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35 of the Best Things to Do and Activities in Phuket, Thailand

Exit45 Travels Disclaimer

There are many fun things to do and interesting activities in Phuket to suit every type of traveller. So, to make your travel planning easier, read on to see our pick of the best things to do in Phuket.

Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand is world famous for being a popular (and affordable) tourist destination showcasing some amazing natural sights, famous Thailand landmarks, unique things to do and amazing food.

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and is a popular destination for first timers to Thailand. It offers the perfect introduction to all that Thailand has to offer visitors.

The list of the best things to do and activities in Phuket is extensive, and there is something to suit every type of budget and traveller.

If you are looking to simply relax and enjoy nature and the beautiful waters surrounding Phuket, you will be spoilt for choice. Visit the many beautiful beaches such as Kata Beach, explore the underwater marine life or go on an island-hopping tour to Phi Phi Islands.

For those looking to experience Thai culture, you can visit Phuket Old Town, take a Thai cooking class or explore one of the many Buddhist temples around the island.

So, what are the best things to do and activities in Phuket? Read on to see our personal recommendations and favourites based on over 20 years of travel to Phuket and our recent extended stay. 

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Did You Know?

  • Phuket is the largest island in Thailand measuring 576 square kilometres or 222 square miles. 
  • Phuket province also includes 32 small islands which lie just off the coast.
  • Phuket is home to one of the biggest Buddhas in Thailand – The Big Buddha.
  • Receiving around 10 million visitors per year (pre-COVID), Phuket is said to have the most visitors per square mile in the world.

“Happiness is…. a tropical island.”

– Anonymous –

Best Things to Do and Activities in Phuket Thailand

No matter whether you are looking for a relaxing holiday, exploring Thai cultural and cuisine, or active adventures, Phuket is a must visit destination for every traveller.

Banzaan Market

wet market in asia
Banzaan Markets

Banzaan Fresh Market is one of the largest and most popular fresh markets in Phuket. It’s a great place to find fresh produce, meat, seafood, and other Thai delicacies. We especially love the curries pastes and powders which can be purchased.

Experiencing an Asian wet market can be an eye-opening and confronting experience for most, but it is a must-do experience, especially for those that are used to buying meat pre-packaged from the supermarket. Expect to see cuts of meat and intestines which are not commonly eaten in Western countries.

The seafood section is always fascinating as here you will find fish and other sea creatures you have never seen before. There are fish of all kind and a huge variety of shellfish to choose from. It is also common to see frogs skinned and ready to be eaten! You can also pick your seafood fresh and then take it upstairs to one of the many restaurants who will prepare and cook your food the way you choose.

Located at the end of Little Bangla Road to the right opposite Bangla Boxing Stadium, the market is open daily from early morning until late evening.

From 6pm to midnight, the Banzaan Night Market opens up and is an outdoor market that sells local food, clothes, souvenirs, and art. You will find everything from fruit shakes, Thai street food, and Thai curries to handmade jewellery here. The best part is that everything is cheap! Please note: as of June 2022, it is still on quite a small scale but it slowly grew larger during our 2 month stay there and as the travel restrictions to Thailand were lifted.

Bangla Road

lit up sign at patong beach
Bangla Road is a Must-Visit in the Evening

Bangla Road is one of the most famous nightlife areas in Phuket, Thailand. It’s a street full of bars, clubs, and bar girls. There are also quite a few venues featuring live bands each evening which are great.

It’s a popular spot for tourists and expats to let loose and have a good time. The party starts late and goes until the sun comes up. If you’re looking for a wild night out, Bangla Road is the place to be.

Beaches in Phuket

Phuket is an island located in the Andaman Sea and is known for its beaches which are some of the most beautiful in the world. Phuket has over 30 beaches which offer a variety of activities such as swimming, sunbathing, scuba diving, and windsurfing. Some beaches can be quite crowded during the peak holiday season, however, there are many quiet ones, and some that are a little harder to find than others.

