Phuket is a very popular holiday spot, and with good reason, from the world-class beaches, tropical weather, delicious food, and unforgettable experiences. Anyone who’s ever been to Thailand will be familiar with Phuket’s reputation. There is, however, a whole other side to Phuket that is less spoken about. So in this blog, I’ll take you on a tour of the unique things to do in Phuket that will make your holiday even more special, let’s take a look at some of them.
When they’re on holiday, some people just want to go from their hotel to the beach and back and that’s absolutely fine but there’s a lot more to explore here in Phuket. The food stalls and markets and festivals are not to be missed, their Phuket blend of traditional Thai with a Chinese twist due to the island’s history is very special, here are a few to whet your appetite.
1. Street Food & Local Vendors Filled With Local dishes (such as dim sum, bbq stalls, noodle stalls, som tam restaurants, moo kratha)
2. Wake Up Early In The Morning On A Buddhist Day To Experience The Morning (Morning alms giving ritual)
3. Experience The Vegetarian Festival (October 13-22)
4. Truly Enjoy The Beach – Order Lunch / Dinner On The Beach – Like The Locals Do It.
5. Enjoy a fresh seafood meal on a floating restaurant.
6. Experience the local weekend markets. Food is one of the most important factors for Thais. ^_^ Chilva market, boat avenue Friday market, Phuket old town Friday market.(Sunday afternoon)
Phuket is maybe most famous for its beaches and some are very well known such as Patong and Kata which are beautiful but can get a little crowded in high season, however, there are several more secluded beaches which may be a bit harder to find but well worth the effort.
Generally, the beaches on the western side of the island are better for swimming and there are still a few hidden gems such as Banana beach, Sai Kaew beach and Nui beach where you can enjoy the crystal clear Andaman sea in a less crowded environment. If you’re not a swimmer and just want to visit a peaceful beach to get away from it all, Ao Yon, Laem Ka, Hua, Rayee, Laem Ka and Pak Phra are definitely worth hunting out. Whichever of the more remote or less well-known beaches you choose to visit, you can be sure that the little extra effort to get there will be worthwhile.
Banana Beach is quite large with shallow clear blue waters, towering palm trees and excellent sand quality; it is a mystery why it hasn’t been developed like the rest of the island. It’s not entirely deserted though; a restaurant has been there as long as I can remember. Banana Beach is hard to find if you don’t know where to look. Just spotting the tiny entrance from the road is tricky for most visitors. The best way is to go to the airport, and when you are almost there, at the T-junction turn left instead of right as you would for Phuket Airport, follow the signs to Naithon beach (which is also very lovely) and drive a few more kilometres.
Haad Sai Kaew means ‘Glass Sand Beach’ in Thai is a beautiful endless beach located at the very north of Phuket Island. During the high season, The sea over there has a beautiful blue tone and walking alone for miles; you would never guess you are still in Phuket. It is also home to some great small seafood restaurants.
For a long time, Nui Beach was a bit of a mystery beach in Phuket. Not many people know about Nui Beach, mostly because getting there was so challenging. It was hard to find, hard to reach at the end of a steep dirt road, and if by chance you reach it, the staff at that ‘private’ beach used to ask for an entry fee. Luckily someone finally changed that, and the entry is now free!
Ao Yon is one of those beaches that have remained very local, no matter how much people talk about it. Maybe because it is far from the tourist area or because sand and water are not as striking as beaches on the west coast. The central area with many tall palm trees is very photogenic, and there are now some nice hotels, small restaurants and even a beach club.
Haad Pak Phra is the last beach of Phuket, located near the Sarasin bridge It’s not a great beach, but it brings you the silly pleasure of a little discovery. Stop there on your way to Thanoon Seafood on the mainland or on your way to Phang Nga.
Laem Ka Beach is the only real beach on the east coast of Phuket. It can be quiet, but you might be visited by disembarking speedboats at some hours. The beach is pleasant, and food and drink are available during the high season, while during the low season, the place is deserted.
Hua Beach is a very isolated beach very tricky to spot. It’s not a swimming beach but a perfect hideaway as there is barely anyone on it. Swimming is impossible because of the rocks and corals under the surface.
Rayee Beach is often called ‘the other Kamala beach’ as it is just south of the busy main Kamala beach. It’s not a swimming beach as the seabed is full of coral but great to relax with some nice little local restaurants above the sea.
There are many slightly more unusual things to experience here in Phuket that is definitely worth checking out from a tour of the island’s very own rum distillery or an exhilarating helicopter flight over the island, here’s a selection to get you started.
5. Wat Khao Rang
6. Visit A Chinese Temple
7. Stay the night & disconnect from the world at Ratchaprapa Dam.
8. Helicopter tour
The coast of Phuket is peppered with many small islands. Some house temples and monasteries, some have accommodation and some are just great to visit for their sheer beauty and seclusion. In addition, Phuket and the surrounding area have great viewpoints where you can see the true majesty of the incredible Thai scenery.
– A boat trip across Phang Nga Bay brings you to Sa Phra Nang near Krabi. A steep trek is worth the effort when you arrive at the Sacred Princess Pool.
– A recent addition to the list of sunset viewpoints in Phuket, it’s a bit of a challenging hike to get to but well worth the effort. Don’t forget to take a torch for your way back after sunset.
– A 25-minute longtail ride from Rawai will get you to Koh Bon, a delightful little island, ideal for a day or half-day trip. Good for snorkelling, swimming and relaxing on the beach.
– This is one of the larger islands off the south of Phuket, a longtail from Rawai will get you there in about 20 minutes. With white beaches and accommodation, it’s worth at least a day trip to give you time to explore it.
– The tiny island of Koh Kaeo Yai can be seen from the Phromthep cape, you can get a long tail there or, if you’re feeling adventurous, hire a canoe. It’s home to a monastery and an imprint of Budha’s footprint in the rocks.
– This is right in the north of Phuket and the amazing mangrove environment can be explored either on the raised walkways or by kayak.
– A 20-year program of conservation and reforesting has resulted in saving this unique place. The fishing and farming community here offers a view of traditional Phuket life.
– A short drive off the island brings you to Phang Nga and its spectacular scenery. The best place to view it is Samet Nangshe Viewpoint, particularly beautiful at sunset. It’s well worth the drive, make sure you have plenty of space on your camera as you’ll want to take many photographs.
– One of the larger islands close by, Coconut Island is on the east coast of Phuket and is home to the up-market Village resort.
– This is one of the best viewpoints on Phuket but is often overlooked as it’s thought you’re not allowed to go there due to the military base. It’s not so easy to find but the views are amazing and well worth the effort.
So as you can see, Phuket has a lot more to offer than its reputation of well-known beaches and nightlife suggest, although they’re great too. Phuket’s history of Chinese influence, and the various other cultural exchanges give it a wonderfully unique feel. The stunning tropical scenery and natural beauty of the island give an amazing backdrop to help you create some memories of a lifetime. We hope you will enjoy some of these unique things to do in Phuket during your holiday in Thailand.