Phuket, Thailand is for beach enthusiasts and those who adore the island life. Situated on the west coast of Thailand, it is home to some of the country’s most popular beaches as well as a bevvy of markets, restaurants and nightclubs to keep endlessly entertained in. Here, one can stay in one of the many Phuket villa rentals, blissfully relax on a turquoise beach and live it up in a vibrant nightlife environment all in one day. Here are some of the most interesting things to do in Phuket:
Must see places to visit in Phuket
Patong Beach is the main tourist hub of the island and the most famous beach resort, and there are plenty of reasons why. Not only is the beach gorgeous with people all over the world bathing in the sun in a relaxed atmosphere, there is also plenty of water sports activities to do there, too. Lining the beach are plenty of restaurants, bars and markets, making it fairly busy during the day but thriving at night.
Phi Phi Islands
Made famous by the movie ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo di Caprio, Phi Phi Islands and particularly Maya Bay is busy but nonetheless beautiful and worth the visit. When you first enter the islands by boat, giant cliffs rising out of the azure blue waters greet you. Each island is stunning in its own way and makes for unbelievable pictures: long-tail boats line the shores, golden sands gleam in the sun and ethereally blue waters beckon you in.
Phang Nga Bay
North-east of Phuket is a bay comparable to that of Halong Bay in Vietnam, other-worldly in its beauty and simply spectacular. Gliding through the waters by canoe is the best way to explore Phang Nga Bay and its dramatic limestone cliffs. Don’t forget to visit the ‘hongs,’ or rooms, within the bay – these are like fairytale realms where open-air caves are surrounded by towering cliffs – and they are sure to take your breath away.
James Bond Island
One of the most popular places in Phang Nga Bay, this is another island in Phuket made famous by a movie (no guesses which one!) and is a coveted bucket-list destination for travelers when in Thailand. Moving through the larger-than-life limestone cliffs is an experience in itself, but the climax begins when you get to KoTapu, the 20-meter vertical rock it is famous for.
Old Phuket Town
This town is a historical district and the provincial capital of Phuket, with Sino-colonial buildings, shrines and temples making this Old Town an interesting place to visit. The best-known street in this part of town is Thalang Road and it is very easy to explore by foot. Stroll around when it is not so hot and discover beautifully preserved shops, cafes and museums at your leisure, stopping at one the many restaurants on offer when you are ready for refreshments.
Perhaps one of the most infamous streets in Thailand, Bangla Road is the heart of Phuket nightlife entertainment. Vibrant and colorful, this street is lined with nightclubs, bars and raunchy shows and is best enjoyed after-dark with an open mind and sense of humor. Be warned that it is loud as a lot of the establishments are open-air so the music blends into each other, and be wary of scammers. Other than night, it is a great place to have a lively night, whether you’re people watching, gawking at the extravagant ladyboys or having a few drinks.
Sitting on Nakkerd Hills, this stunning 45-meter tall Buddha statue is one of the most revered landmarks in Phuket. The white jade marble the statue is made of makes for a shimmering vision, and the site itself offers an impressive 360-degree view of the island. It is a peaceful and refreshing getaway from the hustle and bustle of other parts of the island. Make sure to wear clothes appropriate for religious sites, otherwise, you can borrow a sarong to cover yourself up at the site.
Here, you can see the world-famous ladyboys perform a dazzling dance and song cabaret show in glitzy costumes and make-up. It draws thousands of visitors from all around the world daily, with the cabaret holding three shows every night. One of the most astounding aspects of the show is how beautiful the ladyboys are, sure to fool everyone with their grace and loveliness. A must-see if you are after a magical experience in Phuket.
One of Phuket’s most important temples, Wat Chalong is a Buddhist site open to locals and foreigners alike. Exquisite, ornate and peaceful, visitors can see the Buddhist statue Poh Than Jao Wat and The Grand Pagoda where lies a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone. As with most religious sites in Thailand, make sure you cover yourself appropriately and take off your shoes when entering some of the buildings.
Considered as one of the most photographed and best-known viewpoints on the island, Promthep Cape is the perfect place to watch the sun go down either with friends or a loved one. The stunning view of the Andaman Sea makes it extremely popular but worth the visit. Also on the hill is a lighthouse which you can enter for interesting maritime artefacts as well as handicraft shops, stalls and a restaurant.
Whether you arrive in Phuket for a religious experience, to enjoy the many beautiful beaches and resorts on offer or to party in its infamous nightlife setting, you will be sure to walk away with a unique and memorable experience of Thailand. It is an island bustling with visitors from all over the world hoping to understand what the fuss is all about – and people are hardly disappointed provided they keep an open-mind and a sense of adventure.
Have you been to Phuket? Do you have more things to add to the list?