Top 10 Things To Do In Phuket

Phuket has something for everyone. It’s a place that’s full of fun and excitement, known for nightlife, bars and restaurants but it’s also full of amazing beaches for the tourist who just wants to relax. Experience the cultural beauty of the island in one of the local temples then enjoy a change of pace with a trip to the spa or some retail therapy. Read on for more inspiration. Here are our top 10 ideas for what to do in Phuket.

10. Naka Market

The weekend market in Phuket is known as Naka Market. If you’re looking for things to do in Phuket then it’s well worth paying a visit to the eclectic market which is located just outside of Phuket Town. Even if you don’t want to actually buy anything it’s a good way to spend a couple of hours, amidst the array of different stalls, which sell everything from second hand goods to delicious local snacks. Even if you only come to try the snacks, your time will have been well spent, and you never know, you may just see something that you really want to buy.

The market is in two parts; the covered section and the open section. Generally, the covered section is where you’ll find all the second hand goods as well as souvenirs aimed at the tourist market. In the open section you can take a look at a wide range of goods including electronic items, DVDs, jewelry and clothing. There seems to be almost no limit to the items for sale. If you’re thinking of visiting the market then it’s worth noting that it starts to get really busy just around 4pm, when the temperature begins to cool down.

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9. Phuket Trickeye Museum

Phuket Trickeye Museum is certainly a memorable place to visit while in Phuket. This museum is probably different to anything you’ve experienced before… Instead of just looking at a picture you can now feel as though you’re entering it. Let your imagination run while inside this entertaining Phuket attraction where you can interact with the items that are on display and really have fun doing so. The museum is full of pieces of art that you’ll already be familiar with, but at this venue they’re created in 3D. If you’re thinking that walking through an art gallery or a museum is really not your thing when you’re vacationing on an island paradise then you’re going to be in for a surprise! This venue introduces you to art in a whole new light. It’s a great place to visit as a family too; to get your children interested in the world of art for the first time. You’ll see it all in a different light here.

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8. Kata Beach

Phuket is well known for its miles of glorious white sand beaches and Kata Beach is no exception. The bay of Kata is a very popular spot for families to visit, with its enticing sands and clear waters. You can stroll along the beach which is lined by an array of palms, or stop and have a meal at one of the many excellent restaurants in the area. If you like spending time on the beach during the day before an evening of lively nightlife, then you’ll love Kata. There is plenty to do after the sun goes down but it’s a fun and relaxed atmosphere that’s not overly rowdy.

For sunbathing on the beach in Phuket the best time of year to visit Kata Beach is between November and April. For the rest of the year the beach turns into a haven for surf enthusiasts who take to the waves. Away from the sands of Kata Beach you can take a walk around any of the beachside mini marts and fashion stores, or relax with a cool drink at one of the local bars.

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7. Phromthep Cape

When you visit Phuket then you must spend some time at Phromthep Cape; it’s the place where you can benefit from one of the very best photo opportunities the location has to offer: the beautiful sunset. Locals and visitors alike flock to the hill as the sun is going down, to get the perfect picture of a spectacular sight. It goes without saying that this is one of the most romantic things to do with your loved one while on vacation, although you do have to remember that you’ll be sharing it with everyone else who is parked in the large car park! Still, we highly recommend this top thing to do in Phuket, for a sunset you won’t forget in a hurry.

Phromthep isn’t just about the sunset. Come earlier in the day to visit the lighthouse which is home to some fascinating maritime themed artifacts. There is also a viewing area at the lighthouse from where you can look out across local islands.

It’s worth noting that if you’re visiting the hill at sunset you should be prepared for it to be really busy; it isn’t a peaceful experience, but it is a beautiful one. You can also visit one of the local stores that sell souvenirs, beachwear and some tasty snacks.

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6. Freedom Beach

As Phuket has so many great beaches to choose from it’s inevitable that our list of top Phuket attractions should feature more than one beach. The problem with beaches like Patong is that they tend to get very crowded and this spoils the experience for some people. Freedom Beach is different though; it never gets as crowded and it’s truly beautiful so why isn’t it as busy? Simple. You can only reach Freedom Beach by boat, and only during high season.

Between December and June you should be able to find a longtail boat to transport you. The shortest and cheapest route is from the southern part of Patong Beach. The boat ride is fun but you should be prepared to get a bit wet so make sure any valuable items are protected. It’s also worth noting that once you get off the boat you will need to walk through shallow water to get to the beach. This isn’t a problem; the waters are warm and soothing and the sand is soft under your feet. You can rent a beach chair or grab something to eat and a cool drink at the restaurant. Freedom Beach is without doubt one of the most magical of Phuket attractions.

