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25 Top Things To Do in Phuket in 2024: Travel Guide

In this ultimate guide to Phuket, we give you the top things to do, known and lesser-known spots, how to get there and go around, where to stay and eat, prices, and all the trips you can take.
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Top Things To Do in Phuket, Thailand - Travel Guide with best places to visit

About Phuket

Phuket, surrounded by the Andaman Sea in Thailand, is a renowned tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors. With an area of almost 600 square kilometers, this tropical paradise offers a diverse range of attractions and activities.

Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand and is easy to get to, either by one of many international flights from many world locations or via the bridge to the mainland.

One of Phuket’s main draws is its stunning beaches. From the famous Kata and Kamala, with their vibrant nightlife and water sports activities, to the more secluded Freedom Beach, with its tranquil atmosphere, there is a beach for every preference.

Top things to do in Phuket, Thailand - beautiful beaches

But what makes Phuket stand out from other destinations in the south of Thailand is the many excellent nearby locations you can explore. From the breathtaking Similan Islands and Surin Islands to the world-famous Maya Bay in Phi Phi Islands and the nearby Phang Nga Bay.

In many people’s minds, Phuket has a reputation for being a party place and offering many things most travelers would like to avoid, like the Red Light District. And that is quite far from the actual character of this fantastic island. 

Top things to do in Phuket, Thailand - murals, street art

In addition to the Phuket Old Town, there are so many other areas to enjoy in Phuket. Over thirty beaches are on offer, with most having towns built around them, each offering a different experience. While some are very popular, others can be pretty quiet.

Phuket truly offers something for every type of traveler, from those searching for the perfect beach to enjoy their vacation to those interested in water and sports activities and those looking for fun dayouts on boats and cruises.

Phuket Travel Tips

First, before we jump into the top things to do in Phuket, let’s cover the essentials and tips to help you have a more fun, enjoyable, and safer trip to Phuket, Thailand.

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Phuket is easy to explore on your own, but for some guided experiences, we recommend booking the top-rated ones on Viator or GetYourGuide.

A convenient way to explore Phuket while also saving money on attractions and tours is with the Klook Pass Phuket.

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While Phuket is a safe destination, we recommend getting travel insurance for any trip outside your country. We highly recommend an insurance package from Heymondo. And as our reader, you get 5% off the price.

Travel map

We have compiled a Phuket Travel Map, which you can refer to when exploring.

Top things to do in Phuket

Many think of Phuket as a party island. But there is so much more to Phuket than just partying, from swimming and relaxing on beautiful beaches to island hopping and snorkeling, learning about the culture, and temple hopping.

We were positively surprised by the island and are happy to share these top things to do in Phuket for your trip so that you can also have a great time.

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Top things to do in Phuket, Thailand - Wat Chalong temple

Best things to see in Phuket, Thailand - stunning beaches

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1. Enjoy the beaches

Phuket is known for its stunning beaches, over 30 of them, with the best ones stretching from the north to complete south of the island’s West side.

Before visiting Phuket, we thought that Phuket’s beaches surely couldn’t be as attractive as some beaches on islands like Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. But we were positively surprised, and they are.

While it’s true that some of these beaches can be crowded in the high season, most of them are wide and long enough. So you can always find a spot for yourself. 

Best beaches in Phuket:

  • Karon Beach
  • Kata Beach
  • Freedom Beach
  • Yanui Beach
  • Nai Harn Beach
  • Kamala Beach
  • Surin Beach
  • Nai Thon Beach

Walking along the beaches in Phuket
Kata beach

Kata and Karon Beach are easily accessible wide sandy beaches with many sunbeds and beach activities (surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking), especially in the high season. And they are perfect for swimming.

Freedom Beach is one of our favorite beaches in Phuket. To reach it, you must hike through a short but steep jungle. Once there, you can enjoy the little bay’s amazing water.

Freedom Beach - top thing to do in Phuket
Freedom Beach

Yanui Beach is a tiny but pretty beach with some rock formations on the side. We really liked it, but due to its size, it can get busy quickly.

Yanui Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Nai Harn is another big, wide beach in Phuket that’s a great alternative to Karon or Kata Beach. And due to its location, it can be a bit less crowded. 

We’d advise avoiding Patong Beach. If you ask us, it’s the worst beach in Phuket, and you won’t miss much by skipping it.

Two nearby but better beaches are Kamala and Surin, just north of Patong.

The Instagram-famous Naithon Beach is gorgeous, But the wooden staircase leading to the beach from the hill above, for which the beach is famous, is nothing special. And not really worth driving out solely for.

