Phuket is Thailand's top resort island, a place for enjoying sandy beaches, poolside cocktails and maybe some diving.
There are temples, some outstanding restaurants, a seriously Big Buddha, crazy nightlife on Bangla Road, Patong, and myriad luxury resorts.
Now Phuket has a new tourism drawcard: the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery.
The brainchild of a French couple Marine Lucchini and Thibault Spithakis and their Thai partners, the distillery produces hand-crafted white rums from local sugar cane, using sustainable production and traditional distilling methods.
Visitors can choose between very interesting guided tours of the distillery, organised tastings, cocktail workshops or lunch and dinner at the on-site restaurant, which is open daily.
Thailand grows over 200 different varieties of sugar cane, but the distillery uses only indigenous single variety best-in-crop sugar cane, grown without chemicals or fertilisers, in partnership with local farmers who still harvest their crop by hand.
These traditional methods of growing and harvesting sugarcane produce 100% natural first press cane juice that’s ready to be distilled.
The point of difference here is that the rums are distilled using local flavours, including kaffir lime, lemongrass, Thai sweet basil, lime and cinnamon.
Also on sale are various syrups ideal for crafting your own cocktails.
For details visit www.chalongbayrum.com or call +66 93 575 1119.
I'd recommend combining your visit with a stop-off at the nearby Sri Bhurapha Orchid, the first-ever cashew nut factory in Phuket and which also sells dried fruits and other regional gourmet specialities.
Watching the workers is fascinating and there are free tastings to tempt you to over-spend.
# The writer was assisted by AirAsia and Burasari Resort.