Looking for things to do in Phuket? In this guide, I fill you in all the best places to visit to help make your trip to this incredible island unforgrattable.
Picture this: A mountainous island full of lush rainforests, limestone karts, and some of the most tranquil picture-perfect beaches. Sounds like paradise? It is. Take it from our experience, after a few weeks here, you would find it hard to ever leave.
While it looks busy and overwhelming initially, venture off the regular tourist trail and find little slices of paradise. Pronounced without the “h”, Phuket is known as the Pearl of the Andaman sea. While it has now grown into more than just an idyllic beach laden island
Fun fact: Phuket is almost as big as Singapore.
Due to its size, here is never a dull moment in Phuket given the wide variety of things to do. To help you plan your trip, here’s a list of a few of the best things to see and do while in Phuket.
Things to Do in Phuket
Go Beach Hopping
While most people end up visiting Phuket’s main beaches, due to Phuket’s large size, there are heaps of other places that are worth visiting and exploring. Skip out on visiting the busy tourist beaches of Karon, Patong, and Kata instead, hire a motorbike (or a car) and drive around in search of some off-the-beaten-path beach.
From the stunning Banana Beach,Kata Noi, Nai Thon, and Surin, there are literally loads to choose from. Escape the drives of local vendors and sun loungers, instead, grab a beach sarong and a hat and plop yourself near a tree as you enjoy quiet beaches with the most vibrant waters imaginable.
If you want to hit two birds with one stone and do some snorkeling while exploring beautiful beaches, take a look at some of these island hopping tours around Phuket.
Recommended Island Hopping Tours: Island hopping is THE thing to do while in Phuket. With that in mind, listed below are our favorite tours that we recommend you do.
Go Surfing in Phuket
Surf to your heart’s content in Surf House Phuket’s wave pool where you can ride waves continuously. Practice your surfing (or wipe out) skills and enjoy non-stop surf action and trendy music. They currently have two locations so you can enjoy riding some waves in either Kata or Patong Beach.
If you want to have a go at the real thing, check out these surfing lessons which are run in Kata Beach. Alternatively, you can also try your luck with the wave pool which is heaps of fun.
Go Scuba Diving in Phuket
As in most of the Thai Islands, diving and exploring the underwater world is a must! Surround yourself with loads of tropical fish and coral as you visit some of Thailand’s best dive spots. Visit sites like Hin Daeng and Hin Muang dive sites where you can see the fantastic marine life on a steep wall and vibrant violet corals.
Given that there are LOADS of dive schools, choose wisely and go with ones that are well recommended.
Resources: View the Best Liveaboard Diving in Thailand
The feeling of complete freedom as you glide across the ocean with nothing but your kite is a feeling that I can’t compare to anything else. If you’re a boardsports enthusiast and kiteboarding has always been on your list, I highly recommend looking in taking some classes.
Not only is it loads of fun but it is an adrenaline rush like no other! Phuket has everything from “trial” lessons to beginner and advanced courses that are worth looking at.
Gaze at The Karon Viewpoint
As Phuket is a mountainous (and large) island, as you can imagine, it is also full of many viewpoints. One of the most popular ones being the Karon View Point. When you gaze in one side, you can see the Andaman Sea while the other side boasts of unending views of three different bays on the other side.
As this is a rather popular spot for tourists, be ready to battle your way through a sea of selfie sticks. However, with that being said, the view really is worth it. Other notable viewpoints that are worth seeing and exploring are:
- Ya Nui Viewpoint
- Khao Rang Hill
- Radar Hill Viewpoint
- Kata Noi Viewpoint
Editor’s Note: To save time when traveling, you can see the ferry schedules and book ahead of time.We recommend using Bookaway or 12Go website to view bus, boat, and train schedules ahead of time.
Thai food is one of the best cuisines in the world- like really. What better way to appreciate the cuisine than learning how to cook it? Phuket is littered with many cooking schools, ready to teach you how to make that oh-so-delicious Pad Thai and Tom Yum soup you’ve been devouring every day.
Editor’s Note: To have the best cooking experience book a cooking class with our trusted partners Cookly.
Visit Wat Chalong
For a taste of some local Thai culture, head on over to Wat Chalong, a place that is very important to the Thai people. The highlight of the place is the Grand Pagoda which is said to have a small splinter from the bone of Buddha himself. The entire place is beautifully decorated with his life story. As this is a temple and place of worship, make sure you bring something to cover your knees and shoulders.
Go on a Rum Distillery Tour
Tour around the Chalong Bay Rum distillery as you see how they process their award-winning rum from Thai sugarcane. If you enjoy visiting wineries and distilleries, this is a pretty cool activity to do while in Phuket.
This 30-minute distillery tour takes you around their production and bottling plant and topping off the whole experience with a refreshing Chalong Bay Mojito, fresh off the press. Bottoms up!
Visit Phuket’s Attractions: The Big Buddha
While it’s easy to just sit under a beach umbrella and do absolutely nothing, we urge you to take the time to do something cultural while in Phuket. Following suit, what’s more cultural than visiting Phuket’s largest Buddha statue. Situated on the peak of Mt. Nagakerd in Karon, gaze at the breathtaking horizon around you as you enjoy a 360-degree view of the Southern Part of Phuket Island.
