Phuket is a province in Thailand. It has been called the “Pearl of South East Asia” because of its natural beauty and pristine beaches, but it also boasts historical sites like Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, which was once one of the largest cities in Southeast Asia before being destroyed by an earthquake.
Phuket’s best-known attraction is perhaps the island’s famous Patong Beach on Kata Noi Bay where you can find some great restaurants as well as shops selling sunglasses and other beach paraphernalia. Another popular destination for tourists is Haad Rin Beach to stay at high-end resorts or enjoy fine dining at luxury hotels such as The Sanctuary Resort & Spa
For those who want to explore beyond their resort experience, there are many things to do including visiting nearby islands that have beautiful white sand beaches with crystal clear waters.
Here are the 28 best things to do in Phuket, Thailand.
- 1. Patong Beach
- 2. Kata Beach
- 3. Karon Beach
- 4. Phuket Town
- 5. Island Boat Tours in Phuket
- 6. Diving & Snorkeling in Phuket
- 7. Phuket’s Big Buddha
- 8. Rawai Village
- 9. Karon Viewpoint (Three Beaches Hill)
- 10. Temples (Wats) in Phuket
- 11. Gibbon Rehabilitation Center & Bang Pae Waterfall
- 12. Phang Nga Bay
- 13. Bangla Road, Phuket
- 14. Sunday Walking Street Market
- 15. Tree Tops Elephant Reserve
- 16. Similan Islands
- 17. Mai Khao Beach
- 18. Island of Maiton
- 19. Prompthep Cape
- 20. Koh Panyi
- 21. James Bond Island
- 22. Flying Hanuman
- 23. Rang Hill
- 24. Splash Jungle Waterpark
- 25. Surin Beach
- 26. Buy Souvenirs at Phuket’s Markets
- 27. Sirinat National Park, Phuket
- 28. Distillery, Museum, and Aquarium for an Indoor Experience
Best Things to do in Phuket 1-10
1. Patong Beach
Phuket’s beaches are world-renowned. The best time to visit is from November to April when it is the dry season. Patong Beach is a popular beach destination (it is Phuket’s longest beach) for locals and foreigners. It is an ideal place to stay if you are looking for many nightlife options, including karaoke bars and dance clubs. Patong Beach also has shopping malls, spas, and outdoor markets.
It is a lively and vibrant place with a wide range of tourist facilities, nightlife and entertainment, shopping and dining options. The beach itself offers clear blue water and clean sand, as well as a nice view of the island of Phuket in the distance.
Patong Beach has a wide variety of restaurants, shops, bars, and discothèques that cater to tourists during the day and night. In Patong Beach, you will find a variety of food options to choose from. Popular foods include pad Thai, spicy curries, and mango sticky rice. Be sure to check the cost of your meal before it arrives at your table.
Many food vendors may charge higher prices if you do not speak Thai, so it is best to look at the price first.
Patong Beach During the Day
Be sure to wear sunscreen all day long because the sun can be very strong. You may need to reapply throughout the day. Bring a hat and sunglasses in case you plan on spending all day in the sun. It is also recommended that you bring a pair of flip-flops or water shoes for when you go into the ocean. There are many rocks and waves, which can make it difficult to walk.
When visiting Patong Beach, consider dressing conservatively. Women are usually expected to wear shirts that cover their shoulders and shorts that cover the majority of their thighs. If you plan on going to a nightclub or bar, be sure to dress up nicely because your attire will often determine if you are allowed entry.
2. Kata Beach
Kata Beach is an amazing beach with many activities. Swimming, kayaking, jet-skiing, snorkeling are popular activities here. There are several dive shops in the area that will take you to see beautiful reefs and fish. It is also possible to go on a boat trip to Phi Phi Island which includes lunch and swimming time at Maya Bay Beach.
If you are interested in learning to surf, this is a great place to learn. The long right-handers are beginner-friendly and the instructors are usually very good about teaching people how to stand up on a surfboard. You can also rent bodyboards or soft-top surfboards if you aren’t ready for the hardboard required to start.
It’s also possible to rent boats and go for a day of fun on the water. Don’t skip out on visiting Big Buddha, which is not only interesting to see, but the view is amazing. You can climb up hundreds of steps or take an elevator down into the depths of the ocean if you are feeling lazy that day.
3. Karon Beach
Karon Beach is a perfect place to sunbathe and snorkel. It is one of the more popular beaches on Phuket Island, Thailand. The beach features a 5-kilometer long powder white sand shore with gentle waters that are great for swimming and snorkeling. Lifeguards are present at this beach throughout the day during weekdays from 9:00 am-6:00 pm. The area also features showers and changing rooms, food stalls, restaurants, bars, many resorts with pools, and an overall casual atmosphere throughout the beach.
If you are looking for a less crowded beach, this may not be the best one for you as Karon Beach is very popular. There are some beaches that are more secluded (such as Layan Beach), but those beaches are much less beginner-friendly as those beaches have very rocky shores.
Some general tips:
- Swim with caution, watch out for the undertow
- If you are snorkeling, be sure to bring your own gear or rent it at the resort you are staying in. Also, don’t touch anything while snorkeling! All of the fish have protective slime on them. It is so fun to see all of the tropical fish and coral, but please do not touch them!
