best things to do in phuket
There are a bunch of things to do in Phuket. The island is a complete tourist destination that offers far more to the sea, beaches, forest and world-renowned diving sites beyond its natural heritage. Sino-Portuguese architecture casts its spell delighting city tourists, while the hospitality style of Phuket has never failed to impress visitors from every walk of life.
Being a large island, Phuket is surrounded by many beautiful beaches including Rawai, Patong, Karon, Kamala, Kata Yai, Kata Noi, Mai Khao and others. Laem Phromthep Viewpoint is said to feature Thailand’s loveliest sunsets.
This, combined with Phuket’s warm atmosphere and vibrant nightlife, explains why the island is a popular tourist destination in Thailand. Read on to find out more about all of the top things to do in Phuket.
35 Best Things To Do in Phuket
01 Phuket Gateway
Phuket Gateway, is a modern building in Sino-Portuguese style, reflects unique identity. It was built to celebrate the 80th birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is used to welcome tourists from Thailand and abroad and facilitate their travel. The main feature of this building is a series of 29 pillars, from which local and international visitors can learn Phuket’s history, arts and culture. In addition, it is well-known as a scenery destination of the Sarasin Bridge, from which the most beautiful sunset can be viewed.
02 Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation
Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, on Mai Khao beach is among the few beaches in Phuket that reserve as nesting grounds for sea turtles. The foundation is formed to protect and conserve endangered sea turtles in Phuket and other Thai areas. Through the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, turtle eggs are collected from areas where they are threatened & they will be handed over to the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC) and the Royal Thai Navy who provides a sanctuary for the eggs until they hatch and ensure the young turtles reach the sea safely.
03 Mai Khao Beach
Mai Khao Beach, located at Phuket’s northwestern tip, is also known as Airport Beach because it is so close to the airport that you can see planes fly over your head while sunbathing on the beach. This is one of Phuket’s longest beaches, with groves of Casuarina trees lining the shore, and was previously a turtle breeding site for the endangered Giant Leatherback turtle. The major activities on this beach are shopping at Turtle Village and photo shooting.
04 Splash Jungle Water Park – Best Things To Do in Phuket with Kids
Splash Jungle Water Park, a renowned theme park in Phuket with an area of around 22,400 square metres, is a favorite place to cool down during the summer holidays. The water park is adorned in Inca-Maya, African, Asian, Turkish, Northern European, North American, and North-pole styles, among others. The Lazy River, which floats along a 335-meter-long stream, as well as wave-simulating rides like Wave Pool or Aqua Play Pool, Boomerango, and Super Bowl, are among the highlights.
05 Sirinat National Park
Sirinat National Park, is located approximately 3 km from Phuket airport. It was formerly known as Nai Yang National Park & it covers an area of 90 square kilometres, and has a beach of 13 kilometres beautiful beaches with white sand. This national park’s purpose is to promote as a tourist attraction and reserve natural resources that are coniferous forests, coral reefs, beaches as places for sea turtles to lay their eggs, mole crabs, and seashells. There are 2 beautiful beaches Hat Nai Thon Yai and Hat Nai Thon Noi suitable for relaxation and swimming.
06 Wat Phra Thong
Wat Phra Thong, is located approximately 18 km from Mai Khao Beach. The Temple is a popular attraction for both local residents who come to pray and tourists who visit to see a huge statue of Buddha that only reveals its upper half as though it arose from the ground. There are several myths about the Buddha statue, been told in several styles, but all contains one main concept that no one could ever dig up this Buddha statue so people gave up, restored it as it is today, and named the statue Luangpho Phra Phut (“Buddha that emerges from the ground” in Thai).
