As Thailand’s Largest Island, There Is a Wealth of Things to Do in Phuket. Come Find out What Some of Those Things Are…
When searching “things to do in Phuket,” you’ll come across the standard beaches and nightclubs. However, nearly every tropical island has beaches and a lively nightlife. So what makes Phuket different? We are diving deeper (scuba style) to find highly unique things to do in Phuket that you cannot do at any other tropical destination. Don’t settle for average. Make your trip to Phuket memorable by checking off some of these stand-out things to do, eat, and see.
There is a mixture of cultural events, street food treats, fine-dining establishments, not-your-ordinary museums, monkeys, hotels and spas, tours, helicopter rides, and more on this list of the top things to do in Phuket. Travelers, get ready. For an adventurous trip to one of the most scenic areas in Southeast Asia, here are the best things to do in Phuket, the largest Thai island.
1. Admire Phang Nga Bay
Limestone rock formations. Emerald waters. Caves. Lagoons. Private beaches. The nature waiting to be discovered at Phang Nga Bay is unparalleled. The pure amazement of the limestone cliffs protruding tall into the sky will leave travelers without worlds. Best of all, Phang Nga Bay doesn’t have to be admired from afar. Travelers can get up close by kayaking through the green waters or canoeing within the sea caves. Pictures and words simply do not do this place justice. See for yourself the in-person wonder of Phang Nga Bay. Sail through the caves and wrap around the rock formations for memories that will last a lifetime.
After you have glided upon the water of the bay, lift into the air to see a remarkably new perspective. Are you thinking what we are thinking? Helicopter tours. There are helicopter tours offered that hover above the Phuket coastline and reveal the beauty of the glorious Phang Nga Bay.
2. Tour Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is the only distillery in Phuket. Every day on the hour at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, and 6:00, visitors can go on a 30-minute guided tour. On this tour, visitors will discover how passionate this distillery is about their craft. Tour-goers will also partake in a tasting session. If you are into mixing your own drinks, you can sign up for a cocktail workshop. The cocktail workshops take place every Monday and Thursday. The class is 2 hours long and consists of making 3 cocktails, touring the distillery, and walking away with new recipes to share with friends back home. If you have no desire to mix drinks or tour the distillery, stop by the bar & boutique open every day from 11 am – 10 pm. Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is also available to host private events, including birthdays or other celebrations.
3. Get Cooking with a Thai Cooking Class
While looking for things to do in Phuket, how about stepping into the kitchen? The smell of black pepper, turmeric, ginger, fresh herbs, and chilies will flood the kitchen as you experiment with cooking Thai cuisine. There are many cooking classes available in Phuket where visitors can have an enjoyable afternoon making tasty, mouthwatering meals. Since participants will be cooking from scratch, they will learn a lot about the art of cooking Thai food. We advise that you come hungry. You are sure to leave satisfied. You will also leave with a wealth of new knowledge, including recipes to cook for your friends and family when you return home. Especially on a rainy day, taking a Thai cooking class is one of the best things to do in Phuket.
4. Kata Noi Beach
Whereas Kata Beach is one of the most popular tourist beaches on the island, Kata Noi Beach is a smaller, quieter place to visit. Those who want time away from the crowds can wander over the Kata Noi Beach. Here, the water is crystal clear, the sand is soft and clean, and the atmosphere is restful. The beach is frequented by mainly resort guests. However, all are welcome. Though the beach is smaller than others on the island, it is certainly one of the nicest beaches on the west coast of Phuket. The area is clean and the water is safe enough to swim with kids.
All around, Kata Nai Beach is family-friendly and a great destination to visit when searching for things to do in Phuket. Because of how peaceful Kata Nai Beach is, you can easily spend the entire day soaking in the sunrays. Conveniently, there are places for beach-goers to rent a beach mat or umbrella at Kata Nai Beach. Small stalls sell food and drinks for visitors, but we recommend that travelers bring snacks with them too.
5. Admire the View from Karon Viewpoint
See the island’s greenery contrast with turquoise waters at this spot in Phuket. While you are at Kata Noi Beach, or in the area, stopping by the Karon Viewpoint will be worthwhile. The viewpoint is located just south of the beach, making it a convenient pit stop either before or after your time by the shore.
Be warned, the Karon Viewpoint is a favorite spot for many travelers, so the area may be crowded with tourists. If you can bear the crowds, we recommend sticking around because the view of the coastline from this point is absolutely beautiful. Best of all, there is no cost. In terms of free things to do in Phuket, add a trip to the Karon Viewpoint to your list. Plus, you can spend as little or as much time as you want here. Even for a 10 minute stop, we recommend paying a (free) visit to the Karon Viewpoint.
6. Visit the Interactive Phuket Trickeye Museum
Phuket Trickeye Museum is no ordinary museum with traditional exhibits and artifacts. Instead, this 3D art museum engages visitors in atypical and creative ways. Here, you will be invited to be a part of the art. You’ll want to remember your camera when visiting the Phuket Trickeye Museum. Next to each painting is a set of instructions on how to pose. These goofy poses will have to be captured with a camera. The instructions near the paintings also tell the photographer where to stand in order to make the scene appear most realistic.
