Jamie's Phuket Blog

Jamie's Phuket Blog - Discover The Real Phuket

Phuket Webcam at Patong Bay

The Phuket Blog has been online since 2006. In the same year I started a Phuket Weather Blog which was started when I realised that a lot of people search online for weather information. Is it raining? What will the weather be like in mid-September? If it rains, does it rain all day or just showers? When is the best weather in Phuket? The weather blog still gets updated now and then with weather news, photos and some Phuket info. But the best way to check what the weather is doing right now is a webcam! And below you can see a live Phuket webcam in Patong Beach - looking across Patong Bay from the Thavorn Beach Village Resort towards "downtown Patong". If you want more regular Phuket weather updates and more Phuket related info, please do follow me on Twitter or there's lots of weather information on the Phuket Weather Blog.

Phuket Hotels and Tours

Patong Beach Hotels @ Agoda.com
Phuket Hotels @ Agoda.com
Phuket Tours with Easy Day

Patong beach hotel suggestions here on Jamie's Phuket Blog :

Recommended Patong Beach Hotels
Amari Phuket Resort
The Kee Resort
Yorkshire Hotel
La Flora Resort
Burasari Resort

Patong Beach (Patong Bay) Live Phuket Webcam

More webcams in the Patong Beach area

Webcam at Graceland Resort
Webcam at Kalim Bay
Bangla Road

More Phuket Webcams

Karon Beach
Kata Beach
Old Phuket Town
Cape Panwa

Loy Krathong 2017 - 3rd November 2017

Loy Krathong is a very old festival which takes place on the full moon of the 12th lunar month (so the date is different every year). In 2017 the date will be November 3rd. Loy Krathong is largely about giving thanks to the goddess of water, though may be based on an old Hindu festival. There are many links between Buddhism and Hinduism, being that the Buddha was born in India. The festival is not huge in Phuket compared to Chiang Mai for example, but nevertheless it seems that everyone does it! Celebrations will be muted this year due to the cremation of King Bhumibol on October 26th. There are usually big parties, but this year will be more a time for quiet reflection. However I imagine there will be events at Patong, Karon, Chalong Pier and Naiharn, maybe more.

Does what exactly? Well, aside from a bit of a party, you have to "Loy" (float) your Krathong - a few years ago I wrote about How To Make A Krathong. There are also beauty contests and who-can-make-the-best-krathong contests. The story below is based on our Loy Krathong evening back in 2008.

Despite the weather, we headed out in the evening to Bang Wad Reservoir which is only a few kilometers from our home. The reservoir is Phuket's largest fresh water supply, so a good place to give thanks. The evening has been wet. Yes, we had been "blessed" with plenty of water. Of course, everyone waited until the rain had stopped, so it was rather crowded and also muddy underfoot. We had several Krathongs to float - one made by my wife, one made by her sister and one made by my daughter at school. There were hundreds of Krathongs in the water and hundreds more people wanting to float away all their bad luck.

Near the water were some food stalls. We did not hang around. It was crowded and muddy... and getting late. I think next year we'll go somewhere quiet for Loy Krathong.

At the reservoir we bought some "kom fai". These are lanterns made of paper with a lump of solid fuel built into the base. Simple design. All you need to do is light the fuel, let the hot air rise and watch them go. People were doing it at the reservoir.

At home we found that lighting the fuel was not so easy with a bit of a breeze. One of the lanterns took off and then landed again in the garden next door.. then took off again and got stuck in their TV aerial. I thought the burning fuel would burn their TV cable, but the lantern blew off to safety in the end. We sent 4 lanterns off into the night sky to become stars (so I told the kids!)

(above) burning fuel heating the air in the Kom Fai

(above) Once the fuel really starts to burn, the air heats up and you can slowly release your lantern... These things are getting to be a bit controversial, since they burn out and then the frame, often made of metal, falls down to litter the land or the sea.

NOTE : 2017 I'd be careful letting lanterns go unless you are sure it's allowed ... not strictly legal and maybe best to avoid.