Enjoying the beahes - top thing to do in Phuket, Thailand

Important: Depending on the season, you can have a better (or worse!) experience at the beaches in Phuket and Thailand. 

BEST SEASON

The best time to visit Phuket’s beaches is between November and April. Outside these months, the waves can be stronger, and more storms are possible.

During stormy weather, more trash will likely wash up on the shores. Some beaches are more affected than others, but this is a worldwide problem!

2. Check out the Big Buddha

The Big Buddha is a must-visit attraction in Phuket. Sitting atop Nakkerd Hill, this magnificent 45-meter-tall marble Buddha offers breathtaking island views. 

Big Buddha, top thing to do in Phuket, Thailand

Once you reach the top of the hill, you can climb the staircase leading up to the Big Buddha and admire its intricate design and 360-degree views.

OPENING HOURS AND TICKETS

Visiting Phuket’s Big Buddha is free, and it’s open from 6 am until 6:30 pm, but you can easily walk around the temple grounds even outside these hours.

There are always many monkeys around the temple at Big Buddha, so be mindful of your belongings! And please don’t touch or feed the monkeys. They bite!

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Come early in the morning or late in the day for a more peaceful visit, as it’s when there won’t be that many tours at Big Buddha.

BIG BUDDHA TOURS


3. Explore Phuket Old Town 

The Old Town in Phuket is a must-visit during your Phuket vacation. Stroll through the narrow streets and explore the well-preserved buildings to experience the charm and heritage of Phuket Old Town. 

Architecture in Old Town, a top thing to do in Phuket, Thailand

This historic area showcases a unique blend of Sino-Portuguese architecture, reflecting the influence of Chinese and European settlers. 

The most preserved and oldest buildings are located on Thalang Road, Dibuk Road, and Soi Romanee. And many colorful houses are now transformed into shops, cute cafes, restaurants, galleries, and hotels.

Phuket Old Town is very Instagrammable, so many people take photos everywhere.

There’s even this one cafe decorated with pink roses and mirrors where everyone comes to take pictures. And, of course, so did we! 😀

If you want to explore this area in a more organized way, you can join the Old Town Food Tasting Tour or the Old Town Street Food Hidden Gems Walking Tour.

OLD TOWN TOURS


4. Visit the Sunday Old Town Night Market

Thalang Road in the heart of Phuket Old Town turns into a lively walking street market every Sunday night, offering a fantastic array of food, shopping, and entertainment.

It’s a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Phuket’s local culture and food.

Top things to do in Phuket, Thailand - Sunday Old Town Night Market

Besides finding local Thai dishes at the Old Town Night Market in Phuket, you can also find other international food and snacks.

The famous night market in Phuket Old Town is held every Sunday from 4 pm until 10 pm.

For a better experience, arrive earlier in the day, as this is the most popular market in Phuket and can get super crowded later in the evening.

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5. Visit Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong is an important Buddhist temple of great historical and cultural importance and, therefore, is a must-visit temple in Phuket.

Wat Chalong temple, a must visit attraction in Phuket, Thailand

Built at the beginning of the 19th century, Wat Chalong is Phuket’s largest and most visited temple. The large temple complex consists of a few temples, so count on spending up to 1 hour here.

IMPORTANT: You need to cover your knees and shoulders when visiting Wat Chalong and don’t forget to take off your shoes when going inside the temples.

The Wat Chalong Chedi is a fascinating structure with three floors. You can climb up to the top floor terrace, which offers a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the entire temple grounds. Inside the building is also a glass display where you can see a splinter of a bone from Buddha.

Many locals come to pray in Wat Chalong, so you might see some Buddhist rituals during your visit or hear the sound of firecrackers. It is believed that individuals who had their prayers answered would return to light these firecrackers as an expression of gratitude.

OPENING HOURS AND TICKETS

Wat Chalong is open every day from 8 am until 5 pm, and the entrance is free of charge. And there is free parking for motorbikes and cars. 

Wat Chalong is a 20-minute drive from Phuket Old Town, and the easiest way to get here is by car or motorbike.

Wat Chalong temple, a must visit attraction in Phuket, Thailand

If you’re short on time or don’t drive, we recommend taking a tour like Phuket Old Town, Chalong Temple, and Big Buddha Tour, which visits the highlights of Phuket, including Wat Chalong and the Big Buddha. You can also rent a car with a private driver for the day and enjoy maximum flexibility.

WAT CHALONG TOURS


6. Explore Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay, located near Phuket in Thailand, is a stunning destination known for many picturesque islands. 

With its emerald waters and towering limestone cliffs, Phang Nga Bay offers breathtaking natural beauty. And from Phuket, you can do a lot in the bay, from exploring the hidden caves and lagoons to visiting the famous James Bond Island, taking a boat through the mangrove forest, and much more!

