Posts Tagged ‘tsunami’

Things to do in Phuket

Posted on June 1st, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on Things to do in Phuket

Phuket is a jewel in the Andaman Sea offering tourists a multitude of things to do whilst visiting the Island. Here are a few suggestions…. good to do when you are not diving.


Phuket Fantasea

This spectacular Las Vegas style cultural show is the largest on the Island.  The show itself is set in a theme park which offers carnival games, shopping and a choice of restaurants. The show is a colourful tale of Thai fantasy, adventure and romance with trapeze artists, performing elephants and other animals.  The show also hosts the largest buffet in Thailand.


Things to do in Phuket

Big Buddha is a serene statue situated on the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and can be seen throughout the southern part of the Island.  Surrounded by beautiful tropical rainforest the views from here are spectacular. It is considered that the Buddha is a natural symbol of hope. Big Buddha, standing 45m high with a 25m base is officially called Phra Puttamingmonkol Akenakkin Buddha.   It has been built purely by donations out of Burmese white marble, which shimmers in the sun.  Big Buddha is dedicated to the King of Thailand, whereas the smaller brass Buddha image on the same site has been dedicated to the queen.


Scuba cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Wat Chalong is the largest and most visited of the Island’s Buddhist temples. Wats, or Buddhist temples are important symbols in Thailand as the majority of the population are Buddhist . The Wat is open to on a daily basis from 7am to 5pm. Wat Chalong is associated with the revered monks Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang who were famous for working with herbal medicine and attending to the sick and injured.  During the tin miners rebellion in 1876 they tended to the injured on both sides and were active in mediation to bring the warring parties together to resolve their dispute. Many local Thais are blessed by monks and receive a string tied around their wrist to protect against illness and injury.  Since 1954 the temple has hosted an annual fair around Chinese New Year. There are many stalls selling local products, fairground rides and live music. Please remember when visiting the Temple that it is a place of worship and to act and dress accordingly.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Phuket Aquarium is located at the end of Cape Panwa and is directly under the control of Phuket Marine Biology Centre, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and the Ministry of Natural resources and Environment.  The aim of the aquarium is to provide education and knowledge on the diversity of marine life, flora and fauna. There are over 30 tanks of fresh and salt water exhibits, all labeled in English and Thai with facts about the creatures. The star attraction is a large tank with a tunnel through the centre allowing people to walk through and be surrounded by sharks, groupers, wrasses to name a few. Outside there is a nature trail that leads to large pools with baby green and hawksbill turtles.  Injured adults are tended to in the rehabilitation area. The facility also has a marine biological centre with an endangered species unit. Other facilities include a small children’s playground and a coffee shop.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Phuket has amazing natural beauty. This can be appreciated by visiting one of the viewpoints around the Island.  Phromthep Cape is the Island’s most southerly hill. The cape also has a lighthouse, which is open to the public. It houses some interesting historical maritime artifacts.

Radar Hill view point is the highest point in Phuket at 529m. It has incredible views and is accessible via Chao Fa West Road. From here you can also see Phuket’s Bang Wad reservoir.

Kata viewpoint, locally known as Khao Saam Haad (3 beach hill) has great views of Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon beaches It is located between Nai Harn and Kata Noi beaches.

Windmill viewpoint is between Ya Nai and Nai Harn, where the large white windmills are facing out to sea. This is a quiet area with a covered sala with a seating area.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Phuket has 4 waterfalls, Bang Pae, Ton Sai and the lesser known one, Ao Yan. Bang Pae and Ton Sai are in the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park on the east of Phuket. This area is virgin rain forest and is host to many birds, monkeys and barking deer. Bang Pae is north of Phuket Town and is the largest of Phuket’s waterfalls. Bang Pae is particularly popular with local Thais for swimming during the wet season and picnics.

Ton Sai, also known as Banyan Tree Waterfall is west of the National Park. It is possible to walk through the forest with a hired guide to Bang Pae. This waterfall is more family orientated with facilities including toilets, restaurants and a small children’s playground. The waterfall is easily accessible but it is not as impressive as Bang Pae. There is also a well signed trek 2km long behind the waterfall. It is easily found by taking the road east at Thalang’s main traffic lights. It is well signed.

Kathu waterfall does not have a lot of water during the dry season, but it helped by 2 artificial pools halfway up. The waterfall has stairs and several levels leading to the cascade. It is possible to rest at the tables and chairs on the way up. Kathu waterfall is easy to find, turn left at Caltex onto Route 4020 if you are coming from Patong continue for 1km until you see the black marble sign.

