Phuket is Thailand’s largest island-province off its west coast, connected only by two bridges to the mainland. Phuket is clearly the most popular tourist destination in Thailand, if not Asia. It is home to majestic limestone cliffs, lush virgin forests, pristine beaches, wild all-night parties, modern department stores, and the largest Buddha in Thailand, the Big Buddha on top of Nekkerd Hills. There is plenty of water in Phuket and when there’s good water around, people can swim, dive, and of course, fish.
Sawai Lake is situated strategically away from the overcrowded beaches and other tourist spots. This means anglers can enjoy a peaceful time with friends, families, food and fish. While non-fishers can just sit back, relax and enjoy the peaceful ambiance around the lake, seasoned anglers love a good tug-of-war with a huge fish at the other end of the line. They’d enjoy fighting with the Giant Mekong Catfish (that grows up to 40 kilos), Striped Catfish (20 kilos), Giant Siamese Carp (10 kilos) and the relatively light Striped Snakehead and Featherback (4 kilos). These are Thai fishes that are native to the lake.
In 2007, the following foreign fishes were introduced into the lake, such as Arapaima (that grows up to 65 kilos), Red-Tail Catfish (12 kilos), Alligator Gar (10 kilos), Pacu (6 kilos), Rohu (4 kilos), and Tilapia (2 kilos). Lake keepers say that most of these fishes grow and get heavy very fast, some as fast as 5 kilos every month.
The easiest and most exciting to catch is the Pacu. This fish is known to fight valiantly, even jumping clear off the water. The biggest catch is the elusive Arapaima, which is a prized catch all over Thailand. The park, however, gives extra care to the Arapaima. Once caught, the angler cannot take it out of the water to avoid stressing out the fish. The angler must go into the water, along with a guide, for picture-taking. There are also small fish, such as Tilapia and Catfish, to challenge all members of the family to join in the fun.
The Sawai Lake Fishing Park is located across the Isuzu Showroom in Koh Kaew, near the Heroines Monument. Admission is 2,500 baht, which includes a whole day of fun fishing experience from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, fishing equipment and bait, and a guide, but not inclusive of food and drinks. The park has a restaurant that serves delicious Thai and western dishes that may be delivered to a small bamboo hut near your fishing spot. There is also a bar area where anglers could share drinks while talking about their fishing experience.
When fishing with companions, admission is 2,150 baht per person. An extra rod may be rented for 300 baht. Family members who just want to see the place and join Daddy as he catches fish are welcome to visit for free. The Phuket Fishing Park is a perfect family place for the sport as well as for a time of relaxation and reflection.