The best way to visit Phang Nga Bay is on a day trip from Phuket, and many daily tours can take you to different spots around the bay.

PHANG NGA BAY TOURS


Below you can find some of the top Phang Nga Bay tours from Phuket that we did and highly recommend for your visit.

6.1. John Gray’s Sea Canoe 

We highly recommend John Gray’s Hong by Starlight with Sea Cave Kayaking and Loy Krathong Floating. It’s an entertaining tour that was recommended to us by several people. And it’s a great introduction to the interesting Phang Nga Bay.

John Gray’s Sea Canoe is a well-known adventure tour company that was founded by John “Caveman” Gray in 1989. The company has been offering unique kayaking experiences in the stunning Phang Nga Bay ever since.

The main attraction of John Gray’s Sea Canoe is their signature “hongs” tour. Hongs are collapsed cave systems that have created hidden lagoons within the limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay. You can explore these enchanting lagoons by kayak, guided by experienced and knowledgeable guides.

Kayaking through caves to hidden hong lagoons in Phang Nga Bay, top thing to do in Phuket, Thailand

Besides kayaking, you can also enjoy swimming, eating a delicious buffet dinner, and even learning to make “krathong” – a small floating basket.

6.2. Phang Nga Bay Sunrise Tour 

Another great option for exploring Phang Nga Bay is the Phang Nga Treasures Sunrise Tour which takes you to some of the most iconic spots of the bay.

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint, a top thing to do in Phuket, Thailand

You start very early in the morning with a pickup in Phuket before hiking to the iconic Samet Nangshe Viewpoint for sunrise. Afterward, you hop on a boat to visit James Bond Island before the crowds (we were alone there!).

James Bond Island, a top thing to do in Phuket, Thailand

Then, you can enjoy a kayaking experience in hidden lagoons and caves, visit a cave on foot, and enjoy a boat ride through the mangrove forest.

The groups on this tour are pretty small, which was perfect! And it’s a great option if you also want to visit the Samet Nangshe Viewpoint but can’t or don’t want to drive there yourself.

6.3. Standard Phang Nga Bay tour

There are also Classic Phang Nga Bay Tours that visit the highlights of Phang Nga Bay, like James Bond Island, the lagoons, and Koh Panyee, another unique location of the bay.

Koh Panyee is a unique Muslim village built on stilts floating on the sea. It is situated within the Ao Phang Nga National Park and rests beneath a massive limestone rock formation, adding to its charm.

Koh Panyee Koh Panyi - Phang Nga Bay Floating Muslim Village, visit from Phuket, Thailand

6.4. Luxury Phang Nga Bay tours

For those looking for a more luxurious experience, you can also find luxury boat and cruise tours from Phuket to Phang Nga Bay that are worth your money.

Luxury Phang Nga Tours from Phuket:

7. Admire the viewpoints

Phuket is quite a hilly island, offering superb panoramic viewpoints in almost every area. Most viewpoints are on the side of the road and make a great stop while exploring the island.

  • Read all about Phuket’s viewpoints here.

Best viewpoints in Phuket:

  • Windmill Viewpoint
  • Laem Sing Viewpoint
  • Big Buddha
  • Karon Viewpoint
  • Kata Beach Viewpoint
  • Promthep Cape
  • Black Rock Viewpoint
  • Khao Rang Viewpoint

8. Visit the Promthep Cape

Promthep Cape, located on the southernmost tip of Phuket, is a must-visit spot. It is known as the best sunset location on the island, offering picturesque panoramic views of the Andaman Sea. 

Although you can visit Promthep Cape anytime, it is the most beautiful for sunset. We visited in the middle of the day and still loved it.

Promthep Cape, must do thing in Phuket, Thailand

Another way to enjoy the sunset at Promthep Cape is on a sunset cruise:

Klook.com

TRAVEL TIP

While you can stroll along Promthep Cape’s lookout point and enjoy the view from there, we recommend hiking down to the end of the cape. The views are beautiful, and you’ll avoid the crowds at least a bit.

Hiking down to Promthep Cape’s tip will take about 30 minutes. The trail is around 1 km long, and some parts are steep and slippery, with tall grass around. But it’s not that bad if it’s dry weather and you wear shoes, not flip-flops.

9. Samet Nangshe Viewpoint 

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Thailand and one of the best things to do in Phuket.

Situated on a hilltop, Samet Nangshe Viewpoint offers an incredible panoramic view of the beautiful Phang Nga Bay – a bay full of numerous limestone karsts that rise out of the emerald-green waters surrounded by lush mangrove forests.

