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Phuket is not only the largest island in Thailand but also the most popular destination in the kingdom. Whether you’re a partygoer, seeking peace and quiet, or traveling with your family, there are plenty things to do in Phuket to make your trip varied and tailored to your tastes.

23 things to do in Phuket for your vacation

Even on Phuket, much has changed after the pandemic. We have completely re-explored the island in recent years and months, taking new photos for you. Our things to do in Phuket article offers you the latest highlights, attractions, and insider tips for the island. From hidden temples like Wat Phra Thong to dreamlike beaches like Banana Beach to great photo spots like the Wooden Bridge in Naithon.

Rediscover Phuket with us and make your trip to Thailand’s largest island unique. Together we uncover many things to do in Phuket that remain hidden from the average tourist.


How to get to Phuket

There are many ways to get to Phuket, the most chosen one is the airplane. Phuket airport is approached by several airlines within Thailand, but also by flights from Europe, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and more. All flights as well as duration, connections and prices are best compared on Skyscanner.

Furthermore, you can travel by bus from many different places in Thailand, such as Krabi, Bangkok, Khao Lak etc. or just take the boat to Phuket. There are e.g. ferries from Koh Phi Phi or Koh Yao Yai. You can find more bus and boat connections on 12go.asia. There you can also book tickets directly. A train to Phuket does currently not exist.

Accommodation on Phuket – our hotel tip

The JonoX Phuket Karon Hotel is located just a few minutes’ walk from Karon Beach. It is a very new and modern hotel with a beautiful rooftop swimming pool. The rooms are equipped with all amenities, and there are also family rooms with an additional bunk bed (ideal for 4 people) available. Furthermore, a simple breakfast buffet is offered, and there is a small room with toys for children at the reception. A great starting point to explore Karon itself without a scooter or car.

The beautiful rooms at JonoX Phuket Karon Hotel
The swimming pool of JonoX Phuket Karon Hotel

However, Phuket offers many accommodations for various budgets. If JonoX doesn’t suit you, feel free to check out other hotels here. There will definitely be the right one for you on Phuket.


1. Khao Rang Viewpoint

The Phuket City Viewpoint, also known as the Khao Rang Viewpoint, is located on the Khao Rang Hill. Surrounded by green spaces, the highlight is the Khao Rang Hill observation deck. It offers a breathtaking view over Phuket Town, Chalong Bay, and the turquoise sea.

The Khao Rang Viewpoint with a view over Phuket Town

The best way to get there is by your own scooter or car, but it is also possible on foot or by taxi. Along the way, you’ll find several cafés and restaurants where you can take a break on your way to the top. Once you arrive, there are free parking spaces, and there is no entrance fee.

2. Wat Khao Rang

Wat Khao Rang Samakkhitham is located on the way between Khao Rang Hill and Phuket Town. You can easily combine a visit to the Khao Rang Viewpoint with a visit to this temple. It’s often very quiet here, allowing you to explore the grounds at your leisure.

Guardians at the entrance of Wat Khao Rang in Phuket Town

On-site, you will find a large golden Buddha statue and an impressive entrance, with stairs guarded by two guardian statues. Wat Khao Rang is a small, simple temple, but it has its own charm. It makes for a great stop on the way to the viewpoint. You can visit it for free and, in addition to the large Buddha statue and the guardians. You can also discover other statues of monks and Hindu gods on the grounds.

3. Phuket Town

If you want to experience Phuket beyond the beaches and island paradise, you shouldn’t miss Phuket Town. The Old Town, with its colonial buildings, some of which are colorfully painted, is particularly worth seeing. Additionally, there are many great small, authentic restaurants and souvenir shops to explore.

The famous Soi Romanee in Phuket Town
The colorful Soi Romanee

A stop in Soi Romanee is a must when visiting. Long ago, Soi Romanee was the red-light district of Phuket Town for Chinese laborers working in the tin mines. The name Soi Romanee is often loosely translated as “Naughty Street,” though in Thai, “Romanee” means something like beautiful or pretty. Today, however, the street has nothing to do with its past. It attracts numerous visitors who come for the colorful houses and to take plenty of photos.

Dragon statue in the Queen Sirikit Park, Phuket Town
Dragon statue in the Queen Sirikit Park

You should also stop by Queen Sirikit Park with its golden dragon statue. It’s a great place to park if you’re coming with your own vehicle. The statue was built to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the reign of the late King Bhumibol and is revered by the locals. Additionally, you can find some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city here.

4. Sunday Walking Street

Thalang Road runs through the Old Town of Phuket Town. Every Sunday from 4.00 PM to 10.00 PM, the weekly Walking Street, also known as “Lard Yai“, takes place there. In the southern Thai dialect, this means “big market”.

