Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island and a major tourist destination for people from all over the globe. Combining stunning beaches and lush jungle and brimming with adventures and activities, there are many excellent things to do in Phuket. Getting anywhere in the world whether be Europe or Asia, is very easy with so many flights available throughout the year.
1. Hit the Beach!
Backpacking Thailand wouldn’t be the same without visiting Phuket’s world-renowned beaches. Soft white sands fringe the island, and there are more than 30 different beaches to choose between. Some of Phuket’s shores are energetic and full of life! It is still possible to find relatively secluded and peaceful spots if you travel beyond the typical tourist areas however.
Patong Beach is one of the most popular things to do in Phuket. There’s plenty of accommodation close to hand, as well as restaurants, shops and a pumping nightlife. For something a bit quieter, take a boat trip, or hike through the jungle, to Freedom Beach.
Layan Beach, near Bangtao Bay, is quiet too. Indeed, don’t be surprised if there are no other people on the pretty beach.
Some of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches include Kata Noi, Kata, Nai Harn, Kamala, Banana Rock, Surin and Laem Singh. Beach lovers will be spoiled for choice!
2. Take a Trip to Phang Nga Bay
An immensely popular activity to do in Phuket is to join a trip to the splendid Phang Nga Bay. You’ll find gorgeous sandy beaches, striking karst formations and mangroves. Sea kayaking is a terrific way to explore the mangroves and sea caves. Don’t forget your camera!
There are several islands and islets in the bay, including the famous Ko Tapu, also known as James Bond Island, as well as Bamboo Island. Some trips include options for snorkeling and scuba diving.
3. Stroll Around Phuket Town
Located next to a scenic bay, Phuket Town makes for a nice contrast to other parts of the island. Rather than traditional Thai-style buildings or tourist resorts, Phuket Town is home to Chinese- and Portuguese-inspired architecture.
4. Watch a Beautiful Sunset
Phuket has several terrific spots for witnessing one of nature’s most stunning shows: a gorgeous sunset. Some of the best places to watch a Phuket sunset are Kata Viewpoint, Promthep Cape and Cape Panwa.
5. Be Amazed at Baan Teelanka
Baan Teelanka is one of Phuket’s more whimsical attractions. You’ll quickly see why it’s also known as the Upside Down House! If it’s not strange enough seeing a house perched on its roof from the outside, step inside and wander through the upside-down rooms! The site also has a cool maze and escape game.
6. Dine at Phuket Vegan Naiharn Beach
Once a year, Phuket hosts the Vegetarian Festival. It usually falls at the end of September or the beginning of October. Perhaps more gruesome than you may expect for a meat-free festival, people perform a range of spiritual rituals that could otherwise be classed as self harm. Walking over hot coals, mortification of the flesh and climbing up sharp blades are just a few activities you may witness.
Nevertheless, it is a time when many locals, particularly those of Chinese descent, abstain from eating meat for ten days.
If you visit at a different time of year, Phuket Vegan Naiharn Beach in Rawai, is a top spot to savor some delicious local and international vegan fare. Dishes include burritos, lentil burgers, falafel, salads and vegetables with rice.
7. Find Peace at Dharana Phuket Meditation Center
Learn how to calm your mind and benefit from meditation techniques with a visit to Dharana Phuket Meditation Center. If you don’t have the time to join an in-depth retreat, the center offers free meditation classes twice per week. Soothe your mind, body and soul and embrace mindfulness teachings from Thai Theravada Buddhism.
8. Visit Religious Sites
While Phuket doesn’t have the same number of religious sites as other parts of the country, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any cultural spots to enjoy. Indeed, seeing the Big Buddha is among the top things to do in Phuket. Standing tall and proud, the golden Buddha image is a picture of serenity.
Another recommended religious site is Wat Phra Thong. Surrounded in local legends, the ornate temple houses half of a sacred Buddha statue. The Jui Tui Shrine provides a glimpse into local Chinese beliefs.
9. Meet the Moken
The Moken are a cultural group that live in a small village in Rawai. Also known as sea gypsies, the Moken are perhaps most famous for their awesome free-diving abilities. Maintaining their own traditions, culture and customs, the group is unlike any other in Thailand.
10. Help With Local Animal Welfare and Conservation Projects
While you probably won’t have the time to devote to a long-term voluntary project, you can still make a difference by visiting charities and supporting with a donation or entrance fee.
The Soi Dog Foundation provides shelter and care for stray cats and dogs, as well as feeding animals that have found homes in nearby temples. The charity runs successful neutering programs, helps to re-home animals and is passionate about ending the dog-meat trade in Asia. Visitors can learn more about the center’s work with a guided tour of the facility.
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project rescues abused and abandoned animals. They’re well-known for their work with the endangered gibbon, but they help other wild animals in need too. Rehabilitation and release projects are a major part of the center’s work. It also seeks to educate people about the importance of conservation. Visitors are welcome.
Other top things to do in Phuket include a fun visit to Phuket Fantasea, entertainment at Siam Niramit and Simon’s Cabaret, watching a traditional Muay Thai match and experiencing the local nightlife.
If a holiday in Phuket sounds appealing, book your flights now and have a magical vacation in the Land of Smiles.