For the last leg of my island travels through Bali and Bangkok, I ended my journey in Phuket. Though it’s a tiny island, there are tons of places to see and things to do. So, here’s my bucket…..or should I say, Phuket List.
Phang Nga Bay is known for its limestone islands and emerald-green water and James Bond Island happens to be right there. This landmark was put on the map when it starred in the James Bond movie ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’. Though some spots will be tourist hubs, you should be able to come across some quiet beaches on this side of the island as well.
Phi Phi Island is perhaps one of the top tourist destinations as it’s incredibly beautiful and has been featured in all of the movies. Here you can find cliffs surrounding the beach as well as jungle right up to the shore.
I would describe Bangla Road as a mini (and less expensive) Las Vegas. At night, the street will come alive with neon lights, loud music and cheap drinks. This is the place to go if you’re looking to party.
4. Watch the Fantasea Show
The Fantasea Show illuminates the rich cultures and heritage of Thailand through stunts, illusions, acrobatics, and aerial performances. This theatrical show is put on by over 400 people, 400 pigeons, 44 elephants, 40 goats, 40 chickens and 3 tigers. It’s put on in a huge Carnival village equipped with games and Thai food.
The Similan Islands consists of 11 islands located in the Andaman Sea. These islands are great for anyone who likes to explore or dive in remote places full of wildlife, especially since the water is crystal clear.
6. Say Hi to Big Buddha
Big Buddha is a massive structure overlooking the ocean from just about every side. When visiting, make sure to be respectful to the locals by covering up your knees and shoulders! They will have scarves and sarongs you can borrow if you forget your own.
7. Stop By the Night Markets
The night markets offer a great opportunity to get some discount shopping in. There a quite a few different ones in Phuket, including Chillva Market, Phuket Weekend Market, Phuket Walking Street, Phuket Indy Market and Malin Plaza Patong, so make sure you do your research ahead of time so you know what to expect from which market.
8. Visit Old Phuket Town
Phuket Old Town is the historical centre of Phuket. It consists of 5 roads and several small streets: Rasada Road, Phang Nga Road, Thalang Road, Dibuk Road, and Krabi Road. It’s a cool place to check out and will help you see Phuket came to be what is is today.
9. Wat Chalong
Wat Chalong was built at the beginning of the 19th century and is the biggest and most visited Buddhist temple in Phuket. It’s 3 floors tall and every floor is full of large donated golden statues. There is no entry fee, but make sure you dress respectfully.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is an ethical sanctuary where the elephants roam and bathe freely. They rescue sick and injured and old elephants, welcoming them back into their indigenous habitat. While there, you are allowed to feed them pineapples and bananas and you are guaranteed to leave the sanctuary in awe of the majestic animals.
The Phuket Simon Cabaret Show is the island’s most famous ‘ladyboy’ show. It’s located in a luxurious and stylish venue and the performers are all just as glamorous. After the show, there will be opportunities to meet the stars and take photos.
12. Bang Tao Beach
Bang Tao Beach is a few minutes away from Cherng Talay. Aside from one of Asia’s largest resorts, Laguna Phuket, adorning the shore, there is not much to do near here and you just might have the beach to yourself in some areas.
13. Monkey Hill
Monkey Hill is exactly what it sounds like-a hill of monkeys! You can buy bananas and nuts on your way up the hill in order to aid in making new friends. Other than that, the experience is free. To get up the hill, it is about a 2 hour walk, but the view once you get there is incredible.
14. Kata Beach
Kata Beach is usually a popular area for families as there are incredible beaches and palm trees and insanely good restaurants, but not as lively of a nightlife scene. You’ll also find tons of souvenir shops and name-brand fashion stores here.
15. Tiger Kingdom
Tiger Kingdom is open everyday from 9:00-18:00 including public holidays. The animal encounter prices depend on what size and how many tigers you want to be with and can range from 900 Baht to 2,800 Baht. You can also have a professional photography take your pictures for 500 Baht, as you only get 10 minutes with the tiger.
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project makes it known that they are not a zoo. They rescue, rehabilitate and release gibbons back to the forest. Visitors are allowed to witness some of the gibbons which are not able to be released because they want to limit the human reaction with the animals. The rehabilitation center is located 20km from the Phuket International Airport.
18. Paradise Beach
Paradise Beach is just 8 minutes away from Patong Beach, so take advantage of the complimentary shuttle service in between these two locations. At the beach, you will find white sand and crystal clear water and some of the best parties known to Phuket. Your paradise awaits.
17. Kathu Waterfall
Kathu is not what most people believe it is, which sometimes leads to unfulfilled expectations. It’s a series of drop pools that are sometimes overflowing with rainwater and other times just sitting still. The best time to visit is from June to November when there is more water, however, be careful because it can get quite slippery hiking up.
There are guided tours where you can take canoes out and explore peaceful lagoons and float through caves around the island. This is highly recommended for some spectacular and exotic views.
20. Go on an ATV Tour
If you’re looking to fulfill your adrenaline rush on holiday, an ATV tour is the way to go. You’ll get the opportunity to whizz through jungles, farms and plantations for an hour or two with a guide. Satisfy your adventurous side.
21. Visit Kata Karon Viewpoint
Kata Karon Viewpoint is one of the most visited viewpoints on the island. You can see everything from Kata Yai to Kata Not to Karon beaches.
22. Get a Drink at Catch Beach Club
Catch Beach Club is one of the most fashionable beach clubs on the island and is located on Bangtao Beach. They have a barbecue every Friday from 7PM-11PM and a DJ that plays from 2PM daily ’til late.
23. Shop at Jungceylon Shopping Mall
Jungceylon Shopping Mall has over 200 stores selling brand-name clothing, electronics and other goods. You can also find entertainment services here like a 16-lane bowling alley and a cinema.
Thavorn Beach Village Resort & Spa is an insanely gorgeous location equipped with a private beach, tropical orchid gardens and a lagoon pool. It has won Hotel of the Year Awards as well as a Certificate of Excellence. I’d recommend this place to anyone looking for a relaxing stay in paradise.
Central Festival Phuket is located just outside of Phuket Town. With over 120 outlets, you can find everything from silk to sushi here.
For a rainy day, check out this museum of interactive art! These 3D paintings will make it look like you are actually a piece of the artwork and makes for great photo ops.
27. Take a Thai Cooking Class
I’m sure you already knew this, but the food in Thailand is incredible. So, why not spend your time learning how to make that incredible food and bring home your new talents to show your friends and family? I know they’ll appreciate it!
28. Phuket Aquarium
I know you can literally step onto any beach to enjoy the aquatic life here, but if you’re looking to do so without getting wet, the aquarium is the place to go. This place is full of colored fish, sharks, shrimp, eel and crabs and the best part is definitely the tunnel full of fish. They swim all around you and it’s like you’re right in the water with them.
29. Watch for Celebs at Surin Beach
Surin Beach, also known at ‘Millionaire’s Row’ is situated on the west coast near the holiday homes of the rich and famous. The calm waters are a great place to snorkel and kayak, but if you decide to stay on shore, keep an eye out for celebrities!
I hope this collective guide gave you some inspiration for your own experiences in Phuket, but, as always, if you have any additions to the list, please feel free to pop them in the comment section! I always look forward to hearing what you all have to say.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, please consider donating. I love making free content like this that is accessible to everyone and truly appreciate your support in helping me do so!