4. Phuket Town
Phuket Town is the historic center of Phuket Island, Thailand. It is on the east coast of Phuket Island about 25 kilometers south of the island’s airport. The town is primarily a shopping district with many markets and shops selling traditional Thai items such as textiles, ornaments, antiques, and curios plus restaurants serving Thai food.
Phuket town is located in Phuket Province, Thailand. It is also known for its historic buildings and temples. It has a number of museums on Phuket Island, such as the Phuket Philatelic Museum on Thalang Road which features an extensive collection of stamps from around the world and related memorabilia.
The town sometimes hosts various festivals and celebrations. Some examples are the annual Vegetarian Festival and Phuket King’s Cup Elephant Round-up. Phuket town is the final resting place of KanyaKumon, a provider of education to Thai girls in the early 1900s. His former house has been turned into a museum honoring his work.
Phuket Town is a major entry point for visitors on holidays in Thailand. It is visited by people from all over Thailand and from around the world who come to enjoy some shopping, fine dining, and temples. The main streets through Phuket Town are Rat-U-Thit Road (Thalang Road), Mantri Road, and Ranong Streets.
The Phuket FantaSea Theme Park is in Laem Phanwa, about 5 km south of the town’s center. It includes an amusement park and a water park with various shows including acrobatics, fire breathing, Thai boxing, and elephant rides.
There are many temples in Phuket Town. Some examples are:
- – Wat Sri Khom Kham (Temple of the Goddess with 300 Hands)
- – Wat Khao Phra Bat (Beach Hill Temple in Phuket town)
- – Wat Chalong (Chalnglom Temple)
There are several waterfalls and parks north and south of town on Phuket Island.
- – Darawan: beautiful Darawan waterfall. Darawan Countryside Garden is a popular recreation spot about 8 kilometers from the city of Phuket to the northeast. It features a fresh water swimming pool, a scenic waterfall and picnic facilities.
- – Lion Waterfall is located about an hour’s drive south of town near the village of Thep Krasattri on Route 4031. Visitors can walk behind the waterfall which drops into an emerald pool. There are changing rooms and food vendors to help make it a pleasant day out.
- – Thao Thep Waterfall is an attractive cascade on the Mai Kha River, about 30 km south of Phuket town off Highway 402. It is accessible by car or tour bus.
There are tours for sightseeing in and around Phuket Town. Phuket tours will take you to see the island’s highlights, including temples and viewpoints.
Phuket Safari Tour: A perfect way to explore both the cultural and natural attractions of our tour sites. On this adventure, relax on longboat cruises down the Phang Nga Bay, explore a wildlife conservation center and learn about Buddhist history in Phuket Town. The tour takes place in the morning and afternoon to better accommodate scheduling with various offices in Phuket town.
5. Island Boat Tours in Phuket
When in Phuket, consider taking an island boat tour. Some boat tours can take you to five islands around the area. The boat ride is generally very peaceful and serene, giving you amazing views of the mangroves and southern coast of Thailand.
The tour starts at the Rawai Beach pier where you will be picked up for free by one of many tour guides. The tour guide will introduce themselves and help you bring your belongings to the boat. You may be provided a bag of food on the way, including a sandwich, fruit, chips, chocolate bar, and a bottle of water. You can keep this bag if you’d like for snacking on throughout the day until it’s time for the next meal.
Some tour boats have an indoor seating area with an air conditioner, or you can venture outside in the fresh sea breeze and open sun. Tour boats also have a restroom for your convenience. There may be music playing on a speaker system throughout the entire boat, so you can sing along! The boat ride takes approximately one hour to reach the first stop, Chicken Island.
At this stop, you will be able to swim and snorkel in the crystal clear water while surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and tropical fish. There is a small beach here on the island where you can relax after swimming if you prefer.
The next three stops are all beaches on islands where you can either snorkel or relax. You are welcome to swim, eat lunch, and spend time at the beach before reboarding the boat that same day at the end of the tour.
6. Diving & Snorkeling in Phuket
Phuket is a favorite holiday destination with over 2 million visitors per year due to the many attractions it has to offer such as beaches and amazing coral reefs. Scuba diving and snorkeling tour operators in Phuket boast of having some of the most intact and diverse coral reefs in Asia.
Phuket has some great dive sites with amazing underwater scenery that you won’t find anywhere else. The water is warm with clear visibility and there are plenty of interesting marine creatures to see. There are also many dive shops that provide professional diving instructors and equipment for beginners or advanced divers alike.
The best time for scuba diving and snorkeling is between the months of November and April when weather conditions in the Andaman Sea are at their best for water sports. This period also coincides with the sea turtle breeding season, which means that divers can get a glimpse of newly hatched turtles on several islands including Koh Hae, Koh Ha, Hin Daeng, and Koh Maiton.
There are many reputable scuba operators in Phuket that offer daily trips for divers to some of the best dive sites around the Andaman Sea. It is important to choose a diving tour operator who can provide quality services including properly fitted equipment, attractive boat, and crew, safety standards, and customer service.
The islands around Phuket also offer a wide variety of diving and snorkeling sites that are quite popular with divers. Among the best dive sites include Richelieu Rock, Shark Point, Koh Doc Mai, Koh Ha, and Hin Daeng/Hin Muang.
