The monkey peers at me with curiosity. With fluid grace and a natural ability to judge distances, he slowly ambles over, plucking the banana out of my hands and peeling the fruit with human-like hands.
Monkey Hill is a free natural attraction situated just a short drive from downtown Phuket. Local venders sell peanuts and finger sized bananas by the roadside. With a stroke of luck, our visit was timed with a local man carrying a mailbag filled to the brim with peanuts. I watch with curiosity as he dismounts his motorbike. There is an excited and collective shriek of excitement from the monkeys as they start to descend from the trees in anticipation of a treat.
The local man breaks out in a smile, his wizened face creasing like old leather. He calls out affectionately to the monkeys, throwing out handfuls of peanuts whilst the monkeys surround him, picking up handfuls of rolling peanuts with velvet-like fingers.
Monkey Hill was a wonderful experience and I loved Phuket during my visit. For my previous visit to Phuket, my top 5 recommendations for soaking in the scenery, food, and culture are:
1) Island Hopping
Crystal clear water, free fruit, the chance to snorkel and a day out on boats to explore the Andaman Sea. Visit a tour desk in Phuket in order to arrange a day of Island hopping. The cost of a day of island hopping (including lunch, transfers, drinks) starts from 1400 THB (approximately £27).
2) Sample locally caught seafood at a floating restaurant
Accessible only by boat, Kruvit Raft is a floating restaurant in Phuket. A longboat service is provided free of charge and the seafood is caught fresh daily. An unmissable experience and delicious food!
3) Kayak at Phang Nga Bay
Visit the infamous James Bond Island, kayak through bat caves and enjoy a day floating through the turquoise waters surrounding Phuket. It is a full days tour I can highly recommend Andaman Leisure for organising the excursion.
4) Visit the Big Buddha
Situated on Mount Nagakerd, the Big Buddha is a must-see landmark in Phuket. The surrounding area offers panoramic views of Phuket and the entry is free of charge.
5) Browse through the food stalls and the local crafts at Naka Market
Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 4:00pm – 10:00pm, Naka Market offers Thai culinary delights, souvenirs, handicrafts and clothing. With marinated meats, soups, and desserts prepared freshly on site, go to the market for the aromas and prepare to indulge.