoing or as intense as you want. It was available for rent on many beaches around Phuket, but it started to fade away. We found some for rent on Bang Tao Beach and Ya Nui Beach.
7. Kite Surfing
Kite surfing is only possible a few months per year and usually only in a few locations: Nai Yang Beach and Rawai Beach
8. Cable Ski Wakeboarding
There are three lakes with cable rides in Phuket. Wakeboarding on a lake is fun and relatively easy, offering a range of levels from beginners’ kneeboards to expert obstacle jumps. If you fall, someone picks you up quickly so you can restart within minutes. It can be expensive, starting at 750 baht per hour, but fun and exhilarating. You can rent everything you need on the spot: helmet, board and life jacket.
- Phuket Wake Park in Kathu (near Patong)
- International Wake Park IWP near Phuket Airport.
9. White Water Rafting
White water rafting is popular in Phang Nga province, and any tour agent can organise a day trip to take you there. We tried once, and it was indeed quite an impressive experience. It is fast and bounces quickly but seems safe since an experienced crew member navigates the inflatable boat.
10. Water Parks
There are three large water parks around Phuket, and while spending a day there is not considered a physical activity, water parks are a lot of fun!
11. Jet Skis
The way it goes in Phuket, Jet Ski is not a sport. It’s more of an activity, just like riding a motorbike. Jet skis are on the main tourist beaches, Patong, Kata, Karon and Kamala beaches, but most people frown upon those noisy and polluting machines, dangerously zooming close to swimmers. They are also known for their costly scams when you may be accused of damaging the jets and therefore are forced to pay a hefty fine to the owner, no matter if it is true or not. Better stay away from jet skis; it is not worth the risk. Expect to pay 1,500 baht for 30 mn on a one-person jet ski or 2,000 baht for 30 mn on a bigger two-person jet ski.
Parasailing is easy, casual, and not too expensive for a short ride in one of the tourist bays of Phuket. All you have to do is let a crew equip you with a harness right on the beach, and a speedboat will approach and throw a cable. A beach boy will attach the cable to your harness, and the boat powers up, lifting you in the sky. The surprising part is when the beach boy suddenly grabs the parachute, climbs above you and hangs them during the whole ride! Safety is minimal, and accidents are not unheard of. Parasailing in Phuket costs 1,200 baht for a child and 1,500 baht for an adult.