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint of Phang Nga Bay, the top thing to do in Phuket, Thailand

The highlight of a visit to Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is undoubtedly witnessing the sunrise, as the sun emerges from behind the horizon, and its golden rays cast a magical glow over the bay.

But the viewpoint is impressive anytime, especially on a clear sunny day!

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint of Phang Nga Bay, the top thing to do in Phuket, Thailand

Many day tours go to the viewpoint on a combined trip to James Bond Island and other highlights of Phang Nga Bay, and that’s precisely what we did on our first visit to Phuket.

We joined the Phuket Let’s Go Early Bird Tour, which hikes to the Samet Nangshe viewpoint for sunrise and then visits other highlights in Phang Nga Bay. We loved the small group, which avoided the crowds everywhere! 

OPENING HOURS AND TICKETS

The entrance ticket for Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is 30 baht ($0.85) for walking up or 90 baht ($2.55) for a round-trip car transfer.

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is open every day from 4 am until midnight.

While Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is technically not in Phuket but in Phang Nga province, it’s still one of the best things you can do from Phuket. However, it takes about 1.5 hours to drive from Phuket Old Town to the Samet Nangshe Viewpoint.

If you’re looking for a place to stay that offers stunning views like this viewpoint, check out the Sametnangshe Boutique hotel just below this viewpoint.

10. Go island hopping and snorkeling

Phuket offers an exciting opportunity for island hopping and snorkeling trips with stunning nearby locations like Similan Islands, Surin Islands, and Racha Islands, with beautiful coral reefs and diverse marine life.

We did day trips to Surin and Similan Islands, which, for us, were along with Koh Tao, some of the best spots for snorkeling in Thailand.

Island hopping and snorkeling trips from Phuket:

Klook.com

10.1. Similan and Surin Islands

The Surin Islands day trip focuses a lot on snorkeling and a visit to the local Moken people who live there.

The Similan Islands day trip visits absolutely amazing beaches, some of the best we’ve seen in Thailand, and has many snorkeling opportunities.

[ ALSO READ ]

Matej Span in beautiful clear waters of Similan Islands, Thailand
Big coral reef and lots of fish at Thailand's best snorkeling, Surin Islands

SIMILAN AND SURIN TOURS


10.2. Racha and Coral Island

Racha Island is a captivating destination known for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. It is perfect for relaxing on the beach or scuba diving and snorkeling.

Koh Hey – Coral Island, known for its Banana Beach, is a stunning island near Phuket. Its crystal-clear waters and pristine white sand make it the perfect destination for beach lovers. There are also many water sports and activities to enjoy.

RACHA AND CORAL ISLAND TOURS

Klook.com

11. Visit Maya Bay and Phi Phi Islands

Visiting Maya Bay is the top thing to do in Phuket and Thailand, and it’s only a 45-minute speedboat ride away. It became extremely popular after its appearance in the movie The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio.

Maya Bay and Phi Phi Islands, top thing to do in Phuket, Thailand

But while its appearance in a famous movie helped popularize it, it became so well-known and visited primarily due to its natural beauty.

And rightfully so. It’s genuinely one of the most beautiful sceneries we’ve ever seen due to its fascinating beach in a closed bay. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, breathtaking limestone cliffs, and gorgeous white sand beach, it’s also the most unique bay in Thailand.

TOP MAYA BAY TOURS


The Phi Phi Islands day trip from Phuket is the best way to explore all the main spots, like Maya Bay, Pi Leh Lagoon, and Monkey Beach.

[ ALSO READ ]

Beautiful beach in Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands

Maya Bay and Phi Phi Islands day trip

12. Hike to Black Rock Viewpoint

Black Rock Viewpoint is the most underrated viewpoint in Phuket, and hiking there is a really rewarding activity in Phuket, especially for sunrise (a tip from a local!).

This Black Rock Viewpoint offers an amazing view of Promthep Cape, Nai Harn Beach, and the other small islands around Phuket.

Best viewpoint in Phuket, Thailand - black rock viewpoint

SUNSET TIP

If you’re arriving for sunset, make sure to come an hour earlier to enjoy the view while there’s still light everywhere. For us, that was even better than the sunset itself, as the sun was setting a bit behind the hill, and we didn’t have the best view of it.

The dirt road leading to Black Rock Viewpoint is in bad shape, so we wouldn’t recommend going there with a car (unless you have 4WD). Going to Black Rock Viewpoint is best by motorbike, but only if you are more experienced.

