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Things to do in Phuket

Things to do in  Phuket

Welcome to Phuket

A palm-fringed paradise of pristine beaches, exotic wildlife, and cocktails on tap, Phuket is Southern Thailand’s headline act. Jutting out into the Andaman Sea, this is Thailand’s largest island, as well as its busiest, and while the crush of tourists in high season can be overwhelming, its popularity is well deserved. The capital, Phuket Town, is the obvious starting point, with its buzzing markets and non-stop nightlife, but the best hotels can be found along the west coast, hugging the shores of Kamala Beach, Karon beach, and Kata Beach. Farther north, Surin and Layan Beach, and laid-back Rawai, at the southern tip of the island, offer respite from the crowds, while busy Patong Beach is the life of the party, boasting the island’s best nightlife. Phuket also serves as the departure point for many of the surrounding islands and there are a huge variety of day trips available. Cruise beneath the jagged limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay, home to James Bond Island; admire the Hollywood-worthy landscapes of the Phi Phi Island, where Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Beach” was filmed, or discover the underwater wonders of the remote Similan Islands.

Top 15 attractions in Phuket

Phi Phi Islands (Koh Phi Phi)

From the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea, the jungle-shrouded limestone cliffs of Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands rise majestically, giving way to white-sand beaches and lush green jungles further inland. Longtail boats putter between the islands, collectively known as Koh Phi Phi or Ko Phi Phi, surrounded by turquoise waters and colorful marine life.More

James Bond Island (Ko Khao Phing Kan)

A starring role in the 1974 James Bond movie “The Man With the Golden Gun” put the towering limestone islands of Ko Khao Phing Kan and the 66-foot-tall (20-meter) islet Ko Tapu firmly on Thailand’s tourist trail. While boats are forbidden from getting too close to the islands, opportunities for sightseeing abound in the surrounding area.More

Maya Bay (Maya Beach)

The stunning Maya Bay (Maya Beach) became a major tourist attraction after the 2000 film,The Beach, was filmed here. It’s situated within Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands, off the coasts of both Krabi and Phuket on the mainland, and is distinguished by its beautiful white-sand beach sheltered by limestone cliffs on three sides.There are in fact several beaches here, but most are small and some only exist at low tide. The main beach, where most boats drop passengers just offshore, is a 200-meter long strip of silky white sand. It’s surrounded by clear waters filled with colorful coral and an abundance of exotic fish, making it an absolute haven for snorkelers. Walking inland is also a treat, with a path that winds through lush greenery and reveals some simply spectacular scenery.It’s true that Maya Bay’s popularity has taken a certain degree of the shine from this once little-heard of slice of paradise. It’s become so well-known that its shores are filled with hoards of boats dropping visitors off and picking them up throughout the day, particularly in peak season. Visitors should arrive early in the morning to avoid the larger part of the crowds.Please note: Maya Bay (Maya Beach) is closed indefinitely due to overtourism.More

Phang Nga Bay (Ao Phang Nga)

With limestone rock formations jutting out of the emerald green sea, Phang Nga Bay (Ao Phang Nga) in Thailand is famous the world over for its natural beauty. Many visitors to Thailand will find themselves crossing the bay on the way to popular tourist spots, such as Phuket or Krabi, but this place deserves some dedicated exploration time of its own.More

Big Buddha (Wat Chalong)

The Big Buddha Phuket is hard to miss. Built on a patch of virgin rain forest on Khao Nakkerd Hill high above Phuket, this gigantic 148-foot (45-meter) statue is one of the island's most prominent landmarks, easily seen from most places in the south. From the statue’s base, visitors enjoy panoramic views of Chalong Bay and Phuket town.More

Chalong Bay

Sheltered by Racha Island and Coral Island, Chalong Bay (Ao Chalong is one of Phuket’s busiest tour boat ports. But there’s more to the area than the 1,640-foot (500-meter pier. Chalong is home to Wat Chalong temple, the Chalong Bay Rum distillery, a yacht club, muay thai camps, and a wealth of resorts and restaurants.More

Phuket Old Town

The prominence of Phuket’s beaches and out islands mean that Phuket Old Town is often overlooked. Yet, it offers a wealth of 19th-century architectural delights and fantastic photo ops. Beside the latticed windows of Malay-style shop-front buildings on Soi Rommanee, Old Phuket Town boasts temples, museums, and restaurants.More

Patong Beach

Big, brash, and bold, Patong is a high-energy resort on the west coast of Phuket, Thailand. Patong Beach, a deep stretch of white sand on a crescent bay, holds natural charms. But many head here for the restaurants, cabarets, dance shows, Thai boxing matches, and the loud and lively nightlife that draws travelers young and old alike.More

Ao Phang Nga National Park

Known for its limestone rock formations rising out of the turquoise Andaman Sea, the protected Ao Phang Nga National Marine Park covers a large swathe of water in southern Thailand. Many visitors come to the area to enjoy the scenery and take part in watersports.More

Wat Chalong

As the most significant of Phuket’s 29 Buddhist temples, Wat Chalong attracts hundreds of visitors daily. A mountain backdrop emphasizes a golden spire, while wall paintings inside each temple depict vibrant Buddhist images. The main stupa, known as the Grand Pagoda, is said to harbor a splinter of the Buddha’s bone.More

Promthep Cape (Laem Phromthep)

