What are the best things in Phuket?
Phuket (/ˌpuːˈkɛt/; Thai: ภูเก็ต, [pʰūː.kèt] (listen), Malay: Bukit or Tongkah) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand.
The island’s popularity comes from the extraordinarily diverse choice of activities and excursions available, from spectacular beaches and natural marvels to sparkling temples and man-made monuments.
Phang Nga Bay, with its jaw-dropping limestone cliffs and flooded caves, is a definite must-do.
Even though they might be a touch busy, the Phi Phi islands are everyone’s second favorite. Phuket’s 45-meter-tall Big Buddha is also on everyone’s bucket list, and it’s not tough to reach. Walking with the elephants to assist them in escaping a life of harsh labor is the newest and fastest-growing trend in Phuket.
Our advice is to plan a few day excursions and then a stay in Phuket, and then you may change your itinerary to suit your mood (or the weather). You may schedule such day excursions after you arrive; they are often less expensive and can be booked directly via your hotel, on the street, or through one of the many travel companies. We supplemented each item with information.
Take note that although some tours seem to be more costly than others, they often provide a superior experience: less crowding, better service, and an overall superior experience.
With so much to select from, it may be difficult to cram everything into a single vacation. To assist you in organizing your trip, we’ve compiled a list of must-see attractions in Phuket, organized by popularity. Some are located on the island itself, while others are scattered across the island but are readily reachable in a single day.
1. Explore Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay’s stunning beauty has always been at the top of our list of places to visit without a doubt. There are several approaches to investigate it. You may enjoy a leisurely sunset sail on a Chinese junk or paddle through caverns and confined lagoons to discover Phang Nga. If you can afford it, spending a whole day on a private boat around Phang Nga Bay is the most peaceful and pleasurable experience possible. Similar to Vietnam’s world-famous Halong Bay, these sceneries will leave you with indelible recollections.
How to get there: Phang Nga Bay may be booked even one day in advance from your hotel or street vendor in Phuket. However, everyone believes that the best method to do it is by John Gray Seacanoe, which should be reserved online in advance, particularly during the busy season (December to May)
When to visit: Phang Nga Bay is accessible and lovely all year round, even during the rainy season, due to its sheltered location. Because the sea is never rough, you will never have seasickness.
2. Visit the Phi Phi Islands
Phi Phi is a stunning archipelago comprised of wonderful beaches and massive cliffs that span two bays and may be seen from a well-known viewpoint. Phi Phi is especially well-known among youthful populations for its famous beach parties that go all night, evocative of Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Parties. However, celebrity has a cost, and Phi Phi may have gotten too famous. The island has been significantly impacted by people, greed, and construction, so don’t go fantasizing about wandering alone on the empty beach in the film ‘The Beach’.
How to get there: If you want to stay overnight, make reservations in advance. You may schedule a ferry or a speedboat from Phuket if you simply want to visit for the day, but day cruises often only allow for a few hours on Phi Phi, leaving little time for exploring. The price of a ferry ticket + hotel transportation begins at 375 baht.
When to visit: Although Phi Phi Island is accessible all year, it is naturally more lovely with a blue sky during the peak season (December to May). Carry note that the voyage may be choppy during the low season; thus, if you are prone to seasickness, take some medicines.
Pro Tips: The world-famous Maya Bay has reopened after a lengthy closure!
3. Climb to Big Buddha of Phuket
The Big Buddha is third on our list of the greatest things to do in Phuket, a 45-meter-tall white marble monument perched atop Nakkerd hill in the island’s south. The erection of this monument began in 2002, totally funded by contributions. You may also help by sponsoring a little white marble tile and inscribing it with your name. It’s an excellent gesture, and your name will be there in perpetuity. Bear in mind that Big Buddha is more than a monument; it is a sacred site. You should demonstrate respect for it by dressing appropriately: if you wear shorts or skirts that extend beyond the knee, you must wear a sarong supplied by security at the entry.
