TOP 10 Things to do in Phuket
Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand and has been branded as the “pearl of the Andaman”. The rainforest jungle setting amidst the clear, turquoise-hued beaches prove this title to be completely spot on. Whenever Phuket comes to mind, many travelers immediately think about the sin city of Patong, where beachgoers party from morning until night and go-go girls play ping-ping shows.
However, Phuket is so much more than that. The island offers a diverse space for all types of travelers. Below we show you that distinct range with our list of the top 10 things to do on your next holiday in Phuket.
- CRUISE THROUGH PHANG NGA BAY
With crystal-clear emerald water and protruding limestone karts, the setting at Phang Nga Bay is simply breathtaking. Take an organized sailing trip or rent a long-tail boat to cruise around the many islands surrounding this bay. Stop at the island of Koh Tapu, more famously known as “James Bond Island”, where a 007 flick was filmed. For most tours, this is usually paired with a lunchtime stop at the charming fishing village on stilts, Koh Panyee.
- EXPLORE THE BEACHES
Phuket has its own fair share of spectacular beaches that offer ultimate relaxation and pristine turquoise-hue waters. Some of the best beaches include: Kata Noi, Nai Harn, Freedom, Karon, Kata, Surin, Bang Tao, and Kamala. On each of these beaches you can pay approximately 200 baht to relax on a sunbed for the day. Rent a motorbike so you can easily explore the beauty of the beaches this island has to offer.
- STROLL AROUND THE OLD TOWN
This historic part of town is lined with Buddhist and Chinese temples, charming cafes, museums, and a famous ex-red light district. Phuket has a history as a tin-mining country that was home to Siamese, Chinese, Malays, Indians, Euraisians, and sea-gypsies. Throughout the old town you will notice two distinct styles of buildings; Sino-Colonial style mansions, as well as shop-houses styled after the Sino-Portugese.
- TAKE IN THE HILLTOP VIEWS
Take a trip to the top of Nakkerd Hill, between Chalong and Kata, to get a complete 360-degree view of the island. Also, don’t miss the most photographed viewpoint, Phromthep Cape, where you’ll witness an incredible sunset. Other amazing viewpoints include: Kata Viewpoint, Three Beaches Hilltop, Radar Hill Viewpoint, Windmill Viewpoint, Panwa Viewpoint, and Khao Rang/Rang Hill. All offer great views while you cool off with the breeze from the Andaman Sea.
- VISIT A RESCUE & REHABILITATION CENTER
Visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, whose aim is to build up and conserve the gibbon apes destroyed in Phuket by poaching during the 1980s. Make another trip to the Soi Dog Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organization, whose goal is to help the homeless, neglected, and abused dogs and cats of Thailand. Instead of participating in tourist attractions that promote the inhumane treatment of animals, visit these organizations to learn what you can do to help.
- EXPERIENCE THE NIGHTLIFE OF BANGLA ROAD
Spread over 400 meters, Bangla Road is Phuket’s party district. Here you’ll witness street performances at every turn and, if you’re brave enough, even a “ping pong show”. Bangla Road is divided into three main sections: the end furthest from the beach with the popular nightclubs and beer complexes; the middle section that has an array of shopping options and live music; and the end closest to the beach offers a chilled-out vibe with Aussie bars, cabarets, souvenir shops, and fast food.
- SHOP ‘TILL YOU DROP AT NAKA MARKET
Stalls at this popular market include an array of jewelry, bags, clothing, and all types of Thai street food. Although busiest after 6:00 p.m., it’s a good idea to head here in the evening since much of the market is laid out under a tin roof. Unlike the beachside vendors, you won’t be hassled here. Since most of the products at Naka are similar to those sold at Patong, the prices here are usually better, especially with some expected bartering.
- SPEND A NIGHT OUT WATCHING MUAY THAI BOXING
Head over to Phuket’s Patong Beach area to the stadiums on Soi Sai Namyen, where you’ll witness Thailand’s popular spectator sport, the martial art of Muay Thai. To experience this event live is much more riveting than on television, especially with the passion and cheers of the crowds, coupled with the music and betting around the stadium. If you don’t mind the violence, you’ll experience five intense rounds of three minutes each.
- FEED YOUR SPIRIT AT WAT CHALONG & PHUKET TEMPLES
In Phuket, there are twenty-nine different Buddhist temples. Eight kilometers outside the city is the most visited, “Wat Chalong”. Here you’ll find a number of significant statues, even a gilt-covered one that is sure to catch your eye. The Grand Pagoda contains a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone and is decorated with wall paintings depicting the Buddha’s life story. Other temples to include during your visit are: Phuket Big Buddha, Jui Tui Shrine, Wat Khao Rang, and Wat Phra Thong.
- TAKE A DAY TRIP TO THE PHI PHI ISLANDS
The Phi Phi Islands are a set of two islands; Phi Phi Leh and Phi Phi Don. The first of these is where you’ll find the famous film location of “The Beach”, Maya Bay. Both are approached by long boats with cliffs overhead on both sides that lead to a turquoise beachfront surrounded by a jungle backdrop. Rent a longboat early in the morning to avoid the large influx of tourists and you’ll get an insta-worthy “The Beach” jumping shot with no one else in sight.