Bet you’ve heard of Phuket. What does it bring to mind? A beautiful tropical island, great food, excessively expensive cocktails and taxi drivers who rip you off? Well, good news: visit Kathu, the smallest district of the province of Phuket, and you can experience many of the positives with mercifully few of the negatives.
Although it’s only a 15-minute drive from the notorious party beach of Patong, Kathu could be a million miles away. Situated inland, it enjoys a lush landscape and slightly cooler climate than Phuket’s coastal resorts. If you’re a savvy traveller, looking for an extended and varied vacation in the area, you could do worse than take a relaxing trip to Kathu after an exhilarating tour of Southern Thailand. Fortunately there is a wide range of Hotels in Kathu to suit all budgets.
Shop Like a Local
It’s not difficult to experience the real Thailand, especially in places like Kathu. Whilst it has its share of the ubiquitous ‘7-11’ and ‘Tesco Lotus’ stores it still has a flourishing daily market, one of the biggest in the province. There are no stalls selling souvenirs, but there is, instead, the chance to mingle with locals and buy seasonal fruits and vegetables, street food, clothes and much more. You are reminded, once again, that Kathu remains, at its core, a trading town.
Memories of Phuket’s Past
Phuket is now a renowned hub of tourism in Southeast Asia. However, prior to the 21st century, tin mining drove Phuket’s economy and the Kathu Tin Mining Museum celebrates that history.
The museum building is Sino Portuguese in style, with a large courtyard and domed windows decorated with stucco designs and large arches. Inside you’ll find demonstrations of tin smeltery and a reconstructed Kathu village, complete with shops.
Cool Off at Kathu Waterfall
While not exactly on a par with the mighty Niagara Falls, Kathu Waterfall is well worth a visit, especially if you are in the area during the rainy season. It’s not so much a waterfall, as it is a series of beautiful, cascading drop pools.
The climb to the top is a steep one but, fortunately, there are shaded stairs most of the way with plenty of places to rest and enjoy a picnic during your ascent. And if it gets to be too much, you can always stop half way up and just take in the view. Right at the top there’s a large pool in which you can bathe, as a reward for your efforts.
A Very Important Shrine
‘Kathu Shrine’ shares a long history with Phuket’s legendary ‘Vegetarian Festival’; indeed, Kathu was the original home of this event.
Legend has it that when Chinese opera singers came to the town to perform, many centuries ago, they started falling ill. Their health was only restored when they began to follow a strict vegetarian diet and worship at the Kathu Shine. The original structure is long gone, but a new one has taken its place. Today, vegetarians and meat eaters alike are welcome to visit, pray and make offerings.
This article is written as part of the #hipmunklove project. All opinions are my own and I would never recommend anything I didn’t believe in or use myself.read more