Phuket is Thailand’s largest and possibly the most popular island in the whole country. With clear blue waters, sandy beaches, delicious Thai cuisine, and fantastic snorkeling and diving experience, it’s easy to understand why travelers come to Phuket from all over the world for relaxation and exciting adventure.
The climate in Phuket is fantastic with warm sunny days all year and easily accessible from Bangkok in just an hour flight. There are also many fun activities you must do in Phuket, thanks to its rich local culture and beautiful beaches.
Welcoming the new year 2022, we have curated the best 13 best activities you must do in Phuket if you’re visiting the heavenly island next year. Let’s check them out!
1. Explore Phuket Town
One of the top spots to visit on the island of Phuket as a visitor to this part of Thailand is Phuket Town. It is the capital of the eponymous island and is home to a number of remarkable sights that can be explored by foot or by bicycle. Located on the island’s southeastern shore, in a beautiful bay, Phuket downtown is packed with hotels, restaurants, massage parlors, and other tourist attractions that have popped up in the decades since Patong Beach was opened to construction in 1980 have made this island metropolis a hive of activity.
The building architectures in Phuket are influenced by Chinese immigration and a Portuguese aesthetic, and it stands out against the more traditional Thai forms found elsewhere. Take a stroll or enjoy your day cycling through the lively Thalang Road or Old Phuket Town’s streets, which are lined with well-preserved shophouses, Sino-Portuguese homes, temples, and shrines.
Other interesting things you can do in the town is visit the Phuket Trickeye Museum, an interactive 3D art gallery or check out Jui Tui Shrine, a beautiful Chinese temple.
2. Morning Hike to Phuket’s Big Buddha
Made of white jade stone and built in 2004, The Phuket Big Buddha sits serenely above the island at the summit of the Nakkerd hills between Kata and Chalong. It is one of the island’s most recognizable sights and a tranquil area to unwind after a long day with the calm tinkling little bells that can be heard as prayer flags flap in the breeze.
To get to the summit, you can take a cab or tuk-tuk up the winding six-kilometer road. You can also opt to walk a steep flight of stairs to get to the statue. However, once you reach the summit, where this magnificent 45-meter-high statue presides, you will be rewarded with spectacular 360-degree views of the island.
3. Wat Chalong
The largest, most visited, and possibly the most beautiful of Phuket’s 29 temples is Wat Chalong. It honors two revered monks, Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, with life-size wax models of them and other characters on display in the exhibition home.
The Grand Pagoda houses a portion of Lord Buddha’s bones, as well as murals depicting scenes from his life. Observe the many golden buddhas in various poses as you go through the complex, and dress appropriately; visitors are not permitted to wear shoes within the temple, and ladies must cover their shoulders and knees.
4. Wat Phra Tong
This temple is steeped in local legend, and it includes a half-broken Buddha statue that was shattered during a Burmese invasion. According to legend, a little kid was in charge of a water buffalo, which he fastened with a hemp rope to a piece of metal projecting from the ground.
The young child died suddenly, but in a dream, he appeared to his father and told him about the metal piece. The father began digging and discovered a flawless gold Buddha statue. However, because the Buddha could not be fully excavated, a temple was built on the site in 1785.
When the Burmese captured Thalang, a second attempt to dig up the statue failed, and the statue was split in half. One side of the temple has vanished, but the other remains. The temple buildings’ gables and windows have intricate embellishments.
5. Explore the Colorful and Lively Phuket’s Market
Markets are a must-see in Phuket, since they are a blend of tourist attraction, street food destination, and bargaining heaven.
The Sunday Street Market is an excellent place to start your market trip. Set in the center of the historical district of Phuket Town, this is one of the island’s most popular attractions. This is a Sunday-only market that runs from 4 to 9 pm, as the name implies. It’s lively, full of lights, bustling, and loud — the ideal way to end the week, surrounded by gorgeous ancient buildings, stalls offering arts and crafts, and plenty of mouth-watering wonderful food.
The well-designed indoor Banzaan Fresh Market, located on Sai Kor Road, is a good spot to learn about exotic fruits you may not have back in your home, pick up some veggies or fruits, or have a drink of refreshing coconut water or sugarcane juice. On your walk to the large food court upstairs, don’t forget to stop by the gift and souvenir kiosks.
Another market you should visit is The Phuket Weekend Night Market, which is the place to go if you’re looking for more traditional Thai goods, curios, or cheap T-shirts. The market, which is located just outside of Phuket Town, is a good place to look for secondhand products, grab some random items, and sample some unusual foods. Do you want deep-fried insects, spicy and sour (but delicious) Tom Yam seafood soup or fishcakes? This is the place where you can get those yummy meals for dinner!
