Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Thailand : Southern Thailand : Phuket Island : Chalong Bay
Chalong Bay (อ่าวฉลอง Ao Chalong) is on the east coast of Phuket.
This is Phuket's principal boat anchorage and the island's largest bay, 11 kilometres south of the town. It is very picturesque but not suitable for swimming. Boats can be chartered to go to some small island south of Phuket. A number of restaurants are on the road leading to the bay.
The area where virtually all scuba diving and snorkelling trips depart from.
Chalong is in the south east of Phuket. It is about one hour’s drive from the Phuket International Airport, and is well known to all minivan and taxi drivers on the island. There is also a bus service from the airport which stops close to Chalong Roundabout. From Nai Harn and Rawai, Chalong is only a short trip heading north on Wiset Road (4024) and to reach Chalong from Kata and Karon it is only a 10 minute drive heading east over the mountain on Patak Road (4028). Many tourists choose to stay in Chalong due to its good value for money and proximity to the boat pier and to other seaside resorts with stunning beaches such as Nai Harn, Kata and Karon.
For anyone staying in the Chalong area, there is a taxi rank, mainly motorbike taxis, at the top of Sunrise Avenue (the main road leading down to Chalong Pier), just next to Chalong Roundabout.
As the main boat harbour for Phuket Island, most Scuba Diving companies have now relocated from other areas to Chalong. Most of Phuket's speed boat,fishing boats, snorkeling companies and yacht charter are also located here. Destinations include Coral Island, Phi Phi Island, and Koh Racha for day trips, snorkeling, diving and deep sea fishing.
Chalong has a shooting range, atv, elephant rides, go kart track, paint ball and horse riding. There are many Thai boxing or Muay Thai training camps at Chalong, especially on Soi Ta Eiad (Boxing Street). The biggest and most famous is Tiger Muay Thai . There is a Thai boxing ring near Chalong 5 ways junction.
One "Must Do" is to drive up to the famous Big Buddha which over looks Phuket Town, Chalong Bay, numerous islands and on a clear day even Phi Phi Island, 32 miles away can be seen.
Chalong is probably the main area on the island for diving. As Chalong modernises, there are also a number of other dive shop areas, including equipment stores and even training pools.
One such venue is the Sam Pao Courtyard. This is relatively easy to find, if you go from Chalong Roundabout on Patak Road in the direction of Kata, past the Shell Station and Kata Go Karting & Shooting Range. The best landmark is the Phuket Property Centre which is all lit up at night. Within this business centre there are a number of boat trips and dive trip shops, dive equipment stores and even a training pool. The one worth mentioning for beginners who want to get their Open water PADI certification is Hong Kong based Water Pro where they have excellent swimming pool facilities to learn and get certified.
In Chalong it is possible to buy scuba equipment at wholesale prices - for registered Thai companies. Diving professionals will get good deals on equipment from the local distributors. All scuba- and freediving, day trips to the islands, and fishing trips and boat charters are available. There is a large supermarket with just about everything one could need.
Chalong has just about every type of restaurant. Delicious and cheap local Thai food is available as well as Italian, Mexican, Burgers, Indian, fish and chips, MK hot pot and Kentuky Fried Chicken and fresh bakeries. The area features some of the very best Thai Seafood waterfront restaurants.
Chalong has numerous beach front bars and street bars with working ladies and regular restaurants/bars. You can find what you are looking for, from family-friendly to prurient.
Mostly a stepping-stone for heading elsewhere, accommodation in Chalong now ranges from 200 baht for a share room to 5 star resorts. Chalong is a very good spot to stay before going diving or out on the water as it is only a short walk to the boats instead of traveling from the better known tourist areas up to one hour away.