Jutting out into the Andaman Sea, crowned with a lighthouse and an elephant shrine, Promthep Cape (Laem Phromthep) is Phuket’s southernmost point. Sweeping views over sparkling waters, rugged islands, sailing boats, sugar palms, and maybe even a paraglider or two make the headland a favorite photo stop, particularly around sunset.More

Racha Island (Raya Island)

Racha Island (Raya Island) is, in fact, two islands—Ko Racha Yai and Ko Racha Noi—both known for their excellent snorkeling and diving. Whether for day-long underwater exploring trips or stays of a few days to relax on the unspoiled beaches, the southern Thai islands are popular with water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.More

Koh Yao Yai (Ko Yao Yai)

Sister island to Koh Yao Noi, Koh Yao Yai (also written Ko Yao Yai) is an unspoiled gem that sprawls amid the karst seascapes of Phang Nga Bay (Ao Phang Nga). The coast offers white sand beaches, fishing villages (many on stilts), and mangrove forests; inland are timeless landscapes of orchards, rice fields, and rubber plantations.More

Kata Beach

Kata Beach is both the name of a small town on Phuket’s west coast and its popular beach. The mile- (1.5 kilometer-) long, picture-perfect crescent of sand is lined with shade-giving trees and seafood restaurants and is a go-to spot for sun worshippers, families, and water sports enthusiasts.More

Bangla Road (Patong)

This eclectic strip of bars, discos, shops, and attractions is the epicenter of entertainment in Patong. It offers a taste of local traditions and access to plenty of Western amenities, such as high-end boutiques in the modern Bangla Mall and restaurants that serve everything from pizza to pad thai.More
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Trip ideas

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Top activities in Phuket

Phuket City Tour: Karon View Point, Big Buddha & Wat Chalong (SHA Plus)
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Phuket City Tour: Karon View Point, Big Buddha & Wat Chalong (SHA Plus)

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John Gray's Hong by Starlight with Sea Cave Kayaking and Loy Krathong Floating
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Phi Phi Island by Premium Speedboat including Buffet Lunch & National Park Fees
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Phi Phi Islands Day Tour from Phuket

Phi Phi Islands Day Tour from Phuket

Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island with Canoeing By Big Boat From Phuket
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Travstore Original Phuket Discovery Tour - Shared Half Day City Tour
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Small Group Only 20 People - Phi Phi & Bamboo Islands and Maya Bay with Lunch
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12 Islands Overnight Tour
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12 Islands Overnight Tour

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Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Lay, Khai Nai Snorkeling Tour from Phuket
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Phuket Old Town Food Tour for 8 Exclusive Guests
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All about Phuket

When to visit

November marks the end of monsoon season in Phuket, and islanders waste no time in celebrating the glorious winter weather. Peak season runs through March, when temperatures are ideal for beach days and snorkeling, and the Lantern Festival (Loi Krathong Festival) and Patong Carnival draw in the crowds. If you can bear the heat, which sometimes climbs as high as 100°F (39°C), come in April for the legendary Thai New Year (Songkran) celebrations—the gigantic water fight will cool you down.

Getting around

Whether you prefer a taxi or tuk-tuk, you’ll need wheels to get around Thailand’s largest island. The cheapest option is catching a songthaew, which run to most destinations on the island—ask locally for the routes as formal timetables are hard to come by. For a bit more flexibility, rent a motorbike or car, or download Grab (Southeast Asia’s answer to Uber). If you want to explore further, regular ferries and speed boats cruise out to the surrounding islands.

Traveler tips

Escaping the beaten track isn’t easy in Phuket, but there are still a few lesser-known spots to seek out. For uncrowded sands and underwater views with more fish than snorkels, Banana Beach, on the northwest coast, is reached by a steep trail and remains one of the least developed of Phuket’s beaches with a single beachfront restaurant. For a street food hub with a more local vibe, try the small Kor Jaan night market along Kra Road in Phuket Town.

People Also Ask

Why is Phuket famous?

Phuket is known for its tropical beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich culture. Tourists flock here to try outdoor activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling and to enjoy a relaxing vacation on the beach. The Thai island has everything from zoos and museums to great restaurants and lively bars.

How do you pronounce Phuket?

Phuket is pronounced “poo-ket” not “foo-ket.” You'll see the “ph” letter combination in the Thai language often, but it’s always pronounced with a hard “p” rather than the “f” sound that English speakers are accustomed to.

Which part of Phuket is best to stay?

Phuket is a large island with several regions. Singles and young travelers flock to popular Patong. For a more family-friendly stay, there's Kata and Kamala beach areas. Surin and Karon boast lovely beaches. Stay in Bangtao for more sophisticated nightlife. Beachless Phuket Town is a thriving cultural hub.

What should we do in Phuket?

Phuket is known for its outdoor activities, from scuba diving to parasailing to relaxing on the beach. Popular day trips from Phuket include the nearby Phi Phi Islands and James Bond Island. At night, you can visit a bustling night market with authentic Thai food and souvenirs.

Is Phuket expensive for tourists?

No. Phuket is an affordable destination. Stay in modest rooms on the cheap or go for luxury resort options with higher price tags. Enjoy local street food for a dollar or two, or sit down to a nice meal that costs about what fast-casual food does in Europe or the US.

What can you do in Phuket for cheap?

The cheapest activity to do in Phuket is relaxing on its sandy beaches, which is free. For a more adventurous activity with a relatively low price tag, try a parasailing tour over Patong or a Muay Thai boxing match.


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Frequently Asked Questions
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