Some of our favourite beaches in Phuket include:

  • Patong Beach
  • Kata Beach
  • Nai Harn Beach
  • Hat Nai Beach
  • Mai Khao Beach
  • Bangtao Beach

Beach Clubs in Phuket

Situated on the Andaman Sea, Phuket is known for its white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. While Phuket offers a wide variety of activities and attractions, its beach clubs are some of the most popular places to visit.

There are numerous beach clubs located around the island, but some of the most popular include Mai Khao Beach Club, Catch Beach Club, and Banana Beach Club. These clubs offer a wide range of services and amenities including restaurants, bars, swimming pools, and spas. They are also ideal locations for relaxing and enjoying the stunning views of the Andaman Sea.

Big Buddha of Phuket

a big white buddha with blue sky in background
Don’t miss the views from The Big Buddha

The Big Buddha of Phuket is a massive white statue located on the top of a hill on the island of Phuket. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand, and can be seen from almost anywhere on the island. The statue was built in 2004 and is 45 meters tall. The statue is constructed of steel and sits on a stone pedestal. The statue is on a square base, with its front facing west, towards the sea.

The views of the island and Andaman Sea alone make the Big Buddha worth visiting!

Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

a rum bottle and 2 glasses on a bench
Our Purchase from Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is located in Chalong in Phuket and produces small batches of handcrafted rum using a French distillation process using Thai sugar cane molasses. The distillery uses a single column copper still imported from France to produce its rums. The best way to visit Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is to book a tour and tasting session for 450 THB. Open from 11am to 11pm each day, it is a great place to enjoy an afternoon or evening Mojito!

Chalong Temple

pink, gold and red ornate buddhist temple
One of the Many Temples at Wat Chalong

The Chalong Temple / Wat Chalong is the largest temple in Phuket and was built in 1853. It is home to a number of Buddhist relics including a statue of Buddha that is said to be over 1,000 years old. The temple is also known for its stunning architecture and beautiful gardens.

As with all Buddhist temples in Thailand, there is a strict dress code that must be adhered to. Shoes should be removed and left outside before entering any of the temples, and women must ensure their shoulders and knees are covered.

There is no entrance fee to enter Wat Chalong and you should allow an hour or so to really appreciate the temple and grounds!

Top Tip: If you walk to the back of the temple grounds there is small lake with stairs going down to the edge of the water. Here the locals regularly feed the fish and you will see hundreds of huge fish near the surface of the water with their mouths open waiting for their need feed!

Chillva Night Market

Chillva Night Market is one of the best places to visit in Phuket if you’re looking for a good time, great shopping and some delicious food. The market is open every night, and it’s a great place to buy souvenirs or just take a walk and enjoy the atmosphere. There are lots of stalls selling different kinds of food, so you’re sure to find something that takes your fancy, and there’s also a bar where you can buy drinks. The market is a great place to meet people and socialize, so be sure to come hungry and ready to have a good time!

Elephants Sanctuary in Phuket

Phuket is home to a number of elephant sanctuaries where tourists can go to learn more about these fascinating animals and see them up close. Many of the sanctuaries offer rides on the elephants (which we don’t recommend), as well as opportunities to feed and bathe them.

One sanctuary that is particularly popular with visitors is the Elephant Nature Park. Established in 1995, it’s now home to more than 60 elephants who have been rescued from abusive or neglected circumstances. The park provides a safe and comfortable home for the elephants, as well as a place where they can be rehabilitated and cared for.

Visitors to the park can learn about the history and ecology of elephants, watch them play and bathe in the river, and even help feed them.

Fishing in Phuket

Whilst Phuket is known for its beautiful beaches, resorts, and nightlife, what many people don’t know is that Phuket is also a great place to go fishing. There are plenty of opportunities to catch both saltwater and freshwater fish in Phuket. The best time to go fishing is during the dry season, which runs from November to April.

