One of Thailand’s most loved and frequently explored travel destinations, Phuket is the largest island in the country. Laden with white sand beaches, thriving nightlife, gastronomical adventures and a lot more, the list of places to visit in Phuket is endless.
Whether you’re on a backpacking trip or for leisure, Phuket has it all. Wondering how to outline your trip? Our Phuket travel guide comprises the list of stunning attractions to see, dishes to try and things to do for a picture-perfect vacation.
Best time to explore Phuket
Having a tropical climate pattern, Phuket is primarily warm, rainy and pleasant often. However, it never gets too cold. The coldest season, with temperatures ranging between 23°C to 30°C, starts from November and continues till February. This is the best time to travel to Phuket. The sea is the calmest during this time. You can relax and enjoy your time at the beach without having to worry about the weather.
Also, the monsoon season, which extends from May to October, is a good time to visit Phuket if you do not mind some rainfall.
Best places to visit in Phuket
If you’re a party animal and love shopping, this is your place to be. Known for numerous shopping centres, cafes and restaurants along the shore, Patong beach receives a massive number of tourists every day.
If you want to experience amazing nightlife, there are many beer bars and clubs around the beach. You can also find shops selling various items including sarongs, sunglasses and souvenirs.
Book your stay near Patong Beach
Phang Nga Bay
Soak in the spellbinding sight of emerald-green waters, limestone cliffs and ancient caves at Phang Nga Bay. Featured in the famous 1974 James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun, Phang Nga Bay is home to exotic flora and fauna and unparalleled scenic beauty. It is also well known for various water sports such as kayaking and diving.
Unlike its neighbour Patong beach, Kalim beach is known to retain the local Thai touch and it offers mesmerising views like no other. One of the best places to visit in Phuket, the beach houses several eating spots and plenty of space to relax and rejuvenate under the warm sun on the sand.
The beach is one of the best spots for surfing in Phuket and hosts several competitions too during the low tide season.
Book your stay near Kalim Beach
Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Park
A must-visit for nature enthusiasts, the Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Park is home to rare flora and fauna in an otherwise fast-growing Phuket. The park also houses many attractions, including naturally formed pools and waterfalls that are an absolute treat to the eyes. One can also find walking trails laid out by the park to explore the region on foot.
Book your stay near Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Park
Thalang National Museum
The Thalang National Museum provides interesting information about the history of Phuket. It displays permanent exhibitions in four themes — Phuket Island and early inhabitants of the Andaman, the battle at Thalang, the Chinese and the development of Phuket and Phuket people.
Historical scriptures and antiques are displayed at the museum that give a glimpse of the Phuket of yesteryears. The museum also exhibits weapons used during the conflict with Myanmar.
Sirinat National Park
The Sirinat National Park is famous for its natural beauty and gorgeous views. An important conservation site, the park includes a 13-kilometre-long coastline with several beaches. Frequently visited by a significant number of tourists, the park is an ideal spot for relaxation amid serene nature.
If you want to take a break from the usual hustle, there’s no better spot than Paradise Beach in Phuket. Offering breathtaking views, the beach is known for its soft sands and tall coconut trees where you can spend quality time with your loved ones. Located around eight minutes from the famous Patong Bay, Paradise Beach is known for various water activities including scuba diving, paddling and snorkelling. The beach is also famous globally for its full moon parties where you can dance the night away.
Book your stay near Paradise Beach
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
All animal lovers should schedule a trip to this fantastic elephant sanctuary which also happens to be Phuket’s first and most ethical. Hike through the huge property to observe the magnificent animals in their natural habitat. Taking elephant tourism to new heights, the sanctuary has recently introduced a one-of-a-kind 600-metre long and six-metre-tall canopy walkway for spectators to see the elephants from an appropriate distance.
Another hidden gem of Phuket, Freedom beach, bordered by hills covered in dense, lush forests, is known for its white, soft sand. This is the place to be if you’re searching for a serene area to sunbathe. Beach volleyball, soccer and snorkelling are some of the other fun activities to indulge in at Freedom Beach.
Phuket Old Town
A historically significant capital, old Phuket town is home to exquisite shrines, beautiful temples and stores. One of the most exciting places to visit in Phuket, the old town is located near Krabi Road. The buildings in this town have managed to retain their old architectural charm. Unquestionably one of Phuket’s most beautiful tourist destinations, the old Phuket town is home to cosy cafes and various museums too.
Book your stay near Phuket Old Town
Wat Phra Thong
Partially buried Golden Buddha is this temple’s central attraction. According to sources, the Buddha’s entire body is buried beneath the earth except for his head and shoulders. Thousands of tourists visit the temple each year, seeking the blessings of the Golden Buddha.
Book your stay near Wat Phra Thong
Bang Tao Beach
Another pristine beach in Phuket, Bang Tao Beach, is the second longest in the region, spanning an area of six kilometres. An ideal location for an opulent getaway, there are many fantastic clubs for a great evening. There are several fine-dining restaurants and boutiques selling premium brands indulgence in as well.