Ao Yan waterfall is very quiet and not visited a lot. It is located behind the beach next to Ao Yan near Cape Panwa. To reach the waterfall is it essential to have good shoes as the trek is difficult. There are several drop pools, all small but it is possible to bathe in them. The waterfall can be found by taking the small road at the western end of the beach by the prawn farm. At the end of the road there is a parking area. The path leading up the hill is 100m to the right of here.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Unfortunately, Thailand’s wild gibbon population suffers at the hands of poachers they often kill the mother to take the baby, which is then sold into the illegal pet trade. A young gibbon is “cute”, but at the age of 5 years they can become aggressive and develop sharp canine teeth that inflict severe injury. This leads to abandonment or killing of matured aggressive pets. The centre in Khao Pra Thaeo National Park, near bang Pae waterfall tries to rehabilitate abandoned pet gibbons back into the wild. This is a long process as often the gibbons have to learn what to eat in the wild, regain strength and mobility and basically learn how to become a gibbon!! The centre is staffed by European volunteers who pay to work at the sanctuary, which is open  daily between 10am and 4pm. As it is a nonprofit organization donations are always welcome.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Mangroves are a crucial part of Phuket’s tropical and coastal ecology. They are important as nurseries for fish and crustaceans. In recent years mangrove areas have been replanted as they are a natural defense against large waves and flood damage. This became apparent following the 2004 tsunami. The mangrove is also a good natural filter of impurities in the water and can hold large amounts of carbon in the roots.

There are several ways of seeing the mangroves. Tours using ATV’s is perfect for families. An ATV can carry two people. There is an ATV camp in the Thalang district whose tours include rubber plantations and deserted beaches fringed with mangroves. It is also possible to visit the mangroves on bikes. The tour companies provide top of the range light weight mountain bikes with a suppoet vehicle and an English speaking guide. Kayaking in the mangroves is also another popular activity. The journey is about 2 km along the Klong Mudong which is alive with bird life, macaque monkeys and many other animals.

Update on Patong, Phuket following the Tsunami Warning

Posted on April 12th, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on Update on Patong, Phuket following the Tsunami Warning

At approximately 4.00pm yesterday afternoon, 11th April 2012 we received a telephone call. That was to change the afternoon.

The husband of one of our staff called to ask if we had felt the earthquake which had happened in Indonesia and to warn us of a potential Tsunami. Then the Tsunami Warning towers let off their sirens……….

This put everyone in our Dive Shop on high Alert.

Kath, our ever loyal Tourleader from MV Scuba Adventure telephoned saying she was struggling to get down to the shop to prepare for the trip that was due to go out to the Similans that evening! We suggested she might like to stay at home!

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand MV Scuba Adventure Tourleader

The rest of the staff however stayed at the Scuba Cat Shop in Patong, it is in a 3 story townhouse and so we gathered all the customers, staff and unsure tourists and invited them to go and sit up on the roof terrace in safety away for the potential wave.

Jack was manning the telephones, assuring concerned callers from India and various other places around the world that we were all OK and we would keep them posted of any developments. A concerned customer who was due to go onto the Liveaboard trip that evening called, after speaking with him we advised him to stay the other side of the Hill in Kathu until he got the all clear to come over.

At the new Scuba Cat Diving Shop, Kee Plaza Patong, the staff were moved to safety at their roof top restaurant on the 7th Floor.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Tsunami Update

Great news, all the staff and customers from both shops were accounted for.

The Scuba Cat Boats, MV Scuba Adventure and MV Scuba Sport were moved away from the Island and out into safety, Deep Open Water. Why? The ocean is deep. It is only when the wave comes close to shore when it is slowed down that the water is pushed upward into a huge wave. If they can get far enough out the wave, if it had happened would only have been a few feet high.

MV Scuba Fun had just returned from a day trip to King Cruiser, Shark Point and Koh Doc Mai. We quickly transported the customers to a hotel which was high up in the hills and waited with them for the all clear.

Then we were all surprised, Kath had walked for 40 minutes to get to us at the shop, she wanted to be with us and her customers for the Scuba Adventure trip. Ozzy, who lives in safety up in the hills above Nanai Road, had heard about the Tsunami alert when may people appeared outside his hilltop home and decided to come down and join us at the shop, figure that one!! Irish, need I say more!!!!

Everyone had been warned in Patong and the streets were cleared. Sean went down to the end of the Soi to see if the water was going out from the beach, there he met two Irish Ladies who had been caught up in the Thai staff leaving. At the time of the warning they were half way through having a haircut. The lady cutting their hair talked about the earthquake on Thai and then left, when Sean met them they had their hair half finished….. they were looking for a Pub to forget about their new hair styles.

Sean came back laughing and thought this was a great idea and promptly went and arranged beers for the staff and customers!!!!

The announced times of the Waves came and went without incident. We all proceeded to go down to the beach with our beers in hand, stupid I know but by this point we were all convinced the danger had passed.

This is what we saw………

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Patong Beach

The streets were empty, no tuk tuks, no traffic, piece and quiet…………

About 7.00pm we made the decision with the Captain and Customers agreement the Scuba Adventure would proceed on her Cruise as scheduled. Big Smiles all round from a group of very happy customers.

A Big thank you to all the Staff and Customers at Scuba Cat Diving for their calm during the warning and a big thank you to Patong for having the Tsunami warning system ready and working for just an event.

Having been here during the Tsunami of 2004 it was reassuring to see the quick evacuation of a large resort town to safety…….. THANK YOU.

Today is a new day, MV Scuba Fun is at Racha Yai/Noi on her planned day trip, the Scuba Cat IDC continues and Songkran will be here tomorrow……………the soaking we expected this year!