James Bond Island

James Bond Island is a small, uninhabited limestone island in the Phang Nga Bay, Thailand. The island is part of the Phang Nga National Park and is well known for its appearance in the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. Phuket Island is a part of Phang Nga province in southern Thailand. The easiest way to visit is by booking a James Bond Island day tour from Phuket.

Karon Viewpoint

view of water and coastline
Karon Viewpoint: This is a Must-Do Activity in Phuket!

Situated in the southern part of the island, Karon Viewpoint offers stunning panoramic views of the Andaman Sea and the surrounding islands. As such, it can get very busy with visitors coming here to snap photos and take in the incredible scenery. The viewpoint can be reached either by car or motorbike, and out the front there are often locals selling souvenirs or asking for money to take a photograph with an eagle.

Markets in Phuket

There are many markets in Phuket where local residents and tourists can buy fresh produce, seafood, clothes, souvenirs, and much more. The biggest market is the Phuket Weekend Market in Phuket Town, which is open every Saturday and Sunday from early morning until late evening. The market offers a wide variety of products at affordable prices. However, other popular markets include Banzaan Market and Chillva Night Market.

Mor Mu Dong Restaurant

If you’re looking for an authentic Thai dining experience, Mor Mu Dong is the place to go. This small restaurant in Chalong, Phuket serves up some of the best traditional Thai food in town. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and the service is excellent. Be sure to try the Salt Baked Fish, Curry Fried Eggplant and Stuffed Mackerel – they are mouth-wateringly delicious!

Muay Thai Boxing at Patong Boxing Stadium

bangla boxing stadium in phuket
The place to see Muay Thai boxing

Muay Thai Boxing is a martial art that was developed in Thailand. It is often referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs” because it uses punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. Muay Thai Boxing is a popular sport in Thailand and is considered the national sport. There are many Muay Thai Boxing stadiums throughout the country, but the Patong Boxing Stadium in Phuket is one of the most famous. The stadium is home to the Phuket Top Team MMA gym, which is one of the largest and most successful gyms in Thailand.

Old Phuket Town

pretty street with sino-prtugese architecture
Soi Rommanee in Phuket Old Town

Phuket Town is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island. It offers a glimpse into Thailand’s past with its many old colourful Sino-Portuguese shopfronts, temples and colonial-era buildings. Phuket Town is also home to some of the best restaurants on the island, serving up a wide variety of Thai and international cuisine. There are also plenty of markets and night bazaars where you can find souvenirs or just take in the lively atmosphere. This is the perfect place for a day trip!

Patong Sunset View Restaurant

on sitting on a balcony on a hill looking at ocean in distance
Our favourite viewpoint restaurant in Phuket!

The Patong Sunset View Restaurant is a must-visit for those looking to take in the breath-taking sunset views of Phuket’s west coast. Perched atop a hill on the edge of Patong Bay, the restaurant offers stunning panoramic vistas of the Andaman Sea and its many islands, as well as the glimmering lights of Patong town below.

The extensive menu features Thai and international dishes, as well as a wide selection of drinks. Happy hour is until 6pm with local beers at 79 THB each and cocktails for 150 THB.

Phang Nga Bay

limestone cliffs jutting from waters
The stunning Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay is located in the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, and Phuket Island is a part of Phang Nga province. This is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand with limestone cliffs, caves, and lagoons that make up the bay. The bay is also home to many marine animals including dolphins, whales, and turtles.

Phi Phi Islands

boats in aqua blue water with green hills behind
Our favourite place to visit from Phuket – Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand. The island is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear water, and coral reefs. Phi Phi Don is the largest and most populous island on the archipelago and offers lots of things to do for all types of travellers. The island has a number of resorts, guesthouses, and restaurants.

Phuket Aquarium

Phuket Aquarium is a popular tourist destination in Phuket and is home to a wide variety of aquatic life including sharks, rays, and tropical fish. It also features a coral reef exhibit and a feel and touch pool.

