The largest island in Thailand – Phuket is also one of their biggest overrated tourist attractions. If you don’t want to go where all the tourists go, try these Phuket attractions instead.
Ah yes, Phuket. With an abundance of scenic escapades and so many water sports, Donald Trump would be jealous, the province has been one of Thailand’s most beloved tourist destinations for as long as we can remember. When visiting can expect clear skies, deep blue seas, and glistening beaches that are simply perfect for an island vacation. Plus, the shopping areas and activities available don’t hurt a bit, either.
Still, some places can feel crowded and touristy, so let us show you some Phuket attractions that you can check out instead on your second, third, fourth, or fifth time around.
If you’re bored of these overrated attractions in Phuket, go to these instead
Overrated: Bangla Walking Street
Famous for its nightlife, Bangla walking street is located in the Patong Beach area. It’s an alright place to walk around at night, but you’ll always see it packed with tourists. This is not surprising, as you’ll be met with a lot of discotheques, nightclubs, and go-go bars as you’re making your way down the road. Bangla is great for cheap beers, but that’s about it.
Location: Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Chang Wat, Phuket
Try this instead: Phuket Old Town
Phuket Old Town is a major destination for a lot of reasons, from the Sino-Portuguese townhouses that are perfect for your next photo opp, to stalls and stores along the road that offer a glimpse into the area’s rich history. Stop by for some local products, grab some street food, and buy some batik fabric—the possibilities are endless. Visit on Sundays for the full experience, as that’s when their Sunday markets take place. At night, be sure to check out the small craft cocktail bars and the restaurant scene, too.
Location: Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
Overrated: Kamala Beach
With its beautiful beach and excellent spots for sunbathing, Kamala Beach has made itself a very popular tourist attraction. So popular, in fact, that it’s not going to be very quiet as you’re trying to enjoy your time relaxing. Forget the tourist seasons—watch those beach vendors jack up the prices so high. To be fair, it makes a very good destination for a swim if you avoid the monsoon season.
Location: Kamala, Phuket
Try this instead: Nai Harn Beach
Nai Harn Beach is not really a hidden gem, but a gem nonetheless. It’s quite secluded with a crystal clear beach and blue sea. Be sure to stop by the road on top before making your way down for a photo opp by the cliffside and the beautiful sky. Nai Harn is just the perfect place to let your mind rest as your body dips into the waves and a more intimate beach getaway.
Location: Rawai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
Overrated: Phang Nga Bay Island tour
Ah yes, the famous James Bond island tour. After its appearance in The Man with the Golden Gun, tourism in this area has skyrocketed to the fact that many saying are the bay is destroyed by the influx of tourists. The highlight of the bay is certainly the oddly shaped big rock in the middle of the water, and the beautiful sea makes the area perfect for kayaking. It’s worth checking out if you’ve never been, though you will be surrounded by swarms of tourists.
Try this instead: Similan Islands day trip
Powdery-white beaches, clear water, and rich marine life— the Similan Islands contain some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Thailand. Since there are no hotels on the island, many are deterred by the long trip from the city of Phuket. You’ll see that it’s absolutely worth it once you make your way there, and it’s a lovely opportunity for a day trip connecting with nature.
Overrated: Monkey Hill
Getting in touch with local wildlife sounds lovely on paper, but the ones on Monkey Hill are the equivalent of sitting right next to a crying child on a ten-hour flight, and that child is also a thief. These spawns of Satan people call monkeys are very unpredictable and will steal objects you have on hand. Accidents are not unusual and you’re advised strongly not to feed them by hand.
Location: Rob Khao Sam Muk, Tambon Saen Suk, Phuket, Bang Saen, Chon Buri
Try this instead: visit the Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary
If you want to get in touch with local wildlife, this is the way to do it. Walk among free-roaming elephants while learning more about these lovely creatures through their Save and Care Programme. You’ll also get food to feed the elephants, as well as the unique chance to give them a spa treatment that will heal them from skin damage and scratches.
Location: Soi Choeng Thale 1, Choeng Thale, Thalang District, Chang Wat, Phuket
You’ve been to: Blue Elephant Cooking School
Apart from learning all about authentic Thai cooking, Blue Elephant Cooking School is also famed for their traditional royal cuisine, served in a fine dining setting. This antique building is located in the heart of Phuket Old Town, so you can take a stroll and enjoy the scenery before and after indulging in the culinary journey. Expect only the best and freshest ingredients. You’re in Phuket, after all.
Location: Krabi Road Mueang Phuket, Phuket
Now check out: Nitan
“Nitan” translates to “fairytale” in Thai, which is a perfect name for this restaurant. Through the eyes of Chef Pom, ingredients both local and imported get the love they deserve, and are turned into culinary creations as if pulled straight from a fairytale. Their current seven-course menu pays homage to Mother Nature, bringing in ingredients from oceans and camping trips from all over Thailand.
Location: Srisoonthorn Rd, Tambon Si Sunthon, Thalang District, Phuket
You’ve been to: Café Del Mar
Café Del Mar is basically Ibiza in Phuket. Surrounded by palm beaches and the sea, as well as an air of serenity and mellowness, it’s a venue so re-energising you won’t want to leave. Sample their delicious food, grab some drinks, and be ready for the DJ beats to take you late into the night. If you feel like it, you can also book the bar privately for you and your friends.
Location: Kamala, Kathu District, Phuket
Now check out: Catch Beach Club
Catch Beach Club is the embodiment of carpe diem, for all the vibes here are on point. Pop some bottles and grab yourself a glass by the stem as you walk down to their fire show by the beach, enjoying a Friday BBQ, or catching up with friends over Sunday brunch. They also have DJs playing behind the station on the regular, because what’s a party without some music? This one’s a favourite with locals and insiders for a reason.
Location: Choeng Thale, Thalang District, Phuket
This story first appeared here.
[Hero and feature image credit: Mike Swigunski/Unsplash]