Phromthep Cape "Sunset View Point"
Phromthep Cape is the island's most photographed and perhaps best-known location. Every evening, large tour buses, scooters and private cars sweep through Rawai Beach and up the island's southernmost hill in order to watch the sunset at its peak. On the top of the hill stands a busy car park where vehicles disgorge crowds of people from every corner of the world. Cameras flash, fingers point and lovers cuddle as Phuket's most fabulous free show is re-enacted nightly – the sunset.
But is this all there is to it? Hardly; Phromthep also has a lighthouse that houses interesting historical maritime artifacts and commands spectacular views over the east and southeast of the island and its environs. The lighthouse/museum is air conditioned inside and if you go up to the outdoors viewing balcony you can see the distinctive shapes of the Phi Phi Islands,Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi on a clear day and of course a whole raft of nearer islands such as nearby Koh Kiaow with its Buddhist monastery.
The view from the cape is like a huge eternity pool from which you can mentally project the far-flung shores of Sri Lanka and the Indian Subcontinent. Some people make the rather demanding trek down to the end of the cape’s promontory but most stay up in the viewing part for sunset. By the car park there is a handicrafts shop and a series of stalls that sell shells, batik, snacks, sarongs, shawls, toys and beachwear.
Kata-Karon Viewpoint is one of the most frequented viewpoints in Phuket. From here, it is possible to take in views of Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon beaches. Located between Nai Harn and Kata Noi beaches, the viewpoint is busy most days of the year and is a staple of many tour itineraries.
Called locally ‘Khao Saam Haad’ (Three Beaches Hill), the local municipality for some reason has officially renamed it ‘Karon Viewpoint’. It’s located just to the south of Kata Noi Beach and looks out directly out to the Andaman Sea but most people have their cameras trained due north at the undeniably impressive eight-kilometre vista of the three west coast beaches with Mom Tri’s Villa Royale in the foreground and the distant Hilton Arcadia on Karon Beach in the background.
There’s plenty of parking space at Kata Viewpoint and when things do get a little crowded people simply park roadside. You’ll find drinks and snack stands here along with a large gazebo (with seats) to provide shade. The viewpoint is about a 10-minute drive from Kata Beach and a further 10 minutes down to Nai Harn Beach.
Phuket Big Buddha Viewpoint
Phuket's Big Buddha is one of the island's most important and revered landmarks. The huge image sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and at 45 metres high it is easily seen from far away.
The lofty site offers the best 360-degree views of the island (think sweeping vistas of Phuket Town, Kata, Karon beaches, Chalong Bay and more.) Easily reachable via a six-kilometre road leading from Phuket's main artery, it's a must-visit island destination.
Nai Harn Windmill Viewpoint
Windmill Viewpoint is located between Ya Nui and Nai Harn beaches in south Phuket. Not far from Cape Phromthep, it has several tall, slim white windmills facing out to sea that look like airplane propellers. This hilltop viewpoint features west coast vistas similar to Phromthep, but is quieter.
There’s not much to this relatively small viewpoint except a covered sala with a sitting space and the occasional drinks or jewelry vendor but the views are tremendous and take in Ya Nui Beach to the south, Phromthep further south, Nai Harn Beach to the north and a lusciously verdant oblong-shaped island called Koh Man almost opposite.