Richelieu Rock is home to soft corals, nudibranchs, and crustaceans. The site is best visited during the months of February to May and September to December when many whale sharks converge there. Shark Point is particularly noted for its large pelagic fish like leopard sharks, blacktip reef sharks, and grey reef sharks. It is one of the most popular sites in Thailand because divers can get in the water at 8:30 a.m and do not need to use a buddy or guide in order to enjoy this site. Koh Doc Mai and Hin Daeng/Hin Muang are both excellent sites for macro photography due to their school of anthias fish, frogfish, and ornate ghost pipefish.
7. Phuket’s Big Buddha
The Big Buddha is a large Buddhist statue, located on the island of Phuket, Thailand. It was built under the initiative of former politician Newin Chidchob at a cost of about 3.84 billion baht (US$120 million).
The statue sits on a lot at Tambon Khokkloi about 12 kilometers south of the town center of Kathu in Phuket Province. It faces the west and is 114 meters (374 ft) high, towering over the land and sea.
The body of the statue measures 45 meters long and 16 meters wide; it stands on a lot measuring 77 x 77 m2 (840 sq yd), which forms a 12-cornered circle. The diameter of the face is 21.5 meters, its height from eyebrow to lip is 8.75 meters and width 8 meters; a lotus flower on top of the head measures 7.25 x 7.25 meters, and 2.55 x 2.5 meter at its widest points in the arms. It weighs about 250 tons and is made mostly of concrete. The bricks that were used to build the statue came from China. It has 14 floors, with several designs of lotus petals on each floor.
The first five floors are square-shaped. The 6th floor is octagonal in shape, decorated with 8 lotus buds, while the 7th to 12th floors are round, decorated with 64 lotus buds. The 13th floor is a cube decorated with 384 lotus buds and the 14th floor is a dome adorned by 2048 lotus flowers (4 petals in each bud), which revolve like the world.
On the first stage of Phuket Buddha’s head are 7 lotus petals, each containing different images of Buddha. Inside the second stage are 8 lotus petals which contain images of Buddhas in standing posture, inside the third stage are 8 more lotus petals with additional Buddha statues seated in closed-leg postures. The fourth and fifth stages contain various spire ornaments.
The statue is hollow within a steel frame with the outside surface covered by 250,000 pieces of white Carrara marble from Italy. The carvings on the marble exterior were done in Chiang Mai. In front of the Phuket Buddha is a large pond called “Sala Sahapat” (jumping carp pond) surrounded by a circular wall with four entrances. The water in the pond is pumped from Kui Buri Dam in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province to increase its oxygen content, which keeps the fish alive.
Inside the head of Phuket Buddha are elevators up to the 14th floor, stairways to climb higher floors, and toilets. Visitors are prohibited from entering the head, as it is an important part of the structure.
There is a big theater in front of Phuket Big Buddha. The statue can be lit up at night with 3,000 light bulbs which cost around 50 million baht (US$1.5 million). It has been closed to the public for a number of years due to safety reasons.
Legends About the Construction of Phuket’s Big Buddha
There are several legends about the construction of Phuket’s Big Buddha, all including a prince named “Nor Kham” who later became King Rama II of Thailand.
In one version, the statue of Phuket Big Buddha is an image of Prince Nor Kham. During his journey to China, he had a dream of the future prosperity of Siam (Thailand) and decided to build a Buddha image in his honor in Phuket Thailand. However, it is unclear if this story was actually written by Newin himself or someone else.
The second version of a legend is that a rich man named “Luang Ngow” fell off his boat and died near the Phuket Big Buddha location. In fact, there was a shrine built next to the statue for this man as an expression of gratitude for his rescue.
A third version was that the king had a dream of building Phuket’s Big Buddha to replace an older image that had suffered lightning damage. This story is also associated with another shrine, called “Wat Khao Khwang”.
A fourth legend claims that during the construction, workers found a Buddha image in Kui Buri District. To hide this fact, they built Phuket Big Buddha’s head first and its body later because nobody would know about their secret.
The fifth version of the story is that the statue was built due to the king’s intention to transform Phuket into an important province or kingdom.
A sixth version is that several rich people wanted to build a Buddha image, but they could not agree on who was going to pay for it. They agreed on building only the head of the statue so each man could see his own face in it.
In the seventh version, a rich man named “Ngow Pu” wanted to build a statue for Phuket town. However, another man had already started building one. Because of this, “Ngow Pu” decided to only build a head and call it “Phuket big head”.
There is one more legend about the building of Phuket Big Buddha. It says that King Rama III was preparing for a war with France, so he decided to build a large Buddha image in order to change the fate of his soldiers and win the war.
8. Rawai Village
Rawai Village is a village and fishing town in Phuket province, Thailand. It is on the east coast of Phuket, at the southern end of the Kathu District and near the northern end of Karon Beach. Rawai has become a tourist destination in recent years, with many beach resorts having opened along its long coastline. Rawai Beach is located there. Rawai beach is one of Phuket’s longest sandy beaches and it is well known for its clear waters. The seafood restaurants at Rawai Beach are also well known throughout Phuket for their freshness and quality. Kata Beach is located on the other side of the headland.
Other things to do include visiting some of Rawai’s famous temples, including Wat Chalong and Wat Dayawan. Each morning at 8 am the monks make their way down to Rawai Beach to collect alms (food) from local people; this is a good time to visit the temples if you want to avoid the crowds.
Rawai also has a night market where local people sell their wares, including clothes and jewelry. There is also a fresh food market that opens at around 2 pm every day just behind Rawai Beach. If you are looking for traditional Thai food then this is the place to head for.
