Phuket is one the most famous beach vacation destinations in South East Asia. With fine white sand beaches, waving palm trees, crystal clear water, epic viewpoints, plenty of Buddhist temples and lively towns, Phuket has a lot to offer. You can go relaxing along the beautiful beaches of Phuket, explore the beautiful viewpoints or do some of the extreme sports in Phuket. In this complete guide you’ll find the best places to visit in Phuket island. From stunning beaches to some of the most beautiful spots to watch sunrise and sunset.
Best tours from Phuket
If you want to explore the best of Phuket island and all it has to offer on land and in the crystal clear waters, then make sure to book your tours to secure your spot. Because of Phuket’s popularity it is highly recommended to book your tours in advance as it is likely that tours sell out. So don’t wait with booking until you get to Phuket. Choose your favorite tours here and secure your booking! Below some of the best tours I recommend. All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- Phuket town tours
- ATV Mangrove Jungle & Hidden Beach Tour in Phuket
- Phuket Old Town 15-Taster Food Tour
- Half-Day City Highlights and Viewpoints Tour
- Andamanda Water Park Ticket Phuket
- James Bond Island Luxury Sunset Cruise from Phuket
- White Water Rafting and Jungle Adventure with Lunch in Phuket
- Phi Phi Islands Early Bird Tour from Phuket
- James Bond Island Phang Nga bay day trip by speedboat
- Half Day Thai Cooking Class & Local Market Tour Phuket
- Ethical elephant Save & Care Program Tour in Phuket
Best time to visit Phuket
Generally the best time to visit Phuket is between November and April when it’s the dry season. However you can expect the prices to be relatively higher during these months. The monsoon season in Phuket lasts from mid May until October when you can expect tropical showers on a daily basis. Prices drop in this period, so if you’re traveling on a budget this could be a great time to visit Phuket. However, be prepared for cloudy weather and rainy days with some sunshine now and then. Check here more fun facts about Phuket.
How to get around in Phuket
A rental scooter or car is the best way to get around in Phuket. Make sure to have an international drivers license and always wear your helmet! Compared to a car, driving a scooter gives you more freedom to get around to all the best places in Phuket to visit at your own time and pace. You can drive along traffic and parking a scooter is easier than parking a car, especially in the city or old town. A scooter will also let you sense the environment much better. The roads in Phuket are well maintained and pretty easy to navigate. But if you don’t feel comfortable driving a scooter or car, you can of course also easily get a private driver or taxi to help you around in Phuket.
Watch sunrise at Samet Nangshe viewpoint
This beautiful bay can be found just a little north of Phuket island on the east side of the mainland. It’s a perfect sunrise spot and our favorite to do in Phuket! Characterized by limestone cliffs and rock formations, as well as mangrove forests and small islands it is a breathtaking place, especially in its morning glory. A must visit when you’re in Phuket and also the BEST photography location in Phuket, especially with sunrise. Let the pictures speak for itself!
Getting there: With a scooter, rental car or taxi. To see the sunrise in the bay you have to go by boat of course, but if you want to go to this viewpoint you have to go with own transportation. Typing in “Samet Nangshe viewpoint” on Google maps will take you to the right spot.
Entrance fee: 50 baht per adult.
Best time for photos: Sunrise for sure. You will see the beautiful colors just before sunrise if you arrive on time! Also the fog will still be visible around the rock formations which gives a wonderful extra touch to your pictures.
Photo tip: With a drone you can get a completely different perspective, but also with your hand camera you can have the most amazing shots! Use an ND filter when the sky gets too bright.
Read in this complete guide everything about Samet Nangshe viewpoint.
Visit Wat Chalong
Wat Chalong temple is the largest and most important Buddhist temple in Phuket. In the main building which has a three-level roof you can see images of the seated, reclining and meditating Buddha. The main attraction is the 60-meter-tall pagoda which is decorated with paintings portraying the life of the Buddha. What Chalong even contains the Buddha’s bone splinter relics. A must visit in Phuket when you’re interested in the Buddhist culture.
