Best things to do in Phuket
Find out more about those top places in Phuket
With karst islands rising out of turquoise waters, golden sand beaches stretching for miles and rainforest-clad mountains, Phuket is a real life tropical paradise. Unsurprisingly, the Thai province has become saturated with visitors who arrive each year in their millions. However, away from the sin-city of Patong, renowned for its 24-hour party atmosphere, Phuket is a relaxed hidden gem with astonishing cultural riches and mouth-watering cuisine. Beyond the beaches, Phuket Town showcases the best of Sino-Portuguese architectural traditions while Buddhist temples in Chalong and Thalang rival any of those in Bangkok. What is more, Phuket’s cuisine is a melting pot of Thai, Chinese and Malaysian traditions producing culinary fusion that is equal parts disconcerting and delightful.
The sheer limestone cliffs, jungle-clad mountaintops, bio-diverse mangrove forests and sparkling turquoise waters of Phang Nga Bay are one of the world’s most iconic landscapes. To get to grips with the area’s magical birdlife, gravity defying geological formations and role in James Bond’s Man With a Golden Gun, tour the bay with an expert local guide who will take you off the beaten tourist trail.
For most visitors to Thailand visiting an elephant sanctuary is a must-do experience. One of the best places to do so is the ethical Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in scenic jungle-clad hills near Phuket, which is home to tens of elephants rescued from captivity and poachers. During tours of the wonderful sanctuary you will get the opportunity to feed the jungle giants bananas and sugar cane and get muddy with them in a mud spa.
The Robinson Crusoe-esque Surin Islands form one of the world’s most important marine national parks playing host to a dazzling array of coral reefs, tropical fish species and marine mammals. To explore the region’s extraordinary bio-diversity, guided tours from Phuket take you the premier snorkeling spot of Ao Mae Yai where you can experience the rich flora and fauna first hand.
As one of Thailand’s most remarkable landscapes, the lush Phi Phi Islands are rightly one of Phuket’s biggest draws. Tours of these tropical islands encompass snorkeling in the area’s dazzling coral reefs, relaxing on white sand beaches and visiting numerous historic attractions.
For those looking to learn about Thailand’s unique history without slogging through books the colorful Siam Niramit Show is an ideal experience. Showcasing the incredible martial arts and acrobatic skills of over 100 performers, the shows take you on a journey through the country’s immense culture and history.
One of Asia’s best museums of optical illusions, the Phuket Trickeye Museum is bound to enthral visitors of all ages. With thrilling waterfall simulations, exhibitions that take you back to the ancient world and 3 dimensional paintings that come to life, the museum is an unforgettable experience.
The Andaman Sea is one of the world’s premier scuba diving destinations. Tours of this remarkable stretch of water run daily from Phuket and allow you to explore the underwater phantasmagoria that are coral reefs, which is home to innumerable species of colorful fish, sharks, dolphins and turtles.
For thrill seekers, the Flying Hanuman attraction on Phuket's outskirts is a must. Set amongst lush tropical rainforest and with the utmost respect for the region’s bio-diversity, the rainforest adventure takes place high in the canopy through a series of adrenaline pumping zip lines and sky bridges.
To truly immerse yourself in the wilderness of the jungles that surround Phuket, white water rafting tours on the immense Song Phraek River let you experience the raw power of nature.
Perched atop the jungle-clad Nakkerd Hills and visible from across Phuket Island is the Big Buddha statue. The towering statue still under construction and will reach 45 meters tall when complete, offers remarkable views of the surrounding landscape and can be incorporated into tours of Phuket city.