Editor’s Note: Take a look at out complete Thailand Travel Guide featuring the best things to do, what to eat, and where to stay.
Get Active and Go Biking in Koh Yao Noi Island
If you’re in Phuket for a while, going on day trips around the islands is something we highly recommend. First up is a biking tour around fields, rubber plantations, and lush forested areas in Koh Yao Noi Island. You can bike across the entire island, making it an ideal day trip. We recently took on this adventure and had a blast navigating our way through rice fields and beaches.
Snorkeling and Island Hopping
Island hopping is probably one of the best things to do while in Phuket. While still very touristy, it is still worth doing. Join the many boat tours being offered around the island and hop from one island to the next.
A few popular tours are: Around Phuket, Phi Phi Island, James Bond Island, Maya Bay, and Pileh Lagoon. Just imagine yourself surrounded by turquoise blue warm waters while on a boat with a beer in hand. Perfect!
If it’s snorkeling you’re after, don’t miss out on a trip to the Similan Islands. Known as one of the most pristine dive and snorkel locations, this trip is a must for water enthusiasts. Check out this Similan Island Day Trip from Phuket.
If you’re looking for reliable companies who give great boat tours, you can book a variety of tours through GoVoyagin and all at a discounted price!
Explore Phuket Old Town
Two or three decades ago, Phuket’s beaches were uninhabited. Phuket Town became very important due to the rubber industry and mining boom, thus making it a rich historical center.
Take a walk down memory lane as you explore the roads and lanes of their forgotten past. We recommend going on this Phuket Old Town Food Tour for a real cultural experience.
If you’re into the adrenaline-fueled adventures, this one is perfect for you. Take the leap of faith and jump out into nothingness in Phuket’s famous jungle bungee jump site. With New Zealand and Australian owners, their safety standards are up to par with other jump sites worldwide. Feel your heart pound, and your gut twist and turn until you’re ready to throw yourself down 50m down a tranquil lagoon. Trust me, it’s EPIC!
P.S. Scared to do it alone? They also have tandem jumps!
Sponsor a Dog
Anyone that has been to Asia knows that animal rights are basically close to none. One of the best organizations we’ve seen is Soi Dog, a group in Phuket committed to sheltering stray dogs and cats.
The coolest part, if you’re traveling back home, you can even be a flight volunteer to help bring some of these dogs to loving homes overseas. Definitely worth checking them out while on the island.
Go Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay
Home to 40 small islands, lagoons, and caves, a day trip kayaking around Phang Nga Bay is a must while in Phuket. The bay is protected from natural elements due to its location which makes it the perfect location to kayak around and explore.
Its waters are also protected by the Ao Phang Nga National Park. If you want to do a full tour, this normally involves a visit to ‘James Bond Island’, Ko Panyee (Sea Gypsy Village), and a bit of snorkeling.
Support the Gibbon Project
In Thailand, more and more Gibbons are being killed each year due to urbanization and illegal hunters. The Gibbon rehabilitation project was established to help care for Gibbons which are being relocated back to the wild.
The entire project is dedicated to helping transition them to their natural environment so don’t expect to see loads of cages and confined spaces! They are always on the lookout for volunteers so definitely check them out if you have time.
Explore a National Park
If you’re feeling the need to get some jungle time, head on over to Khao Phra Thaeo, one of Phuket’s largest untouched areas. Spend a morning here walking through their nature trail or hiking to Tonsai waterfalls.
If you want to take it a little bit further, there is also an 8km trek from Bang Pae Waterfalls to Tonsai. As it is a National Park, they charge foreigners 400 THB as an entrance fee to help with the conservation fees of the place.
Go People Watching in “Sin City” Patong
Despite getting a bad rep, Patong is still a place to visit (at least once) while you’re in Phuket. Loosely labeled as the Sin City of Thailand, this place is full of bright lights, ping pong shows, ladyboys, and anything else you can imagine. So if you’re up for a night of debauchery and people watching, Patong is the place to go.
Watch the Sunset from Promthep Cape
Known for its stellar sunsets, Promthep Cape near Rawai Beach is a popular spot for sunset worshippers. Come here with your motorbike and marvel at the sun setting in the horizon as you watch the sky turn into various shades of pink, orange, and purple. Nearby, there is also a lighthouse and a Buddhist shrine which you can visit.
Go Crazy Over Phuket’s Markets
As Phuket is the main tourist hotspot, naturally, there are loads of markets to see and visit. Walk around, find some local souvenirs, eat some local street food, or simply just enjoy “window shopping”. Here are a few of our favorite markets in Phuket and where you can find them!
Go Chasing Waterfalls in Phuket
While the waterfalls in Phuket cannot compare to let’s say the waterfalls in Chaing Mai, they are still worth seeing and venturing out to nature for.
Here is a list of several small waterfalls which are worth trekking into the jungle for: Bang Pae Waterfall, Lampi Waterfall, Sri Phang Nga National Park, Tonsai Waterfall, Kathu Waterfall, and Ton Prai Waterfall. Some of them have pools large enough for you to take a dip in.