Phuket Fantasea

Phuket FantaSea is an amazing place to visit in the evening if you’re looking for a cultural experience. Enjoy amazing Thai and international cuisine at The Golden Kinnaree Buffet Restaurant or alternatively, a seafood buffet in the newly renovated Suriyamas which has been decorated in a distinctly regal Thai setting.

The Palace of the Elephants theatre is where you will watch the live show! It is themed as an ancient Sukhothai era stone palace complete with 999 stone elephant statues. The ‘Fantasy of a Kingdom’ show is a visual spectacle blending Thai culture with magical illusions, aerial ballet, acrobatics, pyrotechnics and special effects. In addition, more than 30 performing elephants are included in the show.

In addition to the show and buffet, you can explore Festival Village which offers souvenir shopping, parades, street shows, live bands, elephant rides and games. The Tiger Jungle Adventure is a theatrical safari of 12 exotic and mythical scenes inspired by ancient folklore and legends. Also, Similan Entertainment Centre has lots of games that will test your skills.

Located in Kamala Beach, just 9 kilometres from Patong, it can easily be reached by tuk-tuk or taxi. The most popular way to visit Phuket FantaSea is by booking an organised tour which will include a pick-up from your hotel and return at the end of the evening.

Phuket Trickeye Museum

Phuket Trickeye Museum is an optical illusion art museum. It is located in Phuket, Thailand. The museum has three floors, and each floor has different optical illusions. It is currently closed but plans to reopen in late 2022.

Promthep Cape

picture of an island in the sea from a viewpoint
Phrom Thep – Another great viewpoint

Promthep Cape is in southern Phuket and is known for its amazing view of the Andaman Sea, especially at sunset. Due to it’s popularity at sunset, make sure you arrive early to secure a good sunset viewing spot.

Rang Hill Viewpoint

The views from the top of the Rang Hill Viewpoint are simply breath-taking, and it’s a great place to watch the sun set over the city. There’s also a small restaurant on site, which serves up delicious Thai food. Just beware of your possessions when sitting in the restaurant as monkeys may find them very interesting!

Royal Phuket Marina

The Royal Phuket Marina is a world-class marina located on the east coast of Phuket Island. With its prime location and first-class facilities, the Royal Phuket Marina is the perfect place to dock your yacht or motorboat. Amenities include a full-service spa, fitness centre, pool, and restaurants. The Royal Phuket Marina also offers a wide variety of water sports activities including jet skiing, sailing, and fishing.

Scuba Diving in Phuket

Phuket is home to some of the best scuba diving in the world. From beginner dives to more advanced wrecks and coral reefs, there is something for everyone. The clear blue waters and diverse marine life are a magnet for divers from all over the globe.

Shooting Ranges in Phuket

Phuket is known for its beautiful beaches and resorts, but it is also home to a growing number of shooting ranges. The ranges in Phuket offers a variety of firearms for rent including pistols, rifles and shotguns. There are also courses available for those who want to learn how to use guns safely and effectively.

Simon Cabaret Show

The Simon Cabaret Show in Phuket is a must-see for anyone visiting the island. This cabaret show has been operating since 1991 and there is a show every night at 7:30pm. It is a spectacular mix of singing, dancing, and comedy, and the performers are all incredibly talented. The theatre is stunning, and the show is sure to entertain everyone in the audience. One of the highlights are the glittering, shiny and extravagant costumes! We would highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance, as the shows often sell out.

Snorkelling in Phuket

With its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters, one of the best things to do in Phuket is snorkelling, and with good reason. The waters here are teeming with marine life, making it a snorkeller’s paradise.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snorkeller, Phuket has something to offer you. With its calm waters and sheltered bays, it’s the perfect place to explore the underwater world. For those who have never experienced snorkelling before, it is best to start with a day trip. Several trips are available which will allow you to explore the waters below, and see just how amazing Phuket’s marine life is.