No traveler can go to this museum and not laugh the entire way through. For a fun activity to do with the family, visit Trickeye Museum. Particularly on rainy days, creating lasting memories at this museum is one of the top things to do in Phuket. Visitors can come any day of the week between 10 am – 7 pm to partake in the excitement.
7. Take a Look at Baan Teelanka (The Upside Down House)
Baan Teelanka is certainly a disorienting experience. Because of its uniqueness, a visit to this upside down house is among the top things to do in Phuket. Travelers can easily spend 2-3 hours at Baan Teelanka and here’s why: Both inside and out, the house plays games with your eyes. Much like the Phuket Trickeye Museum, Baan Teelanka is brim full of optical illusions.
There are many rooms within the house to take funny “upside down” photos. These photo opportunities mainly include floating from ceilings. Sharing these photos with your friends and family back home will have them amazed by your Spiderman skills that enable you to climb walls and dangle from ceilings without breaking a sweat! Looking for things to do in Phuket that entire families will love? A visit to Baan Teelanka is a promising option.
8. Scuba Dive & Snorkel
If you’re into scuba diving, there is no place like diving near the Similan Islands. In all of Thailand, these islands are the most talked about concerning fantastic scuba diving. Great news for you all visiting Phuket… there are daily tours that depart to the Similan Islands! On these tours, visitors can suit up and see the stunning underwater world. There is no need to be a professional scuba diver to partake in the fun. Thailand is a great place for beginners as well.
In Phuket, there are many opportunities for travelers to learn how to scuba dive and experience the greatness that lies beneath the water’s surface. Not only are there scuba diving options available, but snorkeling opportunities as well. Some of the best spots to snorkel include Kaya Noi Beach, Paradise Beach, Ya Nui, and Ao Sane. Everyone, put on your face mask and prepare to see the colorful corals and rock formations sitting just below the tranquil water.
9. Fine Dine at Mom Tri’s Kitchen
Mom Tri’s Kitchen is located at Villa Royale in Kata Hoi Beach. On the expensive side, this restaurant serves meals blasting with flavor. Although, that’s not all the restaurant serves. Mom Tri’s Kitchen is nestled within a lush setting that makes the dining experience all the better. Conveniently located on the coastline, travelers will enjoy everything from the cuisine to the breeze to the surrounding landscape. Couples desiring a romantic fine-dining experience on their trip to Phuket should spend an evening at this restaurant. The menu features local Thai specialties as well as Mediterranean and European meals. Some options include duck spring rolls, vegetable red curry, scallop shrimp salad, wild mushroom risotto, crab cakes, and plenty more.
10. Try a Thai Pancake
Thai pancakes, also known as roti pancakes, are the sweet treat that you must try during your visit to Phuket. In terms of the Thai food scene, trying one of these pancakes is among the top things to do in Phuket. A trip to Thailand is simply incomplete without your tastebuds witnessing the wonderful goodness of Thai pancakes.
Here’s what they are. Thai roti is filled with anything from bananas to strawberries to chocolate sauce, then rolled in a mixture of sugar, egg, and sweetened condensed milk. The pancake is then tossed onto a pan to be fried. Crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, these pancakes taste best hot off the pan. As you can see, these sweet pancakes come prepared with different fillings. If you are a major foodie, we recommend testing a few to find your favorite combination. Also, in some places, you will find Thai pancakes topped with ice cream.
11. Monkey Around at Monkey Hill
Monkey Hill, also known as Toh Sae Hill, is not only home to wild monkeys, but it is also the highest hill in Phuket town. The monkeys are not likely to bother you if you don’t bother them. However, they have been known to scoop up unattended belongings, so keep you pursue, camera, and jacket wrapped around you when visiting. Since so many tourists make their way to Monkey Hill, the monkeys are not afraid of people. In fact, they may be a little too comfortable. In addition to seeing the monkeys, the view from the top of the hill is beautiful. Come to take in the view as some monkeys meander peacefully around and others attempt to snatch food from visitors. It will be a memorable experience, even if you leave with a smaller amount of snacks in your bag then when you arrived.
12. Cruise on the Water Via Boat Tour
The natural scenery in and around Thailand is extravagant. That is why travelers cannot pass up on the opportunity to go on a boat tour while in Phuket. Countless companies offer boat tours and it is difficult to rank which is best because a seat on any of the boats will provide the views you are searching for. Picking a tour company will largely depend on the type of experience you want.
There are boat tours that take you scuba diving and snorkeling. There are others that take travelers on a leisurely cruise around parts of the island where they can relax and enjoy the views at a slower pace. Whichever you choose, the experience of zooming through the warm water and taking in the beauty surrounding you will feel like a dream. In any capacity, getting on a boat and gliding on the crystal water is one of the top things to do in Phuket.
