Visiting Phuket: what are the best things to do and see in the southern islands of Thailand?
The largest island of Thailand stretched in the Andaman Sea in the southwest of the country, visiting Phuket offers to see a tropical paradise and probably the most visited site of Thailand.
Between the dream beaches, the gustatory pleasures of Thai cuisine, the grandiose excursions, the underwater activities, the great Buddha or the surrounding islands, you will surely want to return. To help you organize your stay more easily, we've listed the top 15 things to do in and around Phuket.
1. The old town of Phuket
City of 80,000 inhabitants, Phuket is a seaside resort located on the southeast coast of the island. Founded by Chinese and Malay merchants in the 19th century, you can still see the Chinese style houses in the streets of the old town of Phuket. Don't miss the Thai Hua Museum, the Hai Leng Ong Statue (the golden dragon monument) and Soi Rommanee.
2. Thai cooking class at Pink Chili Phuket
Follow a Thai cooking class in Phuket will provide you a amazing immersion in Thai local culture. You love thai food you will learn how to cook it. There are few school in Phuket but if you really want an authentic Thai cooking experience, join the class at Pink Chili Phuket.
3. Traditional Thai shows and cabarets
What else is there to do in Phuket but see at least one traditional cabaret? Thailand is known for its ladyboys who were once... boys. Why not go see a dance at a cabaret in Phuket? To reassure some, it is a show rather attended by families.
4. Thai food
Thai food could be described as succulent, refined, exotic, tasty, sometimes amazing. In the street - even in Bangkok - you can eat for 2 € to 3 € very good plates - including the famous Pad Thai. Going to a restaurant becomes almost useless. But beware, the dishes will often be very spicy.
5. The statue of the Great Buddha
Standing 25 meters high on the top of Nakkerd Hill, this huge statue overlooks everything. If you come to visit Phuket, you can't miss the Big Buddha: you can see it from everywhere! Its marble comes from Burma, but to enter the site, you will have to cover your legs and shoulders according to the Buddhist codes.
6. Wat Chalong temple
Wat Chalong is the largest and busiest of the 29 temples open to visit Phuket. Composed of three floors of 60 meters high, it was erected in the early 19th century. To stroll after the visit, a huge garden surrounds the buildings. Remember to cover your legs and shoulders and to take off your shoes when entering the temple.
7. A Muay Thai fight (Thai boxing)
Coming to Thailand, visiting Phuket without seeing a Thai boxing match would be like visiting New York without seeing the Statue of Liberty! Every Friday night at the Boxing stadium in Phuket City, come and watch this national sport of Thailand and see the excitement of the pre-match betting. For the first time, the fights will be really impressive.
8. Freedom Beach
Phuket is known for its dreamy beaches, and this is not a myth. People come here to stroll, bake on the sand - all precautions taken of course -, admire the landscape, snorkel, swim or walk. The most pleasant and beautiful beaches are located on the west coast:
9. Naiharn and Leam Phrom Thep
The beach of Naiharn and leam Phrom thep reveal the paradise spots of Phuket's southwest coast.
10. Sirinat National Park
Spread over 90 square kilometers, the park is located 30 kilometers northwest of Phuket, and has a discontinuous strip of 13 kilometers of beaches. Hat Nai Thon, Hat Nai Yang, Hat Mai Khao and Hat Sai Kaeo, to name a few.
11. Phang Nga Bay
A large bay located in the Andaman Sea with an area of 400 square meters, the bay stretches southward between Phuket to the west and Krabi province to the east. A postcard setting when visiting Phuket. For travelers and locals, it is a marvel that we never get tired of. By boat, the traditional Phang-Nga tour will take 3 hours. You will explore a chaotic landscape in the middle of the sea: a hundred karst peaks, some of which are 100 meters high. Simply magnificent.
To see in particular in the bay of Phang Nga is Khao Phing Kan, a pair of islands famous for having appeared in The Man with the Golden Gun, one of the James Bond movies. Since then it is called "James Bond Island".
12. Ko Sire Island
At the eastern end of Phuket City, this tiny island separated by a river is a small refuge from mass tourism. When you go to visit Phuket, it can do you good...
You will find beautiful views without amusement parks and far fewer western tourists - the famous "pharangs" in Thai. The fishing port offers a different, authentic look at Phuket.
13. The Phuket Aquarium, in Cape Phanwa
South of Ko Sire is a cape where you can visit the Marine Biology Research Center and the Phuket Aquarium, and see several hundred exotic marine species bursting with color.
Walk through the 10 meter long glass tunnel and watch all kinds of fish go by. Continue the tour to the turtle hatchery at the back of the building, where turtles are raised in large tanks before being released.
The marine biology research center also conducts extensive studies on tropical reef ecosystems and the development of responsible and sensible commercial fishing.
14. Koh Phi Phi
A boat will be necessary, but you can't visit Phuket and head back to Bangkok without passing by the Ko Phi Phi islands. These are two islands - Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Ley - of which Maya Bay, the beach known worldwide thanks to the movie The Beach with G. Canet, V. Ledoyen and L. Di Caprio. A heavenly setting, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
15. Rent a scooter to visit Phuket
What could be better than feeling free to visit Phuket without being dependent on buses and tuk-tuks? Renting a scooter will allow you to go wherever you want, according to the wind and your desires. But beware of the "Thai tatoo", a famous expression referring to those who are scratched or injured after a fall on a scooter. Drive slowly, protect yourself and take a good look at the scooter.
How to go to Phuket?
Phuket being the most touristic place in Thailand after Bangkok, you will find quite easily direct flights from Paris to Phuket. But if you stay in Bangkok, there are several ways to go to Phuket. By plane always, but also by bus (there are daily departures from Hua Lamphong station). To find a cheap flight to Phuket, you can do your research on the website of our partner Skyscanner.
Where to stay in Phuket?
If you stay for a week or more, the location of your hotel is very important. It is tempting to stay in Patong or nearby, because that is where the entertainment is, but it is not the best place to relax and enjoy the nature. For that, you should rather prefer Rawai and Naiharn. Note that it is even possible to stay on Koh Phi Phi. You can find a cheap hotel in Phuket and its surroundings by doing a search on this hotel comparator. www.agoda.com