07 Wat Phranang Sang
Wat Phranang Sang, just within 3 km from Wat Phra Thong is a historic temple that was once used as a Burmese military camp in 1785. This temple involves a legend of Phra Nang Lewd Khao (“a lady with white blood”). The legend was told that there was a wife of a city’s ruler who was a devoted Buddhist. The temple was later named Wat Phra Nang Sang (“A temple built by the lady”) and has later become a sacred temple among locals. Enshrined inside the old chapel are the world’s three oldest and largest Buddha statues made of tin, named The Three Kings.
08 Bang Thao
Bang Thao is a vast open bay on Phuket’s west coast with one of the island’s longest beaches. The Laguna Phuket, a big luxury hotel with a golf course encompassing over 1,000 acres of lush tropical parkland with 3 kilometres of pristine beachfront, occupies the majority of it. However, there are lodging options outside of Laguna near the bay’s south end. There are numerous restaurants, tour companies, and other tourist attractions in Laguna and the surrounding area.
09 Surin Beach
Surin Beach, often known as “millionaire’s row,” is a popular destination for wealthy visitors, with high-end mansions perched on hills overlooking the lovely bay. The best thing to do in Surin is relax on the beach, which is beautifully isolated from the hotels and the main road by a former golf course that has been converted into a park. Surfing is possible during certain seasons, and snorkeling is possible during the dry season, which runs from October to April.
10 Laem Sing Beach (Haad Laem Sing)
Laem Sing, or Lion’s Point, is one of Phuket’s most beautiful places, situated in a narrow, curving bay with rocky headlands at the foot of forest-fringed cliffs. This beautiful beach is becoming increasingly crowded, as it is one of the best places to see beautiful sunsets. There are also speed boat rentals with water skiing or wakeboarding, jet ski rentals, glass bottom canoe rentals, and adventure diving and snorkeling. Without a doubt, this is one of the best beaches on Phuket’s main island to visit for water sports.
11 Kamala Beach
Kamala Beach is a favorite tourist destination for most Europeans, offering a tranquil retreat for those who prefer a slower pace of life. It boasts a quiet water, lovely, soft sand, and all of the required amenities for a good vacation. The tide recedes dramatically in the afternoons, leaving a covering of rocks at the left end of the beach for local fishing and a lovely swimming spot at the right end. Don’t miss out those stalls along the beach that offer wonderful Thai and foot massages. The famous Phuket FantaSea is also close by.
12 Patong Beach
Patong Beach, is the most developed, vibrant and most visited beach which never fails to impress visitors. With half-moon sloped, white-powdery Beach considered to be the most beautiful on the island, It was the first beach built to serve local and international tourists. With the most choice of accommodations, restaurants, spas, tourist services and shopping venues, the three-kilometer beach is now the tourist center of Phuket. The vibe there is vibrant so it draws more young visitors who love to experience the fun and challenging water sports like jet skiing, wind surfing and parasailing.
13 Freedom Beach – Best Thing To Do in Phuket for Beach Lovers
Freedom Beach, a true hidden gem and is definitely one of the prettiest beaches on the island, with a 300-meter long strip of incredibly soft white sand and crystal clear waters. This incredibly tranquil and secluded beach is tucked in a bay away from the main road. It’s hard to believe that such a pristine, lovely beach can be found only minutes from Patong Beach. It contains shallow water that is home to a variety of colorful fish, and it’s worth snorkeling to see the unusual reefs and species that live between the reefs.
14 Karon Beach
Karon Beach is a 3-kilometer long stretch of dazzling beach overlooking the sparkling waves of Andaman Sea. This is the second most visited beach after Patong, with a huge number of restaurants, beer bars, local tour agents, supermarkets, convenience stores, tailors, and apparel marketplaces. It provides guests with a lovely long stretch of peaceful sand as well as beach umbrellas for rent. It also provides a great view of the sunset during evening. It is one of Phuket’s most convenient areas to stay.
