Known for its luxurious, world-class resorts, mouthwatering cuisine, vibrant nightlife, hidden islets and beaches, and ancient rainforests teeming with wildlife, this Thai Island is undoubtedly a tropical paradise. In this guide, we’ll walk you through an epic voyage of discovery in Phuket Island from its marvelous white sand beaches & rolling green hills to a multitude of cultural highlights. And without further ado, here are the top 20 things to do in Phuket Thailand.
1. Take a trip at Wat Chalong
Wat Chalong, Phuket’s most important Buddhist temple is rich with sacred sculptures and imagery. The complex features sacred imagery, including sculptures and murals of the Buddha’s life. The holiest object is a bone fragment of the Buddha, now set in the Grand Pagoda. The temple is called Wat Chaitararam by royal decree, but everyone knows it as Wat Chalong.
2. Go crazy in Patong Beach
Patong, the most famous tourist attraction in Phuket, features a wide array of adventures and great range of hotels, restaurants, and nightlife. Many of the high-end resorts are sheltered enclaves with lush gardens and private swimming pools. The seemingly endless shopping options, wild entertainment venues, and range of daytime activities make Patong the ultimate high-energy playground.
3. Visit Khao Phra Thaeo Royal Forest and Wildlife Reserve
This national park in northeast Phuket provides one of the last remaining natural habitats for exotic and endangered animal species on the island. Visitors can immerse themselves in the jungles that once covered much of the island as Khao Phra Thaeo offers pristine forest, raw hiking trails, and picturesque waterfalls. There is also a rehabilitation center where gibbons receive care and treatment, as well as plenty of rare plants, flowers, and trees.
4. Visit Sirinat National Park
A rugged, pristine pine-lined strip runs along Phuket’s northwest coast and marks three largely undeveloped beaches: Mai Khao, Nai Yang, and Nai Thon. Although this landforms the Sirinat National Park, over three quarters of the reserve’s 35 sq miles (90 sq km) is marine territory. The clean waters feature large, healthy coral reefs, and Mai Khao Beach has become a well-known sea turtle nesting site. At the northern end of Sirinat is an unspoiled mangrove forest.
5. Naiharn Beach
Framing an idyllic bay on the island’s southwestern tip, Naiharn Beach remains one of Phuket’s most pristine waterfronts. This white-sand beach is flanked by green hills and lapped by turquoise waters. While nearby Naiharn village has been modernized with cafés, art shops, and guesthouses, the beach and surrounding hills still maintain a tranquil, noncommercial vibe, with hotels congregated along only one end. During the high season, a number of private yachts drop anchor in the bay, making Naiharn their temporary home.
6. Kata Beach
Located just south of Karon, the scenic Kata Beach, comprising two bays separated by a small rocky headland, offers an ideal balance of tropical scenery and well-developed tourism infrastructure. Kata has a number of high-end resorts, making it a popular destination for couples and families. Palm trees fringe the white-sand beach, and the clear turquoise waters offer good swimming conditions throughout the year. Visitors can even swim to nearby Ko Pu, a small island, passing beautiful coral reefs along the way.
7. Visit Similan Islands National Park
Soft white-sand beaches and emerald-colored waters are the foundations of this island paradise. Renowned as one of the world’s top scuba diving destinations, the underwater world here is stunningly beautiful, with magnificent corals, colorful fish, and dramatic rock formations. The nine Similan islands also offer remarkable snorkeling. Plan your trip with a tour operator based on the mainland – diving equipment is not available on the islands.
8. Visit Khao Sok National Park
With a landmass of more than 270 sq miles, this park is southern Thailand’s largest virgin forest. Older and more diverse than even the Amazon rain forest, Khao Sok is home to numerous exotic animal and plant species and has breathtaking natural scenery. Nature lovers will find inspiration in the park’s majestic limestone cliffs, its rough jungle trails, and its beautiful, placid waterways.
