The Best Things to do in Phuket, Thailand

The 15 Best Things to Do in Phuket, Thailand

Few island destinations in Southeast Asia can compete with Phuket when it comes to, well, everything. Thailand’s largest island draws millions of people from all over the planet, and if you’re lucky enough to visit, you’re going to dream of this tropical paradise long after your vacation is over!

This little slice of paradise has something for everyone: from miles of coastline and hidden coves to jungle-topped mountains and Buddhist temples, not to mention some of the best seafood you’ll ever eat.

Phuket’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in all of Asia, too. The sand is white and powdery soft with water so clear you can see the colorful coral and fish on the seafloor. And when you look up from your beach chair, you’ll see lush green mountains rising up from out of the sea like jagged teeth. It’s like stepping inside a postcard!

Also, Thai food is on a whole new level when you have it in Thailand. The seafood here is insanely fresh! Get ready to feast on jumbo prawns, fat crabs, and giant lobsters every day of your stay. Whether you have them grilled on hot coals, simmered in thick coconut curry, or stir-fried with fresh herbs and spicy chilies, rest assured they will be some of the best meals of your life.

There’s also so much to do and see in Phuket. You can go snorkeling or diving off the coast, visit a Buddhist temple, pet an elephant, go jungle trekking, get a Thai massage, or shop for souvenirs in Old Town.

If you want to drink and dance the night away, go to Bangla Road when the sun goes down for a taste of Phuket’s wild nightlife. There are tons of night markets too, so you might want to bring an extra suitcase to take everything home!

Phuket has so many fun things to do, it’s going to make your head spin. So to help you plan your trip, we’ve put together this list of the best things to do in Phuket. We included a bit of everything so that you can make the most of your time on this magical Thai island!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 15 Best Things to Do in Phuket, Thailand

15 Fun and Unique Things to Do in Phuket

1. Swim and Tan at Phuket’s Gorgeous Beaches

Unique Things to do in Phuket Thailand: Gorgeous Beaches

Pack plenty of sunscreen because you’re going to want to spend all day lounging on the sand at one of Phuket’s many stunning beaches. Each one is unique, so make sure to swim and sunbathe at as many as you can!

For instance, Patong Beach is the liveliest and most popular beach on the island, perfect if you’re looking for a party atmosphere or want to be close to major shopping and dining areas.

Kata Beach, on the other hand, is more laid-back with a beautiful mountain backdrop, while Nai Harn Beach is perfect if you’re looking for a tranquil spot to relax. If a more secluded beach is what you’re after, check out Mai Khao Beach, where you can find miles of deserted sand.

Aside from being terrific places to swim, you can also enjoy waterfront activities like parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boat rides. Or, you can simply stroll along the shore, build a sandcastle, or read a book while listening to the sound of waves crashing against the shore.

Book a Phuket Island Tour


2. Indulge in Local Flavors at the Naka Weekend Market

Must do things in Phuket Thailand: Naka Weekend Market

Just outside of Phuket Town is the Naka Weekend Market, one of the coolest things to do in Phuket. It’s noisy, crowded, colorful, and a mini-adventure in itself! Naka Market has two sections: the indoor part, where you can buy souvenirs and clothes, and the outdoor market, where all the action is.

Come here starving, because you’ll need room for all the amazing food! Try the grilled oysters, buttered corn on the cob, sticky mango rice, pad thai, coconut ice cream, and freshly squeezed sugarcane juice.

Once you’re full, take your time strolling through the market and haggle for some souvenirs. You’ll find everything from T-shirts to Thai silk, wooden elephants, and artwork from local artists.

If you’re planning to drive yourself, try to get there early because parking spots fill up quickly. You can also ride in a songthaew, which is a red truck that functions as a shared taxi. Either way, this is one of the best places to experience Phuket’s local flavor!

Book a Weekend Market Tour


3. Get Tipsy at the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

One of the most unique things to do in Phuket is touring the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery. What makes their rum so special is that it’s made out of sugar cane, and you can sample it during one of their distillery tours.

With a mojito in hand, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how they craft the rum. It was so cool to learn all about the distilling process and see the huge copper stills where it all happens.

The tour ends with a group cocktail workshop at the bar under Chalong Bay Rum’s expert mixologists. Best of all, you get to drink what you make!

The tours run until 6 pm, but keep in mind you may get tipsy afterward, so plan your evening accordingly. This is a great activity for couples or groups of friends, and it makes for a really fun night out.