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5. Soi Dog Foundation

It may not sound like an especially appealing Phuket attraction, but the Soi Dog Foundation is one you really should consider adding to your list of top things to do in Phuket. The Soi Dog Foundation rescues and cares for both cats and dogs on the island and its aim is to help stop cruelty and homelessness among these animals. When you visit the foundation you can actually choose to spend some time volunteering, or you may prefer to sponsor an animal. All the sponsorship money raised goes towards the care of all the animals at the foundation; this means that all animals are cared for equally. If you’re wondering what to do in Phuket then a visit to Soi Dog Foundation is something really different. It’s eye opening to see the work the people at the foundation are doing, and the difference they are making.

Plan to spend around three hours at the foundation as this will give you time to take a tour of the facilities and have some fun playing with the cats and dogs afterwards. Overall it’s a very uplifting experience and a complete change from the beaches and temples that form the major part of many Phuket vacations.

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4. Phuket Big Buddha

A visit to Phuket wouldn’t be complete without some time spent visiting the Big Buddha. This landmark is one of the most important and well known on the island. It’s located on the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and you really can’t miss it. It’s almost 148 feet high and can be seen from all around. The site isn’t hard to reach and the views from the statue are amazing; you get an exceptional 360 degree view of the island. This is also a very peaceful place to visit, especially if you want to escape from the sounds of a packed beach or bar. You can hear the ringing of the small bells on the statue and the soft strains of the background music that is played. Close to the Big Buddha is a smaller golden colored one for you to take a look at. All in all this a pretty incredible sight to see when you’re in Phuket.

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3. Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

During the 1980s the population of gibbons on Phuket was completely wiped out due to poaching. The situation is now in the process of being reversed thanks to the work being done at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. Gibbons are a very important feature of the wildlife of Phuket and sadly they are still being threatened as many of them are being used as a tourist attraction to try and get tourists to have their photographs taken. But, if you want to see the gibbons of Phuket, help them to regain a foothold in the wild, and be satisfied that you’re not encouraging their exploitation, then you should definitely pay a visit to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project.

The project was first set up in 1992 by the then chief of the Royal Forest Department in Phuket, a zoologist from the US, and the Asian Wildlife Fund. They wanted to put an end to gibbons being used as tourist attractions and to repopulate the last rainforest on the island with the native gibbons. It’s an awe inspiring project to visit, whether or not you’re an animal lover.

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2. Wat Chalong

Wherever you go in Thailand, you will always come across many beautiful temples and Phuket is no exception. There are 29 temples on this island alone. Wat Chalong is more than a century old and serves two purposes. Local people visit the temple to pray, whereas tourists visit to learn more about Buddhism. In fact, a visit to Wat Chalong is one of the most popular things to do in Phuket. If you pay a visit to the temple you can see several important statues, such as the statue Poh Than Jao Wat, which you can find in the westerly old hall, and the statue of Nonsi. One of the most popular locations at the temple is the pagoda; mostly because it’s a cool and pleasant place to spend some time. It’s also home to a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone. If you want to get to know something of the history and culture of Phuket then you really should take some time to visit this beautiful temple.

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1. Nai Harn Beach

Nai Harn is a beach in Phuket which is mostly known by the locals so from a tourism point of view it’s fairly quiet. This is great news if you’re looking for a quieter and less developed beach experience while visiting Phuket, as this could be the ideal place to spend some time. The area around the beach is home to just a small selection of hotels as well as some excellent local restaurants where you can relax over dinner or a couple of drinks.

If you want to be able to swim at the beach then the best time of year to visit is between November and April, which coincides with high season. At other times of year it’s possible to be caught out by undertows so you should be careful if you decide to take to the water. If you are visiting the area of Nai Harn Beach you can also check out Ya Nui, a cove which is a popular diving destination, and Ao Sane which is an excellent beach for snorkeling. The entire area is an excellent place to stay when you’re in Phuket, especially if you’re drawn to the quieter, more local-centric destinations. You get to spend time at beautiful beaches that aren’t completely packed out with tourists, and experience the real Phuket while you’re here!

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I'm Peter, the founder of Thailand-Guide and someone who decided to share my experiences travelling in Thailand. There are so many amazing locations to chose from that you're probably going to want to know a little more about each place before deciding where to go, that's where I come in with travel guides and the top things to do in each destination.

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