Exotic mountain rocks coming out of the ocean in Phuket, Thailand
Pha Nga Bay has several karst islands that can be explored by longtail boat, including the sheer cliffs of James Bond Island, featured in "The Man With the Golden Gun." Some islands are shaped like doughnuts with shallow calm water inside, only reachable at low tide. Popular Phi Phi (pronounced "pee-pee") Island was featured in the movie "The Beach."
Snorkeling at Phi Phi Island, Phuket, Thailand
The waters surrounding Phuket have great snorkeling and scuba diving, thanks to the bay's warm, clean waters and lively marine ecosystems. Snorkel off the beach at Ao Sane, next to Nai Harn Beach, at Kata Noi or near Patong at Paradise Beach. Drift past anemones, parrot fish and various types of coral.
Above Nakkerd Hills is a 147-foot-tall white Buddha statue, which you can see from many parts of the island — hike up to the statue itself, which is surprisingly uncrowded. It's covered in Burmese white jade marble, and next to it is a smaller Buddha made from brass. The trek also comes with the bonus of breathtaking views down to the sea.
Sample Thailand's famous cuisine at street stalls or sit-down restaurants. If you're not sure what to order, ask for pad kra prao — stir-fried meat (usually chicken or pork) prepared with chili peppers and Thai holy basil. The level of spiciness can be tailored to your taste, and adding in a fried egg is optional — though highly recommended.
Silks are always a good buy in Thailand; choose from scarves in every color, pillowcases or clothing. Cruise to Phuket and pick up a carved elephant in wood, metal or stone. At home, place it facing a doorway for good feng shui.
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