9. Phang Nga Bay
Just east of Phuket over 40 small islands dot the brilliantly azure waters of Phang Nga Bay. Wind and water have eroded these limestone karst islets into a variety of extraordinary shapes that tower above the water’s surface. This National Park is home to an abundance of flora and fauna that thrive amidst the crevices, arches, tide pools, caves, and coastal forests. Paddling a sea kayak amongst the grandeur of these soaring peaks is an experience to savor, but motorized boats can also transport you around the bay.
10. Take a tour in the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
For any rum connoisseur, the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery will certainly whet your appetite. The handcrafted white rum made here is distilled from sugar cane juice rather than molasses. There are lots to do when you arrive at the distillery, you start by taking a tour where you will learn about the way the rum is produced before taking a look at the work that goes on behind the scenes. The final part of the trip is in the cocktail workshop and bar, here you will learn how to make various cocktails that all include Chalong Bay Rum and then relax while you sample them.
11. See the Phuket Big Buddha
This 148-ft- (45-m-) tall Buddha (see p82) sits high atop Nakkerd Hill, with sweeping 360-degree views that stretch from Chalong Bay to the Andaman Sea. Carved from white Burmese marble, the Buddha sits cross-legged on a podium decorated with lotus flowers. This is certainly a peaceful, spiritual site.
12. Go Shopping at Phuket Town Weekend Night Market
With lower prices than in Patong, Kata, and Karon, the night market known by the locals as Naka Market, offers a similar selection of local foods, t-shirts, fisher men’s pants, and woodcarvings, as well as secondhand clothes and Thai music albums.
13. Hang Out at Tiger Kingdom
If getting up close to a tiger is one of your bucket lists, this is the place to do it. Phuket Tiger Kingdom’s hand raises Indochinese tigers in captivity from birth until their final days. The tigers typically get fed at around 19:00 hours but it is also worth a visit when they open first thing to avoid the crowds. This kingdom has two restaurants on-site should you be hungry, one of which allows you to look out at the tigers.
14. Take a Thai Cooking Class
Learn how to make Thai curries and much more at one of the many cookery classes in Phuket. By taking a class you will learn about the ingredients as well as picking up the useful skills to continue cooking when you return home. Many places offer morning, afternoon or whole day packages and you always get to eat what you have cooked.
15. Phi Phi Island
The Phi Phi Island is Thailand’s superstar archipelago, particularly famous for Maya Bay’s central role in the 2000 movie The Beach. It’s the topic of conversation for travelers all over Thailand. For some, it’s the only reason to touchdown in Phuket. Even with all the hype, it doesn’t disappoint. Phi Phi’s beauty is a large chunk of the allure. The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to a beach-fringed jungle. To most, it’s love at first sight.
16. Bangla Road
You won’t find a setting more outrageous than the night scene on the infamous Bangla Road. At once seedy and harmless, this central vein of Patong is filled with beer bars, club promoters, and pleasure-seeking travelers from every corner of the globe. The streets coming off Bangla Road are home to even more entertainment venues.
17. Simon Cabaret Show
Indeed Phuket is the most popular cabaret features outrageous costumes and sets, along with a flamboyant cast of transvestite performers This show features a spectacular musical floor show performed by the world-famous ladyboy cast.
18. Flying Hanuman
Experience the Flying Hanuman in Phuket is a zipline adventure park where you can soar through the sky 40 meters above a jungle. This eco-friendly attraction lets you explore the hillsides of Phuket through several obstacle courses and sky bridges.
19. Hard Rock Café
This internationally known establishment is decorated with memorabilia from famous rock legends and has an excellent line up of performers. The restaurant has the capacity to seat 300 people at once, and along with the bar, is spread over two floors.
20. Snake Show
Watch a deadly cobra have venom extracted from its razor-sharp fangs or a handler kiss one between its eyes. At a Phuket snake show, you can even also have your photograph taken with a massive boa constrictor.