Phuket has a wonderful range of attractions. From natural to man-made, from land-based to water activities, there's something for everyone to see and do on Phuket Island. The best thing is that these activities are all within quick and easy access of each other, by car or boat.
There are some wonderful museums, extraordinary religious and cultural structures, exotic shows, vibrant nightlife and some beautiful beaches on which to enjoy the soft white sand, tropical surf and the amazing scenery.
There are plenty of really memorable things to do in Phuket. The island itself has a beautiful historical old town, great viewpoints and iconic cultural attractions. It's also a good base for exploring the nearby islands and their must-see attractions. These include world-famous places like Phang Nga Bay and the Phi Phi Islands.
The following list is our pick of the things which are definitely worth a visit while you're in Phuket. There's something among the best things to do in Phuket for virtually every kind of traveller.
PHANG NGA BAY
Phang Nga Bay's distinctive feature is the sheer limestone karsts that jut vertically out of the emerald-green water. James Bond Island and Koh Panyee are just 2 of the more famous spots in this bay. By far the best means of enjoying the spectacular scenery, with only brief encounters with the tourist crowds at James Bond and Koh Panyee, is by taking boat trips from the northern end of Phuket.
A leisurely day trip cruising through Phang Nga Bay's dramatic limestone islands, occasionally stopping to enjoy quiet beaches, is far more rewarding than the standard bus-boat tour.
Famous for James Bond Island, Koh Panyee, Samet Nangshe Viewpoint, The Limestone Cliffs and so much more this Bay is one not to be missed.
PHI PHI ISLANDS
The Phi Phi Islands are Thailand's superstar archipelago, particularly famous for Maya Bay's central role in the 2000 movie The Beach. It's the topic of conversation for travellers all over Thailand. For some, it's the only reason to touchdown in Phuket. Even with all the hype, it doesn't disappoint.
Phi Phi's beauty is a large chunk of the allure. The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to a beach-fringed jungle. To most, it's love at first sight.
Photo Credit: Travelling.com
Visible from most of the south of Phuket, the Big Buddha sits atop the Nakkerd Hills and looks down over Chalong, Kata and Rawai. It cost 30 million baht to construct and is 45 metres tall. Next to it stands a smaller golden image that's actually made of solid brass and there's also a shrine near the site's car park. The drive up to the Big Buddha takes you through some beautiful jungle and the view from the top is enhanced if you take a map to identify the many, many sights.
Location: Soi Yot Sane 1, Karon, Muang, Phuket 83100, Thailand
Open: Daily from 6am to 7pm
Phone: +66 (0)81 891 3827
The stunning Similan Islands are surrounded by amazingly clear blue seas and pristine white-sand beaches. Heaven for island-hoppers and scuba divers, the 9 islands are about 30 km off the coast of Khaolak. They're ranked among the best dive sites in the world for their lively and colourful coral reefs and perfect visibility. For non-divers, the famous Sailing Boat Rock is on Similan No. 8 and is an iconic feature of this must-see archipelago.
Location: Lam Kaen, Thai Mueang, Phang-nga 82210, Thailand
Open: From 15 October to 15 May (dates may vary each year)
PHUKET NIGHT MARKETS
Phuket has an impressive selection of night markets to choose from. Each has its own unique charms, but all offer interesting souvenirs at low prices. They're an excellent place to try local street food and snacks, and some also have street performances and music. Being open in the evenings means that you don't get too hot while getting your shopping fix.
BANGLA ROAD PATONG
There are few things in this world to prepare you for an after-dark stroll down Patong's Bangla Road. However, a sense of humour and an open mind are essential if you're looking to have some fun. The biggest collection of nightclubs, bars, shows and general nocturnal fun in Phuket, it's pretty much an all-out assault on the senses. In spite of this, it is still very much one of the essential things to do in Phuket.
SIMON CABARET SHOW
Simon Cabaret is probably the biggest transvestite cabaret show in Phuket. This show features a spectacular musical floor show performed by the world-famous ladyboy cast. See for yourself – guys, can you tell the difference? And ladies – wouldn't you just die for a figure like that? Fabulous costumes, glitzy and fun are found in a fancy theatre just south of Patong.