Book a Chalong Bay Rum Tour


4. Visit Phuket’s Authentic Temples

Best Things to do in Phuket Thailand: Authentic Temples

Temples are a big part of Thai culture, and Phuket has its own share of beautiful ones. You’ll find them all over the island, but if you only have time to visit a few, make sure to include Wat Chalong, Phra Nang Sang Temple, and Wat Suwan Khua.

Wat Chalong is the most popular temple in all of Phuket. The Grand Pagoda dominates the area, and locals say that a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone is inside its structure. Take your time checking out the paintings because you’re going to learn so much about Buddha’s life story from them!

Get your camera ready when you visit Phra Nang Sang because the bright colors, golden motif, and intricate details of this temple are gorgeous. Phra Nang Sang is one of the oldest temples in Phuket (more than 500 years old!). It also sits right across from the Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Conservation Center, so you can kill two birds with one stone by visiting both places.

Finally, Wat Suwan Khua is one of the more unique temples we visited in Phuket. Unlike other shrines, it’s located inside a massive limestone cave with a reclining Golden Buddha statue. There are lots of cheeky monkeys around the temple, so don’t leave your belongings unguarded!

Don’t forget to wear proper attire when visiting temples. That means covering your shoulders, knees, and chest for both men and women. You can use a light sarong if you’re not comfortable with long pants or a skirt.


5. Bow to the Phuket Big Buddha

Best Things to do in Phuket Thailand: Big Buddha

You can’t leave Phuket without paying respects to the island’s most famous landmark, the Big Buddha. The 45-meter tall statue is located on top of the Nakkerd Hills, and it’s visible from pretty much anywhere on the island.

There are a few ways to get to the Big Buddha. You can either hike up the hill or take a songthaew from Chalong Temple. We recommend taking a songthaew because it’s a lot easier, and you’ll get to enjoy the views on the way up.

Once you’re at the top, take your time admiring the statue and enjoying the panoramic views of Phuket. You’ll be able to see all the way from Phuket Town to Chalong Bay!

Book a Phuket City Highlights Tour


6. Watch Muay Thai Fights at the Patong Boxing Stadium

Must do things in Phuket Thailand: Muay Thai Fights

Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport, so it’s only fitting that you watch a live match while you’re in the country. The best place to do that in Phuket is at the Patong Boxing Stadium, which hosts matches every Monday and Thursday night.

A word of warning: this isn’t your typical boxing match. Muay Thai matches can be pretty intense, and the fighters often go all-out. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely an experience you won’t forget any time soon!

If you’re pumped up about the fight you just watched, you can even try your hand (or foot) at Muay Thai inside the stadium.


7. Shop Your Heart Out at Phuket’s Night Markets

Best Things to do in Phuket Thailand: Night Markets

Craving more night markets after your visit to the Naka Weekend Market? Then you’ll love what Phuket has in store for you! One of the biggest is the “Lard Yai” or the Phuket Walking Street Weekend Market. It’s one of the more creative markets we’ve been to, with tons of artsy and quirky finds.

The Chillva Night Market caters to the younger set with its trendy fashion and accessory stores. We like how they have tables and benches set up in the middle of the market so you can take a break from all the shopping.

Smaller night markets like the Malin Plaza, Karon Temple Market, Fun Friday Avenue Market, and the Kor Jaan Market are also worth checking out!


8. Go Diving and Snorkeling All Over Phuket

Cool Things to do in Phuket Thailand: Diving and Snorkeling

Some of the best things to do in Phuket happen underwater! The island’s dive sites are among the finest on earth. You can find anything from shipwrecks to coral gardens to meaningful memorials. We highly recommend going on a diving or snorkeling trip while you’re in Phuket.

One of our favorite dive sites is located at the Similan Islands, which is located about an hour away from Phuket by boat. The water here is some of the clearest we’ve ever seen. You’ll see colorful fish and coral everywhere you turn!

If you’re feeling brave, go diving at Hin Muang or Hin Daeng. Aside from their fantastic marine life, these sites are also famous for whale sharks, leopard sharks, and gray reef sharks. You can also go to Racha Noi and say hello to the turtles and manta rays or explore the creepy wrecks of King Cruiser Wreck.

If you don’t want to dive but still want to enjoy the underwater views, then head on over to one of Phuket’s many snorkeling spots like Koh Racha Yai, Koh Doc Mai, or Coral Island.

