The larger hotels like Evason, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Meridien, the Laguna hotels etc all have children's pools, babysitting, organised activities and separate children's mealtimes. Many have a supervised kid's club which offers everything from basket-weaving to jigsaw competitions so, whilst the little darlings are happily busy, you parents can get down to some serious sun worship or cocktail tasting. Check www.phuket.com/activities.
However, for those rare days when the sun doesn't shine or you're a bit too sunburnt there are plenty of other things to occupy children. There are many companies offering eco tours-normally for a whole day or half a day. These will usually include activities like an elephant ride, river rafting, and a visit to a snake farm. For older children there are mountain biking tours. Why not pick up a brochure or two from your tour guide? However, a word to the wise. The cheapest is not necessarily the best. Make sure that tours are supervised by qualified personnel who can speak English.
For toddlers many hotels will have play areas but municipal playgrounds are less common here. Loma Park in Patong has one and there are three in Phuket City, two in the Saphan Hin area-one near the entrance and the other beside the stadium-and one near Wat Tepnamit, just off Chao Fa Road East. For those who prefer electronic games there are large and suitably noisy arcades in all the big supermarkets [Central, Tesco Lotus, Big C and Jungceylon].
If you're hungry for more allow us to suggest some specific activities:
Phuket Yacht Club offers a Junior Sailing Programme on the first three Sundays of every month based on the Optimist Badge Scheme and the RYA Junior Scheme. To get there from Phuket City follow the Chao Fa East road, turn left at the Aquarium sign and follow the Novotel Cape Panwa signs. The club is about 5 minutes drive further on. Park on the roadside and walk down. Contact Katy Gooch on 08 5215 9185, email [email protected]
As a small island Phuket has no rivers to speak of, but neighbouring Phang Nga province [a two-hour drive] has rapids rated as class 2 or 3, [quite tame really] but great fun for teenagers. Go to the whitewater rafting link on www.phuket.net. Packages include transport.
Take your children on a silent exploration of beautiful coastal bays and caves. Professional guides make the whole delightful experience convenient and safe. For more information call 0 7621 2172 or visit www.seacanoe.net which has detailed location maps on the picture gallery link.
Kids love bowling.
The island has four tenv-pin Bowling Alleys:
For a quieter day out, how about a trip to the zoo? It's set in lush tropical gardens shaded by giant trees with intriguing paths which invite you to stroll from island to island. The zoo has a host of multi-lingual and willing staff who will be happy to answer those eternal "why" questions of the young and curious. Just in case you should get thirsty on the tour there are refreshments available at strategic intervals. To get there from Phuket City take the Chao Fa East road towards Chalong and turn left after 8 kilometres - the zoo is clearly signposted. For more information go to www.phuketzoo.com.
This has to be a fascinating visit for kids of any age. It provides a profusion of exhibits and easily aquired knowledge about the diversity of south-east Asian fresh water and marine plants and wildlife. The facility has display themes which cover sandy beaches, rocky shores, coral reefs and mangrove habitats. More than fifty species are featured - an aquatic education in an afternoon's visit. Contact Khun Tu on 08 7693 3965 or go to www.phuketaquarium.org. There, you will find a satellite map which will take you to the door or you can follow the signs to Cape Panwa.