Road towards Black Rock Viewpoint, Phuket, Thailand

If you can’t drive yourself, you can find a transfer jeep for about 150 THB ($4.23) roundtrip per person at the beginning of the road, or you can walk the 2 km.

The trail leads into the jungle and is about 200 meters long, and the Black Rock Viewpoint hike should take no more than 15 minutes. Note: Keep an eye out for snakes and centipedes!

For more adventurous people, we recommend hiking to Krating Cape, another incredible viewpoint in Phuket that offers a fantastic sunset view. The hike to the Krating Cape from Black Rock Viewpoint takes about an hour.

13. Hike Krating Cape for sunset 

Krating Cape, also known as Laem Krating, is another beautiful viewpoint in Phuket. This one is not much visited, and the hike is more adventurous. You can visit anytime, but it’s the most beautiful towards sunset.

While Krating Cape is less impressive than Black Rock Viewpoint, it is perfect for photographers, especially those interested in landscape and star photography, due to the area’s low light pollution.

The 1.9km Laem Krating Cape trail starts on Ao Sane Beach, next to the Baan Krathing Phuket resort, and is considered a moderately challenging route. It is pretty steep, and you need to help yourself with the rope in some spots, so keep that in mind.

Find more information about the Laem Krating Trail on AllTrails.

The other way to get to Krating Cape is to continue the hike from the Black Rock viewpoint for about 1 km, which should take less than an hour.

14. Get your adrenaline pumping at Hanuman World 

The Flying Hanuman Ziplining Experience in Hanuman World in Phuket offers thrilling adventure experiences with zipline courses, skywalks, and abseiling points. Located in a lush jungle setting, you can enjoy an adrenaline-pumping ride through the treetops while taking in the stunning natural beauty of Phuket.

HANUMAN WORLD ADVENTURE

Klook.com

Entry to Hanuman World in Phuket is allowed for visitors between the ages of 4 and 70 years old, so it’s quite family-friendly. Still, please recheck it before visiting, as some age restrictions vary depending on activity.

OPENING HOURS AND TICKETS

Hanuman World Phuket is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm, with prices depending on the package of activities you choose.

15. Join a Cooking Class

If you’re interested in exploring the local culture, joining a Phuket cooking class is a great way to do just that.

At Thai cooking classes in Phuket, you can learn about traditional Thai ingredients, techniques, and recipes while creating delicious dishes showcasing the unique culinary heritage of Phuket, such as mouthwatering Hokkien noodles, curry soups, the famous Pad Thai, and more!

Find the best cooking classes in Phuket on Viator or on Cookly (the best platform for booking cooking classes worldwide).

COOKING CLASSES


16. Go diving

The island’s location makes diving to great diving sites one of the best things to do in Phuket.

From Phuket, you can dive at stunning sites in Racha Noi, Racha Yai, Maithon Private Island, and even the Phi Phi Islands.

Scuba Diving in Phuket, one of the best things to do to explore the marine life in Thailand

16.1. Discover Scuba Diving

If you’re not yet sure if you want to pursue diving, you can go on a so-called Discover Scuba Diving Experience and enjoy one to two amazing dives under the supervision of professionals.

16.2. Get scuba diving certified in Phuket

While the islands of Koh Tao and Koh Phangan are the most famous places to get your diving certificate in Thailand, you can also do the Open Water Diving Course in Phuket.

Scuba Diving Course in Phuket, Thailand

If you’re interested in diving deeper and expanding your limits and knowledge, you can take the Advanced Open Water Diving Course.

16.3. Diving at Maithon Private Island

A great option from Phuket is diving at Maithon Private Island, where you can even see dolphins.

At Maithon Private Island, you can try out scuba diving (try dive), do a scuba refresher, go on a fun dive, or simply snorkel around.

Check out the Small Group Scuba Diving Experience in Maiton Private Island and choose between a try-out scuba diving (try dive), a scuba refresher, a fun dive, or only the snorkel trip.

16.4. Fun dives from Phuket

As a certified diver in Phuket, you have plenty of fun dives available, with the best being the scuba diving trips to Racha Yai and Racha Noi. For a different experience, you can go on a night dive at Kata or a fun dive near the Phi Phi Islands.

Phuket fun dives:

17. Go surfing

Phuket is one of the best places for surfing in Thailand, with the best surfing spots being Kata, Karon, and Nai Harn beaches.

For beginners, you can go on a surfing lesson in Phuket with Beyond Surf Kata, at Whale Surf School Phuket, or Talay Surf.

SURFING

Klook.com

18. Watch or train Muay Thai

For centuries, Muay Thai has been one of Thailand’s most effective martial arts. And while it is native to Thailand, it has become one of the most popular fighting styles in the world.

