Thailand’s largest island is renowned for its white sand beaches, lively beach towns, and eclectic nightlife. Water sports, shopping, and the city’s famous shows are just a few of the ways to experience Phuket. With just one day, it’s best to stick to focus on the highlights—here are some ideas.
Morning: Sunrise Sightseeing
Phuket’s large size and notorious traffic means that exploring with a guide is a good idea, especially when time is of the essence. Booking a private tour offers the greatest flexibility, while a bike tour is a scenic and practical way to explore the coast.
Make an early start and head down to Promthep Cape on the southern coast of Phuket, a spectacular viewpoint from which to watch the sunrise. Continue to the nearby Big Buddha and Wat Chalong, two of Phuket’s most photographed attractions—with a bit of luck you’ll arrive before the crowds and enjoy unobstructed views.
Afternoon: Hit the Beach
Phuket’s most popular beaches—Kata, Karon, and Patong—lie along the west coast and offer plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports. Enjoy activities such as kayaking, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding; tuck into fresh seafood at a beachfront restaurant; or relax with a traditional Thai foot massage at one of the many area spas.
At Patong Beach, be sure to visit Bangla Road, one of Phuket busiest streets, lined with cocktail bars, restaurants, shops, and market stalls. For more shopping, pay a visit to nearby Jungceylon shopping center, before strolling down to the seafront to watch the sunset.
Night: Attend a Show
Bangla Road is the place to party until the early morning, but for a truly unforgettable night out, plan to attend one of Phuket’s shows. The Siam Niramit show tells the story of Thailand’s history, cultural heritage, and spiritual traditions through an 80-minute performance of music, dance, and theater. Alternatively, visit the Phuket FantaSea theme park for an evening show that includes traditional dance, acrobatics, pyrotechnics, and even elephants. For the best value, book a package that includes hotel pickup, round-trip transfers, and a pre-show dinner.