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Things to Do in Southern Thailand and Andaman Coast - page 3

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Temple of the Protruding Buddha (Wat Phra Thong)
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Wat Phra Thong is perhaps not the most impressive of Phuket's temples, but it surely has the best story behind it. And once you know the story, the 'half image' that forms the center of the temple will have way greater resonance.

According to lore, a boy was out watering a buffalo and tied it to some metal protruding out of the ground. In quick order, both boy and buffalo died, but the boy appeared to his father in a dream and told him to investigate the object.

When the father dug around the place, he found the tip of a golden Buddha sitting buried in the ground. All attempts to excavate it over the ensuing centuries failed, and there are stories of attacks by hornets when locals tried to dig it out in the 18th century!

Eventually it was decided to leave the exposed top of the Eventually it was decided to leave the exposed top of the Buddha statue where it was - it so obviously resisted being dug up! - and build a protective layer and a temple over it.

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Gibbon Rehabilitation Center
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Run by volunteers and financed by donations, the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center in Phuket rescues gibbons (a type of ape) that have been held in captivity, then rehabilitates them before safely reintroducing them to the wild. Gibbon poaching is a serious problem, with poachers stripping the jungle of these beautiful creatures and then parading them around bars and other tourist areas. At the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, gibbons are retaught how to live in the jungle. They are socialized with other gibbons and introduced to what should be their natural food. The center is not a petting zoo, so there is no touching of the animals, but visitors can watch them from a viewing platform.

Insider's Tip: You can help the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center’s mission by avoiding bars that house them around Thailand and ignoring the gibbon handlers that ask for money in exchange for photographs. By paying for these photos, tourists are contributing to the suffering of these animals.

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A-Maze Garden
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Well-oriented travelers will love testing their directional skills amid the towering hedges of Puket’s A-Maze Garden. Situated just outside this popular coastal town, A-Maze Garden has become a destination for family fun and a unique alternative to the temples and beaches southern Thailand is known for. Travelers can wander (or race!) through the 1,000-square-meter labyrinth in search of a quick escape, or take their time navigating the twists and turns of this one-of-a-kind southeast Asian destination. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon—or an entire day—on a visit to Phuket.

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Chalong Bay

The cloudy waters surrounding Chalong Bay—Phuket’s main boat dock—make snorkeling and diving nearly impossible, but a majority of the area’s diving trips depart from this port, taking travelers to clearer seas. Visitors to this popular stop will find dozens of docked ships and may even catch the occasional race (hosted by the Ao Chalong Yacht Club).

Travelers can wander the eclectic shops or tuck into a traditional meal at one of the local restaurants after a day spent out on the open water. Two impressive temples, Wat Chalong and Wat Laung Pu Supa, are also within walking distance from Chalong Bay. Visitors looking to plot their next adventure will find all they need at the tourist kiosk at the center of the 720-meter jetty. Knowledgeable staff ensure every step of the journey will be epic.

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