Watch sunset at Promthep Cape
With its elevated location and few small islands nearby, the Promthep Cape is certainly a nice place to see the sunset and the sea. But this location is well known, so if you want to avoid the crowds, walk all the way down to the end of the cape. You are then at the most southern tip of the main island of Phuket. A lot of tourists come here to take their sunset photos which makes it the best-known photography location in Phuket. Therefore it might get very busy, but if you read the photo tip you will know where you have to go
Getting there: With a scooter, rental car or taxi. It is one of the most famous spots to watch the sunset in Phuket, so keep in mind that it might be busy! But we have some tips for you..
Entrance fee: Free of charge
Best time photos: Sunset! The best place to watch the sun go down into the sea.
Photo tip: If you want to avoid the crowds, walk towards the gate where you can enter the rocks from Promthep Cape. There you will see a path going down. Follow this path until the end of the cape, it’s a 10 min walk. Here you will have the best spot to watch the sunset without too many other people. Below are the photo’s we took at this spot.
Read here everything you need to know about Promthep Cape Phuket
Promthep Cape is one of the best places to visit in Phuket to watch sunset
Attend a Thai cooking class
If you love cooking, then taking a Thai cooking class is one of the things you must to in Phuket! Discover the secrets of making a mouth-watering Thai curry or some of the many other delicious Thai dishes. If you didn’t know already, Thai food is so amazing and learning how to cook a real Thai dish is a skill you can take home with you forever!
Cool off at some of the Phuket waterfalls
If you’re looking for some variety of activities after relaxing on the Phuket beaches, visiting the Buddhist temples and eating all the incredible Thai food, then go exploring the Phuket waterfalls! There are not super impressive waterfalls in Phuket to visit, but even though you can find some great spots to cool off in the jungle. Bang Pae waterfall is one of them and is a beautiful waterfall and short hike. Other Phuket waterfalls are Kathu waterfall, Tonsai waterfall and Lampi waterfall.
Read here about the best Phuket waterfalls to visit
Visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project is a centre where sick and mistreated Gibbon’s are being rehabilitated with the aim to release them back to the wild. Besides that the project is always looking for volunteers, you can also pay a visit to the centre to learn more about Gibbon rehabilitation. If you’re more of a dog lover you can look into the Soi Dog Foundation.
Visit the Big Buddha
Of course this one can’t be missed if you’re in Phuket. The Big Buddha can be seen from almost every location on the main island. Situated on the peak of Mount Nagakerd you will have a wonderful 360-degree view over the southern part of Phuket island.
Getting there: With a rental scooter, car or taxi.
Entrance fee: Free.
Best time photos: Sunset! It will be more quiet with tourists than during the daytime and it is beautiful to see the sunset behind the Big Buddha.
Photo tip: It’s hard to get a photo without other people in it, but you can try a long exposure to fade away the people. Another option is to make the photo dark, like I did. Now you can’t see the people who were standing on the stairs. Another option is to photoshop all the people away, but you must have a lot of patience or great photoshop skills for that
The Big Buddha is some of the most famous places to visit in Phuket
Visit vibrant Patong
Patong is the most popular beach town in Phuket. The 3 kilometres golden sand beach is lined with cafes, restaurants, clubs and has plenty of water sports activities to offer. Patong town is famous for the most raucous nightlife in Phuket and is some of the most popular destinations to stay. The vibrant Patong has lots of bars, shops, hotels and beach resorts. It is a great place for tourists looking for lots of entertainment, especially along Bangla Road you can find many clubs. But if you’re looking for a more quiet place for vacation in Phuket, then you should check out the areas such as Nai Harn or more towards the north east of Phuket Island.
