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Things to do and see in Phuket Thailand

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Phuket is a stunning 543 km² island in southern Thailand. Its beautiful beaches of fine white sand, crystal clear waters, green cliffs and a wide range of leisure activities have made the island one of the country’s top holiday destinations. Read on for all the must-see places and things to do in Phuket, Thailand, as well as tips on how to get there, where to stay and where to eat, among other things.

Organise your travel itinerary with Passporter easy and functional. Get inspired by the experiences of other travellers and choose the places that interest you the most, adding them to the route map.

Things to do in Phuket Thailand

Patong Beach

Patong Beach is the liveliest and most charismatic area of Phuket, as well as being home to the majority of hotels and services. Although one of the largest, it is not one of the best beaches in Phuket. However, it is always crowded with tourists who are attracted to this part of the island. If, in addition to paradise beaches, you want to enjoy the nightlife and party atmosphere, Patong Beach is a must on your list of things to do in Phuket.

Vacations in Phuket Thailand Patong Beach, the most visited beach
Vacations in Phuket, Thailand: Patong Beach, the most visited beach @Unsplash

Kamala Beach

Near Patong Beach, but much quieter and less crowded than Patong, is Kamala Beach. A popular destination for families and travellers who prioritise tranquillity over nightlife, but opt for the convenience of a well-serviced beach. The northern end of Kamala Beach is particularly quiet. The ideal place to relax and enjoy a perfect beach with crystal clear waters.

Kamala Beach, tourism in Phuket
Kamala Beach, tourism in Phuket @tiagoalv

Karon Beach

Karon Town is one of the best places to visit in Phuket. Its beach is long, clean and surfy, making it a good place for water sports such as surfing. The long promenade offers restaurants and shops where you can find the best souvenirs of Phuket. In addition, you can find here one of the best viewpoints in Phuket, overlooking the beaches of Karon, Kata and Kata Noi. It is accessible from Karon by car or an hour-long stroll to authentically enjoy the beauty of southern Thailand.

Panwa Beach

Panwa Cape is home to one of the most beautiful and most visited beaches in Phuket. It is also the ideal place to stay for those who want to enjoy the comfort and wellness provided by luxury hotels and villas. It could be considered a more exclusive beach, so it is not as crowded as Patong, for example, and is the ideal place to enjoy a few days of relaxation in a dreamlike setting.

Corre Phuket Town

Although Phuket is a tourist destination more often chosen for the beach than for cultural activities, one of the must-see sights on the island is the centre of the capital, Phuket Town. Walking through its streets is a real treat, where you can see 19th-century Sino-Portuguese architecture, with a multitude of colourful historic buildings. The main street is Thhalang Road, with its low, colourful houses and shops ranging from small restaurants serving traditional Thai cuisine to souvenir shops. Also, on Krabi Road you can visit another of the most interesting places in the city, the Thai Hua Museum. This is a beautiful British colonial-style building that houses an important museum of the history of Phuket and the first Chinese immigrants to arrive on the island.

Best things to do in Phuket Thailand Phuket Town
Phuket Town, the island’s capital and one of the best things to do in Phuket @pixabay

Visit the Great Buddha of Phuket in Thailand

The Big Buddha, or Big Buddha, is one of the island’s emblems. It is a white marble statue some 45 metres high that crowns Mount Nakkerd and offers one of the best possible views of the island. Access is free, but since it was built thanks to popular donations, it’s common to leave a few baht. To get there, you have to climb the Chao Fa road, 6 kilometres of curves, which you have to drive carefully, but which are absolutely worth it.

Hours: Monday-Sunday from 8:00 to 19:00

Big Buda trip to Phuket Thailand
The Big Buddha, the best spot on the island from which to take a photo of Phuket’s views @Unsplash

Wat Chalong View

As mentioned above, Phuket is not known for its cultural tourism. However, there is one place that every traveller should visit. This is Wat Chalong, a temple that is as impressive in its façade as it is inside, with a 60-metre pagoda and beautiful statues of Buddha.

Admission free, opening hours: Monday-Friday from 7:00 to 17:00.

Travel Tip: To organize your trip we recommend using the web or app of Passporter totally free and without any charge within the application. You can be inspired by the experiences of other travelers, choose the places that interest you most, create the travel route with a geolocated map, upload all important documents such as reservations and invite your friends so that everyone can participate in the organization of the trip.

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What things to do in Thailand around Phuket

Krabi

About 50km from Phuket and about an hour and a half by ferry, Krabi is one of Thailand’s most beautiful provinces. Like Phuket, it is known for its paradisiacal beaches and breathtaking scenery, making it a popular destination for tourists travelling to Thailand in search of a few days of sun, beach and relaxation.

Among the most famous beaches in Krabi (and all of Thailand) are those on the Railay peninsula, which is only accessible by sea and is bounded by impressive cliffs. Examples include Railay West Beach, the largest and where you’ll find the most accommodation and dining options, and Phra Nang, which is quieter and prettier. The Phang Nga Bay is also one of the best things to do near Phuket. Located between Krabi and Phuket, this bay offers some of the most beautiful views in Thailand, with its wonderful islands, grottoes and cliffs.

Krabi, one of the best excursions to do in Phi Phi Islands
Krabi, one of the best excursions to do close to Phuket @Pirata_Morgan

Things to do in Thailand: Phi Phi Phi Islands close to Phuket

The Phi Phi Phi Islands are a wonderful archipelago of paradise islands in southern Thailand located 45 km from Phuket, and about a two-hour ferry ride away.