13. Visit Phi Phi Island
Phi Phi Island is the top, most picturesque, superstar island of Thailand. From Phuket, visitors can access Phi Phi Island by speedboat or ferryboat. Speedboat rides are a short 45-minutes to the island and the ferryboat rides take a longer 90 minutes. However, as we previously mentioned, any opportunity to boat on the water is one to take advantage of.
Phi Phi is actually a collection of multiple islands. Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh are the two main ones. We recommend spending at least one night on Phi Phi Island. From the thriving palm trees to the massive cliffs and serene water, Phi Phi’s beauty is unmatched. If traveling to Phuket for your honeymoon or on a romantic getaway, put a trip to Phi Phi Island on your list of things to do in Phuket. Nothing says romance like a trip to the island.
14. Pamper Yourself at the Spa
Spas, spas, spas. Phuket has plenty of spa options for travelers desiring a relaxing massage or facial on their trip. On a rainy day, a visit to the spa will be a rejuvenating experience. While there are many spas in the area, one of our favorites is Sukko Spa Resort. Sukko provides flawless services within a tropical paradise. The spa is surrounded by nature, providing lovely views. There is a swimming pool as well, in addition to a constantly smiling staff. The spa offers scrubs, massages, aromatherapies and more on their treatment menu. For relaxation to the highest level check out Sukko Spa Resort. It will be an all-around wonderful experience to visit a refreshing spa during your trip to Phuket. On your list of things to do in Phuket, we highly recommend planning for a day of pampering at the spa
15. Watch the Sunset in Phuket
The sun burns gold and reflects off the still water. Clouds alter their color in oranges, pinks, and yellows. As the sun sinks over the horizon, onlookers are left in awe. This is what the experience is like watching the sunset in Phuket. And there are numerous locations to witness the glory. Many tourists go to Promthep Cape to see the sunset. The view from Promthep Cape is indescribable, but don’t think that is the only place to experience the beauty. Sprinkled all down the coastline are locations where travelers can see spectacular views.
In addition, Phuket also affords travelers incredible views of the sunrise. That means that travelers can spend the morning on the east coast watching the sunrise and the evening on the west coast of the island watching the sunset. From sun up to sun down, your heart will be happy to be in Phuket. While on vacation, be sure that catching the sunrise and sunset is on your list of things to do in Phuket.
16. Rent a Motorbike to Explore the Island
To tour the island at your own speed, rent a motorbike! Strap on your helmet and be off on your way. The island is large and offers many places for exploration. When you rent a motorbike and adventure around the island on your own, there will be no need to rush. Travel as slow as you want in order to take in every town, beach, and viewpoint that you stop by. Renting scooters are the easiest, cheapest, and most convenient way to get around town. Plus, they are hands-down the most fun way to get around the island too.
17. Eat Por Pia (AKA Thai Spring Rolls)
We hope you travel to Phuket with an appetite. From the street food to the fine-dining, there are so many scrumptious snacks and meals to taste. Travelers will find authentic Thai food around every street corner on the island. One food item that you’ll have to try in Phuket are the spring rolls. You can find Por Pia both in restaurants and on the streets in vendor pushcarts. Filled with meat, vegetables, and/or rice noodles there are several ways that you’ll find Por Pia prepared. After they are filled and wrapped, these rolls of goodness are fried to crispy perfection. Typically, these crunchy spring rolls are served with sweet dipping sauces.
18. Explore Old Phuket Town
Old Phuket Town is a historic quarter of the island that has a personality of its own. There is no town with more vibrant and detailed architecture than Old Phuket Town. A journey down these historical streets will be filled with quaint shops, cafés, restaurants, museums, and grand mansions. Specifically, visitors should walk around Krabi, Dibuk, and Thalang roads when in the area. These roads showcase wonderful Sino-Portuguese houses that are, as we mentioned, more like mansions. Should you want a more formal tour of Old Phuket Town, you can book a guided walking tour of the old part of Phuket City. On the guided walking tours, you will receive even more information about the history behind the beautiful mansions you are bound to see.
19. Take a Hike
Nature lovers, you will be thrilled to discover the hiking opportunities available in Phuket. The island is blessed with cascading waterfalls, hilltop panoramic views, glistening emerald waters, vibrant greenery, and expansive national parks. The terrain offers many neat hiking trails ranging from short walks to more physically intense hikes. Some of our favorite hiking destinations in Phuket include Kathu Waterfall, Bang Pae Waterfall, and Khao Sok National Park.
20. Help the Gibbons
Calling all animal lovers. The Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation Project is a center that works to help and heal gibbons with the intention of returning them back to the wild. After the rescuing and rehabilitation, the gibbons are released. A visit to the center will provide you with great information about how and why this is done. Does the Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation Project sound interesting to you? If this center already sounds exciting to you, just wait until you hear about the center’s volunteer opportunities. Visitors are always welcome to volunteer at the project. Some of these volunteer tasks include working in the gift shop, feeding the gibbons, cleaning cages, and participating in research. If you are passionate about animals, then visiting the center should be on your list of things to do in Phuket.
There you have it. The top 20 unique things to do in Phuket. If you have traveled to Phuket before, then we want to hear about your favorite things to do on the island! Share with us in the comments section below.
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