It would be preferable if you also attempted to moderate your voice, which is regrettably not well understood by visitors.
The drive up is a bit steep but well-paved, and the view from the top is well worth the effort.
To the north, you can view the whole of Chalong Bay, all the way to Phang Nga, and to the south, Kata Beach. While descending, stop at one of the several little panoramic bars for a bird’s eye view over Karon Beach.
How to get there: the Big Buddha is readily accessible by motorcycle or automobile. Tuk-tuks will gladly transport you there as well and will wait for you once you arrive. Bear in mind that the majority of excursions include a stop at the Big Buddha.
When to visit: all year
Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
4. Bangla Road Party
Bangla road is not for everyone, but judging by the massive crowds who wander up and down Patong walking street each night, Bangla is on a lot of people’s must-see lists. Contrary to popular perception, Soi Bangla is not a ‘Sin City for Single Men.’ It’s a busy and colorful boulevard teeming with activity, restaurants, stores, clubs, and, of course, dancing females. Now, if you’re curious, join one of these renowned Go-Go clubs and see what a go-go bar is.
You’ll often find couples vacationing enjoying a drink; Patong is much more relaxed than Bangkok or Pattaya.
When to visit: Bangla is vibrant throughout the year. During the day, nothing occurs, and the roadway is closed to traffic at 7 p.m. However, the party atmosphere begins to develop around 9 or 10 p.m.
5. Take a trip to Chalong Temple
Chalong Temple (locally referred to as Wat Chalong), erected in the early nineteenth century, is Phuket’s biggest and most visited Buddhist temple. The most recognizable structure on the temple grounds is a 60-meter-tall stupa that houses a chunk of Buddha’s bone. Within, exquisite paintings and pictures chronicle the biography of Lord Buddha on the walls and ceilings, and each level is brimming with donated golden statues. Additionally, you may ascend steps to a terrace for a panoramic view of the area. As with any temple in Thailand, dress appropriately: no shorts or skirts that extend beyond the knee, and no sleeveless tops. Remember to remove your shoes and hats before entering the temple.
How to get there: easily accessible by car or motorcycle. The majority of itineraries include a visit to Wat Chalong, which is often paired with a visit to the Big Buddha.
When to visit: the temple is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., however, visitors are welcome to stroll about the grounds at any time.
Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
6. Discover phuket old town
It’s difficult to resist those ancient Sino-Portuguese alleys with their splendid shophouses and homes. With its many little cafés, bakeries, and diners, Phuket’s old town is ideal for a half-day visit. You may reach there by tuk-tuk or even the local blue bus, which stops at the city market. From there, stroll to Thalang Road, the most popular of Phuket Town’s historic streets. Additionally, visit the local markets near the bus station and meander through the side lanes to uncover some amazing abandoned homes. Don’t miss Sunday’s Phuket Walking Street, an opportunity to sample a variety of local cuisines that are not readily available!
How to get there: The basic alternatives are tuk-tuk or Grab taxis. Then, other than driving oneself, the cheapest option is to take the local blue bus.
7. Explore Phuket Night Markets
Phuket has several night markets, however, the boundary between a night market and a night bazaar is quite thin on any given day of the week. Certain markets are only open on weekends, while others are open on weekdays. The most renowned and imaginative is the Sunday Walking Street Market on Phuket Town’s historic Thalang Avenue.
8. Enjoy Sunset Cocktails and Dinner
When the weather permits, Phuket sunsets may be very spectacular, particularly during the low season, when clouds reflect the red colors spectacularly. You can see sunsets from the majority of the west coast’s beaches, but the ideal approach is undoubtedly to share the experience with a cool drink in hand! Here is a list of our favorite sunset sites in Phuket.
9. Help Elephants
Phuket currently has an abundance of elephant sanctuaries and retirement camps, but only a select number are ethical. It may come as a surprise to you, but swimming with elephants is not as ethical as many believe, much alone harmful or downright hazardous. Elephants dislike being surrounded by big crowds of people. Tree Tops Elephant Reserve is a real sanctuary where visitors may see rescued elephants roaming a huge territory or bathing in a lake on their own. Learn about them and have a better understanding of why trekking needs to come to an end.