Sunday Walking Street in Old Town Phuket

Visitors from all over the island flock to Phuket Town to experience the market. The atmosphere is lively and colorful, with numerous stalls offering handicrafts, souvenirs, and delicious food. Additionally, the Sunday Walking Street, with its picturesque setting between the old colonial buildings, provides great photo opportunities.

5. Chillva Market

The Chillva Market is a vibrant night market located near the large Lotus, not far from the Central Festival Shopping Mall. It is only closed on Sundays when the weekly Walking Street in Phuket Town takes place. Otherwise, it is open daily from 5.00 PM to 11.00 PM.

The Chillva night market on Phuket

The Chillva Market is our favorite among Phuket’s night markets. It offers a diverse selection, a truly charming atmosphere, and great photo opportunities with the old shophouses. Here, you can sample culinary delights from Thailand and around the world, as well as shop for various handmade products, clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs. Additionally, live music and cultural performances provide entertainment.

6. Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong, whose official name is Wat Chaitararam, is the largest and most visited temple in Phuket. Many tourists and locals visit this temple complex, which was built in the 19th century. It is dedicated to two monks, Luang Pho Champ and Luang Pho Chuang. They lived during the time of King Rama V. This is evident from the statues of the monks in the main temple.

The view from Wat Chalong overlooking the mountains of Phuket

Another highlight is the large, 60-meter high Chedi. If you climb the stairs of the Chedi to the roof, you can enjoy a great view of the temple and its surroundings. You can visit Wat Chalong every day for free from 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM.

 

7. Big Buddha

The majestic 45-meter-high Big Buddha statue sits atop Nakkerd Hill. It is offering a breathtaking panoramic view of Chalong Bay and the surrounding sea. It is perhaps one of the most well-known things to do in Phuket and is featured on many tours. Construction began in 2004, and the complex is still being expanded today.

The landmark of Phuket, the Big Buddha
The landmark of Phuket, the Big Buddha

You reach the upper pedestal and the large white Big Buddha by climbing over 94 steps, flanked on each side by a Naga serpent. Visitors can admire the impressive statue, take photos, light incense sticks, and offer their wishes and prayers.

In the surrounding area, there are also small shops and stalls where you can buy souvenirs, drinks, and religious artifacts. It is open daily from around 6.00 AM to 7.30 PM. Entry is free, but donations are welcome and are used to continue the construction of the site.

8. Naka Weekend Market

About halfway between Phuket Town and Wat Chalong, the Naka Weekend Market takes place every weekend. This large, popular market is sometimes referred to as a smaller version of Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market for Phuket.

The Naka Weekend Market outside of Phuket Town

The market is essentially divided into two different sections. In one section, you will find a wide variety of food offerings, while in the other section, you can shop for everything you need – from clothing and accessories to souvenirs. The Naka Weekend Market is open from 4.00 PM to around 10.30 PM.

9. Promthep Cape

Promthep Cape is one of the most famous viewpoints in Phuket. Located at the southern tip of the island, it offers a spectacular backdrop of rocky cliffs, deep blue sea, and offshore islands. The sunset at Promthep Cape attracts crowds of visitors every day. It is one of the most popular spots on the island to watch the sun go down.

Sunset at Promthep Cape in Phuket

If you’re up for it, you can even climb down to the cape during your visit. Additionally, there is a shrine, a lighthouse, and a small maritime museum to explore on site. Entry to Promthep Cape is free, and parking is available. However, you should arrive early for the sunset, as the road down the hill is usually packed with cars due to the large number of visitors.

Insider tip: The Promthep Monastery, also known as Wat Phra Prom, is a Buddhist temple near Promthep Cape. It is often overlooked, as it is somewhat hidden and few tourists find it. Built on a hillside, the complex offers a different perspective of Promthep Cape.

10. Blackrock Viewpoint

The Black Rock Viewpoint is somewhat hidden and requires a short hike of about one kilometer, making it a real insider tip for many visitors. To reach it, you need to take the entrance to Nui Beach, located a little south of the Karon Viewpoint. Park where the trucks start the transfer to Nui Beach, and then take the path to the left.

The hidden Black Rock Viewpoint in Phuket
The view of the southern part of Phuket from the Black Rock Viewpoint

After about 250 meters, follow the path to the right, continuing up the hill. It can get quite steep at times. Don’t forget to bring water and possibly some snacks. Once you arrive at the Black Rock Viewpoint, you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of the southern tip of Phuket. Few tourists visit this viewpoint, and you might even find yourself alone up there. For us, it is one of the most beautiful viewpoints on the island and thus one of our top things to do in Phuket.