6. Watch a Muay Thai Match
After seeing a Muay Thai boxing battle, you’ll understand why it’s one of our top 10 things to do in Phuket! Muay Thai is a martial art that has been practiced in Thailand for over 500 years and it has been established as Thailand’s official national sport.
The Patong Boxing Stadium is an excellent venue for watching a match in Phuket. Youth fighters, as well as male and female fighters from Thailand and around the world, can be seen here. Ringside seating is recommended for martial arts fans, but stadium seating is recommended for those who want to join the locals in betting on their favorites.
7. Bang Pae Waterfall & Gibbon Rehabilitation Center
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, which is located within the Khao Pra Theaw Non-Hunting Area, is a terrific site to learn more about these amazing animals while also supporting essential work. The center’s purpose is to save, rehabilitate, and release the gibbons back into the wild.
Many of these animals were kidnapped as babies from their moms and sold as pets or utilized in the tourist industry. Visitor contact with animals eligible for release is limited so that they do not develop accustomed to humans, but you will have the opportunity to meet some of the sanctuary’s full-time residents and hear stories about their amazing rescues.
There is no entrance cost to the center, but you must pay to visit the park. Make a donation or sponsor a gibbon to help the center continue its essential work. Trek through the thick tropical jungle to the Bang Pae waterfall for a relaxing soak in the pools after touring the center.
8. Islands Hopping
You might be tempted to spend your entire vacation lounging on the beach, however you will miss all the good stuff the island has to offer if you skip on the island hopping boat tour! Sign up for an island tour to see the gorgeous seascape around Phuket if you’re willing to put in a little effort during your island vacation.
Maphrao, Nakha Yai, and Nakha Noi, Koh Kaeo, Racha Noi, and Racha Yai (off the southern tip), and finally small Koh Poo off Hat Kata, are the highlights you need to visit .
9. Diving and Snorkeling
The waters near Phuket Island have some of Thailand’s best diving and snorkeling spots, with consistently good conditions. The water temperature ranges from 26 to 30 degrees Celsius and offers good visibility. Seahorses, sea turtles, manta rays, and even whale sharks can be seen among the brilliant corals and tropical fish.
Many tourists visit Thailand to get their scuba diving certification because the courses are less expensive here than in other countries. Some diving operators will transport you to stunning places like Koh Phi Phi, one of the world’s most beautiful islands as your diving lessons spot.
Once you’ve received your certification head to Similan Islands National Park which is popular for its excellent diving experience.
10. Visit Rawai Village
Venture out to this small village on Phuket’s east coast to see the Moken, a tribe of “sea gypsies,” to see the authentic Phuket experience. They are natives of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and they have remained committed to their traditional culture. Some choose to live near the water, while others choose for a semi-nomadic existence on land. The men in the village work primarily as fishermen and occasionally as sea trip guides.
The small fishing harbor has beautiful lines of coconut trees, swamp oaks, and fishing boats (Nai Harn Beach is one of the best in the area.) You can rent boats to travel to neighboring islands from this location. The area is also known for its seafood markets, where you can buy the catch of the day and have it prepared to order at one of the local restaurants.
11. Lounge on Kata Beach
Kata Beach is a picturesque, curving bay surrounded on both ends by verdant hillside fringed with casuarinas and palms. Although it’s also a popular beach, it’s quieter than Patong Beach and has fewer hawkers. A little islet stands slightly offshore, and the beach is long and wide, with soft white sand and good snorkeling sites on both ends.
If you get hungry, stop by one of the beachfront stalls for a papaya shake or a snack, and larger restaurants are within walking distance. You may also want to head south to nearby Kata Noi Beach if you want an even quieter stretch of beach.
12. Swim at Karon Beach
Karon Beach is a 3.5-kilometer strip of squeaky, golden sand and sapphire sea that draws many couples and families. It is less developed than famed Patong Beach, which is roughly 15 minutes away. It’s a great area for a swim when the weather is calm, but when the winds pick up, large waves pound the wide-open beach here, so be careful if you’re swimming during these times.
Restaurants and resorts line the busy road opposite the beach, however a few four-star resorts, such as the adults-only Beyond Resort Karon and the luxury bungalows of the neighboring Marina Phuket Resort at the southern end of the beach, have direct beach access. Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, which has its own water park, is located on the northern end of the island.
13. Hike Up to Karon View Point
This well called vantage point, located just south of Kata Noi Beach, provides a stunning view of three of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches: Kata Noi, Kata Yai, and Karon Beach. From the viewpoint, look north over one of the island’s most iconic views, which includes a little bit of everything that makes this island so beautiful: verdant slopes, turquoise waters, and white surf.
This is one of the most photographed views on the island. The viewpoint can be reached by heading southwesterly along the branch road in front of Kata Noi Beach toward the island’s southern tip.