Phuket is a diverse and varied island and in a short visit it can be a challenge to experience much that it has to offer. Interacting with the people and culture, and exploring the natural wonders can be a different experience depending on your perspective. There are many who come to Phuket only to not step foot out of their resort. It begs the question, why even come to Thailand when you could stay at a resort closer to home?
Changing your perspective can be interpreted in several ways such as physically changing where you are or developing a relationship with someone that makes you empathetic and perhaps catch a glimpse of the world through their eyes.
Want to physically see Phuket from a different view? There are a variety of options to achieve this. Although a bit pricey at about THB 20,000 per hour, it is possible to charter a private helicopter tour of the island. A few variations are offered from 30-minute trips around the northwest or southwest of the island as well as over Phang Nga Bay. Longer trips combine various areas.
If you like the concept of the aerial perspective, but a helicopter is a bit too James Bond-ish for you, there are also paramotor tours available in Phuket. A paramotor utilizes a huge parasailing sail with a small three-wheeled buggy dangling beneath with a large gas powered fan on the back for forward propulsion. The trip lasts 15-20 minutes and brings you to an altitude of around 1,000 meters.
Unlike paramotoring, paragliding doesn’t involve any motor but instead uses a big wing similar to an oversized parafoil kite to glide. Launching from elevated points, it offers breathtaking views, especially over Phuket's southern coast, providing both a scenic experience and an adrenaline boost.
Another way to see Phuket from a different perspective is to book a food tour. There are few things Thai people are more passionate about than food and you will experience one of the most celebrated and cherished aspects of Thai culture. Most food tours will be centered in Phuket Town where there is the greatest concentration of traditional Thai dishes as well as the unique Thai-Chinese dishes that are endemic to the island. A good tour guide may explain the ingredients and even walk you through a market to see them. They will also probably elaborate on the details of Thai culinary traditions, and of course lead you to some of the tastiest local fare on the island.
Taking part in volunteer opportunities in Phuket can be another way to shift your perception of Phuket. Many short-term visitors mostly see the better side of life on the island. On the other hand, it’s not paradise for everyone. There are many organizations whose sole purpose is to make Phuket a better place in one way or another. You’ll find orphanages and schools for underprivileged children, environmental conservation groups, animal welfare initiatives, as well as health and medical opportunities. Volunteering can be a great way to make a difference in the community, meet other generous and kind-hearted people, and see a more accurate representation of all sides of life for people on the island.