How to get there: You may book via your hotel or an agency after you are in Phuket, but be sure to select Tree Top Reserve! The best course of action is to be straight with them. The excursion includes hotel pickup.
When to visit: open all year. It’s a fantastic pastime to have on hand for a dreary day.
Price: Adults pay 2,900 baht, and children pay 1,500 baht.
10. Be Awestruck by the Similan Islands
Similan Island is the most spectacular group of islands accessible from Phuket, gifted with magnificent white beaches and crystal pure blue seas. However, they are only accessible from November to May and are located in the Andaman Sea, 100 kilometers northwest of Phuket.
If you have the opportunity, you should take it. If you are unsure, visit Phi Phi Island, but be warned that it is busy. Racha Island is more accessible and nearby, as is Coral Island.
How to get there: Once in Phuket, you may arrange this excursion via your hotel or a local agency. Generally, a vehicle will pick you up from your accommodation and transport you to the Tap Lamu dock on the outskirts of the island. You will then board a speed boat.
When to visit: Similans is only accessible from October to May.
Price: around 2,350 baht. Keep in mind that inexpensive tickets may result in overloaded vessels.
11. Samet Nangshe viewpoint
Samet Nangshe is a relatively discovery, and the vista from the summit is breathtaking. It is a little difficult to get due to its location just outside Phuket island, but the magnificence of this natural marvel is well worth the effort! It used to be extremely difficult to climb the hill to one of the vistas, but a pickup truck is now available to transport you there for a nominal price.
12. Karon Viewpoint
The famous Karon Viewpoint is next on our list of the greatest things to do in Phuket, where you can take in a panoramic vista of three lovely bays. Kata Noi Beach is the nearest, followed by the picturesque bay of Kata with its little famous island, and Karon Beach is the furthest. The establishment is well-known and so regularly crowded, although visitors do not remain long. Apart from snapping a few shots and perhaps purchasing some beverages, snacks, and ice creams, there is nothing to do up there. You’ll often encounter a Thai man on his motorcycle with a large eagle giving you a picture with the bird for a nominal cost. Bear in mind that animals are protected, and you should not condone this behavior, regardless of how amazing the shot looks on your Instagram.
13. Spotting Planes at Mai Khao Beach
Since the day it became illegal, plane spotting has become a viral sensation. The more restricted an area is, the more people flock there, and this once-deserted beach has transformed into an Instagram hotspot. And why would you not? Seeing these monstrous flying vehicles approach from afar and come in on you with a roar is mind-boggling. They fly so low over the blue ocean as they approach to land that you could practically touch their wheels!
How to get there: the majority of visitors get to Maikhao beach either by vehicle or motorcycle. It seems as if some local agencies provide transportation there. Learn how to get there on your own.
When to go: Please keep in mind that aircraft only land over the beach during the busy season (November to May), when the wind blows east to west! During the off-season, aircraft will land on the other side of the road, above the major road. And this is just a guide; wind direction might fluctuate with the weather.
Are you able to leave? Technically, it is illegal to be in the plane’s path, yet no one seemed to care.
14. Go on a Photo Spree on Instagram!
The island is a photographer’s dream! Between the many natural beauties, the beaches and islands, the stunning Sino-Portuguese architecture of Old Phuket Town, and the man-made picture playgrounds, Instagrammers will never run out of ways to shine. Numerous locations are already on our list, but we are constantly adding new ones on the dedicated website!
15. Relax or party at a beach club
Phuket is home to an increasing number of excellent beach clubs. While the majority are open throughout the day for guests to enjoy meals and beverages on comfy couches or beach beds, others transform into nightclubs.