11. Karon Viewpoint

The Karon Viewpoint, also known as the “Three Bays” viewpoint, is located above Kata Noi. It offers an impressive view of the Andaman Sea as well as the bays of Kata Noi, Kata, Karon. You can also see the white Big Buddha in the distance. This is one of the most popular viewpoints. Its contrasts between the clear blue water, green hills, and golden beaches are simply breathtaking.

The Karon Viewpoint, Phuket things to do
View of the bays of Karon and Kata

The viewpoint is easily accessible by car or motorcycle, or with an organized tour via the road between Kata and Kata Noi. The best time for a free visit is in the morning to avoid the crowds. But an evening visit also offers a charming view, including the sunset.

12. Bangla Road

Bangla Road is the ultimate destination if you’re looking for exciting nightlife in Phuket. During the day, it appears as an ordinary street with souvenir shops and shopping options like Central Patong. But after dark, Bangla Road is closed to traffic and comes alive.

Many visitors on the famous Bangla Road in Patong, Phuket

It is lined with bars, clubs, and entertainment venues, ranging from live music to nightclubs, catering to every taste. Just taking a stroll, you’ll be accompanied by loud music from the bars, and the street is bustling with vendors and promoters. Colorful and lively – Bangla Road is the ideal place for you if you want to party.

13. Patong Beach

Patong Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Phuket, characterized by its fine white sand and turquoise blue water. The scenery is picturesque, although the many visitors can slightly mar the view.

The popular Patong Beach – one of our things to do in Phuket

At Patong Beach, there’s a wide range of water sports activities, including jet skiing and parasailing. If you prefer a more relaxed approach, you can rent loungers and umbrellas and order food and drinks from the vendors to enjoy a leisurely day at the beach. During the high season, the central part of the beach can get quite busy. Quieter spots can be found in the north or south.

14. Tri Trang Beach


Despite its proximity to Patong, Tri Trang Beach is a very peaceful beach. It stretches in a small bay south of Patong and is characterized by its light sand and clear water, making it ideal for swimming.

The tranquil Tri Trang Beach near Patong, Phuket

To get to Tri Trang Beach, drive south from Patong along the coast, over the bridge and up the hill. Just past the Marriott Hotel, you will reach Tri Trang Beach. There are a few luxury hotels in the area. One downside of Tri Trang Beach is that it is very shallow at low tide, so you need to go a bit further out to swim. However, there are some shady spots, and you can relax away from the tourism in Patong.

15. Sea Sky Café

Another one of our things to do in Phuket is located in the hills of Patong. Here you will encounter very few visitors. Here, you’ll find the charming Sea Sky Cafe, offering several seating options along with delicious food and drinks. The highlight is undoubtedly the breathtaking 180-degree view of Patong Bay.

The Sea Sky Cafe with a view over Patong, Phuket

When the sky is bathed in warm colors and the sun slowly disappears on the horizon, the Sea Sky Cafe transforms into a wonderful place. The relaxed atmosphere and location make the cafe the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset. When we were there, there were only a handful of other visitors and more than enough free seating.

16. Kamala Beach

Kamala Beach is becoming increasingly popular with visitors to Phuket and can get quite crowded, especially during the high season. Nonetheless, its atmosphere is inviting for a beach stay. We also find the beach very beautiful and a good alternative to Patong.

The beautiful Kamala Beach on the west coast of Phuket

You can stroll along the promenade, where you’ll find various restaurants, cafes, and bars, relax in the shade of the palm trees, or swim in the turquoise sea. Kamala Beach is perfect for a day at the beach with its soft white sand and slightly less hustle and bustle than Patong.

17. Kamala Beach Viewpoint

The Kamala Beach Viewpoint is located directly on the coastal road and is another hidden gem. Shortly after you leave Kamala heading north, you’ll find it on the left side. It’s a brief stopover where you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the coastline and the azure sea in Kamala Bay.

View from the Kamala Beach Viewpoint
View from the Kamala Beach Viewpoint

Most travelers overlook this great viewpoint as it is not clearly signposted. However, there is a small parking area that allows you to stop and take photos.

18. Surin Beach Viewpoint

The Surin Beach Viewpoint is hidden between Surin Beach and Pansea Beach to the north, right on the headland. The latter is located near The Surin, and you can only access it through the luxury hotels in the area.

View from the Surin Viewpoint
View from the Surin Viewpoint


You can reach the viewpoint by climbing up the rocks to the north. Or by heading towards the road at the northern end of Surin Beach and then going through the current construction site. A skywalk is being built there, which will make the viewpoint more easily accessible in the future.

