advertisement

To experience the wild side of Phuket's interior, try a rainforest trek through the Khao Phra Thaew Wildlife & Forest Reserve in northeast Phuket; it's still relatively rich with tropical trees and wildlife. The park trails were recently upgraded and the reserve also houses the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project.

Then there's elephant trekking, a perennial favorite for children and adults. Elephants are not indigenous to Phuket, so what you get here is more-or-less a pony ride, but arguments over captive elephant-tour programs aside, the elephants are reasonably well cared for here, and the tour cost goes toward their enormous feed bill. Siam Safari Nature Tours (45 Chaofa Rd., Chalong; tel. 07628-0116; www.siamsafari.com) offers a variety of tours. Their "four-in-one safari" lasts about 6 hours and includes an elephant trek through jungles to rubber estates, watching monkeys pick coconuts, a ride on a buffalo cart, and then a cruise on a junk in Chalong Bay. Prices are 2,250B for adults and 1,550B for children.

River Rovers (tel. 07628-0420; www.riverrovers.com) is a great way to see old Phuket and nature at its finest; this cruise takes in mangrove swamps with monkeys clambering in the branches, fish and mussel farms, and the chance to do a bit of exploring by kayak, with a fabulous fresh seafood lunch at a floating restaurant.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.