Location: 8 Sirirat Rd, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand Open: Daily at 6pm, 7.30pm and 9pm Phone: +66 (0)87 888 6888
Experience the ultimate Phuket theatre, show and musical experience during an evening at the Simon Cabaret Show. This one-on-a-kind experience offers travellers a night of thrilling entertainment that is not to be missed! Enjoy a Las Vegas-style production influenced by Thai culture and traditions. Not to be missed - enjoy this highly entertaining night of cabaret Entrance fee included Choice of several show times.
Book Here with Master Travel and events
PHUKET ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
Phuket's tourism industry is constantly evolving to keep pace with modern trends. Nowhere is that fact clearer than with the elephant sanctuaries springing up in and around the island. The sanctuaries provide a safe escape from trekking and logging camps. They also let you interact with the gentle giants in a more ethical, animal-friendly way. If you're a responsible traveller, these places should definitely be on your list of things to do in Phuket.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is the first ethical elephant sanctuary in Phuket where elephants roam around, bathe and socialise freely across 30 acres of lush, tropical land bordering the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park in North East Phuket. They buy all rescued elephants to ensure that Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is their final home, and they offer professional veterinary care for old and injured elephants. By visiting , you are supporting a sustainable, ethical and compassionate approach to elephant tourism where elephants have the freedom to live naturally. National Geographic, Lonely Planet and The Guardian have all endorsed their ethical approach.
Welcome Snacks, Coffee, Fruits, Juices and Filtered Water
Boots, Socks, Umbrellas, Rain Coats, Mosquito Spray
JAMES BOND ISLAND
Actually named Koh Tapu (meaning 'Nail Island', because of it's shape), James Bond Island first found fame because of its starring role in the 1974 movie The Man With the Golden Gun. The entire area surrounding this island and its signature rocky pinnacle is indeed spectacular, though its incredible popularity means it gets a little crowded on the tiny rock in the middle of Phang Nga Bay. Read more
Location: Phang Nga Bay, Phang-nga 82130, Thailand
SCUBA DIVING IN PHUKET
Phuket is a great place to learn to dive or enjoy some fun bottom time. It's rated among the top diving destinations in the world and many of the centres in the area boast years of experience. Diving day trips from Phuket to Phi Phi Island and the Racha Islands operate throughout the year, though conditions are at their best in the high season.
Both beginners and experienced divers will appreciate the underwater scenery at Phi Phi, the fascinating King Cruiser wreck close to Anemone Reef, and the exciting diving at Shark Point – named after the Leopard sharks which live on the sandy bottom. For world-class scuba diving and the really big fish, go for a liveaboard dive cruise to the Similan and Surin Islands in the Andaman Sea.
PHUKET GOLF COURSES
Phuket has a collection of fine golf courses, all of which have been designed to take full advantage of the island's tropical climate and unique topography. Many visitors come solely to play golf around the beautifully landscaped courses, which make use of the local abundance of water and trees to full effect. Many of the courses and near hotels to ensure that accompanying family members can enjoy being left to laze by the pool or on the beach.
Standards are high, ensuring that the greens are green and the holes are challenging enough to stretch new and experienced players alike. Some of the courses have even been used for international competitions and world championships.
Flying Hanuman in Phuket is a zipline adventure park where you can soar through the sky 40 metres above a jungle. This eco-friendly attraction lets you explore the hillsides of Phuket through several obstacle courses and sky bridges. Flying Hanuman in Phuket offers 3 courses (journeys), all of which include a free Flying Hanuman premium collection T-shirt, and roundtrip transfer. You get to explore the adventure park's facilities, including platforms, ziplines, sky bridges, abseiling points, spiral stairways, and a wilderness walk. Note that you have to wear pulleys and safety helmets at all times. Read more
Location: 89/16 Moo 6, Soi Namtok Kathu, Wichitsongkram Road, Kathu, Phuket 83120, Thailand Open: Daily from 8am to 6pm Phone: +66 (0)81 979 2332