Rawai is only about an hour’s drive from Phuket International Airport, which makes it very popular with visitors who are transiting through the island.
9. Karon Viewpoint (Three Beaches Hill)
Karon Viewpoint is on the top of Karon Hill, which is south of Patong Beach and on the west coast of Phuket. The viewpoint offers a great view looking out at both Patong Beach and Kata Beach to the east, as well as views of Kapoon Lagoon below! At the end of Dtac Rd. there is a ticket booth to pay for entrance, and then it is about a 5-10 minute walk uphill through a cement pathway to the top of Karon Hill.
Tips for visiting Karon Viewpoint:
- Wear good shoes! Although the path may be paved, it can get quite steep in places, and there are no signs to mark which way the trail goes.
- Bring water! There is no access to any drinkable or food-bearing establishments along the hike up, and you will be much happier if you prepare in advance.
- Go early in the morning! The views are gorgeous at sunset, but there may not be enough sunlight to see by during your hike back down.
- Watch out for monkeys! Although the area appears to be well-maintained, there will likely be some loose monkeys in the surrounding woodlands that may approach you without hesitation.
- Don’t forget your camera! This is a great view of three beautiful beaches, and it would be a shame not to share it with the world!
10. Temples (Wats) in Phuket
There are several wats (temples) and museums in Phuket that attract both Thai and foreign visitors, the most notable of which is Wat Chalong. This wat is one of the biggest and oldest wats in Phuket built in 1932 by a wealthy Chinese philanthropist named Rani Talad Kwan who lived in the area. The wat is a popular site for weddings because of its tranquil and serene atmosphere. A visit to Wat Chalong will provide tourists with a glimpse of ancient Thai art and architecture.
Another famous wat in Phuket is Wat Phra Thong which houses one of the most revered Buddha images in Thailand, which is a 2.5-meter bronze image of the Buddha called Phra Thong Kham, which is enshrined in a glass container. The wat has undergone renovations over the years to preserve its heritage and traditional Thai architecture including one that involved excavation work to find relics below the soil.
Wat Chalong is a temple in Phuket, Thailand. It is also called Wat Chaiyathararam and is one of the most beautiful temples on Phuket Island. Wat Chalong was built by Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro in 1933 on land given to him by a local family who reveres him as a saint.
L, P. Sodh Candasaro (Luang Pu Sodh), was a controversial Thai Buddhist monk who founded the Thammayut Nikaya order. He was ordained as a monk in 1905 and remained a Buddhist monk for the rest of his life. His teaching stressed strict discipline, insistence on regular monastic routine, pacifism, lack of interest in material possessions or money. He taught meditation techniques to help people control their minds.
Wat Chalong is notable for its 32 fine mural paintings depicting the life of Lord Buddha. There are also numerous ancient Buddha images in small niches around the walls of the main chapel. The temple also has good examples of northern Thai-style architecture with beautiful paintings on wood panels.
Today, Wat Chalong houses over 300 monks and is still run by the Luang Pu Sodh’s family.
Wat Phra Thong at Thalang
One of the most visited sites in Phuket is Wat Phra Thong at Thalang, which houses a holy relic that pilgrims flock to. Wat Phra Thong at Thalang is the site of several Buddhist monuments, including a number of chedis and Buddha images.
The site also features a number of incense-tipped chedis and several Buddha images, including 15th century Luang Po Phra Sai and Luang Po To, both of whom are highly regarded by the Thai people. The Thais are always praying there every day, especially on Fridays.
Wat Phra Thong is an important Buddhist site that holds significant religious significance for locals as well as visitors to the island of Phuket.
The Golden Chedi
The Golden Chedi is located within the walls of Wat Phra Thong and houses a holy relic that pilgrims flocked to for centuries. Located within the walls of Wat Phra Thong are the remnants of the pagoda that once housed the golden Buddha donated by King Rama I. The pagoda was destroyed in 1785, while its contents were saved by the monks accompanying the relic’s transport procession to Bangkok.
Best Things to do in Phuket 11-20
11. Gibbon Rehabilitation Center & Bang Pae Waterfall
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Center is a conservation project situated in Phuket, Thailand. Half-day visits include the opportunity to observe the “small” gibbons (the group is actually long-armed, or Hylobates lar gibbons) as they go about their daily routine of climbing and swinging through the forest canopy.
Activities in the surrounding jungle give you the chance to get a little closer to nature and understand more about the complex web of life. The center is not a zoo, but a long-term conservation project where each year two or three baby gibbons are saved from poachers. They stay at the center until they are old enough to be released back into the wild.
The center has built an enclosure in the forest canopy, which enables visitors to walk into the treetops and view the gibbons swinging through their home territory. Half-day visits include trekking through the rainforest looking for wild gibbons in natural surroundings and learning about the important work of the center.
A picnic lunch is available at the center. For full-day visits, the center’s staff cook lunch at their jungle kitchen, in a remote location in the forest, which also provides an opportunity to learn about local foods.
Note: you can decide not to purchase lunch when signing up for a half-day trip. Be sure to bring water, insect repellent, and sunscreen with you if needed.
The Bang Pae Waterfall is located right next to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center (about 5 minutes away). It has 3 tiers and can be accessed by a stairway that climbs up the hill. It is possible to climb around the various tiers and swim in the water at the bottom.
