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Phuket is the largest island of Thailand, enjoying a great success among tourists. It’s thanks to its beauty and easy access from multiple points around the globe. The island has an international airport Phuket, which welcomes 3 million people each year. It’s very well connected to the major airports of the world and to the country itself.

The terrain of the island is very diverse – west coast is full of beautiful, sandy beaches, while the centre is mountainous and covered with lush greenery (about 7% of the island is a natural forest). Tourists from Europe particularly enjoy visiting Patong, especially in winter.

Attractions of Phuket

Phuket is loud , very active and because of its popularity it’s really crowded in high season. The best time to visit is from November to February , when temperatures are most optimal for tourists from Europe. Those, who like to spend the time actively won’t be bored - they can do bungee jumping , snorkeling in beautiful waters of Andaman Sea or go on an organized tour combined with diving in the coral reefs . The abundance of fish and other creatures living in the local waters will delight everyone. You can also treat yourself to fly a parachute pulled by a speedboat . Those who prefer to stay in peace and quiet, can choose among several beaches , including Kata Beach, Relax and Pan Sea. In turn, those who like the tinsel , party till dawn and meeting new people from around the world , are likely to choose the already mentioned Patong Beach or Karon. At most beaches in Phuket you can find windsurf and water ski equipment rentals .

Numerous nature reserves, picturesque lagoons and dozens of magnificent Buddhist temples are just waiting to be discovered. Tourists are allured by limestone caves, as well as by the beauty of the National Park Khao Phra Thaeo, where they can admire porcupines, gibbons and bears. A great attractions of the park are two beautiful waterfalls, as well as a unique silver palm and cultured pearls.

Also worth knowing is the collection of world's largest sea shell museum. These include fossils, a shell weighing a quarter ton and the largest gold pearl in the world.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Soon the island will be hosting a great event connected with parades and views painful to the eyes of the average viewer. On 5-13 October 2013 Vegetarian Festival will be held, during which the participants of parades will pierce their bodies in order to purify them and to invite the spirits of gods to possess them. Such persons are referred to as "mah song", “mah” in Thai means “horse”, and the gods are believed to use the bodies of people as a vehicle (they ride them like horses). Self-injury is also a form of protection against evil spirits, and mah songs apparently don’t feel any pain.

Thai people believe that the festival and the accompanying ceremonies bring good luck to all, who take part in the rituals and comply with the existing rules. During the celebration people of Chinese descent should strictly follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. It helps the spiritual purification, and those characterized by high religiosity add the resignation from intercourse, consumption of alcohol, cursing and using profanity. Their physical and spiritual purity is symbolized by white robes. During the festival at shrines and temples are performed sacred rituals, including walking barefoot on hot coals.

Thai Vegetarian Festival is popular in many regions of the country, but the most spectacular celebrations are organized right in Phuket. Vegetarian tourists staying at this time on the island will have no difficulty in finding a suitable restaurant with appropriate menu – they’ll be marked by yellow flags with red letters.

Driving through Thailand - visiting elephants

Those, who intend to spend more time in Thailand can visit other islands, or travel to the mainland. Some of them will want to visit the most famous attractions, see a number of temples or try an elephant trekking. Many of these stately, proud animal shares the lot of horses carrying the people to Morskie Oko, so if anyone would like to see them, and especially if anyone cares for them, should visit Elephant Nature Park, located in the northern part of the country, where elephants live under natural conditions. They don’t carry anyone on the back, but at 2,500 BHT (about 59,40 EUR), people can feed them, bathe in the river, and understand their customs. It’s a shelter and rehabilitation center for animals rescued from an abusive owner.

While in Phuket we can see the local flora and fauna, enjoy the monuments and spend time on the beach or underwater. We can relax, do sports or party until dawn. There’re plenty of possibilities, and whatever we choose, we’ll be satisfied.

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska

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