15 Kata Beach – Best Things To Do In Phuket Main Island for Snorkelers
Kata Beach, also known as Kata Yai by locals, is a another scenic gem with clear water flanked by hills, and picturesque Pu Island sits offshore. This one-kilometer-long, calm beach has a village atmosphere at its northern and southern ends, and is likely more family-oriented. It features a shallow beach with no drop-offs, making it ideal for swimming. On the north side of the beach, there is a coral reef that stretches all the way to Pu Island (Ko Pu). This is an excellent snorkelling and diving location.
16 Kata Noi
Kata Noi is a smaller beach separated from Kata Beach to the south by the Mon Tri’s Villa Royale Resort. The beach is clean and is bordered on both ends by cliffs. This is also a terrific area to relax, wander along the white soft sands, snorkel, and swim in the Andaman Sea’s gently sloped crystal clear water. The northern end of the beach is a popular hangout for surfers who come here to learn and practise their skills. The sea grows rougher and unsuitable for swimming when the monsoon hits.
17 Ao Sane (Jungle Beach)
Ao Sane Beach consists of three small beaches separated by small rocky outcroppings. Many visitors may be unaware of it, but it is one of the island’s best kept secrets. This peaceful and lovely beach is just approximately 200 meters long, with trees bordering the perimeters to provide shade from the sun at all times while also providing adequate sand area for sunbather. This is why it’s also known as Jungle Beach. The beach is also ideal for snorkeling or scuba diving during high tide from November to March.
18 Nai Harn (Nai Han) – Best Things To Do in Southern Phuket
Nai Harn is a unique village with seaside infront (Nan Harn Beach) and a huge lake (Nai Harn Lake) behind. For locals and expats alike, Nai Harn has long been a favourite hangout location. On both sides of the beach are jungle and palm-covered mountains, with magnificent white sand and crystal blue waters with rolling cerulean waves. Aside from the beautiful beach, there is also the Wat Nai Harn Buddhist temple and Nai Harn Lake, which is a popular spot for jogging and paddle boating.
19 Promthep Cape – Best Thing To Do in Phuket for an Instagram Session
Promthep Cape is probably one of Phuket’s most well-known landmarks. The cape, with its spectacular scenery and beautiful Sunset spot, is one of the most popular tourist destinations for both locals and international travelers. While the gold glittering light progressively paints on the water surface, visitors can soak up the sun and enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the Andaman Sea. There is also a lighthouse with exhibits about the construction of the lighthouse, keeping standard time, and calculating and displaying sunrise and sunset times.
20 Rawai Beach – Best Thing To Do in Phuket for Seafood Lovers
Rawai Beach is less commercialized, less congested, and does not have a pristine beach. Swimming, diving, or snorkeling are all out of the question. It is typically used to moor fishing boats, longtail boats, and speed boats. But why is it important? Because this is the major pier from which boats depart for the neighboring islands, where they can participate in a variety of water activities. The only thing to do in this town is go get some fresh fish. On the waterfront, there are numerous seafood restaurants & stalls.
21 Phuket Seashell Museum
Phuket Seashell Museum, is just about 18 km away from Phuket Town. Private collections of Thai Waters seashells (off Phuket Island itself) are on display. They are considered the most sought-after shells by collectors. Besides that, there are also seashells from other parts of Thailand and other parts of the world on display. The main attractions at this Museum are the worlds largest golden 140-karat pearl, the worlds earliest known life form seen in sections of sedimentary rock containing shell fossils and a gigantic 250 kg shell.
22 Ao Chalong
Ao Chalong, is located 11 km South of town which has the islands largest and most visited pier. The pier doesn’t own pristine beaches, but it offers holidaymakers to get chartered boats to some nearby islands South of Phuket like Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi in Phang Nga. The bay area is dotted with dive shops, a few travel agencies and superb seafood restaurants. Though the bay has a beautiful setting and calming atmosphere, it is not recommended to swim here. There’re a few alternative, budget accommodations nearby such as the Phuket Youth Hostel.