More Phuket Festivals

Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Songkran in Phuket
Phuket Old Town Festival
Hungry Ghost Festival

Visiting The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Hidden away on a massive plot of verdant land in the north of Phuket island, the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary has been generating a steady amount of buzz since it opened in late 2016. Phuket’s first and only true elephant sanctuary, visitors have the unique experience to spend a morning or afternoon up close and personal with rescued and retired elephants in their natural habitat. Note : Beware of impersonators. There is only 1 real elephant sanctuary and visits can only be booked direct from their website or via Facebook (see links at the end of this page). You cannot book a visit via a tour agent or travel agent.

I've not had the chance to visit myself - and I would like to, but they charge 3,000 Baht per person so it would be 12,000 Baht for my family and I to visit. For sure it's a worthy cause, but I was half hoping they might let this "famous Phuket blogger" have a free visit and help promote the sanctuary :) Ah well, dream on! Luckily I know someone who has visited and she does some freelance writing, so this Phuket blog post is written by my friend Amy Bensema who has been living in Phuket for many years. You can find Amy on Twitter (@girl_with_bear) and she also has an Instagram account (@Phuketstagram) where you can find lots of Phuket photos. The photos on this page were also taken by Amy.

An Introduction to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a fantastic initiative brought to Phuket in partnership with Elephant Nature Park, which is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in the northern province of Chiang Mai. The sanctuary endeavors to pioneer ethical elephant tourism by offering retired elephants the chance to live out the rest of their years in a nurturing environment where they are allowed to roam free.

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

At its core, the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a retirement home for sick, injured, tired or old elephants who have spent their lives working long, exhausting hours in the logging industry or tourism entertainment fields so popular in Southeast Asia. This type of work is not only difficult for the elephants, but it is often conducted under extremely cruel and abusive conditions. A combination of these factors makes life quite unbearable and sad for an elephant.

Currently, there are 6 lovely lady elephants that reside at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, and the best way to both meet and interact with them is through a morning or afternoon tour. Booking in advance is required as the tours tend to fill up quickly and you cannot just turn up and get to see the elephants.

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary Tours

I have had the opportunity to join the morning tour at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary on two separate occasions over the last year. Both visits have been equally informative, educational and enjoyable.

The meeting point for the tours at the sanctuary is a quaint cafe called Monkeypod Coffeehouse. Here you can grab a strong cup of coffee before piling into the trucks that take you to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. There is no public access to the sanctuary for safety and insurance purposes, which is obviously a great idea as the elephants roam free.

Tours begin at the Tree Top Reception and Observation Platform and the introduction session is led by a member of staff. Visitors are given an overview of the vision and mission of the sanctuary as well as shown a short, documentary-style video that highlights the horrors of the elephant tourism industry. Although graphic, the video is a must-watch as it highlights why there is such a need for the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary.

Interestingly enough, both times I joined the tour it seemed that most visitors were not aware of the hardships endured by many elephants in the tourism industry in Southeast Asia. Education is key, and the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary does a good job of turning something negative for the elephants into a positive experience for both elephants and visitors.

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

(above) Elephant enjoying a basket of fruits

After a meet and greet feeding session with a few of the elephants, the tour kicks off in full swing. Separated into groups, visitors get the chance to wander the extensive grounds of the sanctuary and follow the elephants and their mahouts. Observing the elephants in their natural habitat is a real treat. The lovely ladies are quite playful in nature and occasionally throw mud and pull down rather large tree branches, however, it is lovely to watch them being carefree and having fun. A highlight of the tour is watching the elephants frolic and bathe in the lagoon on the sanctuary grounds.

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

(above) Elephants certainly do enjoy the water!

It is easy to see that the staff leading the tours are very passionate about their work. They truly love the elephants and share their knowledge freely and answer any questions as best they can. Mostly Thai, the staff are great conversationalists and really fun to be around for the duration of the tour.

The tour is rounded out with a delicious, homemade lunch prepared by the staff. The food is all vegan or vegetarian and included in booking costs. There’s a small shop that sells t-shirts and handbags with the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary logo, and proceeds go back into the sanctuary.

A morning or afternoon at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is highly recommended for those coming to Phuket on holiday as well as locals and expats residing in Phuket or Thailand. Unique, informative and fun, the tour offers a lot of insight into the importance of having such a sanctuary in Phuket. Plus, the elephants are sweet and charming and a joy to follow around for a few hours.

More information about the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary can be found on their website or Facebook page which is updated with news and photos almost daily. Thanks to Amy for writing this. Maybe I'll get to visit one day :)