With nearly half a million visitors in two weeks, Phuket is not exactly the destination you’d look for a deserted cape, is it? According to Phuket News that refers to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), 485,650 people flocked to Thailand’s largest island in the first half of December 2018.
Don’t let that figure put you off the idea of visiting. You can still find isolated spots in this immensely popular corner of the world.
In July 2017, I happened to meet a Thai dentist at a bus station in Bangkok. ‘I’m Namtan,’ Suthira Pakdeeraksa said and smiled winningly, introducing herself with her nickname, which means ‘sugar’.
Namtan’s hometown is Nong Khai, a city in Thailand’s north-eastern region. Even so, she knew of a place in Phuket that most locals haven’t even heard of, a cape on the island’s southwestern side.
‘What, you live in Phuket? I’ve been there, you should go to Laem Krating,’ she said with shining eyes.
I sensed that this must be something to write home about, and made a mental note of it.
July 2017 to April 2018 was a time when I called the Land of Smiles home. It was long enough to explore the cape Namtan had tipped me off to. With a view to unveiling one of Phuket’s last well-kept secrets, I set off.
Laem Krating – Cape Krating
It was a sunny day in July 2017 – a month in Phuket’s rainy season. Riding my motorbike through ‘The Nai Harn’, a luxurious hotel complex, I followed the roller-coaster street up and down a hill to the end and parked at Baan Krating Phuket Resort – in the middle of the jungle. It was hot and humid, but the birds singing sweet melodies comforted me.
Down at the beach, jumping from rock to stone, I made my way past the seafront cliffs and watched the odd fisherman casting his rod.
A slight breeze rose, wafting a pleasantly salty scent past me. Before long I spotted the narrow path ‘Sugar’ had been talking about.
Namtan had recommended wearing proper shoes and pointed out it was a 30-minute walk to the cape. Ignorant, intrepid or cocky, I didn’t take her advice to heart. I would surely be able to make it up there in half the time after all.
Wearing flip-flops, carrying less than half a liter of water at noon, I was walking up the steep narrow track amid dense 1-meter high grass, feeling uneasy. In order to frighten snakes off, I made sure to produce vibrations in the ground, hitting it while hiking. The agreeable wind was gone now, the sun beat down mercilessly.
Precisely 30 minutes had passed when I found myself in front of a horn-shaped rock that looked as if a meteorite had struck.
Some of those few locals who know this cape say that Laem Krating’s rock reminds them of a sailboat. Be that as it may, Krating means bull so it’s apt to describe it as a horn.
The draining climb in the searing heat was well worth the effort. I sat down on the rock, my legs dangling, and took in the panoramic views of the vast, silent ocean, a majestic sight. As I was enjoying moments in solitude, I couldn’t hear a single sound. A priceless silence that was only broken by Mother Nature’s creation speaking to my soul – the only visible one around – helping me gather my thoughts. I was floored.
Desperate to admire the unbroken view of the sun setting into the sea, I came back twice more, and was rewarded with sweeping vistas of pink, purple skies, sinking into the lethargic ocean.
How to Get There
Head for Nai Harn Beach, drive through The Nai Harn’s hotel complex, follow the street to the end and park at Baan Krating Phuket Resort.
Walk along the resort’s wall on the left side down to the beach (it’s public), then turn right and hike along the shoreline.
Get past the many rocks that stand in your way like bouncers preventing unwanted package holiday-makers from visiting the Bull Cape, which isn’t signposted. After roughly 200 meters, look for the narrow walkway. Follow this path till you reach the stone with the unique features.
What to Bring
Proper shoes, plenty of water, your camera or mobile phone, sunscreen, bug repellent.
Best Time to Visit
To watch the sunset, start walking between 4-5pm. If you want to have the cape all to yourself, choose a sunny day in the rainy season, but…beware! There could be landslides in driving rain.
While Phuket deserves to be popular, magnificent places are tucked away in secluded corners of the island. Venture out and discover them, you’ll be fishing for words to describe their beauty.
Guest Author: Philipp Meier
I’m Philipp Meier, Freelance Health and Travel Writer / Translator. Formerly an accountant and English teacher, I now enjoy a quieter life as an expat in Thailand, writing travel, alternative and mental health-related articles. I’m particularly passionate about Thai culture and traveling off the beaten path in the Land of Smiles. Find me on writerphilippmeier.com.