23 Phuket Big Buddha
Phuket Big Buddha or officially Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Akenakiri is a famous seated Maravija Buddha statue in Phuket. It is the third-tallest statue in Thailand with 45 metres (148 feet) tall and 25.45 metres (83.5 feet) wide. The statue is the main Buddha of the Wat Kitthi Sankaram temple (Wat Kata) and is facing towards Ao Chalong Bay. The statue cost 30 million Baht and it is made of concrete and covered with Burmese white marble. The statue was declared as the “Buddhist Treasure of Phuket” by Somdet Phra Yanasangwon, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, in 2008.
24 Wat Chalong (Wat Chaitaram)
Wat Chalong, formally known as Wat Chaitaram is located in the Chalong Subdistrict about 9 km from Phuket Town. It is one of he most important Buddhist Temples of Phuket. The Temple is dedicated to two highly venerable monks, Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, who led the citizens of Chalong Subdistrict fighting against the Chinese rebellion in 1876 and with their knowledge of herbal medicine helped the injured. There is also a large market at Wat Chalong extends into the grounds of the temple and features amplified pop music and Thai Boxing advertisements.
25 Phuket Zoo
Phuket Zoo, located on the way to Chalong Bay about 7.5 km from Phuket Town. The zoo features a collection of Asian and African mammals and birds. From crocodiles and elephants to tropical birds and monkeys, Phuket Zoo has everything to offer you a wonderful time with healthy animals. Monkey, crocodile and elephant shows are performed 3-4 times daily, and that’s your chance to take photographs with your favorite animals. Opening hours: Daily from 08.30 a.m.-18.00 p.m.
26 Phuket Old Town – Heritage Walk
26.1 Jui Tui Shrine
Jui Tui Shrine usually holds a vegetarian festival in which Phuket people, Chinese, Thai people participate together with the Chinese Opera Troupe. Several Phuket people have studied and attended many ceremonies since the first day until the last day of the festival. 9 Chinese lanterns will be lit, which symbolically signifies the start of the vegetarian festival. Some events related to religion are performed to display the divine forces such as spiritual healing, walking on fire, expelling evil things by bathing in boiling oil, a ceremony to pay homage to gods and a procession along the roads.
26.2 Chin Pracha House
Chin Pracha House belongs to a wealthy Phuket-born Hokkien Chinese businessman who did tin-mining business. The first Sino-Portuguese house with a beautiful Phuket architectural style is nowadays open for the public. The residence is decorated extravagantly with imported Italian tiles, inherited furniture from China, pearl-inlaid furniture, antique beds, a dining table set from Penang, other precious decoration, refined equipment and photos showing memories of this house. The building reflecting perfectly the mixture between Thai, Chinese and western cultures.
26.3 Phuket Thai Hua Museum
Phuket Thai Hua Museum was the first Chinese Language school in Phuket, which was founded by Chinese Hokkien, Chinese ancestors who migrated to Phuket. The museum has Sino-Portuguese style, which was built in 1977 and was renovated to become a learning community. The upper floor was used for classroom and below was used for exhibition separated into 13 parts. Exhibition is about the history of Hokkien Chinese traveling to Phuket, belief, lifestyles, art and culture, the relationship between Chinese and Phuket people as well as the history of Chinese Thai Hua language school that was opened for more than 60 years.
26.4 Sang Tham Shrine
Another old chinese shrine, built more than a hundred years ago in Phuket. It was built in 1891 by Luang Amnat Nararak with the architectures in the shrine were designed in cultural and traditional Chinese style. The roof is made of stucco in the shape of dragons and Chinese dolls, which is a popular well-decorated art style in Hokkien Province. In 1997, Sang Tham Shrine was granted the Conservation Award by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn,
26.5 Phuket Cultural Center
Established by and located within the building complex of Phuket Rajabhat University, Phuket Cultural Centre is aimed to portray the local history as well as folk arts and cultures found in the area in four themed chambers. Attached is a library to find books and documents related to Phuket’s history and culture.