Book stays near Bang Tao Beach
If you are not ready to try snorkelling but still wish to see the beauty of the world under the sea, you must visit Thailand’s biggest aquarium, Aquaria, located in Phuket. Dive in for a splendid experience and witness over 25,000 marine creatures. There are many interactive zones to explore as well.
Monday to Sunday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Last admission: 6:00pm
Hanuman World must be on the list of top places to visit in Phuket for all thrill seekers. One of the best places to visit in Phuket, it is an eco-adventure park where you can enjoy ziplining and can get an aerial view of the city and the Andaman sea from above. The Roller Coaster Zipline, which follows an 800-metre curving course through the forest at 40 kilometres per hour, is another option to try.
Things to do in Phuket
Visit the temples
With most of its population being Thai Buddhists, Phuket is home to numerous stunning Buddhist temples. One of the most significant is the Big Buddha Temple in Tambon Karon. Some other notable temples you can visit include Wat Chalong and Rua Shrine.
Head to the viewpoints
Phuket is home to unparalleled scenic beauties that must not be missed. Visit the various viewpoints in Phuket to truly admire nature’s masterpiece. Promthep Cape, Karon and Kata are some of the most well-known ones.
For water lovers, snorkelling is a must to explore the rich marine life. Phuket has a vast number of beaches with clear, turquoise water, perfect for snorkelling. Kata Noi, Paradise beach, Laem Ka are a few of the most popular snorkelling spots.
Experience the nightlife at Bangla Road
If you wish to experience the nightlife of Phuket, Bangla road is where you should head to. Brimming with nightclubs and bars, it is one of the most happening and sought-after places in Phuket. You will come across numerous beer bars, food stalls and restaurants along this road. The crowd is also entertained by fascinating street performances during late hours.
What to eat in Phuket?
With a strong resemblance to the French crepe, Thai pancakes or roti is a flatbread made from flour, and fried until crisp. A light snack, these pancakes are rolled with butter and sugar and are simply irresistible. Sweetened condensed milk is also added to this, which further enhances the flavour.
These pancakes come in various flavours and can be eaten with eggs, fruits, jam or even chocolate sauce. This delectable Thai food option tastes best when eaten warm, especially from the street vendors of Phuket.
Mee Hokkien or Hokkien style noodles is one of the most loved dishes by tourists and locals alike in Phuket. Consisting hearty wheat noodles, scrumptious seafood, melting slices of pork and a warm gravy like broth topped with a fried egg, this dish indeed hits the right spots on the palate.
Shaved ice topped with flavoured combinations is commonly served as a dessert in various parts of Southeast Asia. However, Phuket has its own take on this popular item. Extremely sweet with bright colours, this is a crowd favourite. It includes gelatinous cubes made from kidney beans and banana starch and is often drizzled with sweet, red syrup.
What to shop in Phuket?
Not just a beach destination, Phuket is also considered to be a shopping hub. From big shopping malls to street stalls and old handicraft shops, you have all options here. There are many stalls near the beaches too where you can buy souvenirs and other local products.
Thai cosmetic products, variety of teas and exotic fruits are some of the items you can buy in Phuket.
How to reach Phuket?
You can reach Phuket from Bangkok by flight, bus or rented car. There are several daily flights from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Phuket International Airport. Flight fares during weekends and peak season are usually higher than on other days. Additionally, you can fly to Phuket from Bangkok’s domestic airport — Don Muang Airport. You can also travel from Bangkok to Phuket by day and overnight buses that take approximately 14 hours to complete the journey.
(Main image credit: Mitiladis Fragkidis/Unsplash; Featured Image Credit: Sumit Chinchane/Unsplash)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: There is a lot to explore in Phuket. Hence, the ideal time would be seven days. However, four days are enough if you are tight on time.
Answer: Many beaches such as the Kata Beach, Karon Beach and Patong Beach and famous temples such as Big Buddha and Wat Chalong have no entry fees. You can enjoy these locations without spending any money.
Answer: Living in Phuket is relatively inexpensive. It has many pocket-friendly food and accommodation options, which help cut down on living expenses.
Answer: Phuket offers many local Thai dishes that you should try such as pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles with shrimps), Thai pancake, 'char kway teow' (noodle soup) and 'som tam' (papaya salad).
Answer: There are both cheap and luxury hotels in Phuket. You can also find hostel accommodations for solo travellers. Beach resorts are also a great option to stay in Phuket.
Answer: There are a number of transportation options in Phuket with public buses being the cheapest. Other ways to roam around in Phuket are taxis, rental cars and bikes, tuk-tuks and boats.
Answer: Phuket has a tropical climate, hence it's mostly hot. Summer clothing such as loose T-shirts, summer dresses, shorts and linen shirts are best for a vacation in Phuket.