Visit Koh Phi Phi
The Phi Phi islands are an archipelago of 6 islands in total with two main islands being Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. You can reach Koh Phi Phi by speedboat which takes about 45 minutes from Phuket. The beautiful beaches of Koh Phi Phi, famous Maya bay and the impressive viewpoint are some of the highlights of a trip to the Phi Phi islands. You can also go diving near Phuket which is a must for underwater lovers!
Book your early bird tour to Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi here to avoid the crowds!
Explore the Old Phuket town
Phuket old town is an interesting place to visit. The old Sino-Portuguese houses are an interesting contrast with the Thai culture. The beautiful architecture along the area of Thalang, Dibuk and the Krabi roads will take you back to the charm of a century or more ago. The architecture is a reflection of European influence on the island and dates back mostly to the early 1900’s.
Relax at “secret” Naithon beach
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Phuket, you need to go to the north of the island. Fewer tourists and therefore less crowded beaches. The absolute secret beach we found is part of Naithon beach, but is separated by some rocks in the sea and on the beach. Most likely that’s also the reason not many people visit this part of the beach, but if you want an almost private beach and the perfect tropical beach shots, you have to go here. Surrounded by beautiful palm trees and sand as soft as powder, this is truly a paradise!
Getting there: With a rental scooter, car or taxi. You can enter the beach using the wooden stairs as seen on this picture. You’ll find the stairs at the opposite of a rental and sales residence.
Entrance fee: Free of charge.
Best time photos: Sunset for sure. You will see the beautiful colors and soft light over the sea.
Photo tip: At this place you can take several pictures with each a different view. You can make it look like they are not made at the same spot! Especially with a drone you can get completely different perspectives of this beach. Get creative with the surroundings, the palm trees, rocks and the stairs.
Explore James Bond island
Some of the unique places to visit in Phuket is James Bond island, part of the Khao Phing Kan islands located on the west coast of Thailand. Situated in Phang Nga Bay, about 45 kilometres north from Phuket, you can go on an organised full day trip or rent a long tail boat in Phuket to go to Phang Nga Bay. Along the journey you will not only visit the signature limestone rock of James Bond Island, known from its appearance in 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun film and officially called Koh Tapu. But also other important tourist attractions and you can opt for canoeing activities and other beach visits.
Eat at the Phuket Weekend Night Market
There are several night markets in Phuket you can visit. The most popular weekend night market is the Phuket Walking Street Market set up on Thalang Road in the old town. The 350 meters long street offers plenty of different vendors selling delicious Thai food, tourist souvenirs, handicrafts, clothing and electronic goods.
Other night markets in Phuket can be found in Kata, the Karon temple market, Chillva market by the side of Yaowarat Road, the Indy Night Market located at Limelight Avenue Phuket, Malin Plaza in Patong beach and more, depending the season.
Relax and watch the sunset at Nai Harn beach
Nai Harn beach is one of the beautiful beaches in Phuket. In our opinion is Nai Harn beach some of the best beaches in Phuket as it’s not overcrowded and beautifully tucked away in a green bay with powdery and smooth white sand. You can find a few hotels and resorts here, as well beach restaurants and vendors. But it’s nothing as busy like Patong or Karon Beach. Watching the sunset from Nai Harn beach is incredible, so we did that many times while staying in the Rawai area.
Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
If you love rum, then the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is a must visit. During a tour you can learn about the production of this high end white rum and have a look behind the scenes. The final part of the tour is where you will learn how to make various cocktails with Chalong Bay Rum and after that you can taste them as well of course!
Relax at beautiful Karon beach
Karon Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket. It actually is the longest beach on the island, spanning more than 3 km of fine white sand overlooking the Andaman Sea. You can perfectly relax and swim at Karon Beach, or the neighbour Kata Noi beach. If you’re visiting Karon Beach you also have to make a stop at Karon view point overlooking the green bay.
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We hope you enjoyed our blog post about the best places to visit in Phuket Thailand.
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