Opening hours: Daily 08.30 am – 04.30 pm, except public holidays.
27 Thalang National Museum
Thalang National Museum, situated about 17 km from Phuket Town. The museum was established to collect and store historic artifacts of the local area to portray the history of Phuket. The exhibitions are displayed in four different themes: 1: Phuket Island and Early inhabitant of the Andaman, 2: The Battle at Thalang, 3: The Chinese and Development of Phuket, and 4: Phuket People. The museum also tends to honor Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon, two sisters who played the big roles during the Battle of Thalang and helped save Phuket from invaders.
28 Best 6 Waterfalls In Phuket – Best Things To Do In Phuket for Jungle Trekkers
Most of the waterfalls of Phuket are rather small if compare to those in Koh Chang. Even though they are not that impressive during the dry season from year-end to February, but still worth paying a visit for a little hike & enjoy the fresh atmosphere. Bang Pae & Ton Sai are among the most popular waterfalls in Phuket. Bang Pae has an arboretum and a nursery to rehabilitate captured gibbons before returning them to the wild. While Ton Sai is famous for its great volume of water pour during the rainy season. Below are the 6 most popular waterfalls in Phuket.
Bang Pae Waterfall
Bang Wan Waterfall
Ton Ao Yon Waterfall
29 Best 9 Viewpoints In Phuket – Best Things To Do In Phuket for Nature Lovers
Phuket has bunch of breathtaking viewpoints on the island. On the top of most the hills you can find great spot to soak up the panoramic views of Phuket Town, beaches & islands. Some of the viewpoints like Khao Rang, you can even enjoy the views together with a cup of local milk tea form from the deck of Tung-ka Café.
As for beach view lovers, Karon viewpoint will be the best choice. This is the most famous observation point of the 3 beaches, Kata Noi, Kata and Karon and the deep-blue Andaman sea. Sometimes it is known as Three-Beach Viewpoint by local Thai.
Below are the best 9 viewpoints in Phuket.
Laem Sing Viewpoint
Patong Beach View Point
Kao Khad Views Tower
Laem Panwa Viewpoint
Laem Tukkae Viewpoint
Monkey Hill Viewpoint
Khao Rang Viewpoint
30 Ao Phang Nga National Park
Ao Phang Nga National Park encompasses approximately 100,000 acres onshore and offshore. This national park, which consists of more than 40 islands with stunning cliffs, caverns, white sand beaches with crystal clear water, and the world’s largest intact mangrove forests, has long been a favorite destination for visitors from all over the world. Aside from the abundant natural beauty, archaeological sites dating back over a thousand years have been discovered in the area. Prehistoric paintings on the cliff, stone tools, pottery, and other material evidences indicating prehistoric human activity remain.
31 Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay is a vast area that spans over three provinces: Phang Nga, Phuket, and Krabi. In this stunning bay, there are various limestone islands with magnificent natural attractions. Mangroves, monkeys, bats, lizards, eagles, and a diverse range of water life can all be found on these islands. Sea canoes and kayak trip operators are very active on some of the bay’s islands.
Khao Phing Kan, also known as James Bond Island, is one of the most well-known islands here, having a distinctive islet named Ko Tapu just right in front of the beach. In 1974, it was featured in the James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun.”
Phang Nga Bay
James Bond Island
In Phang Nga Bay, sea-canoeing is the most popular activity. Many different packages are offered by tour operators, but the most of them follow the same route around the bay, passing strange rock formations, limestone outcrops, hidden lakes, little beaches, and caves.
The following are a few of the most popular islands in this bay:
- Ko Bon – Ideal island for snorkeling as it has amazing underwater marine life.
- Ko Hae (Coral Island) – There is lodging, dining, a variety of watersports, diving & snorkeling.
- Ko Mai Thon – Perfect natural environment with fine white beaches & clear waters; ideal for swimming, diving, & fishing.
