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Phuket Land Sports

There are a number of golf courses to shoose from, Phuket has four international standard courses. The 18-hole, par 72 Phuket Country Club (Tel 076 321039) course is set amidst rolling hills on H4029, between Phuket town and Patong beach. The Phuket Century Country Club (Tel 076 321039) is also in the Kathu area. The Banyan Tree Club (Tel 076 324374) has a par 71 course beside Bang Tao Bay. Phukets two most challenging courses are at the Blue Canyon Country Club (Tel 076 327440/7) on H402 near the airport. A round of golf, including green fees, caddy and club hire, costs about 1,000 - 1,500 baht, more at the Blue Canyon.

Dino-Park, on the headland between south Karon and north Kata, offers a challenging mini-golf course set amid Hollywoodesque special effects, including an erupting volcano (fire and lava) and realistic-looking dinaosaurs. It is a great venue for families. There is also a good bar and a lovely restaurant set in a similar, jungle enviorment (Tel 076 330625). The Bungy-Jump facility near Patong Bowling and Patong Boxing Stadium offers a sort of mini-golf track, located in the northeast of patong, easily found and is open daily.

Driving range
The Phuket Golf and Country Club
(open daily 08:00 - 18:30, Tel 076 321951) driving range is just across the road from the Phuket Country Club Golf course.

Go-Kart Speedway
The Patong Go-Kart Speedway
, Newly expanded 750 metre long track. Almost 30 karts from 160cc - 400cc. Flood lighting for nighttime. On the main road from Patong Beach to Phuket Town (right hand side). To find out more, (Tel 076 321949).

Pearl Bowl (open daily 11:00 - after midnight, Tel 076 211418) next to the Perl Hotel on Montri Road in Phuket town has a 12 lanes and a range of ball sizes. Ball and shoes available for rent. The BIG-C shopping mall also offres great bowling located on the top floor. A fairly new bowling arena has also been built in Patong, Patong Bowling, and is located in the northwest of Patong near the Bungy-Jump tower. Bowling is also available in the Ocean Department Store in Phuket town, and at the one in Bangla Road (Patong), but they do not have real-size lanes, as the other bowling arenas provide.

Phuket Shooting Range (open daily 09:00 - 18:00, Tel 076 381667) at 82/2 Patak Road offers recreational rifle and pistol shooting. The array of weapons is awesome, or alarming, according to your sentiments: AK-47s, M-16s, Colt .45s, Smith and Wesson .38s, 9mms, and .22 magnums are available. Bullseye, human and outdoor falling plate targets are available. Fees depend on the type and number of bullets used. A target, the gun, use of the range, bullets, ear protectors and an instructor are included, around 500 baht is a normal fee.

Paintball Asia and Top Gun are simulated fun games of hide and seek in the forest. You team up and play soldiers, shooting your friends with C02 gas-powered marker guns. Paintball is operated by the Phuket Shooting Range.

The fitness park at the summit of Rang Hill in Phuket town gives even the most ardent exercise buff a good workout. The Hash House Harriers, a running fraternity founded by British soldiers in Malaysia, has a branch here. A hare marks a trail through the jungle and the hounds must follow it to its end, avoiding false clues. You run through beautiful countryside and swill beer afterwards. A van leaves from the Expat Hotel (Tel 076 344023) in Soi Sunset, Patong to take runners to the start of the run every Saturday at 15:30. The Asia-wide Sportahlon Fitness Centres have a branche at Le Meridien Hotel (open daily 07:00 - 20:30, Tel 076 340480). The centre is equipped with a gym, sauna and massage rooms. Open to members and hotel guests; non-members can make short-term arrangements. Most large hotels operate their own fitness centres; non-guest may sometimes pay a fee to use their facilities.

Thai boxing
Thai boxing differs from international-style boxing by allowing the combatants to use feet, knees, fists and elbows. The action is fast and furious. Weekly bouts are staged at Phuket Boxing Stadium (Fridays only, 20:00) at Saphan Hin (to the right of the memorial where Phuket Road meets the sea). Tickets are sold at 30, 50, and 70 baht each. The Thai Village at Thepkasatri Road offers short demonstrations of Thai boxing but these are less authentic. The new Boxing stadium in Patong, Patong Boxing Stadium next to the Bungy-Jump and Bowling arena, are also showing real fights weekly.

Horse riding
Phuket Laguna Riding Club, in front of Dusit Laguna Hotel (Tel 076 324199). Riders are accompanied by an instructor through the fields, to the beach and back. Morning rides into the jungles are also offered. During the dry season, the owners lead 2-hour trips into the hills. Rides go ahead even with only one person. Phuket Riding Club, on the right hand side on the road heading to Rawai after the Chalong traffic circle on the right, heading south. 600 Baht per hour. Instructors also available on weekend mornings. Trekking involves mountain walks and evening beach trots (Tel 076 288 213).

Elephant trekking
The wild elephants population of Phuket was wiped out last century but has been replaced in recent years by an influx of pachyderms brought here for the tourist trade. Since logging was banned in Thailand (officially, at least) about 10 years ago, hundreds of Thai elephants have been out of work and the tourist boom has been a blessing for this work-loving creature. Riding an elephant is an experience not to be missed.

These lumbering monsters are incredibly agile for their size and can negotiate slippery slopes that even humans would falter and slip on - all this while carrying three people on their backs.

There are many elephant treks to choose from and most include a lunch package. Some trekking companies do deals where you get to canoe, ride buffaloes and see a monkey training show too. Try : Siam Safari (Tel 076 280116), Island Safari (Tel 076 281281) or Phuket Sea Land (076 222900).

This sport is very popular among Thais so its wise to reserve a court. Courts at large hotels can be rented by outsiders when not being used by guests. Try the Holiday Inn (open daily 07:00 - 21:00, Tel 076 340608/9) at Thaviwong Road in Patong (after 18:00, an extra 75 baht per hour is charged for lights). Racket and balls can be rented. The sports-oriented Laguna Beach Club (Tel 076 324 352) offers tennis tuition on its indoor and outdoor courts.