Book a Phuket Snorkeling Tour


9. Step Back in Time at Phuket Old Town

Fun Things to do in Phuket Thailand: Old Town

Phuket Old Town is one of the must-do things in Phuket. Strolling along the capital of Phuket Island will transport you back in time. The town is filled with Sino-colonial buildings, authentic shophouses, tiny cafes, Chinese shrines, Buddhist temples, and night markets.

Your Old Town itinerary should include the Baan Chinpracha, a beautiful Sino-colonial mansion that’s been turned into a museum. Then there’s the Siam Niramit Phuket Show, which is a theatrical performance that tells the story of Thailand through traditional song and dance.

The Thai Hua Museum is another Phuket attraction that offers an intimate look at the island’s history and culture. The museum is set in an elegant, well-preserved Chinese mansion from the early 20th century.

For something more offbeat, drop by the Phuket Trickeye Museum and the Baan Teelanka (Upside Down House)! The Trickeye Museum is an interactive 3D art museum where you can pose with brain-puzzling paintings. At the Baan Teelanka, everything is literally upside down, including the house itself!

Book a Phuket Old Town Tour


10. Go Barhopping on Bangla Road

What to do in Phuket Thailand: Bangla Road

Just as world-famous as Phuket’s beach is its insane nightlife scene, and nowhere else is it more concentrated than on Bangla Road. The area is pretty much dead during the day, so be sure to schedule your visit at night.

As soon as the sun sets, Bangla Road comes to life and becomes pedestrian-only. It’s impossible to miss: the entrance is flanked by a huge, lighted arch with neon signs.

What can you expect from Bangla Road? Lots and lots of bars, of course, ranging from rowdy go-go bars to classy cocktail bars. There are also lots of nightclubs, live music venues, and restaurants to choose from.

It’s an awesome place to get tipsy, make some new friends, and experience Thailand’s legendary nightlife! But if you don’t feel like going wild, this is also a prime spot for people-watching.

Book a Phuket Bar Crawl Tour


11. Kayak the Caves of Phang Nga Bay

Unique Things to do in Phuket Thailand: Phang Nga Bay

One of the most beautiful places in Phuket is, without a doubt, Phang Nga Bay. This stunning bay is dotted with limestone karsts, mangroves, and tiny islands. It’s the perfect place for a kayaking tour!

There are plenty of operators offering half-day and full-day kayaking tours in Phang Nga Bay. Most of these tours will take you to James Bond Island, which is famous for being featured in the movie The Man with the Golden Gun.

Other highlights of the bay include the Panak Island, Hong Island, and Ko Panyee (a floating Muslim village). Most tours will also include a stop at one of Phang Nga’s sea caves, where you can paddle through its cool waters.

Aside from kayaking, you can also go canoeing, sailing, or take a longtail boat tour of the bay. There are also some spectacular spots for snorkeling here, so don’t forget to bring your gear!

Book a Phang Nga Bay Boat Tour


12. Meet Gentle Giants at Green Elephant Sanctuary Park

Phuket Thailand Bucket List: Green Elephant Sanctuary Park

One of the coolest things to do in Phuket is to visit a real elephant sanctuary. This is not one of those places where you can ride the elephants (not a nice experience for them!). Instead, you’ll get to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat and even help out with some of their daily activities.

The Green Elephant Sanctuary Park is located in the northwest jungles of Phuket. The park offers pick-up service to and from your hotel, so you don’t have to worry about transportation.

The tour begins with a short presentation about the park and its resident elephants. Then, it’s off to the exciting part! The park has a mud spa pool where you can rub the elephants (and yourself!) with mud. Afterward, you can wash the mud off in the freshwater pool and play with the elephants some more at the XXL adventure shower.

Once you’re dry and cleaned off, you’ll be treated to a delicious, authentic Thai buffet lunch. After lunch, you’ll have some free time to explore the park before saying goodbye to the elephants.

This is one of those experiences you’ll remember forever, so put it at the top of your Phuket bucket list!


13. Take a Selfie at Karon Viewpoint

Phuket Thailand Things to do: Karon Viewpoint

Break a sweat and get your heart pumping with a hike up to Karon Viewpoint! This is the ultimate in Phuket sightseeing because the peak offers unobstructed 360-degree views of the entire island all the way to the Andaman Sea as far as the eye can see.