16. Explore Maiton - a little-known island.
There are other islands surrounding Phuket, but Maiton has remained somewhat unknown for a long time due to its status as an extremely exclusive private island. Even though Maiton is just a 15-minute speedboat ride from Phuket, few people come. To add to the strange ambiance, sixty of the once-luxurious seventy homes have been reduced to mere standing ruins. It’s a very tranquil and lovely island, ideal for relaxing, snorkeling, and photography, with no noisy watersports.
17. Watch the sunset at Prompthep Cape
Although Promthep Cape is not as spectacular as one would imagine, it continues to draw busloads of visitors each evening around sunset. The high elevation at the island’s far south end provides stunning views over the bay and the few adjacent islands. You may also enjoy some local shopping and an amazing Thai meal at the nearby ‘Promthep Restaurant’.
How to get there: most people arrive by car or motorcycle.
When to visit: sunsets are much more spectacular during the low season (June to November), however, some days may be overcast. Do you want to know the best time to come to witness the sunset? Google the time!
18. Koh Panyi
In the center of Phang Nga Bay, Koh Panyi is a tiny fishermen’s community constructed completely on stilts. What was once an isolated location is now more of a tourist draw, but it remains a genuine hamlet with a sizable Muslim population, a mosque, and a school.
You may tour the narrow streets,’ view the water through the floor interstices, do some local shopping, and have a delicious seafood meal. Take a longtail boat early in the morning to avoid the crowds, and you’ll have a whole different experience. Continue to James Bond Island if you want to view the set of the classic film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun.’
How to get there: This excursion, along with James Bond Island, is available from practically every tour operator. You might alternatively drive to one of Phang Nga’s numerous docks and take a longtail boat from there.
When to go: Phang Nga is open all year since it is a bay with no waves.
19. James Bond Island
Many individuals wish to visit James Bond Island, which is one of those bucket list tasks.
Many people have strong feelings about James Bond Island, and most of them are well-founded. Before ‘The Man With The Golden Gun,’ a 1974 James Bond film starring Roger Moore and Christopher Lee (remember Count Dracula? No one mentioned this island (save for Saruman in Lord of the Rings). The film was not even excellent (45 percent on Rotten Tomatoes).
Check with your hotel or a local agency for directions.
Bookings may normally be made the day before.
When to go: any time of year
20. Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
Did you know that Phuket makes rum out of pure sugar cane juice rather than molasses? In their magnificent setting in the Chalong region, you may tour the factory, do some rum tasting, and even take a cocktail lesson. It’s a lot of fun (and perfect for when it rains!)
Chalong, near the Phuket Zoo
- Location: Chalong, near Phuket Zoo
- Address: 14/2 Moo 2, Palai, Soi 2, Chalong, Amphur Muang, Phuket 83130
- Open: 11 am – 11 pm
- Phone: 093 575 1119
- Price: 450 baht for a visit, 1,700 baht for a cocktail class.
21. Visit a museum to learn about the history of Phuket.
22. Volunteer at Soi Dog
Dog lovers who spend enough time on the island may devote a day or two to doing good. You can make some dogs happy by walking them about and socializing with them at the unexpectedly huge and well-organized Soi Dog on Maikhao beach; they adore it! And, for those who are concerned, all of the animals are in excellent health, and you will not be exposed to anything frightening!
23. Scare yourself at Flying Hanuman
There are three or four ziplines on the island, and we tried Flying Hanuman, which is located in the jungle near Patong Beach. Ziplining is a terrific way to spend time with friends and family while doing something fun and thrilling. In Kathu’s deep forest, you may do something energetic, enjoyable, and memorable. It’s massive, stunning, and safe, and anybody can do it, even a four-year-old child!
How to get there: book directly with them or consult a local travel agency.
Price ranges from 2,300 baht (16 platform) to 3,250 baht (28 platforms).
24. Attend Simon Cabaret Show
The Simon Cabaret on Patong Beach is a ‘Las Vegas-style entertainment with a twist. The stage is gorgeous, the scenery and costumes are bright and colorful, but the lovely ladyboys are what everyone came to see! Most of them have perfect physiques and lovely features and would trick you!