19. Ma Doo Bua Café

The Ma Doo Bua Café is one of our things to do in Phuket. Not many tourists visit it on their own. It offers a unique experience for you if you enjoy relaxing amidst a beautiful lotus pond. The charming café is known for its picturesque setting, perfect for photo sessions.

The Ma Doo Bua with its lotus pond
The lotus pond at Ma Doo Bua

As a guest, you have the option to pay for a photoshoot among the giant lotus leaves, creating an unforgettable scene. Alternatively, you can take your own photos from the lotus pond’s boardwalk. Besides the photo opportunities, the café offers a selection of drinks and dishes from Thai and international cuisine. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon to capture wonderful memories.

If you prefer to visit the Ma Doo Bua Café on a private tour, there are options available. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or Grab if you don’t want to drive there yourself with a scooter or car.

20. Wat Phra Thong

Wat Phra Thong is known for its unique Buddha statue, Luang Poh Phra Thong, which is partially buried in the ground. According to legend, a farmer’s son died shortly after tying his buffalo to a post-like object. The boy’s father dreamt about the incident and, upon inspecting the post, discovered a large buried Buddha statue.

The Buddha of Wat Phra Thong in Phuket


However, no one was able to completely excavate the statue, so a temple was built around it. This story gives the temple a mystical aura. The temple complex is not very large but offers an interesting and free visit that is highly recommended. It’s definitely still an insider tip among Western tourists. Thus absolutely one of our things to do in Phuket if you enjoy visiting temples away from the crowds.

21. Banana Beach

Banana Beach is a bit hidden and feels like a little paradise. The secluded beach, surrounded by dense greenery and steep cliffs, is accessible via a short walk. Note: There are several access points directly from the coastal road, some of which are less steep than others.

Banana Beach, one of the things to do in Phuket in the northwest

The beach itself features fine, golden sand and crystal-clear, turquoise water, ideal for swimming. The underwater world at Banana Beach, rich with colorful corals and exotic fish, makes it a popular destination for snorkeling enthusiasts. Additionally, there is a small restaurant on the beach that offers delicious food and drinks. In our opinion, the best photos can be taken from the rocks at the northern end of the beach. They provide a magnificent view of the entire beach.

22. Naithon Wooden Bridge

The Naithon Wooden Bridge, also somewhat hidden, is located before you reach Naithon Beach from the south, opposite Malaiwana. It is essentially a staircase and a popular photo spot for many visitors who capture memories with palm trees and the turquoise sea in the background. It is often described as a popular Instagram photo spot.

The Naithon Wooden Bridge, Phuket
A popular Instagram spot – the Naithon Wooden Bridge

The bridge, or rather the steps, lead you down to the beach, to a section of Naithon Beach that is sometimes washed over but almost always offers the chance to be alone. Most visitors simply take a photo of the stairs and then continue on their way.

23. Mai Khao Beach

The 11-kilometer-long Mai Khao Beach, the longest beach in Phuket, is known for its peaceful atmosphere. This beach is particularly unique and one of our things to do in Phuket. It is located right at the end of the runway of Phuket International Airport. As a visitor, you can witness the impressive spectacle of planes taking off and landing up close and take great photos.

Airplane at Mai Khao Beach in Phuket
Landing approach at Phuket Airport

The best way to reach this section of the beach is by driving north from the airport to Mai Khao Beach. With a scooter, you can take a small path. Or you can be taken directly to the beach section near the airport by one of the tuk-tuks. It will cost you 20 Baht per person. Aside from this area, the beach offers opportunities for swimming and quiet spots, as most visitors only come to the section in front of the airport.


Phuket things to do: Organized Tours or Exploring on Your Own

Phuket has a lot of traffic, especially in tourist areas like Patong, Karon, and Kata, where there can even be traffic jams. If you’ve never ridden a scooter before and don’t want to rent a car, we recommend organized tours in Phuket. There is a great selection of tours to explore the island’s highlights and many of our Phuket things to do. It’s a good option if you’re not confident exploring on your own or want to play it safe due to the traffic.

Plan your trip to Phuket now

More hotel recommendations for Phuket:


Phuket things to do: Tours and tickets

Do you prefer to travel with a guide who knows the area very well? Then we recommend a guided tour with a local. This way you can get to know Phuket in a completely different way. GetYourGuide offers a wide selection of exciting tours for Phuket.

 

Have you been to Phuket? What do you think of our things to do in Phuket, and do you have any additional suggestions? Feedback in the comments is always welcome.

Tobi

Hi, I'm Tobi, a passionate travel blogger and freelancer in translations and copy writing. Mostly I travel around Southeast Asia and work remotely from different locations. If you want to know where I am or what I'm doing, just follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.