Phuket Wake Park
The Kathu area of Phuket is where I live. It's not far from Patong Beach (just over the hill on the way to Phuket town) and if you wish to get away from the most touristy beach in Thailand, get on a bike and ride over that hill past the temple on the hill, down to a quieter, largely residential area with a lot of history (Kathu was the center of the tin mining industry, and the famous Phuket Vegetarian Festival originated here). The daily Kathu market is worth a visit and you'll find temples in and around the village.
But there's more! If you turn left at the lights next to the Caltex gas station, you pass the market and are heading towards Loch Palm Golf Course and the old Kathu village when you will see a left turn to Kathu Waterfall (Nam Tok Kathu). There's actually a fair amount of new houses around this area - Kathu is getting quite popular! The road up to the waterfall winds along for several kilometers. It's all residential with houses old and new, and lots of small shops and restaurants. Along the way you pass the entrance to the Phuket Wake Park. It used to be called Phuket Cable Ski - but was rebranded with new owners (Russian, I believe) a couple of years ago. There's plenty of parking, and a wakeboard shop outside too.
I first blogged it back in 2007 (this is an updated post), we used to bring our little kids just to watch, but as our kids have got older it's become one of their favourite things to do. It's quite a big set up, with a 400 meter long artificial lake surrounded by hills and palm trees. There's a restaurant too and I can get a cold Chang beer while I watch our kids. You can try wakeboarding, water skiing or kneeboarding. Lessons are available, or (like our kids) you can just learn by trial and error! They are quite good now, but not doing any jumps yet :)
(above) Phuket Wake Park in Kathu
(above) My kids at the Wake Park
(above) When people fall off, there's a pick up service - just swim to the side and wait :)
We tend to go at weekends, which are busier, lots of kids of varying levels of ability. The serious dudes tend to be there outside the busy hours, but every time I have been there, we've seen some more experienced folk too, doing flips, jumps and other fancy stuff. Never tried myself, not my cup of tea and I am a bit big these days ... though I have been rafting on the Zambezi and raced bicycles downhill at 80 kph in the Pyrenees... when I was younger! Quite happy to watch my kids now, they like to try all kinds of sporty stuff.
The prices are reasonable I guess - 650 Baht for 2 hours or 1150 Baht for a whole day (adult rates - kids are 350 Baht / 550 Baht). There are also long term rates. We normally let the kids do 2 hours and they are tired enough after that. There are some boards, helmets and life jackets for free rental, though I guess they are not the best ones! There is some better gear you can pay to rent. We won't be buying gear unless the kids get really serious!
• More information: Phuket Wake Park Website
Just up the road from the wake park is Kathu Waterfall, where you can take a little jungle walk or even a swim if there's enough water. Like many of the waterfalls in the Phuket area, it's nothing too amazing, but if you're exploring, have a look!
• Kathu Waterfall - More Information
Phuket Cable Ski (Phuket Wake Park) - Location Map
View Phuket Wake Park in a larger map