How to get there: Check with your hotel or a local agency for directions. Can typically be scheduled at the last minute, even on the same day.
Price: the cost of a VIP seat is 800 baht, while an ordinary chair is 700 baht.
25. Black Rock Viewpoint
Black Rock is not as difficult to access as Samet Nangshee, which is featured higher on this page, but it does need some climbing. It’s not too tough to locate since the route isn’t clearly defined, as shown on our website. The view from up there is spectacular, providing a birds-eye perspective of Nai Harn Beach and the surrounding islands.
26. Get soaked in one of Phuket's waterparks.
Splash Jungle and Blue Tree Phuket are the two largest water parks on the island, with a third, Andamanda, under development. You may have just as much fun on the beach, but keep in mind that the water might be turbulent in the offseason! When the water is choppy, those theme parks with slides, ziplines, and paddleboards are a terrific alternative.
27. The Upside Down House
On a wet day, the Upside Down House, also known as Baan Teelanka, is a delightful destination for both youngsters and adults. This fascinating three-story picture playground is located on the outskirts of Phuket Town.
- Location: near Phuket Town
- Address: 51/11 Chalermprakiet Ratchakan Thi 9 Road, Phuket 83000
- Open: 10 am – 6 pm
- Phone: 076 376 245
- Price: 350 Baht, (Kids 4 to 11: 190 Baht).
28. Go to Phuket Aquaria.
Phuket presently boasts two aquariums: the historic Phuket Aquarium on Cape Panwa on the island’s southeast coast, and the recently constructed Aquaria in Phuket Town. The Cape Panwa Aquarium is more of a marine biological center where dolphins, dugongs, and turtles are often rescued. Aquaria, Phuket’s newest and biggest aquarium, is a tourist attraction located under the massive Central Floresta Shopping Mall, and it even has a restaurant.
29. Have dinner on Rang Hill.
Rang Hill is a picturesque viewpoint above Phuket town that offers a fantastic view of the city lights both during the day and at night. Enjoy the panoramic view from the platform and stay for lunch or supper at the nearby Tunk Ka Cafe or Khaorang Breeze Restaurant. If you’re driving down the opposite side of the mountain, make a picture stop at Wat Kao Rang’s golden seated Buddha.
How to get there: you’ll need to bring your vehicle or take a tuk-tuk to get there (or grab).
30. Play Golf in Phuket
If you want to play golf in Phuket, there are seven golf courses on the island and many more just over the border in Phang Nga province. The majority of Phuket’s golf courses are located in the island’s northern half.
31. Bathe with elephants
There are currently several elephant sanctuaries and retirement camps in Phuket. The island is finally transitioning from old-fashioned trekking to this fantastic new approach to interacting with elephants delightfully. In such camps, you will prepare meals for the animals, but the most exciting part is bathing when you will clean the elephants with mud. The trip is particularly enjoyable for children who get to interact with newborn elephants.
How to get there: You can generally book a flight after you get on the island via your hotel or through an agency. You may make a reservation the day before (maybe two days early in the high season, Dec to May). Your hotel will be picked up for the trip.
Price: Adults pay 2,500 baht, while children pay 1,900 baht.
Phuket Must-Do FAQs
What are the best things to do on Phuket’s island?
The best things to do in Phuket are:
- Phuket Big Buddha
- Wat Chalong Temple
- Old Phuket Town
- Karon Viewpoint
- Promthep Cape
What are the best things to do around Phuket?
- Phang Nga Bay
- James Bon Island
- Koh Panyi
What are the best islands to explore near Phuket?
There are several beautiful islands to explore around Phuket:
- Island of Phi Phi
- Similan Islands
- Island of Maiton
- Coral island
- Koh Khai Noi
- Koh Racha.
Should I book a tour in advance or once in Phuket?
While most excursions may be booked on the spot in Phuket, private cruises like the John Gray Seacanoe must be reserved in advance, particularly during high season (December and January)