Most tourists visiting Phuket like to go to an island tour to see the James Bond Island or Phi Phi Island, etc. However, only some choose to go on a tour of Phuket’s attractions other than islands and beaches. This tour can be a nice experience too. Travel agents call it ‘Phuket City Tour’ which typically includes a view of Phuket’s islands from a certain high viewpoint, a visit to Big Buddha Temple and Wat Chalong, and an optional tour of Phuket town to see some old Sino-Portuguese architecture. Some tours include “Elephant trekking” which I do not recommend simply because whenever humans use animals for business, the poor animals get exploited and tortured.
My favourite tour booking site in Thailand – hotels2thailand.com – offers a ‘Phuket City Tour’ that costs approximately 500 THB per person including hotel transfers from Patong, Kata, or Karon. This tour includes Kata Viewpoint, Big Buddha Temple, Wat Chalong, and a short drive through Phuket town to see some Sino-Portuguese architecture. All travel agents in Phuket will offer this tour and some may offer it even cheaper. I have mentioned the hotels2thailand.com price to give you an idea of how much the tour may cost. Armed with this information, you will be able to bargain a good price with your travel agent or hotel in Phuket. For more info on the hotels2thailand tour, please visit this page: http://hotels2thailand.com/phuket-day-trips/phuket-city-tour-(halfday-minimum-2-pax).asp
Being a half day tour, you have the option of joining either the morning (7:30am to 1:00pm) or the evening (1:00pm to 6:00pm) tour.
Your travel agent, hotels2thailand or another, will most likely NOT take you to this viewpoint. The name used by hotels2thailand is “Kata Viewpoint” which would be a high point from where you will get a view of Kata beach. The picture above shows Kata and Karon beaches.
Big Buddha is one of Phuket’s iconic images but it is not old. The construction of this temple began in 2004 and is yet to be fully completed. Big Buddha sits atop the Nakkerd Hill near Chalong. This is the third tallest statue in Thailand.
Wat Chalong is a Buddha temple in Chalong sub-district of Phuket. It is dedicated to two Buddhist monks, Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, who led the citizens of Chalong in their fight against the Chinese rebellion in 1876. They also helped the injured with their knowledge of herbal medicine.
This part of the tour is a quick drive-through in which you will see an old part of Phuket town. Sino-Portuguese architecture is an architecture style influenced by both Chinese and European architecture styles. You might have seen this type of buildings in other cities/countries, such as Singapore.