The town of Phuket (Muang Phuket) stands out from the purely touristy beach resorts as it is rich in history and culture and is just waiting to be discovered on an excursion with your cruise.
For most visitors, it is just a stopover before taking a songthaew (Thai shared cab) to the beach, but you might want to return to enjoy the authenticity of real life: stroll through the small but charming restored old town, you will be fascinated by its characteristic cafes and art stores, excellent restaurants and authentic handicraft stores.
The most beautiful buildings in the old town are in the western part of Thanon Thalang, where a dozen signs point out details that deserve special attention: pastel doors and shutters, elaborate stucco work, ornate wooden doors and the typical five-foot-long archways that connect them. My Yacht Moments cruises also offer excursions to the newly erected Great Buddha of Phuket, an imposing 45-meter high statue atop Khao Nakkerd Hill overlooking several islands, including Kata Yai to the southwest.
The Buddha, with his gaze directed towards the east, is built of concrete coated with shiny marble and has considerable dimensions: he is sitting on a lotus of almost 25 meters in diameter and each of his hair curls almost 1 meter in diameter. From the base of the statue, the view extends east over Ao Chalong to the hilly Ko Lone, while to the west the panorama also embraces the beach of Kata Noi. For the islanders, Chalong is an important center because it is home to WatChalong, Phuket's most beautiful and famous temple that treasures the statue of the revered monk Luang Pho Saem, who helped quell a violent rebellion by Chinese miners in 1876.
Somewhere in the temple, the chedi (pagoda) of Phra Mahathat would contain a relic of the Buddha.