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Center & Bang Pae Waterfall makes for a great day trip from Phuket City (about an hour away). There are many tour operators on the island that offer trips to both venues.
12. Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay, Thailand is the area all around the island of Phuket. It is filled with limestone cliffs and caves which are a big draw for tourists to this region. There are many things to do in Phang Nga Bay, for those who want a relaxing vacation as well as those people who want more excitement.
Some of the things to do in Phang Nga Bay are taking boat tours around the bay, snorkeling in some of the more shallow areas, kayaking through several caves and karst cliffs, hiking through some limestone hills, exploring Khai Island, hunting for seashells on deserted beaches, visiting mangrove forests, and swimming with the stingless jellyfish.
If you want to see some of the more famous sites of Phang Nga Bay, it is recommended that you climb Khao Tapoo (Monkey Mountain) which is a limestone hill in Ao Phang Nga National Park. From here, there are views up and down the Andaman coastline and views of Phang Nga Bay.
If you’re interested in finding some wildlife, there are several mangrove forests, such as Hin Tok, which is near Khai Island. Mangroves form a ring around the island and provide excellent habitat for many types of fish and birds. Hin Phom is another mangrove forest that is popular with birdwatchers. If you’ve got your own boat, it’s possible to stop off at Khai Nok Island, which has some good beaches for swimming and sunbathing.
There are lots of interesting caves to explore around here including Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, and Hin Khao. Unfortunately, most of these are closed to the public, but some have been opened up for tourists.
One cave that you can visit is Tham Phra Nang Nai (Princess Cave), which features stalagmites and stalactites in shades of blue, green, pink, white, and gold.
The Andaman coastline has some fantastic beaches, including Rawai Beach, Kata Beach, Karon Beach, Patong Beach, Kamala Beach, and Surin Beach. Depending on where you are in Phang Nga Bay, it can be reached by an easy day trip or a longer journey which includes ferry trips and car rides.
Another popular way to get around Phang Nga Bay is by kayaking through the mangrove forests and karst formations, which offer a great deal of excitement and a closer look at some of these beautiful sites. There are several companies that rent out equipment for this activity or may even provide guided tours.
13. Bangla Road, Phuket
Bangla Road in Phuket is a good place for nightlife and shopping. There are several bars and clubs in Bangla where you can dance the night away with your significant other. It also has many shops, including jewelry stores and tailors where you can get custom clothes made to your measurements. Bangla Road is between Chalong circle and Rawai, on the west coast of Phuket.
For a real taste of Thai culture and cuisine visit the many street stalls that line Bangla Road. There you can find delicious food for a cheap price. The best time to go is at night because there are lanterns hanging from the trees and it feels very festive. Even if you are tired from a long day of exploring Phuket, make sure to walk up and down the road at night because it is truly a sight to see.
More than likely if you go on Fridays or Saturdays your ears will ring from all of the loud music. The bars and clubs play everything from hip-hop and house to reggae and dubstep.
Bangla Road is a place where you can buy almost anything, from clothes to liquor. There are also street stalls lining the streets for easy access to food if you get hungry. The best time to go shopping is at night so that you can see the lights hanging above the streets. At night under these lights, Bangla Road is a wonderful place to have fun. There are many bars and clubs where you can go dancing or just relax with friends. The bars usually play local music as well as Western pop hits depending on the night.
Bangla Road has no shortage of food options. Whether you want to fill up on street snacks or sit down in a restaurant for a nice meal, you can find it in Bangla.
If you are looking for some authentic Thai food then the street stalls are your best bet. They serve up tasty dishes like pad thai and tom yum soup at very affordable prices. Depending on when you go, most of the food is made to order so it will always be fresh.
The street stalls only accept cash as a form of payment, so make sure to exchange some money before you go.
If you are looking for something more your speed then there are several restaurants on the road. You can find anything from sushi and pizza to Indian and Mexican food. Many of the restaurants also offer delivery services to your hotel.
Most of the restaurants are open from 11 a.m. until about midnight, but there are a few that do not close until much later at night.
Bangla Road is a must-visit for anyone who wants to get a real taste of Thai culture and cuisine because it will not disappoint you in either department.
14. Sunday Walking Street Market
The market (or street) moves around, and the days it is held also change throughout the year. It is always on a Sunday, and rain or shine there will be hundreds of vendors selling their wares. There are food stalls and roaming vendors with trinkets to buy too. The walking street is located in Phuket Town, which is the main city of Phuket Island.
Walking street markets are popular tourist destinations for street food, shopping, nightlife, and entertainment. The market takes place on Walking Street, Chareonkrung Road in Bangkok Thailand. This market is open every day from 4 pm to 2 am
Markets like this are always great for finding discounts, bargains, and unique souvenirs. Do not expect this to be a traditional night market with stalls selling food, clothes, or trinkets. This is more of an outdoor street lined with vendors selling food on the side. The main attractions are the shops lining both sides of the street which sell discounted items, from bags from Burberry to clothing from Adidas.
15. Tree Tops Elephant Reserve
Tree Tops Elephant Reserve is an animal rescue facility located in Thailand’s Phang Nga province, approximately 420 kilometers north of Bangkok. Established in 1998 by Sangdeaun Lek Chailert, it provides a safe haven for elephants that have been abused, overworked or neglected. Visitors can observe elephants bathing, playing, and generally just getting along with one another at Tree Tops Elephant Reserve. They can also learn about the elephant-trekking industry and how it has impacted the animals’ natural habitats.