Training or watching Muay Thai in Puket, Thailand - best sports activity

You can find Muay Thai gyms in every city and town in Thailand, and Phuket is no exception.

It offers various gyms, classes, and workshops for all experience levels – from beginners to advanced fighters.

Whether you are looking for an introduction to the sport, self-defense training, or just want to get fitter, Phuket has got you covered!

Muay Thai in Phuket:

Klook.com

19. Stand-up paddleboard through Mangroves

The Mangrove SUP Tour in Phuket is a great way to explore the unique tropical coastal vegetation as you paddle through the calm waters.

We tried a similar experience on a kayak in Koh Chang’s Salak Khok Mangrove Forest and can highly recommend it, as it’s the perfect way to get up close to mangroves, which is usually not something you can easily do.

20. Enjoy the spa or get a Thai Massage

In addition to all the fun, adventurous activities and beautiful beaches, Phuket is also known for its many wellness options, such as the many quality Thai massages and top-rated spas and wellness centers.

Thai massage, spa, wellness in Phuket, Thailand

If pampering is what you need, Phuket has got you covered!

Best spa and wellness centers in Phuket:

Klook.com

21. Attend a Yoga Retreat

In addition to the famous yoga retreats on Koh Phangan, you can also find quality yoga retreats in Phuket. These retreats offer excellent facilities, skillful teachers, and a serene environment. Some longer yoga retreats in Phuket even include day trips and other activities.

Best Yoga Retreats in Phuket:

22. Have fun at the water parks

Whether you are seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or simply want to relax by the poolside, Phuket’s water parks have something for everyone. From high-speed slides that will get your heart racing to tranquil areas where you can unwind and soak up the sun, these parks offer diverse activities.

Best water parks in Phuket:

Klook.com

23. Day trip to Koh Yao

A great day trip option from Phuket is to the nearby, quiet islands of Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi, which are much less populated and less crowded than Phuket or other islands like Phi Phi.

You can hop on a speedboat to Koh Yao and explore it on your own. Or you can book a Yao Island Cycling and Beach Day Trip where you cycle the 22km loop on Koh Yao Noi, visit the countryside and secluded beaches, and enjoy a Thai lunch.

[ ALSO READ ]

Best Trips from Phuket

24. Go on a Chalong Bay Rum Distillery Tour

Chalong Bay Rum, Thailand’s renowned rum brand, is sold worldwide, and in Phuket, you can tour the facility and learn about its inner workings.

You can witness firsthand the centuries-old use of traditional French distillation techniques to craft their signature smooth white rum from freshly pressed sugarcane.

25. Soi Dog Foundation

Soi Dog Foundation is a non-profit organization that cares for stray dogs and cats in Phuket and fights to improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia. Currently, it has more than 1,000 animals in its care.

You can help this great cause by visiting the shelter, donating, sponsoring/adopting a dog, or volunteering at their location in Mai Khao, close to the airport.

The Soi Dog Sanctuary is open for visits Monday through Friday from 9 am to 11:30 am and from 1 pm to 3:30 pm. Guided tours last about 40 minutes and are available only at 10 am and 1:30 pm.

Visits and guided tours at the Soi Dog Foundation are free, but donations are appreciated.

Are you looking to volunteer at Soi Dog?

Remember that the minimum stay for new volunteers at Soi Dog in Phuket is two days.

What not to do in Phuket

As you may have noticed by reading this article, we have not recommended a single activity/experience/attraction involving any animals except the non-profit Soi Dog Foundation. And that’s because Phuket is well known for unethical animal tourism.

We kindly ask you not to participate in animal tourism in Phuket, especially anything involving bigger animals like elephants and tigers.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of animal exploitation in Phuket, and it is tough to trust any “sanctuary”. Their marketing tactics are on point. They know how to trick those visitors who have not done extensive prior research into making their business seem ethical and good when it is not.

Do not ride elephants in Phuket, Thailand - say no to animal tourism

Best time to visit Phuket

The best months to visit Phuket are between November and February when it’s mostly dry and not too hot or humid. However, this is also a high season for Phuket, so booking some things in advance is advised!

Best time to visit amazing beaches in Phuket, Thailand

March, April, and May are the hottest months in Phuket and Thailand. Ensure you drink plenty of water and use sun protection during these times. The heat here is no joke!

The wind starts picking up in April. That means the beaches are less enjoyable as the waves get bigger, and lots of trash can be washed on the shore, even on some of the best Phuket beaches.

GOOD TO KNOW

Songkran Festival (Thai New Year) takes place in April. It’s when water fights are organized all over the country.