- Ko Maphrao (Cocunut Island) – An exclusive island with an upscale all-inclusive resort, restaurants, and spa.
- Ko Racha Yai & Ko Racha Noi – The crystal blue waters and diving paradise of these twin islands are well-known.
- Ko Phi Phi – Extremely famous island group in between Phuket & Krabi. Read More
Ko Mai Thon
Ko Racha Yai
Ko Racha Noi
32 Koh Nakha Noi (Nakha Noi Island)
Koh Nakha Noi, a small island situated in between Phuket Island & Koh Yao Yai. It is also situated in Phang Nga Bay. The Island offers a long unspoiled natural & beautiful beach along Northwest coast. This is a private island & is home to the Naga Pearl Farm which is open to the public all year round. Visitors will be able to learn the techniques of pearl cultivation & souvenir shops are also available. Visit to the island must be made through tour operators, which normally include a visit to the farm.
33 Ko Yao Noi
Ko Yao Noi (means Small Long Island), is located in Phang Nga Bay, lies in between Phuket Island and Krabi, just above Ko YaoYai. The island easily accessible from both the Phuket island and Krabi presents some of the Southeast Asia’s most beautiful sea scenery. Take a public ferry or private longtail boat and you will be able to reach this paradise in an hour. Ko Yao Noi is home to over 162 species of birds, and over 200 black hornbills; both local and migrating birds settle in this beautiful island.
34 Ko Yao Yai
Ko Yao Yai (means Big Long Island), is also a natural wonder, despite being less developed than Ko Yao Noi. The area of the archipelago is about 147 km2. Get on a kayak and enjoy the plentiful nature of the mangrove forest. Take some photos under the clear sky and water and reward yourself with the beauty of nature. Anyway, this island is less popular as there are less facilities compare to Ko Yao Noi. But, it is still worth to pay a visit for it’s beautiful scenery & atmosphere.
35 Similan Islands – Best Places To Visit in Phuket for Scuba Divers
Similan Islands, the name came from Malay (Pulau Sembilan) means 9 islands. It is a significant archipelago in the Andaman Sea off the coast, as well as the Most Remarkable Marine National Park in Thailand. When it comes to visiting Thailand’s Andaman Sea, it’s unquestionable that the Similan Islands are a dream destination for many travelers, full of natural beauty, breeze, brilliant sky, clean sea, and the most spectacular view that can capture people’s hearts all over the world. This is “A Paradise For Divers Around The World”.
The Similan Islands Park is Thailand’s busiest national park. It is an archipelago made up of 11 islands that cover an area of around 140 square kilometers and have a land area of about 26 square kilometers. The Thai Department of National Parks (DNP) has assigned the islands numbers 1 to 11 for convenience.
They are – Island 1: Ko Huyong, also known as Ko Hu Yong, Island 2: Ko Payang, also known as Ko Pa Yang, Island 3: Ko Payan, also known as Ko Pa Yan, Island 4: Ko Miang, also known as Ko Meang (Park HQ), Island 5: Ko Ha, Island 6: Ko Payu, also known as Ko Pa Yu, Island 7: Ko Hin Pousar, Island 8: Ko Similan, Island 9: Ko Ba-ngu, also known as Ko Bayu, Island 10: Ko Bon, also known as Ko Talu & Island 11: Ko Tachai.
Fish species are immensely diverse. The visibility underwater is the best you’ll find in Thailand. You’ll see lots of colorful fish like lionfish and clownfish, and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to see a bigger one like a manta or even a whale shark. In 2010 the corals in the area were largely victims of coral bleaching and have not yet recovered, although the fish still make snorkeling.
From Phuket, there are tours and various ports providing services for tourists to travel to the various islands of Similan. Tourists can buy tour packages from tour companies that offer a variety of services such as tours departing from Patong Beach Pier taking about 2 and a half hours.