Tree Tops Elephant Reserve does not allow visitors to bathe with the elephants. And that is because they care about the welfare of these beautiful animals as well as the visitors! See their explanation below.
WHY IT IS UNETHICAL AND UNSAFE TO BATHE WITH ELEPHANTS
In the wild, elephants love to bathe in rivers, ponds, streams and muddy wallows. They need space to splash, roll around, submerge, and cover themselves in mud.
If people are in the water or mud crowding around the elephants, it is very stressful for them as it inhibits natural behaviours.
It is also unhygienic as the elephants urinate and defecate when in the water, and people may suffer from eye or skin infections and sickness.
Bathing with elephants does not put the welfare of the elephants first, which is why we do not offer this activity at Tree Tops.Source: https://www.treetopselephantreserve.com/
To get to this sanctuary, head north on Route 4, about 100 kilometers past Phuket International Airport. Signs will direct you to the park; it’s open daily. The entrance fee is 2,900 Thai Baht (approximately $90) for adults. You can arrange a visit, inquire about volunteering or donate to Tree Tops Elephant Reserve. Also, check their latest prices and timings here.
16. Similan Islands
The Similan Islands are a group of islands in Thailand, located around 50 kilometers from the coast of Phang Nga Province, northwest of Khao Lak, and about 70 kilometers west of Phuket Island.
Some Travel Tips for Similan Islands:
- – To get to the Similan Islands, you must take a boat; depending on which route you take (via liveaboard or fast boat), it can be anywhere from 2 hours to 6 hours for your journey. If you are going to travel by liveaboard, Racha Noi and Ko Bon are the recommended islands to visit.
- – The Similan Islands have been known for having dive sites that range from beginner levels all the way up to advanced levels in diving. With 9 main islands, each island has its own unique marine life and dive characteristics.
- – The Similan Islands are home to one of the few remaining reefs in Thailand that is not affected by dynamite fishing.
- – The best time to visit the Similan Islands is from October to December; although any season can be good, it just depends on what you’re looking for. If you are looking for better weather, then go during the months of October – December. However, if you are looking for diving conditions that are better (i.e. more marine life), then go during the months of January – April.
- – The Similans are not as popular as other islands in Thailand, so electricity can be hard to come by in these areas.
17. Mai Khao Beach
Mai Khao Beach is beautifully located at the very end of Phuket’s west coast. Mai Khao Beach is easily accessible by car, motorcycle, or bicycle via the only road that leads into this area. The first section of Mai Khao Beach boasts large hotels and luxury accommodations. The northern end offers smaller bungalows and restaurants, while the southern end is known for its hillside beachfront villas.
The main attractions are the long white sandy beaches that border turquoise waters, making for a spectacular view of the Andaman Sea. There are also limestone cliffs that provide amazing views of the ocean. The area hosts many popular events, most notably an annual windsurfing competition.
Several large malls can be found on the outskirts of Mai Khao, as well as markets and a wide range of shops, restaurants, and bars. For those looking to escape from the city, especially between November and April when it is not monsoon season, this beach is sure to provide relaxation and tranquility.
Mai Khao Beach is very popular among families with young children, as the beach offers plenty of activities for kids. Aside from swimming and sunbathing, Mai Khao has several other activities to offer including snorkeling, jet-skiing, banana boat rides, kayaking, and parasailing.
Planes fly low and very close to the ground here, so it is quite a sight to see! however, remember that it is forbidden to be under a plane flying so low.
18. Island of Maiton
There are a number of islands off the coast of Phuket in Thailand. One such island is the Island of Maiton. The Island of Maiton is a small island with a population of under 400 people. It has beautiful white sand beaches and clear blue waters that go out to about 25 feet deep. The Island of Maiton is also known to have marine life, which attracts scuba divers. However, snorkeling can be just as fun in these waters.
The island of Maiton is very quiet and tranquil so if you are looking for something very low key this might be the place to go. However, there are not many entertainment options on this tiny little island besides eating some delicious Thai food along the beach.
Transportation – Transportation on the island of Maiton is either by foot or by boat taxi to other islands around you. You can get a taxi boat shuttle for around 300 baht or $10.00 per person to take you from Phuket to the island.
Accommodations – One of the most popular places on this tiny little island is the Maiton Bay Bungalows. They are right on the beach and offer 1, 2, 3 bedroom bungalows to accommodate larger groups of people.
Beaches – There are plenty of beaches to relax on while you’re visiting the island of Maiton. The main one is called Maiton Bay Beach has many resorts lining it so you can relax on the sand or under an umbrella.
Food and Drink – The food and drink on the island of Maiton are very reasonably priced. You can find a delicious plate of Pad Thai for around $3 – $5, which will fill you up easily if you’re hungry after spending all day in the sun at one of the beaches or snorkeling in the crystal clear waters.
Attractions – The island of Maiton is a great little getaway if you want to do something different from the touristy islands around Phuket. It’s a great place to relax and unwind from all your shopping at the larger, more popular destinations. There are plenty of things to do on the island as well. You can take a boat trip across to other islands or go scuba diving and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea.
Shopping – There are not many shops on this island, but you will find some small souvenir stands that sell things like T-shirts, beach towels, and snacks. If you want some souvenirs to take back home with you, this is a great place to get hats and other fashion items.