While I can go on and on about all the other things you can see and do while in Phuket, my advice? Just head there yourself and start exploring!
Whether you’re there to bask in a beach, explore hidden caves and coves, go island hopping, or join the many adrenaline-fuelled activities, Phuket has a little bit of something for everyone.
Safety in Phuket
Although Phuket is touristy, it is generally pretty safe! The biggest thing when it comes to traveling around the Thai islands is wearing a helmet when driving a motorcycle. You will be surprised at how many people do this!
Getting insurance that will cover you for any types of accidents is a MUST and is something we don’t even recommend leaving home without.
Where to Stay in Phuket
As you can imagine, Phuket is pretty HUGE! For tips on where to stay in Phuket, check out the full article which has recommendations from Budget, Mid Range, to downright swanky and luxurious places!
One of the best things about Thailand is there is no shortage of gorgeous places to stay. If you feel like splashing out, check out these gorgeous places in Inspiring Villas Phuket.
You can also look at renting entire villas while in Phuket via Airbnb. Check out our full article on how to get $45 coupon code for your booking or simply click here to get our coupon code.
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Transportation Around Phuket
As mentioned, booking your transport at least a day in advance is recommended, especially when traveling during peak season. Save yourself the hassle of lining up in those travel agents and book your transport in advance.
We recommend sites like Bookaway where you can see the price and purchase a ticket online. Use the widget below to check the price of boats from Phuket.
28 thoughts on “Things to Do in Phuket: The Ultimate List of Things to See and Do”
You had me at rum distillery tour… However, any opportunity for a good kayak trip should never be passed up on! I did not know any of these things when I was in the area and actually skipped Phuket pretty sharpish. If only I had read this beforehand.
These are such great tips! Some of them I never really think of, such as sponsoring a dog <3 Thank you for sharing!
Hey I didnt know that there are waterfalls in Phuket but we spent a week there and we definitely enjoyed our stay. I love Thailand and would love to go back .
This is the ultimate list, isn’t it?! Wow, so many wonderful ideas. I cannot wait to get to that part of the world! Thanks for sharing your knowledge to make our trip easier to plan!!
No prob! Hope you find it useful!
Awww I love the sponsoring a dog idea! That is super unique and wonderful.
The whole flying with them is awesome! Love the idea too.
Phuket looks so freaking amazing. Your pictures are fabulous. I would love to see these waterfalls and the beaches. The Big Buddha would be awesome to have a selfie with. 😉
Really looking forward to the day we finally make it to Phuket – it’s been high on my list for a while now, so much diversity of things to see and do! We’re mostly interested in the natural attractions, and really looking forward to kayaking in Phang Nga Bay 🙂
It’s super stunning! You really have to head here Megan!
Am I the only one who’s never been to Thailand? I love this list, especially sponsoring a dog. What a fabulous idea. And the waterfall chasing and cooking class doesn’t sound too bad either. 🙂
When i was in Thailand i really didn´t gave a chance ti Phuket. I slept there one night in my way to the south. But i see know that it has many more to see.
Wow there are so many things to do in Phuket! This is a great guide for first time travellers for sure. Thanks for posting! I’ll pin it for when I ever go back to Thailand!
I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been to Phuket 3 times and the only two things I’ve done on this whole list are the beach and a boat trip. Clearly I missed out on a lot but it was such a beautiful place, and so relaxing, I felt very unmotivated to sightsee.
Hahaha…it is quite hard to turn away from relaxing and basking in the beach!
I really regret running out of money when I was in Thailand, I would have loved it here! I’ll just have to go back in the near future!
I’ve bookmarked this page as we will be heading to Phuket in around 2-3 months times, and all of these suggestions sound epic! I especially love the animal projects and would love to get involved somehow!
Ohhh you guys will have an awesome time. There are loads of animal projects-definitely check them out!
Phuket looks like a great place to explore. Love the off the beaten path places to hike or ride a bike. Your photos captured the beauty very well. Will save this list for a future visit, thanks for sharing.
We did a cooking class when we visited Thailand and made green curry and Tom Yum. Both so good! I love that I have the recipes to make these dishes at home now and that they always remind of us of trip.
I have been to Bali but not yet to Phuket. It was raining when I was in Bali so the beach towns were passed over for Ubud. Phuket will wait for another visit.
Anna, your photos are incredible! Despite spending 6 months in South East Asia out of the last two years, Phuket was never really on my radar. Always felt too touristy. Your article might make me change my mind and visit next time though!
It is quite touristy, but as in every place, there are hidden spots and gems that are worth going to.
Wow, so much to do in Phuket! Great list, need to get there at some point.
I just love Phucket, some great things to do there. I recommend all of them to anyone that’s going to Phucket.
What was the thing that surprised you the most there?
I think it was the plentiful beaches and hidden coves. The initial impression that Phuket gives out is that it’s very crowded and touristy. But, as in every place, all you have to do is hop on a motorbike and explore! We stayed in quieter places and loved it!
Excellent list! You really managed to sums up perfectly the great things to do in Phuket! Well done! By the way, your pictures are gorgeous!