Ao Chalong, Phuket

Ao Chalong, Phuket

Big and busy

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Ao Chalong is a bustling harbour on Phuket’s southeast coast and one of the island’s main launching points for dive and snorkel trips. Chalong means “celebrate” in Thai, but unlike Patong Beach, its hedonistic west-coast cousin, it’s far from being a party zone.

Travelfish says:
Boats at the ready—Chalong Pier. Photo by: Lana Willocks.
Boats at the ready—Chalong Pier. Photo: Lana Willocks

The pier and the ridiculously narrow roads leading to it are madness in the early hours and in the late afternoon when trucks and minivans full of daytrippers cruising out to Coral, Raya and other islands nearby fight their way in and out. Avoid visiting the Chalong pier area at these times if you don’t need to be here.

In the high season months from November to May, the Tigerline ferry service, which stops at Phi Phi, Lanta, Lipe, Langkawi in Malaysia and several small islands of the Andaman in between, operates from this pier.

Some good restaurants are within easy walking distance from the pier, as well as a sprinkling of bars ranging in style from grungy to glitzy, a 7-eleven and other mini-marts, and an assortment of rooms for rent—nothing fancy. There’s a big car park with paid parking spaces at the pier entrance. The pier itself is a favoured spot for joggers and in the cooler evening hours couples, families and teens gather and stroll along its concrete walkway.

Dive shops dominate the pier road trade, while there’s a row of about a half-dozen cheapie beer bars along one section. Pier 42 cafe and guesthouse is probably the hippest place to eat and stay along the pier road. It’s popular with the ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 500 words.)

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Reviewed by

Lana Willocks is a freelance writer from Canada based in Phuket. Her love affair with Thailand began on a university exchange programme in Bangkok, then she returned to Phuket on the auspicious date of 9-9-1999 and never left.

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