19. Prompthep Cape
Prompthep Cape is located in the north of Phuket island, in Thailand. It is a popular tourist destination in Phuket. The promontory juts out into the Andaman Sea and is situated around 12 kilometers northwest of Phuket town. It has become one of the most well-known places in Phuket among tourists.
The cape was originally named “Phromthep Cape” by Captain James Low of the HMS Newcastle in honor of Phromthep, a national hero from southern Thailand’s Sathing Phra District, who helped his father fight against a Burmese invasion during the Ayutthaya period. The name means ‘cape of the saint’. The cape was later popularized as “Promthep Cape”.
Promthep Cape is one of Thailand’s most beautiful natural attractions, attracting visitors throughout the year. There are various activities at Promthep Cape including visiting the lighthouse and taking scenic photos. Visitors can also enjoy swimming in during low tide or simply relaxing by watching the sunset.
A new lighthouse at Promthep Cape is located around 1.7 kilometers northwest of Kata Beach on Phuket island. The lighthouse has become one of the most visited landmarks in Thailand. Due to its impressive structure – with 360-degree panoramic views, it’s no wonder that this spot has become popular among tourists.
Promthep Lighthouse is located at the highest point of Phuket island with a height of 60 meters above sea level. This lighthouse was built in 1890 and was originally named “Phromthep Cape Light”. It is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world.
Promthep Lighthouse has two characteristic lights which can be observed from 10 nautical miles away. It emits white light every 5 seconds and red light every 2 seconds. Visitors must climb 312 steps to reach the top of the cape to enjoy panoramic views around Phuket island, nearby islands, and the Andaman Sea.
Scuba Diving at Promthep Cape
One of the most popular activities at Promthep Cape is scuba diving, which has become one of the major tourist attractions in Phuket. The cape is also well known for its coral reefs and clear waters ideal for snorkeling. Some caves are also found around the area. Tourists are encouraged to explore the caves with extra caution.
20. Koh Panyi
Panyi (also spelled Pan Yi) is a small village on the southwestern tip of Phuket Island. It is very popular with backpackers and travelers looking to stay in relaxed surroundings close to nature and scenic views. Koh Panyi consists of 3 main islands. Koh Panyi Noi is the second-largest island in the group and is home to most of the resorts, guesthouses, bars/restaurants, and beach bars. There are also a handful of seafood restaurants on both islands offering fresh fish cooked when you order it.
The third-largest island in the group is Koh Panyi Yai which has a heavily forested interior and is home to one resort, a few guesthouses, and two large beaches. Both of these beaches are great for swimming as they face the west where the sun goes down behind Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, however, this means that they don’t get any direct sunlight in the afternoon. There is also a great little seafood restaurant on Koh Panyi Yai called “The Last Fisherman.”
Finally, there is a small island to the far right of the village with one resort and a few bars and restaurants. To get around these three main islands you can either charter a long-tail boat or rent them from various places. There are also regular boats going to and from the mainland ferrying tourists. Koh Panyi is a great place to go if you want to relax with some cheap drinks and meet other travelers.
Best Things to do in Phuket 21 and beyond
21. James Bond Island
James Bond Island is located near Phang Nga Bay in Thailand. The island is not inhabited and does not have any buildings on it, but its distinctive rock formations inspired the hideout of Bond Villain Scaramanga in the movie ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’
The island is visited by boat tours from Phuket, either as part of a day tour or an overnight trip. Because the island has very limited docking space it is often overcrowded with tourists coming to visit. The Thai government has started a program to control tourists’ access to the island as it is getting overcrowded.
22. Flying Hanuman
Flying Hanuman zip line is a touristic attraction where participants can test their courage and skills as they soar over the island of Phuket. Participants are secured to a zip-line with two carabiners on each side of the waist belt (similar to rock climbing), then they fly among trees and cliffs toward the west coast of Phuket Island. The course is about half a kilometer and takes around 20 minutes (including transfer) to complete.
Flying Hanuman zip line was established in 1998 and has been popular among locals and tourists ever since. The attraction consists of seven platforms where the tourists face several challenges such as crossing suspension bridges, cliff jumping, and zip-lining. The course is considered easy compared to other extreme attractions in Thailand.
Flying Hanuman was also the very first zip line in Phuket.
23. Rang Hill
Rang Hill is a mountainous region in southeast Thailand, on the border between Phuket and Karon.
Must-try experiences at Rang Hill:
- Longtail boat tours: You can either book them at your hotel or go straight to the pier.
- Snorkeling: This is usually done with a longtail boat tour from Karon or Nai Han beach. There are usually tours every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- Renting a motorbike and/or car: This is especially useful if you want to explore or see any sites not included in your tour package
Overall, Rang Hill is an amazing site that offers many activities for tourists and locals alike. Whether looking to see a beautiful view or going on a boat tour, Rang Hill is the perfect place to go!
Khaorang Breeze Restaurant
The khao soi at Khaorang Breeze Restaurant is highly recommended. The soup comes with crispy noodles and lime to add according to your liking. Now their menu has expanded and offers more than just Thai dishes. However, it still retains its old charm of having a family-run business. A must-try!
The atmosphere at Khaorang Breeze Restaurant is very cozy and the service was exceptional. It truly is a family-run business that gets many return customers.
