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Phuket Watersports

Patong beach offers the widest range of watersoprts facilities. Karon has more than Kata but the facilities at these beaches are limited in comparison with Patong. Hotels on their own private coves have some watersports facilities. Most of the following watersports are offered by beach boys leasing privately-owned equipment.

They set their own prices but can be bargained down. Prices are further whittled down during the monsoon season. The following price guide applies to the high season.

Windsurfing: Boards rent for 300 baht per hour and around 600 baht for a half day. The owner will generally give free lessons.

Sailing: Catamarans (Prindles and Hobie Cats) rent for 300-500 baht per hour. You can also hire a boy for 50-100 baht per hour to take you out. Single-handed Lasers rent for 200-300 baht per hour.

Water skiing: 1,500 baht per hour for boat and ski rental or 500 baht for a 10-15 minute circuit.

Parasailing: Strapped to a parachute, you are towed aloft by a powerboat for a 5-minute ride high over the bay. Be warned that this is not the safest sport in the world; riders have experienced bone-jarring drops on the beach. Check first to ensure the wind is not too strong and that the boat driver is not too young.

Surfing: Phukets surf is low except during the rainy season (May - November) but even then, it does not rival Hawaii rollers. The best surfing beaches are Karon and Kalim on the northen end of Patong. Surfboards rent for about 100 baht per hour.

Boogie boards: Large hotels rent them for 50 baht per hour.

Jet-skis: The number of accident victims for this sport is rising. The unstable scooter flip on waves or their riders clothesline themselves on anchor ropes. Because they are unsafe and extremely noisy, and because their operators invade the swimming areas in search of customers, hotel owners have tried to have them banned. There is a major rip-off on beaches elsewhere in Thailand to send the rider out on a faulty scooter and then to claim he has damaged it and must pay a heavy repair bill. This scam has not yet invaded Phuket but will likely do so. Jet-skis rent for 600 baht per half hour.

Sea Kayaks: This is a growing and very welcome alternative to jet-skis. These stable and safe craft are made from molded plastic, and propelled with a double-ended plastic or wooden oar. Since the sport is still in its infancy on Phuket, models of kayak and rental price vary wildly from beach to beach and vendor to vendor, but plan on paying abouth half of what a jet-ski would cost.

Cable water-skiing: This is a relatively new sport and requires a bit of nerve. Not unlike water-skiing, participants are coached to perform spectacular aquatic manoeuvers at a high rate of knots. The place to ski in Phuket is in the centre of Kathu. It opens at 9am and closes at 9pm. Follow the Kathu Waterfall road, just before you come to the road that will go left to Patong Hill. If you have the time visit Kathu waterfall first - on the same road. It's a lovely place for a stroll in a forest enviorment. Tel. 076 - 202 525.