Rainy or monsoon season in Phuket generally starts in late June and lasts till October, with its peak in July and August. This is the time when Phuket experiences lots of downpours and showers.

However, despite the rain, there can still be lots of sunshine and good weather. You just need to be prepared for the rain.

Rainy weather in monsoon season in Phuket, Thailand

Remember, Thailand is tropical, and the weather can be unpredictable. Plus, the weather seasons have slightly changed in South East Asia in recent years.

Another thing to note is the air pollution in Thailand in recent years due to the burning season in the north. During this season, the air quality, with less visibility, can be bad. But it all depends on the year. And sometimes, it’s not at all noticeable.

Where to stay in Phuket

The best place to stay in Phuket depends on what you want from your stay, as there are many distinct areas on the island offering different experiences.

In Phuket, Karon and Kata are the best for a fantastic beach experience, Kamala for luxury stays, Nai Harn to be away from the crowds, and Old Town for history, food, and architecture.

Depending on where you stay in Phuket, tours and excursions you book might not provide a complimentary transfer from your hotel. Instead, you will likely have to pay an additional fee.

However, if you’re staying in places like Old Town, Kata, Karon, and Patong, you will be fine, as they are almost always guaranteed to be covered.

Best areas to stay in Phuket:

  • Phuket Old Town – main city, history, architecture, food
  • Kata – gorgeous beach, lovely area full of restaurants and hotels
  • Karon – great beach, quieter and great for families/couples
  • Surin – beautiful beaches with nearby luxury stays
  • Kamala – relaxed with a great beach
  • Patong – extremely touristy, famous for nightlife
  • Bang Tao – incredibly long beach, lots of space, all-inclusive hotels
  • Mai Khao – longest beach in Phuket, peaceful, nice resorts, nearby airport
  • Rawai – more local area, great nearby beaches, boats leave here for the south islands

Below are the top-reviewed stays in each area worth checking out for your Phuket visit.

Phuket Old Town

Hostel: The Z Nite Hostel
Hotel: Alleyhill Phuket
Upper-end Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott

Kata Beach

Hostel: Nonnee
Hotel: Kata White Villas
Resort: Sawasdee Village

Karon Beach

Hostel: Fishtail Hostel
Hotel: Kata Tranquil Villa
Resort: Mandarava Resort and Spa

Surin

Hostel: ChillHub Hostel
Hotel: Pen Villa Hotel
Resort: Outrigger Resort

Kamala Beach

Budget: B3 House
Hotel: The Umbrella House
Resort: InterContinental Phuket

Patong

Hostel: Hip Hostel
Hotel: The Villa Residences
Resort: Holiday Inn Resort

Bang Tao

Hostel: ChillHub Hostel
Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn
Resort: The Pavillions Resort

Mai Khao

Budget: Mai Khao Beach Guest House
Hotel: Mai Khao Beach Residence
Resort: Anantara Vacation Club

Rawai

Budget: Good 9 at Home
Hotel: Wyndham La Vita
Resort: Navatara Resort

Where to eat in Phuket

Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island, so it’s no surprise it has a wide selection of food options for any type of traveler. Local Thai food in Phuket is incredible, and there are also plenty of fabulous restaurants serving tasty international dishes.

UNESCO recognized Phuket as a “City of Gastronomy”, as it’s a melting pot of Chinese, Burmese, Malay, and Thai cuisines.

If you’re looking to explore Phuket’s best food in a more organized way, you can join a food tour on which you can try out some of the best local dishes.

Best Phuket food tours:


How to get to Phuket

Phuket is easily reachable from all over the world with frequent direct flights from Europe, Australia, and other Asian destinations, as well as connected flights from the US and elsewhere through Bangkok. It’s really well-connected.

Flying into Phuket

Phuket often has some of the best flight deals in Thailand. Not only that, but you can easily fly into the island from other places in Thailand on not-so-expensive flights.

If you’re arriving by plane, we recommend booking your private airport transfer in advance, so you can avoid taxi scams (unfortunately, a bit common in Phuket).

2023 UPDATE

Since September 2023, Grab (the ride-hailing app like Uber) has finally been allowed to operate at Phuket’s Airport. 🥳

Flight deals from Europe | Flight deals from the US | Flight deals from Asia

Bus and train connections

Phuket is well connected to other places in Thailand by frequent buses.

Unfortunately, Phuket is not connected to the Thai railroad network. The only option for getting to Phuket by train is to disembark at the Surat Thani Train Station and then catch a bus the rest of the way.

Powered by 12Go system

Getting to Phuket from Krabi, Phi Phi Islands, and Koh Lanta

Phuket is easily reachable from other popular southern Thai destinations.