You might see some monkeys in the restaurant area, but don’t try and get too close or hand the food over to them as they are a little unpredictable. The viewpoint deck right next to the restaurant is well worth checking out, though!
24. Splash Jungle Waterpark
The Splash Jungle waterpark is an outdoor water park in Phuket, Thailand. The park is located on the east coast of the island at Mai Khao Beach. It contains a variety of different waterslides and pools, including a wave pool and a children’s area with smaller slides. It could be another place you can go and have fun.
25. Surin Beach
Surin Beach is located in the Muang District of Phuket, Thailand. Surin Beach is an excellent beach with golden sand and relatively calm waters compared to most beaches in Phuket.
The beach is about 1 km long. You can walk from one end to the other within 20 minutes or so. The southern end starts at Freedom Monument, a landmark that marks the border between Thailand and Burma. The northern end of the beach ends at Phuket Boat Lagoon.
Surin Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Phuket, especially among domestic tourists. It has no big hotels but lots of small resorts and bungalows along the beachside (and west of the beach in a relatively small area with a lot of restaurants and shops).
Surin has some big rocks on the west end, making it a great place for snorkeling. It’s also not far from Phi Phi islands with their famous beaches.
26. Buy Souvenirs at Phuket’s Markets
There are many markets in Phuket where you can buy souvenirs. Here is a list of the best places to visit:
– Patong Market – It’s one of the largest and most popular markets, with all kinds of goods from clothes to food. The vendors here sell everything at really good prices for tourists so it’s worth visiting if shopping isn’t your thing!
– Bangla Road – This famous street has been home to some great shops selling touristy things like batik fabrics, T-shirts, bags, or shoes as well as items that are more unique such as handmade jewelry or other handmade crafts. You’ll find lots on this street which runs parallel with Thalang Rd between Soi 4 and 6 making it easily accessible by foot but also close enough for transport via tuk-tuks or taxis.
– Chalong Night Market – This is a smaller market than Patong and Bangla Road, but still worth visiting. You will find the same kind of things, such as T-shirts and bags, but also souvenirs related to the local culture such as a traditional Thai costume or handmade wooden items.
– Phuket Town – This is a great place to buy souvenirs that are unique to Phuket or Thailand in general. There are many shops selling antiques and local handicrafts from all over the country. This market is located near the old town of Phuket on Rte 4169 between Phuket International Airport and Phuket Town.
– Rawai Night Market – This night market has everything you need for souvenir shopping! From food to clothes, beachwear, gadgets or even a big range of batik fabrics you’ll get it all here! You can also find lots of handmade crafts like wood carvings, pottery, fabric items, etc.
– Chalong Pier – The pier is a great place to take a walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Andaman Sea. There are many shops selling souvenir items such as T-shirts, bags, batik paintings, silver jewelry, wood carvings, and much more. This area is also a great shopping spot for people who want to buy some snacks like fresh fruit or delicious Thai food.
27. Sirinat National Park, Phuket
The Sirinat National Park is a protected area of Thailand. It was established on January 1, 1934, and covers an area of 830 square kilometers with the highest peak in southern Thailand at 602 meters above sea level. The park includes forests, waterfalls, and limestone formations that are home to many different species including birds like hornbills which can be found nowhere else in the world but in Asia. Also, there are four different types of primates that live in the park, including the Siamese macaque which is only found in Thailand.
This national park also has some interesting attractions such as Phuket’s first elephant camp where visitors have their very own chance to interact with elephants up close without any fear or danger involved whatsoever! Additionally, there is a small zoo located just outside the entrance gate that houses various animals from all over Asia.
28. Distillery, Museum, and Aquarium for an Indoor Experience
The Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
The Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is a must-see for anyone who loves food and drink. Located on the island of Phuket, you can take a boat or drive out to the distillery, which is located on a bay that was actually used as a pirate hideout back in the day! The oldest rum company in Thailand is run by five friends from New Zealand. It was opened to share their love of the tropical island with the rest of the world.
The distillery is open daily from 11 am until 6 pm, but you will need to get a reservation.
Phuket 3D Museum
Thailand’s first 3D museum is a creative and interactive experience. The museum features more than 200 pieces of art by Thai, international, and emerging artists in various mediums including painting, photography, sculpture/installation arts which all include the use of three-dimensional techniques for representation. Phuket3d Museum also has an exhibition space with two galleries that hosts events such as exhibitions from local or national artists to cultural festivals like Thailand’s annual Songkran Festival where visitors can enjoy performances from different countries around the world on stage.
The Phuket Aquarium
The Phuket Aquarium is a public aquarium in Phuket, Thailand. Located on Thepkrasattri Road in the Thalang District, it opened on December 1, 1999. It houses species of fish and other marine animals from around Thailand as well as other countries. There are also facilities for visitors to watch the fish swimming in their surroundings from above or below water through underwater or glass observation tunnels respectively.
Out of the list of the Best Things To Do in Phuket, you can pick and choose which ones you want to cover depending on your preferences and how much time you have available on hand. We’d recommend doing all of them!
Phuket has plenty to offer for tourists who want a lively vacation as well as those who want a peaceful time away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Plan your trip to Phuket and check out some or all of these places!
Read more: 27 Things to Do in Seychelles That Will Make You Fall In Love With It.
Note: The hours of operation, ticket prices, and admission criteria of museums, parks, etc. may change from time to time. For the most updated information, we recommend checking the official website of the attraction directly prior to your planned visit.
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