Spa and Massages in Phuket

There are many different types of spas on the island from luxury resorts to small local businesses. Massages are a popular treatment at spas in Phuket, and there are many different types of massages to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing massage or a more therapeutic treatment, there’s a spa on Phuket that can meet your needs. A Thai foot massage is the perfect way to end a day of sightseeing!

Sunset Viewpoints in Phuket

sunset view
Watching another beautiful sunset on Patong Beach

Phuket is well-known for its stunning sunsets. There are many viewpoints where visitors and locals can admire the natural beauty of the setting sun. Some of the most popular spots include Promthep Cape, over Kata Noi Beach, Patong Beach and Laem Sing Beach.

There are many restaurants that offer great views of the sunset over Kata Noi Beach Laem Sing Beach. Make sure you get there early to ensure a seat near the balcony for a perfect, uninterrupted view!

Surfing in Phuket

The west coast of Phuket has a number of great spots for surfing with waves ranging from 1 to 3 meters high. October to February is the best time for surfing, when the swells are largest. The most popular spot on Phuket’s west coast for surfing is Kata Beach.

Thai Cooking Classes in Phuket

Phuket is home to some of the best Thai cooking classes in the world. Students can learn how to cook traditional Thai dishes such as Green Curry, Pad Thai, and Massaman Curry. The classes are typically held in a private home or in a garden setting, and participants will have the opportunity to learn about the ingredients and techniques used in Thai cuisine. Many of the classes also include a trip to a local market where students can purchase fresh produce and ingredients.

Waterparks in Phuket

Phuket has some great waterparks that are perfect for cooling off during the hot Thai summer. The biggest and most popular waterpark is Andamanda Phuket Water Park. It is the latest park to open and features 37 slides, 19 great rides, and 20 attractions.

Splash Jungle Waterpark is also very popular and features over 20 different rides and attractions, including a lazy river, wave pool, and several children’s play areas. Blue Tree Water Park is huge, and the lagoon is enormous but has fewer slides and features than Andamanda Phuket Water Park and Splash Jungle.

White Water Rafting in Phuket

Phuket is a great place to go white water rafting. The rapids are Class 1 to Class 5, which means they are moderately difficult and can provide some exciting rides. The best time to go white water rafting in Phuket is from June to November, when the rains during the monsoon season make the river flow faster. There are several companies that offer white water rafting tours in Phuket, and all of them provide safety gear, such as life jackets and helmets.

FAQs About Activities in Phuket

The top things to do in Phuket Thailand are the following:

  1. Old Phuket Town
  2. Wat Chalong Temple
  3. The Big Buddha
  4. Thai Cooking Class
  5. Thai Massage

The most unusual things to do in Phuket are the following:

  1. Visit the Koh Panyi Floating Muslim Village
  2. Enjoy a Rum at the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
  3. Visit The Upside Down House
  4. The Ultimate Plane Spotting on Mai Khao Beach
  5. Donate Some of Your Time to the Soi Dog Foundation

The most popular things to do Phuket Thailand are the following:

  1. Beaches
  2. Thai Massage
  3. Thai Cooking Classes
  4. Shopping in the Markets
  5. Bangla Road

The best things to do in and around Phuket are the following:

  1. Phi Phi Island Tour
  2. James Bond Island
  3. Phang Nga Bay
  4. Coral and Racha Island Snorkelling Tour

Most tours can be booked once you have arrived in Phuket, however, private cruises and John Gray Seacanoe tours should be booked in advance, especially during the peak holiday season (December and January).

In Summary – Best Things to Do and Activities in Phuket, Thailand

With so many amazing things to do and activities at Phuket to experience, you will be spoilt for choice! Whether you’re looking to see spectacular nature, explore stunning beaches, island hopping or learning about the Thai culture, there’s plenty of things to do when you’re in Phuket.

Are you planning a holiday to Phuket? Have you done any of the activities in Phuket listed above, or have we missed any things to do in Phuket we should add to this list? Post your tips and questions below.

Want more info to help you plan your Thailand holiday? Check out all the articles we’ve written on travel in Thailand below and continue planning your trip.

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