As is the case in this part of Thailand, the Phi Phi Islands are a popular holiday destination with travellers for their white sandy beaches, crystal clear water and postcard-perfect scenery. Among the islands most famous for their breathtaking beauty is Koh Phi Phi Phi Don, the largest of the archipelago and the one that offers the most leisure, accommodation and dining facilities to its visitors. Among its essential beaches is Monkey Beach, a marvellous beach that, apart from its beauty, stands out for the monkeys that live there and greet bathers. Another of the island’s characteristic points is its viewpoint, the Phi Phi Don Viewpoint, located on a hill that can be reached after a 20-minute trekking route. From here you get the best views of the island.

But this is not the only interesting island in Phi Phi, Koh Pai is another. This island is quieter than the others and receives fewer visitors, making it an ideal place to unwind. There are several companies that organise day trips to the Phi Phi islands from Phuket, one of the best things to do in this part of Thailand. The price is around €90, but you can also organise the trip on your own.

How to get to Phuket

There are several ways to get to Phuket and it will depend on where you are travelling from to choose the most suitable one for you. Although Phuket has its own airport, Phuket International Airport, there are currently no direct flights connecting the island to European cities. Usually, at least one stopover in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is required. Prices from Spain are around €500-800.

If you’re travelling from other southern destinations such as Krabi province or the Phi Phi Islands, the best way to get there is by ferry. From the Phi Phi Islands the journey takes about two hours and costs between €13 and €24. In the case of Krabi, the journey takes about an hour and a half and costs €32.

If you’re travelling to Phuket from Bangkok, one option is to travel by bus. The journey is long, taking between 12 and 16 hours depending on the bus you choose, and the price ranges from €17-30. A quicker alternative is by plane, the journey time is one and a half hours and prices range from €15-90€

What to do in Phuket in 4 days

First day in Phuket:

  • Kamala Beach
  • Patong Beach

Second day in Phuket:

  • Phuket Town
  • Big Buddha
  • Night in Patong Beach

Third day in Phuket:

  • Excursion to the Phi Phi islands

Fourth day in Phuket:

  • Karon Beach
  • Panwa Beach

Where to eat in Phuket

  • Thong Dee – The Kathu Brasserie: This restaurant is one of the best in the Kathu area and in Phuket as a whole. It is a brasserie frequented by locals with top quality products and excellent service. Price range: 5€-27€.
  • La Sala – Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas: La Sala is one of the best restaurants in Mai Khao. Its menu features dishes from Indian and Thai cuisines. It has an elegantly decorated dining room and large windows overlooking a garden. Price range: 8€-59€.
  • JW Cafe: Also on Mai Khao, JW Cafe is the best place to have breakfast in Phuket, with a wide variety of delicious dishes. You can choose from the classic American breakfast to more local dishes such as rice noodle soup and curry noodles. Price: 5-20€.

Where to sleep in Phuket

  • Panwaburi Beachfront Resort: A fantastic five-star hotel on the South Coast of Phuket, on the beachfront opposite Panwa Beach. It offers luxurious rooms with all the amenities, as well as a balcony overlooking the pool. Price per night in high season: from 75€
  • Buasri Boutique Patong: Just a 15-minute walk from Patong Beach on the West Coast. This fabulous three-star hotel features an outdoor pool, garden and terrace. Comfortable, clean and spacious rooms at an affordable price. Price per night in high season: 25€
  • Na Siam Guesthouse: A pleasant, modern, industrial-style guesthouse in central Phuket, just a stone’s throw from the old town. Don’t let the word “guesthouse” fool you, as this is no bunkhouse, with spacious single rooms and private bathrooms. Price per night in high season: 16€

Tips for your trip to Phuket Thailand

  • The currency in Thailand is Thai Baht (1 baht = 0’026€).
  • Bring your money beforehand, currency exchanges at airports are very expensive.
  • Bring some cash with you at all times, not all shops accept credit cards.
  • Be insured for medical emergencies.
  • Best to drink only bottled water, as tap water is not always safe to drink.
  • Phuket is a year-round destination, but the least rainy season is from November to April.
  • To enter the temples you must be barefoot, wear trousers or skirts below the knees and clothes that cover the shoulders.
  • In Thailand, opt for responsible tourism and avoid activities that involve the abuse of animals and humans.

How to organise what things to do in Phuket

Register or download the Passporter App and discover all its possibilities.

  • Get inspired by the experiences of other travellers.
  • Create your own itinerary and add the app’s suggestions to it.
  • Add the stops that interest you most, as well as the restaurants and bars where you want to eat (you can use the points of interest listed in this post as a reference).
  • Organise your itinerary by route days according to their location on the map (you can take inspiration from the routes we present in the post)
  • Check the travel budget that the app calculates according to your travel stops, restaurants, and leisure activities.
  • Make the modifications you need and you’ll be all set for your trip.
  • Share your experience. Upload photos of each of the places you have visited on your trip to the app and recommend other travellers what to see in Phuket Thailand.

If you have doubts about how to do it, you can check our post: How to create your travel itinerary with Passporter.

Frequently asked questions

Is it better to go to Krabi or Phuket?

If you want to visit one of these two southern destinations on your trip to Thailand but don’t have time for both, read on. The truth is that both destinations are equally beautiful and whichever one you choose you will fall in love with the paradisiacal beaches and the beauty of the natural environment that surrounds them. There are other factors to consider when choosing between the two destinations. For example, if in addition to beaches and relaxation you are looking for other activities and leisure options, Phuket is ideal, as it has a greater variety of options and tourist attractions, such as its beautiful Old Town. However, if you’re more concerned about the budget, Krabi generally wins on this front.

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