Locals also call it the Three Beaches Viewpoint because you can see the Karon, Kata, and Kata Noi beaches from up here. The hike takes about 45 minutes to an hour, but it’s definitely worth it for the stunning views.

Once you’re done snapping pics, head down to Kata Beach for a refreshing swim. This quiet beach is great for swimming, sunbathing, and simply relaxing after your hike.


14. Watch the Spectacular Simon Cabaret Show

Unique Things to do in Phuket Thailand: Simon Cabaret Show

A trip to Thailand is not complete without catching a cabaret show! These all-singing, all-dancing shows are notoriously fun and one of the best things to do in Phuket.

Among all the cabaret shows in Phuket, the Simon Cabaret Show stands supreme since it started in 1991. The show features a cast of beautiful ladyboys lip-syncing and dancing to a mix of classic and modern pop songs. They’re masters at making the crowd laugh and even sing along!

While watching them perform, order a drink or two and enjoy the fantastic costumes and sets. After the show, you can even take photos with your favorite performers to remember the night by.

Get your Simon Cabaret Show Ticket here!


15. Go on a Jungle Safari Adventure

Fun Things to do in Phuket Thailand: Jungle Safari Adventure

Challenge yourself with a jungle safari adventure in Phuket! This is the perfect activity for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.

Two of our favorite spots for jungle safaris are the Khao Lak Park and Khao Sok National Park. You’ll see lots of wild animals in their natural habitat, including elephants, big cats, and gazelles. And of course, don’t forget your camera to capture the perfect shot!

In addition to wildlife watching, try more outdoor activities like trekking to waterfalls and bamboo rafting. You can also watch snake shows and see the handlers interact with some of the most dangerous snakes in the world!

These safaris also include a visit to the Phuket Aquarium, where you can learn about the local marine life. You’ll see all sorts of fish, turtles, and other sea creatures up close. After a long day of adventuring, relax in the Phuket Botanical Gardens or take in a Thai martial arts performance at the Phuket Orchid Garden.

Book a Jungle Jeep Tour

There you have it! The 15 best things to do in Phuket. What’s your favorite thing to do in Phuket?


Planning a trip to Thailand? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best nightlife activity in Phuket?

Just as world-famous as Phuket’s beach is its insane nightlife scene, and nowhere else is it more concentrated than on Bangla Road. The area is pretty much dead during the day, so be sure to schedule your visit at night. It’s an awesome place to get tipsy, make some new friends, and experience Thailand’s legendary nightlife! But if you don’t feel like going wild, this is also a prime spot for people-watching.

Where can you see elephants in Phuket?

One of the coolest things to do in Phuket is to visit a real elephant sanctuary or the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park which is located in the northwest jungles of Phuket. This is not one of those places where you can ride the elephants (not a nice experience for them!). Instead, you’ll get to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat and even help out with some of their daily activities.

What is the best show to watch in Phuket?

A trip to Thailand is not complete without catching a cabaret show! These all-singing, all-dancing shows are notoriously fun and one of the best things to do in Phuket. Among all the cabaret shows in Phuket, the Simon Cabaret Show stands supreme since it started in 1991. The show features a cast of beautiful ladyboys lip-syncing and dancing to a mix of classic and modern pop songs. They’re masters at making the crowd laugh and even sing along!

What is the best beach in Phuket?

Pack plenty of sunscreen because you’re going to want to spend all day lounging on the sand at one of Phuket’s many stunning beaches. Each one is unique, so make sure to swim and sunbathe at as many as you can! Patong Beach is the liveliest and most popular beach on the island, perfect if you’re looking for a party atmosphere or want to be close to major shopping and dining areas.

What is the most famous landmark to visit in Phuket?

You can’t leave Phuket without paying respects to the island’s most famous landmark, the Big Buddha. The 45-meter tall statue is located on top of the Nakkerd Hills, and it’s visible from pretty much anywhere on the island.


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  • Jamie Delos Reyes

    Jamie Delos Reyes is a book addict turned career writer and SEO content marketing geek. She's a freelance content writer, editor, and content manager who thinks no topic is boring - it's always fun to learn new stuff!

    She loves traveling, meeting new humans and hearing their stories, and tasting her way through the planet's kaleidoscope of flavors. The only thing better than traveling? Writing all about it! Her ultimate dream is to go on a cross-country road trip with her three spoiled dogs.

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