You can catch one of the frequent buses/vans from Krabi and Koh Lanta to Phuket, taking 3 to 4 hours from Krabi or about 6 hours from Koh Lanta.

Travel to Phuket from Krabi and Koh Lanta - how to get to Phuket, Thailand

But there are also ferries and speedboats from Krabi and Koh Lanta to Phuket, which take a lot less time, especially from Koh Lanta. The speedboat takes just 1 hour and a half, and the ferry about 3.

You can catch a speedboat or ferry from Phi Phi Islands to Phuket, with the speedboat taking only 1 hour and the ferry about 2 hours.

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Krabi

Phi Phi Islands

Getting to Phuket from Khao Sok and Khao Lak

You can travel by bus or van from Khao Sok to Phuket in about 3 to 5 hours, and the van transfer from Khao Lak takes just 1 hour and a half to get to the airport area or about 2 hours and a half to get to the Old Town.

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Cheow Lan Lake Floating Bungalows

Getting to Phuket from Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan

Traveling to Phuket from the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan is easy with a combo ferry/speedboat and bus transfer.

Getting to Phuket from Koh Samui or Koh Phangan will take between 7 and 9 hours, and from Koh Tao, you will need at least 9 hours.

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Koh Phangan

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How to get around Phuket

Public transport in Phuket is not great, so you will have to either rent a motorbike or car, use taxis (we recommend ride-hailing apps like Grab), tuk-tuks, or book private transfers.

For exploring Phuket’s attractions, we highly recommend renting a car or even a motorbike if you’re a confident driver.

Otherwise, you can cross off most places in one day by booking a car with a private driver.

In some areas, you also have organized tuk-tuk and taxi services that have posted fixed-fare rides. For example, there was one of them right next to our accommodation in Karon Beach. You can always ask your hotel for information regarding these services.

Since 2023 there have also been talks to establish a more reliable public transportation service in Phuket, with more buses connecting the main areas.

Buses and public transportation in Phuket, Thailand

How many days to spend in Phuket

You should spend at least 3 days in Phuket to have enough time to see the island’s main highlights, and do at least one day trip and relax on the beaches. 

Anything over three days in Phuket will give you more time to have a more relaxed schedule or do extra activities.

We highly recommend using Phuket as a base for some of the awesome trips to places like the Similan Islands and Surin Islands. That’s why it’s absolutely worth adding a few more nights to your itinerary to be able to do these trips from Phuket.

Prices in Phuket

Whether you want to save money or splurge on the perfect vacation, Phuket offers something for everyone. From high-end hotels and restaurants to great hostels and delicious street food, there are countless options to customize your experience according to your budget.

AccommodationFoodTransport
Hotel: $20 – $150 / nightInexpensive meal: $2 – $4Taxi 1km: $1 – $2
Hostel: $5 – $10 / nightMid-range meal: $7 – $10Bike rental: $6 – $10
Phuket budget overview

Internet in Phuket

Phuket has reliable internet with fast speeds, so you can pretty much expect good internet on your visit. The mobile network coverage is also great all across the island.

Although Wifi is readily available, we highly recommend a local phone package. We’ve used and can recommend the eSIM by Thailandesim packages (get 5% off with code SHIPPEDAWAY).

Internet and mobile network in cafes and restaurants in Phuket, Thailand
We did some work at Coffee Talk Old Phuket Town – great internet, coffee, comfy chairs

Arijana Tkalčec working in Rosies cafe in Hoi An

Stay protected on public WiFi

We’ve been using NordVPN for over 5 years now and can highly recommend the tool for protecting your privacy and freedom while browsing the internet.

It encrypts your connection and hides your data from potential hackers. Also, with a VPN, you can access blocked/restricted content like some Netflix movies or booking sites.

Tip: Shipped Away readers get a special deal

Is Phuket a safe destination?

Like all of Thailand, Phuket is a safe destination for all travelers, including women and solo travelers.

Need reliable Thailand Travel Insurance?

With 24/7 worldwide assistance, Heymondo insurance includes comprehensive coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellations, and baggage loss or delay.

Tip: Shipped Away readers get 5% off.

For digital nomads or full-time travelers, we recommend SafetyWing, which includes brief visits to your home country every 3 months abroad.

Is Phuket worth visiting?

We were positively surprised and can, without a doubt, say Phuket is absolutely worth visiting, as it offers incredible beaches and fantastic day trips to places like Phang Nga Bay, Maya Bay, the Similan Islands, and the Surin Islands.


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Arijana Tkalcec and Matej Span underwater selfie, Similan Islands, Thailand
Arijana & Matej

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